The YOAKUM Family of Powell Valley
213 Reagan Street
Cumberland Gap, TN 37724
This account is written in attempt to record and clarify the names of the parents, spouse and children of George YOAKUM, I., of Powell Valley, Tennessee and Virginia. Being obsessively interested in the history of this family and noting the mistakes of earlier researchers, I have spent much time in documenting all the following arguments concerning this early Powell Valley Settler.
Note: This work is copyrighted by Steve Smith. It may not be reprinted without the express permission of the author. Steve has generaously provided this research to help those researching the George Yoakum line. Those who find Steve's work helpful are strongly urged to contact him, express their appreciation, and contribute any additional information they may have. Thanks!---Greg Brown
YOAKUM, George, I. Of Powell Valley - Identification
VAN BEBBER, Martha "Patty/Patsy" - Wife of George YOAKUM, I.
YOAKUM, Valentine "Felty" - Father of George YOAKUM
YOAKUM, Matthias - Grandfather of George YOAKUM
I took interest in this family during an effort to establish the descendants of Isaac VAN BEBBER and Sarah DAVIS, so actually this began as a VAN BEBBER Family research project, and that research would not be complete without strong mention of the YOAKUM family.
One of the oldest files I acquired on the YOAKUM family is taken from the Franklin YOAKUM Bible and Henderson King YOAKUM Bible. Because of the widespread distribution of these records and the fact that they have been published in genealogy books, and quoted by many other researchers, these records have been most fully accepted by all researchers of the YOAKUM family. These records have always been valued possessions in my files and, although I suspected some mistakes, I condered them to be minor for many years. It was not until I went from a collector of YOAKUM records to a researcher of YOAKUM records that I began finding unmistakable errors. The investigation of these records has led to many other important facts on this interesting early pioneer family of CLAIBORNE County, Tennessee. Many thanks given to all those who exchanged information and helped in finding research for this family; especially Earl W. QUINTRELL of Winchester, TN.
The Franklin YOAKUM Bible record gives a brief history of the name YOAKUM and the origin of the name in the United States. Some statements I can neither accept or deny, as they have been beyond the scope of the research. The last part of the record states:
"The given names of the YOAKUM's in the City of New York are not known, but Valentine, a son of one of them, moved to South Potomac on Potomac on Peach Creek. After he married, Valentine YAKUM (1721), youngest of seven sons, moved to Muddy Creek, Greenbrier County, Virginia, and settled YOAKUM Station (1771). He was there tomahawked by the Shawnee Indians. With him were his wife and children - all killed but young George, who was swift of foot and of great strength, killing three Indians with a frying pan handle, which he jerked from one as he passed through. He was afterwards in Battle of Point Pleasant. At 25 years of age he married the daughter of Isaac VAN BIBBER, who fell in that battle. George YOAKUM, I., continued to live at Muddy Creek, Virginia, until he became father of three sons, the youngest of whom was George II, when they moved to Powells Valley.(This was written by Franklin YOAKUM (born 1819), sonof George YOAKUM and Mary Ann MADDY, and given to him to him by his father, George YOAKUM I - now the property of Chas. H. YOAKUM of Los Angeles, California.)"
This is the extent of the published record of Franklin YOAKUM's Bible. If the Bible contained more information on other members of the family, it is not made known in the source of this information. The year of this writing is unknow to this researcher.
The record of Henderson YOAKUM's Bible Record begins as follows:
"George YOAKUM, II, born July 30, 1783, in County of Greenbrier, Virginia, died March 31, 1841, at Madisonville, Tennessee; married Mary Ann MADDY, May 27, 1809, at YOAKUM's Station, CLAIBORNE County, Tennessee; she was born November 25, 1792, died April 27, 1848. My Grandfather, George YOAKUM I, with the VAN BEBBER's, his brothers-in-law, established that station about 1790. George YOAKUM I, was killed in a bear hunt in the Cumberland Mountains. He was buried near the station.
My Father and Mother (George YOAKUM II and Mary Ann MADDY) are buried in Madisonville, Tennessee, MONROE County, in Church yard of Methodist Church.
Martha Aurelia YOAKUM born October 9, 1827, in Madisonville, Tenn.; married James Askew WRIGHT, May 25, 1848. Martha died Aug 19, 1852, in Sweetwater, Tenn., and is buried beside her parents, George II. and Mary Ann YOAKUM.
