Miami County, Ohio Genealogical Researchers -- Sponsored by the Computerized Heritage Association


    Samuel Sayres Yates in now living a retired life, enjoying a rest which he has truly earned and richly deserves for through many years of an active business career, he was identified with the agricultural interests of Miami County. His birth occurred in Lost Creek Township, on the boundary line of Brown Township, April 20, 1830. His parents were Nezer Swain and Pricilla (Sayres) Yates. The father was born in Cape May county, New Jersey, November 20, 1801, and the motherís birth occurred in Pennsylvania, March 6, 1807. They were married April 24, 1825, and the motherís death occurred May 31, 1847, while Mr. Yates survived until 1874. He was again married, his second union being with Pamelia Reed, who died in 1864. The maternal grandparents of our subject were Thomas and Frances (Dye) Sayres, and the latter was a member of the Dye family that was established in Miami County during the earliest epoch of its development. The Sayres were also numbered among the pioneers of Staunton Twp. but the Yates family came a little later. Nezer S. Yates made the journey to Ohio in company with his parents, Thomas and Phoebe Yates, who cast in their lot with the early settlers. They took up their abode on a farm in Lost Creek township, where the subject of this review was born, and there the grandfather died in the prime of his life. The grandmother lived to a very advanced age. Their son, Nezer S. Yates, remained under the parental roof, and after the fatherís death, became the possessor of the old homestead. Upon his farm of one hundred and sixty acres, he made extensive and substantial improvements, continuing in possession of the old place until his death, when it was sold, its purchaser, however, being a member of the Sayres family. Mr. Yates was a very prominent and influential citizen of the community, served as trustee of Lost Creek township and was actively interested in all measures tending to prove a public benefit. In politics he was a stalwart Jacksonian Democrat, unswerving in his support of the principles of the party. In religious faith he was an old-time Baptist and belonged to the Lost Creek church until the division. Later in life, he joined the Lena Baptist church and died in the faith of that denomination. Firm in his convictions, he held tenaciously to his views and in his life exemplified his faith. On his family of twelve children, six were sons. There are two sons now living, in 1900, S. S., of this review, and Thomas, who has been a resident of Goshen, Indiana since 1853. There are also four daughters living: Frances, wife of Jacob long, of Brown Township; Sarah, wife of Robert Weatherhead, of Howell County, Missouri; Priscilla, widow of Dallas Miller, of Elkhart County, Indiana; and Mary, wife of John Pence of Elkhart County, Indiana.

    Samuel S. Yates was reared on his fatherís farm, his attention being given to the labors of the field and meadow through the summer months, while in the winter season he pursued his education in the common schools. Among his schoolmates was Phoebe A. Shanks, who was born in Brown Township, Oct. 4, 1830. Their friendship ripened into love and they were married March 9, 1851. The lady is a daughter of Peter and Leah (Schenck) Shanks. Her father was born in what is now Cincinnati, August 15, 1795, and was a son of Joseph and Mary (Clawson) Shanks, the former of German and the latter of Holland and Welsh parentage. Peter Shanks was reared to farm labor in Montgomery County, Ohio, and when seventeen years of age enlisted for service in the war of 1812 under Captain Richard Sunderland. His command was stationed at Detroit, Michigan, when peace was declared. About 1817, Mr. Shanks entered one hundred and sixty acres of land on Section 29, Brown Township, and in the midst of an unbroken forest erected a hewed-log house and began the development of the farm. He placed his land under a very high state of cultivation and was one of the enterprising farmers of the neighborhood. On the 10th of May, 1821, he married Leah C. Shanks, a native of New Jersey. His death occurred in his ninety-second year and his wife died May 13, 1839. Nineteen years later Mr. Shanks wedded Mrs. Martha J. (McCarr) Neff, who died April 27, 1861. The parents of our subject, as also the second wife, were consistent members of the Baptist Church. There were eight children by the first marriage, and two by the second, but only four are now living. The oldest son, Thomas, resides in Huntington, Indiana; Mrs. Yates and Mary A. Miller, widow of Peter Miller, are living in Conover and their half sister, Lizzie A., is the wife of O.P. Wolcott, of Brown Township, Miami County. One son of the family, Daniel Shanks, remained on the old family homestead until his death, when he was about fifty-five years of age. His widow and children still reside in Miami County. The old Shanks homestead is now the property of John Sayres.

    After his marriage Mr. Yates of this review located on a farm adjoining his fatherís and operated that property for two years, after which he removed to Brown Township. He lived upon several different farms in this locality but since 1865 has maintained his residence at his present home and has added to his land from time to time until he owns two hundred and thirty acres where he now resides and two farms adjoining, both of which are operated by his son, S.F. Yates. He paid twenty dollars per acre for the first land which he purchased and paid eighty-two and a half dollars per acre for his present farm. Since 1873 Mr. Yates has purchased no land, but instead has given his income to his children at a time when it was beneficial to them. When he started out in life on his own account, he owned a horse, a cow and a cash capital of three hundred dollars, but by determined purpose and unflagging industry, supplemented by the able assistance of his wife, he steadily increased his possessions, and after twenty years of married life, he found he was worth about twenty thousand dollars. There had been much sickness in the family and other difficulties to be overcome, but he worked on with resolute purpose and failed not to gain that financial reward which should ever crown honorable and consecutive endeavor. He made valuable improvements upon the farm, laid many rods of tiling and developed a property which is known as one of the most desirable country seats in Brown Township. Fifteen years ago he retired to private life, the income from his farms being sufficient to supply him with all the necessaries and many of the luxuries of life.

    Unto Mr. and Mrs. Yates were born six children: Alice J., wife of G.W. Brecount, of Conover, by whom she has one child; Florence E., who died at the age of seventeen years; Mary A., wife of Joseph Wolcott, of Brown Township, by whom she has two sons: Samuel Franklin, who wedded Alwilda White and has two children; Clara E., who became the wife of James Buckles, who died seven month later, after which she married Isaac M. Wolcott, of Brown Township, by whom she has one son; and Earl A., a practicing physician at Kirkwood, Shelby County, who was graduated in the Columbus Medical College and has practiced for two years. His wife is Mattie, daughter of Dr. H.B. Denman, of Lena.

    Mr. Yates has always been an advocate of Democracy. During the civil war he was elected as captain of a company of home militia. He has filled the office of township trustee for six years and in 1886 he was elected a justice of the peace, serving for fourteen consecutive years. His decisions were fair and impartial, and that he has the entire confidence of the public is shown by his long continuance in office. Although firm in his opinions in what he believes to be right, he is never aggressive and accords freely to others the right which he reserves to himself of having their own views upon the various questions of public interest. In 1850, he was made a member of the Baptist Church at Honey Creek, and in 1885 he helped organize the Lena Baptist Church. For more than thirty-five years he has served as deacon and has often been a delegate to the various church meetings, and his life has been an honorable and upright one, in harmony with his professions. 

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