My ancestor this week is my 3rd great-grandfather, Thomas Jefferson Yates, from my Mom’s side of the family through her Mom’s side. Thomas was born December 8, 1839 in Livingston County, Kentucky in the part that became Crittenden County in 1842. He was the son of John Yates, 1805-1879, and Martha Jane Henson, 1806-before 1896. John Yates was born in Pittsylvania County, Virginia and Martha Jane Henson was born in Rutherford County, North Carolina and they both passed away in Crittenden County, Kentucky and are buried in unmarked graves at Brown’s Cemetery in Crittenden County. Brown’s Cemetery is located on the Siloam Church-Hardin Knob Road, on a farm that was owned by Thomas A. Maynard in the 1980's. John and Martha were married July 15, 1829 in Caldwell County Kentucky.
Thomas was the third of the seven known children born to John and Martha and his siblings were the following: James A. Yates, 1831-after 1896, married Sarah Ann Maranda Jane Reeves; Henry Bartlett Yates, 1833-1896, married his brother, Thomas’ widow, Sarah Jane Frances Humphreys; Martha M. Yates, 1841-before 1896, married David H. Ellis; Emily Catherine Yates, 1844-1881, married Samuel Lewis Nelson; Mary Susan Yates, 1845-1918, married William J. Brown; and John M. Yates, 1851-1856.
I have very few pictures for the Yates side of my family but I do have one picture of Mary Tom Yates and her husband John Bartley Loftis as well as a picture of Anna Maria Yates and her husband William Henry Gilland and they are the following. I also have a picture that I believe is Sarah Jane Frances Humphreys Yates with the black cape and I believe that maybe Sarah’s daughter, Mary Tom on one side of her and her son, John Henry on the other side, but the picture wasn’t written on so we don’t know for certain. We are also not sure who the tall man on the side is, but it could be her other son, Benjamin Lewis Yates, whose father was Henry Bartlett Yates, if anyone is sure of the identities of these four people in the one picture please let me know. Also, if anyone has any other pictures of this family I would love to see them too.
The American Civil War, the War Between the States, the War of Northern Aggression or whatever you might want to call it, broke out in April of 1861. For the next five April’s until April of 1865 when peace was signed, it was brother fighting brother, father fighting son and it looks like my Thomas would have been fighting on both sides of this messy conflict. Thomas and Sarah had one child, John Henry, when the war started and another child, Mary Tom, who was born the following year, after the outbreak of the war. In some Union Citizens File at www.fold3.com I found the following record which shows Thomas Yates giving his oath of allegiance to the Unites States of America, which is dated November 6, 1862. I believe this is my Thomas, but unfortunately it does not state what Confederate company or unit he may have been with. Thomas signed this oath just a little over two months after his daughter, Mary Tom was born on September 2, 1862.
I then found in some records entitled “U. S. Civil War Draft Registrations Records, 1863-1865” Thomas J. Yates, age 23, married, farmer, residence in Crittenden County, Kentucky subject to military duty, dated June of 1863 and I also believe this is my Thomas. He was subject to military duty just seven months after he signed his oath of allegiance to the United States. Unfortunately, as of today I have not been able to find what unit on either side he may have fought with. The following image shows Thomas in the listing. His brother, Henry Bartlett Yates, fought in the Union Army in Company E, 48th Kentucky Mounted Infantry as a private, but Thomas is not listed in that unit. Henry filed for an Invalid Pension and his wife Sarah filed for a widows pension for Henry’s service after Henry died.
No matter what side Thomas may have fought on he is still my ancestor and I am proud of the service he gave to his country and what he thought was the right or wrong in that bloody conflict. I found the following crossed flags picture at this link: http://wallpaper222.com/explore/union-and-confederate-flags-crossed/
Thomas’ last child, Anna Maria, was born March 19, 1864 so he was apparently home at some point after signing the oath of allegiance and after being listed in the men subject to military duty. Some family records say he was killed in battle on November 9, 1864 and others say he died from wounds on August 10, 1865. The last date would have been after the war ended in April of 1865, but if he had been wounded or had caught some kind of disease, he could have still died from the effects of his service during the war, which is what most family stories say. These are two very specific dates and I believe one of them is probably correct, but no one I have ever talked to can tell me where either date came from, so for now I list both.
I do know that Thomas must have died before December 25, 1866 because on that date his widow, Sarah Jane Frances Humphreys, married her brother-in-law, Henry Bartlett Yates in Crittenden County, Kentucky. Henry raised his brother’s three children and he and Sarah had six children of their own, namely: Martha Ellen Yates, 1867-1911, married Barnett Sampson Perrin; Sarah Caldonia Yates, 1870-1954, married Isaac Newton Wright; Emma S. Yates, 1874-1876; Benjamin Lewis Yates, 1877-1918, married Lora Edith McMican; Cora M. Yates, 1880-1939, married John Duncan Summers; and Nora B. Yates, 1882-1961, married Frederick C. Binkley and John Nathaniel Little.
Henry contracted rheumatism during the war and suffered with it until his death on January 6, 1896. Sarah continued living in their home near Levias in Crittenden County and after several months illness she passed away on March 28, 1911. Sarah and Henry are both buried in the Yates Family Burial Ground in Crittenden County. I have yet to figure out exactly where this cemetery is supposed to be. Both of them had an obituary in the Crittenden Press and these follow. Issue dated March 12, 1896 - Died at his home near Levias, Jan 6, 1896 Henry B. Yates, after many years of suffering with that dreadful disease, rheumatism. Brother Yates had suffered with that disease since the War. He was born May 10, 1833 was married Dec 25, 1866 and professed religion during a meeting held at Siloam Church about 1878 and was received into the Methodist Church at that place. He leaves a wife and 5 children and 3 step-children, one brother and one sister. Issue dated March 30, 1911 - Mrs. Yates, mother of Rev. B. L. Yates, died at her home near Levias last week, she had been ill several months. Her son who has charge of the church at Lafayette, Kentucky was here to see her several times this year.
Oh how I wish I could find an obituary for Thomas as well, but so far no luck. Such a short life he led as he was only 25 to 26 years old when he died and not a lot is known about him, yet another ancestor I wish I had more answers and more stories for.