"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 ona 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 hte 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 growining 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, 1880, leaving one child, a daughter, Leno, who married Robert Goodfellow, now living at Castle Rock, Washington, andhas four children, Lee, Warren, Loretta and Lola Lillian. On April 22, 1896, Mr. York married, secondly, Eva Cummings, who also was born in Atlas townshp, 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. 10, 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 f 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 solder 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 ona 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 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, daugher of Benjamin and Sarah C. (Paxton) Dalby, the former a native of Pennsylvania and th 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 of 1888. 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 amonght ehosts 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."
This is indeed a long biography! Although Jerry YORK was not my ancestor, he was the older brother of my great-great-grandfather, James L. YORK, who is given a brief mention at the end of the second paragraph. He was named for his paternal grandfather, Jeremiah F. YORK, I, and was frequently called "Jerry". Jerry's ancestors, John H. YORK, Anna CROTHERS, Jeremiah F. YORK, I, Rhoda SWEERS, John CROTHERS, and Mary "Polly" WYCKOFF are all my ancestors and are mentioned here as well. This biography may sound familiar, since the one of Jerry's father, John H. YORK, was featured in last week's Mug Book Monday. This biography was published 24 years later, so there is updated information from his father's; namely, the deaths of his parents and sister Marium.
There is a great deal of information on the CUMMINGS family in this biography, since both of Jerry's wives were CUMMINGS descendants and were first cousins to one another. This is a great example of paying attention to those families who intermarried with your own, because by tracking them, you can often track immigration trails and further your own research. The CUMMINGS family lived near the YORK family in the Town of Clarence, Erie County, New York, before both families migrated to Atlas Township, Genesee County, Michigan. Also noted is that both Stephen CUMMINGS and Jeremiah F. YORK, I served in the War of 1812. It's possible they served together, although I have not found information to prove so. What I have discovered is that many New York War of 1812 Veterans moved to the western part of the state after the war, notably Niagara and Erie Counties, having previewed the land while being stationed at Black Rock near present-day Buffalo. This was the case for my Jeremiah F. YORK, I, who had originally been from Saratoga County, New York in the eastern part of the state.
This biographical sketch was taken from Volume II of 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 O. Wood, LL. D., President, Michigan Historical Commission, published in Indianapolis by the Federal Publishing Company, 1916. Jerry's sketch was found on pages 609 through 612. This county history, along with many other Michigan ones, can be found at the Michigan County Histories and Atlases Digitization Project website.