Monday, September 10, 2012

Mug Book Monday: John H. YORK (1823 - 1898)

"Mug books" are collections of biographical sketches usually found within county histories of the late nineteenth- and early twentieth-centuries, particularly in the United States. Each Monday, I'm highlighting ancestors or relatives who were featured in these mug books.
     "JOHN H. YORK. Our readers will be pleased to find upon this page a sketch of one of the most worthy and venerable citizens of Atlas Township, Genesee County. This septuagenarian is a representative of the best class of our citizens, and is a native of Erie County, N. Y. His birth took place December 27, 1823 and he is a son of Jeremiah and Rhoda (Sweers) York, the latter being a native of Vermont and the former a soldier in the War of 1812.
     "From early youth John York was engaged in the work of a farmer and received his education in the district schools of his native county. His father was a prominent man in his township and served as Constable, Collector and Deputy Sheriff for eleven years.
     "Our subject was married March 11, 1847 to Anne [sic - Anna] Crathers, who was born in Erie County, N. Y. December 11, 1825, and was a daughter of John and Mary (Wycoff) Crathers. The father was a Pennsylvanian and the mother a native of the Empire State. Seven children have blessed the home of our subject and five are now living, namely: Marian, wife of Henry Frick; Jeremiah; Ellen, now Mrs. Alton Dillenbeck; Matilda, who married Charles Watkins; James. Milton and John N. are deceased.
     "In the fall of 1850 Mr. York removed with his family to Genesee County, and settled upon the farm where he now lives, a property which was then only partially improved. Upon this he has bestowed great labor and has it now in an excellent condition. It comprises one hundred acres of some of the best land in the county and it is in a highly productive condition. All this is the result of the united efforts of our subject and his wife, who have labored shoulder to shoulder through the hard times of pioneering and together have accumulated a property which provides well for them in their old age.
     "Mr. York has served as School Director and is active in promoting all educational movements. He and his wife are both members of the Protestant Methodist Church in which he is Class-leader, and Mrs. York is now serving her third year as Steward in the church. He is a Republican in politics and both he and his wife are highly esteemed members of society."


John and his wife, Anna CROTHERS (CRATHERS is an alternate spelling) were my 3rd-great-grandparents. It is believed that both of them were born and married in what is now the Town of Clarence in Erie County, New York. Listed in this biography are four of my 4th-great-grandparents: Jeremiah F. YORK, I; his wife Rhoda SWEERS; John CROTHERS; and Mary "Polly" WYCKOFF. Also listed is my 2nd-great-grandfather, James L. YORK, John and Anna's son. Finding this biography many years ago was like winning the lottery, as John's great-granddaughter, who was my paternal grandmother, was an adoptee, and I was building this family tree from scratch, with little information. I used this biography for a spring board to check vital and census records, land records, and to order Jeremiah's War of 1812 Veteran's Pension Record from the National Archives, which provided me with even more material. The land in Genesee County that John farmed was originally claimed by his (presumed) uncle Stephen YORK as part of his bounty land for serving in the War of 1812, although it appears that Stephen never resided on it, but remained in Erie County, New York.

This biographical sketch was taken from Portrait and Biographical Record of Genesee, Lapeer and Tuscola Counties, Michigan, containing Biographical Sketches of Prominent and Representative Citizens, together with Biographies of all the Governors of the State, and of teh Presidents of the United States, published in Chicago by the Chapman Brothers, 1892. John's sketch was found on pages 600 and 601. This county history, along with many other Michigan ones, can be found at the Michigan County Histories and Atlases Digitization Project website.

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