Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Biography: Jeremiah F. "Jerry" YORK, II

From History of Genesee county, Michigan, her people, industries and institutions, with biographical sketches of representative citizens and genealogical records of many of the old families, by Edwin Orin Wood, Federal Publishing Company, Indianapolis, Indiana, 1916, pp. 609 - 612:

Jerry F. York, a well-known and progressive farmer of Atlas township, this county, was born in that township and has lived there all his life. He was born on a pioneer farm in section 36 of that township, south of the village of Goodrich, March 28, 1855, son of John H. and Anna (Crothers) York, both of whom were born in Erie county, New York, who came to Michigan in 1850 and settled in this county, where they spent their last days.

John H. York was born in 1823, son of Jeremiah and Rhoda (Sweers) York, the former of whom was a soldier in the War of 1812 and a person of prominence in his home community, a well-to-do farmer, who at one time and another held various local public offices. John H. York grew up to the life of the farm and in 1847 married Anna Crothers, who was born in 1825, daughter of John and Mary (Wycoff) Crothers, the former a native of Pennsylvania and the latter of the state of New York. In the fall of 1850 he came with his family to this state and settled on a farm of forty acres in the north half of section 36 of Atlas township, this county, and there established his home. He later added to his farm until he became the owner of one hundred acres and was accounted one of the substantial farmers of that neighborhood. He was a Republican and he and his wife were members of the Methodist Protestant church, in which he was a class leader and in which his wife served as a steward. He died on November 12, 1898, and his widow survived until February, 1904. They were the parents of seven children, of whom three are deceased, one who died in infancy, one who died when two years old and Marium, who married Henry Frick and died in 1912. The survivors are Mrs. Ella Dillenbeck, of Atlas township; Mrs. Matilda Watkins, of Goodrich; Jerry F., the subject of this sketch, and James L., who is living on the old home.

Jerry F. York remained on the old home farm until his marriage in December, 1877, after which he began farming for himself. For two years he continued farming on the old home place and then moved to the village of Goodrich, where he made his home for sixteen years, a part of which time he was engaged in the harness business. In January, 1896, he bought a farm of sixty acres in section 10 of his home township and ever since has made his home there, doing well at his farming operations and becoming quite well circumstanced. Since moving there he has bought more land adjoining and now has a well-kept farm of one hundred and twelve acres. He and his wife are members of the Maccabees and he is a member of the Masonic lodge at Ortonville.

Mr. York has been twice married. It was on December 23, 1877, that he was united in marriage to Rachel Ann Baxter, who also was born in Atlas township, daughter of Eli and Rachel Ann (Cummings) Baxter, both members of old families in this county, having come here with their respective parents in the days of their youth and growing up amidst pioneer conditions of living. Eli Baxter, who lost his life while serving as a soldier of the Union during the Civil War, was a son of Edward and Mary (Herrick) Baxter. Mrs. Rachel A. York died on May 26, 188o, leaving one child, a daughter, Leno, who married Robert Goodfellow, now living at Castle Rock, Washington, and has four children, Lee, Warren, Loretta and Lola Lillian. On April 22, 1896, Mr. York married, secondly, Eva Cummings, who also was born in Atlas township, daughter of Edward and Susan (Dalby) Cummings, the former a native of this county and the latter of Erie county, New York, who are still living on the old Cummings homestead north of Atlas, for many years honored and useful residents of that community. Mr. and Mrs. York are rearing a lad, Clarence Streater, whose care they assumed in June, 1906, when he was six years old. Jerry F. York is a Republican and has been treasurer for twelve years of school district No. 1o, Atlas township, and is serving his third term as justice of the peace.

Edward Cummings, father of Mrs. York, is an honored veteran of the Civil War and for many years one of the most influential residents of his part of Genesee county. He was born on a farm in section 3 of Atlas township, January 22, 1844, son of Lewis and Elsie (Cummings) Cummings, both natives of Erie county, New York. Lewis Cummings was born in 1814, son of Stephen Cummings and wife, the former of whom was a soldier in the War of 1812, and grew to manhood on a farm in his native county. There he married Elsie Cummings and in 1836 came to the then Territory of Michigan with his wife and two children, Rachel and Orlando, and settled on a tract of four hundred acres in section 3 of Atlas township, this county, which he had picked out on a previous trip to this part of the country, and there he and his family established their home in a little log house, being among the very earliest of the settlers of that part of Genesee county. Lewis Cummings was a good farmer and a man of excellent judgment and prospered in his affairs, until he presently came to be regarded as the wealthiest man in Atlas township, the owner of six hundred and forty acres of fine land and ever interested in movements having to do with the advancement of the community of which he was from the very first one of the leading factors. He was for many years a member of the Congregational church at Goodrich and was ever foremost in local good works, so that at the time of his death on October 1, 1883, he was widely missed in that community. Lewis Cummings was thrice married, his first wife, Elsie, having died in 1851, leaving seven children, four sons and three daughters, Orlando, Oscar, Stephen, Edward, Rachel, Loretta and Elsie.