George YOAKUM of YOAKUM's Station in Powells Valley, Tenn., built a fort fourteen miles of Cumberland Gap and named it YOAKUM's Fort. He married Margaret VAN BIBBER and had seven children.
Isaac YOAKUM; married ____________ DAVIS.
Peter YOAKUM; married Sally STINNIT, of Powells Valley
Feltz (Felty) YOAKUM; married Sally REYNOLDS, of West Illinois.
Robert YOAKUM; married _____________ BERRY, of Tennessee.
Margaret YOAKUM (called Peggy); married ____________ CONDRA, of Powell's Valley.
Nancy YOAKUM; married ____________.
George II, born July 30, 1783; married Mary Ann MADDY in 1807. . . ."
The Remainder of the Bible record goes on to give good chronological date information on the children of George YOAKUM II and Mary Ann MADDY. It is evident by dates given in the Bible entries that someone other than Henderson YOAKUM, who died in 1856 in Texas, wrote some of the information given in this record. In fact, in the listing of the children of George YOAUM, II, the death date given for Franklin YOAKUM was 1891, which means that probably all the information given on these children was entered by someone many years after the death of Henderson YOAKUM, who is referred to by some as the Texas Historian, and, I'm sure, appreciated accuracy in his notes. Some information was probably written over one hundred years after the Muddy Creek Massacre. This researcher strongly believes that if Henderson YOAKUM had been the penman of the above list of children of George YOAKUM, there would have been a more complete listing of spouses than that given.
In the Felix ROGERS Cemetery in Speedwell, CLAIBORNE County, Tennessee, we find the tombstones of George YOAKUM and Margaret YOAKUM. This researcher has visited this cemetery and has photos of the stones. George YOAKUM has two stones, the old original stone and the newer D.A.R. monument. The oldest stone reads:
this ife the 28th
of October 1800
aged 45 years
& 8 mo.
The newer DAR marker for George reads:
PVT Capt Ray's Co. Lincoln Mil.
Jan 15, 1758 Oct 28, 1800
Beside George's new DAR marker is another DAR marker for one Margaret VAN BEBBER YOAKUM. This person is identified as of Aug 25, 1997 by this reseacher. Many researchers and descendants of George YOAKUM have been led to believe that she was the wife of George YOAKUM, I. Research has proven this to be incorrect. The DAR marker for Margaret reads:
MARGRET VAN BEBBER
1754 - 1794
In review of the Bible record above, one would naturally be led to believe that Margaret VAN BEBBER YOAKUM was the wife of George YOAKUM. Not only have I found this to be incorrect information, but also the Bible records contain many other mistakes. The two rocks for George contain conflicting dates of birth. The older rock, which I personally prefer to use, gives his date of birth, by mathematical deduction, as about February, 1755. Where did the information from the DAR rock come from. Recent research has nowshown that the information was from the military record of anotherdistant cousin of George YOAKUM. This cousin lived in LINCOLNCounty, Virginia (Kentucky) and served in the County Militia underCaptain James RAY, who married Amelia "Milly" YOAKUM. There isconsiderable proof to show that the Powell Valley George YOAKUMwas still living in GREENBRIER County, VA in the time frame George YOCUM served in the LINCOLN County Militia.
Now let me back up a bit to some VAN BEBBER information. It is well documented by this researcher that Isaac VAN BIBBER, I., the son of Peter VAN BIBBER, I., and Ann _____, was mortally wounded in the Battle of Point Pleasant on Oct 10, 1774 at Point Pleasant, Virginia (now MASON County, WV). His widow, Sarah DAVIS/VAN BEBBER, stated in GREENBRIER County Court that she was the widow of Isaac and that she had seven children. In a letter written by Isaac VAN BIBBER, III., the son of Isaac VAN BIBBER, II., and grandson of Isaac VAN BIBBER, I., we can identify six of these children: Nancy, Patty, and Peter, the oldest children; and John, James, and Isaac; being the youngest children. These names all have been well documented by this researcer. In fact, of the six listed here, all lived together throughout most of their lives except young Isaac, II., who went to Missouri with members of the BOONE family. Isaac VAN BIBBER, III., further goes on to state in his letter that one of these daughters married a man by the surname of HOWARD and that he died in Powell Valley. Later deduction has proven this daughter to be Nancy and her husband by process of elimination most definitely has to be Robert HOWARD. This letter written by Isaac VAN BIBBER, III., to Lyman DRAPER and found in the DRAPER MSS clearly shows six of the seven children of Isaac and Sarah. Who was the seventh child?
