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James F. Yates, who is busily engaged in the operation of his fine farm of one hundred and sixty acres in Fayette township, was born in that township on the 6th of February, 1873. His parents, Benjamin F. and Elizabeth J. (McArthur) Yates, are mentioned at greater length on another page of this work. He was reared at home and supplemented his preliminary education, obtained in the public schools, by a course of study in Tilford Collegiate Academy of Vinton, Iowa. When twenty years of age he started out as an agriculturist on his own account, cultivating rented land for a period of three years. At the end of that time, in 1896, his father purchased another farm and thus became the owner of five hundred acres of land. Benjamin F. Yates cultivated and improved this property in partnership with his three sons until 1902, when he divided the land, our subject coming into possession of one hundred and sixty acres. He has since devoted his time and attention to the operation of this farm and the well tilled fields annually yield golden harvests as a reward for the care and labor which he bestows upon them.

On the 22d of February, 1893, Mr. Yates was united in marriage to Miss Viola Manwell, of Benton county, Iowa. They now have three children, as follows: Anita M., Earle M., and Lenora Bernice. Mr. Yates is a republican in politics and for four years ably discharged the duties devolving upon him in the capacity of township clerk. He acts as president of the school board and has been secretary or member of the board for several years. lie holds membership relations with the Modern Woodmen of America and is clerk of his lodge. His religious faith is indicated by his membership in the Methodist Episcopal church, to which his wife also belongs. In the community where his entire life has been spent he enjoys the regard and esteem of an extensive circle of friends.

Source: History of Linn County Iowa, From Its Earliest Settlement to the Present Time, Vol. II, Chicago, The Pioneer Publishing Company, 1911, p. 222.

Submitted by: Terry Carlson


More than sixty years ago George A. Yeisley came to Linn county, Iowa, and during this time, which covers nearly the whole span of the county's development from a primitive state to its present flourishing condition, he has been actively interested in its progress. A native of Pennsylvania, he was born in Monroe county (then Northampton county) October 27, 1811, a son of John and Saloma (Kemrey) Yeisley, also natives of that state and of German descent. When he was twelve years of age the family removed to Ohio, where the father followed farming until his death. The mother died in the same state. In their family were fourteen children, nine sons and five daughters.

George A. Yeisley passed his boyhood and youth in much the usual manner of farmer boys of his day, receiving a good practical education in the common schools. On starting out in life for himself he engaged in chopping wood for two years, and then turned his attention to farming. On leaving Ohio he came to Linn county, Iowa, in November, 1839, and located in Linn township near his present home on section 21, where he secured a squatter's claim, as the land had not yet come into market. Four years later he bought one hundred and sixty acres from the government. Here he began life in true pioneer style in a log cabin. The region round about was all wild and unimproved, and he has watched with interest its development, acre after acre being placed under cultivation until now the county is covered with fine farms, while city and villages have sprung up and all of the conveniences of an advanced civilization have been introduced. Being a man of industry and perseverance, as well as economical and enterprising, Mr. Yeisley prospered in his new home, and added to his landed possessions from time to time until he owned five hundred and thirty-eight acres of land, two hundred and thirty acres of which were covered with timber. He still retains a farm of two hundred and forty acres on section 21, Linn township, where he makes his home, but is now living a retired life, enjoying the fruits of former toil.

In Ashland county, Ohio, January 5, 1837, Mr.. Yeisley was united in marriage to Miss Nancy Deal, who was born in Somerset county, Pennsylvania, December 13, 1818, her parents being Frederick and Catherine (Cotfelter) Deal, also natives of that state and of German ancestry. At an early age she accompanied her parents on their removal to Ashland county, Ohio. She died on the old homestead April 15, 1896, and was laid to rest at Mt. Zion church in Linn Grove. She was a quiet, unobtrusive and most estimable woman, a good and kind neighbor, a devoted wife and loving mother, and her death was an irreparable loss to her husband and family.

Unto Mr. and Mrs. Yeisley were born ten children, all born on the old homestead in Linn township with exception of the eldest, whose birth occurred in Ohio. they were as follows: (1) Oliver passed his early life upon his father's farm in Linn township, but for twenty years has been a resident of California, and is now engaged in mining at Camptonville. He married Rebecca Keenon, and the have four children, namely: (a) John William, who resides on the farm of our subject in Linn township, married Susie Hoover and they have one child, Ralph. (b) Ella is the wife of Thomas Daniels, a farmer of Springville, Brown township, this county, and they have two children, Bernice and Charles W. (c) Harold E. lives with his brother Hugh. (d) Hugh O. who is engaged in farming on section 28, Linn township, married Bessie Hoover, and they have two children, Kenneth O. and Ruth Ione. (2) Catherine is living at home with her father. (3) Josiah is engaged in farming in California. (4) Eliza J. died when a small child. (5) Anna is the wife of Samuel Johnson, a retired farmer of Lisbon, and they have five children, namely: (a) Elice M. is the wife of Arthur Kamerling, of Cedar county, Iowa, and they have six children, Ray, Charles, Glenn, Alva, Delmer and Nellie May. (b) Charles is engaged in farming near Iowa Falls, Franklin county. (c) Carrie is the wife of Jean Albaugh, a retired citizen of Iowa Falls, and they had six children, Earl, Don, Paul, deceased, Lee Edith and one unnamed. (d) Eva is the wife of Myron Albaugh, of Lisbon. (e) Nettie M. is at home with her parents. (6) Salina died in infancy. (7) Mary is the wife of George W. Belden, who resides on a farm owned by our subject, and they have seven children namely: Frank, a farmer of Jones county, Iowa, who marred Clara Phillips and has one child, Hazel Fay: Albetha D., wife of John Yanish, a farmer of Floyd county, Iowa; and Clyte, John, Katie, Pearl and Clara, al at home. (8) George L., who owns and operates a farm of one hundred and sixty acres on section 4, Linn township, married Miranda Paul, daughter of the late Enoch Paul, of Linn township, and they have two children, Bertha May and Paul Ivan. (9) John F. E. resides on the old homestead, which he operates in connection with his own farm of fifty-two and a half acres on section 28, Linn township, adjoining his father's place. He was educated in the common schools and is also a graduate of the Davenport Business College, in 1880, and throughout his active business life has successfully engaged in general farming and stock raising, making a specialty of hogs and cattle. Politically he is identified with the democracy, and socially affiliates with Mt. Vernon Lodge, No. 551, I. O. O. F. (10) Rebecca M. is also living on the home farm with her father.

Since casting his first presidential vote for Andrew Jackson in 1832 Mr. Yeisley has never failed in his allegiance to the Democratic party, and has supported all of its presidential candidates until the fall of 1900, when ill health prevented him from going to the polls. He has served as supervisor of his township, and has filled all of the local offices, being school director in his district for a great many years. In early life he was a Presbyterian in religious belief. He can look back with satisfaction upon a well spent life, in which he has not only acquired a comfortable competence for himself and family through his own well-directed efforts, but his career has even been such as to command the respect and confidence of all with whom he has come in contact either in business or social life, while his labors as one of the founders of the county justly entitle him to a prominent place in its history.

Source: Biographical Record of Linn County, Iowa. Chicago: The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1901. p. 296-300.

Submitted by: Terry Carlson

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