When the Civil War broke out Edward Cummings was still in his teens, but he enlisted for service in the Union army and served until the close of the war as a member of Company I, Thirtieth Regiment, Michigan Volunteer Infantry. Upon the completion of his military service he resumed his place on the old homestead farm in Atlas township and has lived there ever since, the owner of two hundred and twenty acres of his father's considerable estate. On April 19, 1866, he was united in marriage to Susan Dalby, who was born about twelve miles from the city of Buffalo, in Erie county, New York, in 1839, daughter of Benjamin and Sarah C. (Paxton) Dalby, the former a native of Pennsylvania and the latter of New York state, who came to Michigan with their family in 1855 and located about twelve miles south of Pontiac, whence they moved to Goodrich, in this county, where Benjamin Dalby conducted a blacksmith shop the rest of his life, his death occurring about 1871 and that of his widow in the spring of1888. On April 19, 1916, Mr. and Mrs. Cummings celebrated their golden wedding anniversary and were the recipients of heartfelt congratulations on the part of their hosts of friends in this county. During her earlier years Mrs. Cummings was a school teacher in this county, having taught sixteen or seventeen terms of public and private, or "select" school, and among the hosts of youngsters who learned their letters under her careful tutelage was the editor of this history, who has never ceased to entertain the highest regard for his old teacher.

Biography: John RHODES

From Portrait and biographical record of Genesee, Lapeer and Tuscola counties, Michigan..., Chicago, Chapman Bros., 1892, pp. 1035 - 1036:
JOHN RHODES. After a life spent in usefulness and in helping to perfect each bit of nature with which he came in contact, he whose name appears above was borne to his long home, but has left behind in the hearts and memories of his friends a record that is worthy of emulation by the young and that is an encouragement to the middle aged. Having for some time been a resident of Atlas Township, Genesee County, our subject was born in Orange County, N. Y., August 12, 1820. He is the son of William and Mary (Carr) Rhodes. The latter died when our subject was but a child.

When thirteen years of age John Rhodes with his father and stepmother removed to Western New York and when sixteen years old continued on the crest of the Westward wave to Huron County, Ohio, where he was reared to manhood. He there received a common-school education but was not the recipient of High School advantages. He has devoted himself throughout life to farming. His domestic life began September 28, 1843, when he was married in Ohio to Miss Huldah Hanley, who was born in Huron County of the same State, August 3, 1821. She was a daughter of John and Roxanna (Beebe) Hanley, and both parents were natives of Connecticut. Her grandfather Beebe settled in Lorain County, Ohio and thither Mrs. Rhodes' mother accompanied him although she had previously been married in her native State. The men of the family were patriots whose services were always offered in the time of their country's need.

To Mr. and Mrs. Rhodes six children were born, four of whom are now living--Mary J., Frances, Mrs. Oscar Sweers; Calvin L., and Ella M. Sarah and Adel are deceased, the latter dying in infancy. In 1843 our subject started with his wife to Michigan, coming via the lakes, and his parents accompanied them, but took the overland route. They made a settlement in Genesee County, now owned and occupied by Mrs. Rhodes. They settled in the woods, building a log cabin in which they resided for several years, erecting their present residence later. He cleared up a farm which was in a wild condition, using oxen in the work for a number of years. He died March 4, 1888. In his death Atlas Township loses one of her early pioneers and most esteemed citizens. He was a member of the Congregational Church of which he had been Trustee for many years. In his political views he was a Republican. At his death he left a valuable estate which was the result of his life labor. His widow resides on the home farm and she with her children make one of the most highly esteemed families in this portion of the county.

Biography: Lewis SWEERS

From Portrait and biographical record of Genesee, Lapeer and Tuscola counties, Michigan..., Chicago, Chapman Bros., 1892, pp. 622 - 623:
LEWIS SWEERS. Among the prominent, thrifty and enterprising citizens of Atlas Township, Genesee County, none is more worthy of the notice of our readers than the subject of this sketch. He is a native of the county, having been born here February 29, 1853, and is a son of Manley and Lydia (VanCleve) Sweers. The father was a Vermonter by birth, and the mother a native of the Empire State, and the Grandfather Sweers is said to have been a soldier in the War of 1812.

Manley Sweers, the father of our subject, migrated in the spring of 1836, from New York to Genesee County, this State, and purchased land from the Government where he put up a small log house and resided with his family for a number of years. Later in life, he erected a better residence and is now in his eighty-third year, and counted as one of the oldest living pioneers in Atlas Township.

This sturdy pioneer endured the usual hardships incident to the life of an early settler and had but limited means with which to provide for his family. He has ever been wide awake and enterprising, willing to undertake work for the upbuilding of the county and helpful to the community in every way. He first farmed with the help of oxen but in due time was able to command a team of horses. His education had been limited and he had been blessed with but few advantages. His wife, who died September 29, 1891, was also one of the first pioneers of Atlas Township.

Lewis Sweers, our subject was reared to man's estate in Atlas Township, and from early youth engaged in farming, although his parents granted him time to secure a good common-school education. It was in 1877 when he was married to Amelia, daughter of William Siebenhar of Atlas Township, whose sketch will be found elsewhere in this volume. By this union one son was born, Lewis L., who was born May 27, 1878. Our subject has made his own property and now owns a good farm of one hundred and fifty acres. He has served as Treasurer of the township for two years and in 1890 was the Enumerator in this township for the Eleventh Census. Politically, he is a Republican and is identified with the Knights of the Maccabees at Goodrich.