In the records of GREENBRIER County for the County Court held in March 1786, we find where Peter VAN BEBBER is appointed guardian to Matthew, John, Nancy, James, and Isaac VAN BEBBER. This researcher is of strong opinion that the above lists concerns Peter VAN BEBBER, the son of Isaac VAN BEBBER and Sarah DAVIS; and that he was the older brother of the other listed children shown. Patty VAN BEBBER is not shown on the list. We will show later that she is not on the list because in 1786 she was already married and probably was not a minor at this date. Now, was Matthew VAN BEBBER the seventh child of Isaac and Sarah? This document seems to be strong enough evidence to suggest it to this researcher. What happened to Matthew VAN BEBBER later? Only further research will show the answer to this, maybe?
The above guardianship seems to be in preparation for the move of these children to WASHINGTON County, Virginia. RUSSELL County was formed in 1786 and the first court held in May, 1786. On the second day of the first court held, John VAN BEBBER was made Lieutenant of the County Militia of RUSSELL County. This means they must have left GREENBRIER County for WASHINGTON County between March and May of 1786. They settled on the Powell River in Powell Valley near present day DRYDEN. Records suggest that both the YOAKUM family and the VAN BEBBER family held land there; yet only deeds of the sales of the YOAKUM land can be found today.
The Powell River begins its journey in WISE County, near the town of Norton and has cut its way through the Big Stone Gap and then entering the Powell Valley here winds its way slowly through LEE County toward the state of Tennessee. Entering Tennessee it is separated from the main floor of Powell Valley by the dividing ridge as it flows through CLAIBORNE and CAMPBELL County and merges with the Clinch River near Norris, Tennessee. Yoakum Station Voting district in LEE County pays tribute to the fort that was built there in the 1780's by George YOAKUM and the VAN BEBBER brothers.
Marriage records of the Reverend John ALDERSON show that Peter VAN BEBBER (called Peter VAN BEBBER, Sr.), the son of Isaac VAN BIBBER, I., and Sarah DAVIS, married his first cousin, Eleanor VAN BIBBER, the daughter of Peter VAN BIBBER, II., and Margery BOUNDS. Peter VAN BIBBER, II., was a younger brother of Isaac VAN BIBBER, I., both being children of Peter VAN BIBBER, I., and his wife, Ann.
Of the seven children that we have named; viz: Peter, Patty, Nancy, Matthew, John, James, and Isaac; it can be documented that at least five of them came to Powell Valley in 1786. It is not known if Isaac and Matthew came or stayed behind with their mother, Sarah, who had remarried at this time to a man by the name of William GRIFFEY. Court records of CLAIBORNE County suggest that at a later date William GRIFFEY also came to CLAIBORNE County. Of these seven children, it appears that two were married in 1786 at the time of their move; viz: Peter md. Eleanor VAN BIBBER, and Martha or Patty md. George YOAKUM, I.
After John VAN BEBBER is found in Court records of RUSSELL County in May 1786, the families of VAN BEBBER, YOAKUM, and HOWARD can be found continously after that date in the County of RUSSELL until LEE County was formed. These families are found on the petiton to form LEE County. Their reason given for forming LEE, among other reasons, was its distance to the RUSSELL County Courthouse. They can be found on various records in RUSSELL and LEE County until 1796. Therefore; there presence of being in LEE County did not mean that they had moved, but rather that a new County had been formed and they fell into the borders of that new county of LEE. Tradition states that YOAKUM Station was a site of Court meetings in the early formation period of LEE County.
Exactly what year did these families move from LEE County, Virginia to the state of Tennessee? It seems obvious from the records of LEE County that they did not build the YOAKUM Station fort in Tennessee in 1790. According to tax records of RUSSELL and LEE County, Virginia, the VAN BEBBER's, YOAKUM's, and HOWARD's paid taxes in Virginia until 1796. John VAN BEBBER did not pay taxes there that year. Could he have moved to Tennessee that year? The records needed to show this may have been destroyed in HAWKINS County, TN, during the Civil War period.
