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JOSEPH YERKES AND HIS DESCENDANTS

BY ELIAS S. WOODMAN

My acquaintance with William Yerkes dates from May, 1837, to the time of his death, January 5, 1884, then in the ninetieth year of his age. Through all these years have I been a witness to his unswerving rectitude and inborn integrity. A man whose counsel was sought for, whose judgment was just and timely, and whose sympathies and help were a comfort in those troublous times. He can be said to be one of Michigan's pioneers in the broadest sense of that term. I have heard him relate how he was accustomed to go on foot from his home in Novi to Detroit, while a member of the legislature, taking perhaps in his hand a change of clothing, and a slice of corn bread and venison in his pocket, and at the close of the session to return home in the same way, and think it no hardship. Physically, the Yerkes descendants are and have been a hardy race, a majority living beyond the allotted term of man's life, while a few have died in infancy. As a class they are farmers, but many of the younger generation have entered the learned professions, where they have risen to success and some to distinction.
In point of intellect, little need I say. They have kept even pace with the progress of education in our State, being liberal patrons of our high schools and university. In morals and religion we find this family adhering closely to the doctrines of Christianity inculcated by their ancestors as far as we can trace them. They observe the statutes of their country, as well as the amenities of christianized society. We find that William Yerkes was a Presbyterian of the orthodox stamp, hence many of his descendants are found active members of that church, and while contributing liberally to its maintenance, evidence its teachings in their upright lives.

Michigan


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