At any rate, we know that they were here in Powell Valley, CLAIBORNE County, TN by statehood as it seems apparent with the records we have in GRAINGER County, Tennessee, which was formed with statehood. Tennessee became the 16'th state on June 1, 1796 and GRAINGER County held its first court on June 13, 1796. At the second Court session held, on September 12, 1796, the GRAINGER County Court ordered a review of a road to be built from HOLSTON River to YOKHAM's Station in Powell Valley. The HOLSTON River cuts thru the HOLSTON Valley and runs close by Rutledge, where the county seat of GRAINGER is located. George YOAKUM and John VAN BEBBER were later appointed members of the committee to review this road survey and report back to the court. From this date and until their deaths, these two men may be documented as citizens of Powell Valley in that part that later became Speedwell, CLAIBORNE County, TN.
In LEE County, VA, there are four deeds remaining there concerning land sold by George YOAKUM and his wife, Patty. It is documented that Patty is a nickname for Martha.
June 13, 1796: George YOKUM and Patty, his wife, of LEE County, Virginia, sell to Joseph SPENCER of LEE County, 300 acres of land on the south side of Powell River, a part of a larger tract granted to Thomas CAMPBELL bearing date March 20th, 1785. The land lies between WALLEN's Ridge and the POWELL River and contained a "Mill built by G.Y."
Sep 11, 1798: George YOKUM and Patsy, his wife, of HAWKINS County, Tennessee sell to Enos SOUTHERLAND of LEE County, Virginia, 52 acres of land on the South side of POWELL River containing the Rocky Spring and adjacent to land owned by VAN BEBBER.
Sep 11, 1798: George YOCKUM and Paty, his wife of HAWKINS County, Tennessee to Carr BAILEY of LEE County Virginia 131 acres of land on both sides of the Powell River containing "YOCUM's Old Station".
Sep 11, 1798: George YOCUM and Paty, his wife of HAWKINS County, Tennessee sell to James HOOF (HUFF) of LEE County, Virginia, 100 acres on the South Side of the Powell River, and adjoining the river.
It seems possible that the first sale of land was in preparation of their moving to Tennessee. The other three sales, all conducted on the same day over two years later, were made after the YOAKUM family moved to Tennessee and although the deeds state they were citizens of HAWKINs County, it is very apparent they were actually in GRAINGER County in that part that was formed from HAWKINS County in 1796.
These deeds unquestionably state that the George YOAKUM that lived in LEE County and owned the "Old" YOAKUM Station was married to someone named Patty or Patsy, and not Margaret. Patty and Patsy are nicknames for Martha. Peggy is the nickname for Margaret. It is important to note the word "old" in relation to YOAKUM's Station as they were identifying and separating it from the newer YOAKUM Station that had been built in GRAINGER County. Research has shown that there was only one George YOAKUM in this time period. Now, the Patty YOAKUM mentioned in Isaac VAN BIBBER, III's letter was the Patty shown on these four deeds, she being the daughter of Isaac VAN BIBBER, I., that married George YOAKUM. Isaac VAN BIBBER, I, did not have a daughter named Margaret. Now who is the Margaret YOAKUM shown to be buried beside George YOAKUM in the Felix ROGERS Cemetery in Speedwell, Tennessee?
George YOAKUM died on Oct 28, 1800 intestate in GRAINGER County, Tennessee. Not having a will the court must appoint someone to administer his estate. The widow in such cases usually was given the option to administer estates of deceased husbands, if she was able to do so. On May 18, 1801, the GRAINGER County Court "Ordered that Martha YOKUM & Isaac YOKUM have the right of Administration on the Estate of George YOKUM Deceased who -- Gave John VAN BEBBER & Robert HOWARD their Securities accordingly." In trying to identify this Martha, later researchers suggested that this was the wife of Isaac, the oldest son of George and Margaret. The YOAKUM Bible did not identify the name of Isaac's wife; only that she was a DAVIS. She was then named as being Martha DAVIS. Research has shown that the wife of Isaac was not Martha DAVIS, but Mary DAVIS, the daughter of Aaron and Rachel DAVIS, of Powell Valley. Claiborne County Deed Book K, Pages 458-459 reads:
"This indenture made the 26th day of August in the year of our Lord Eighteen hundred and thirtyfour between, Isaac YOAKUM and his wife Mary YOAKUM and Thomas DAVIS, heirs of Aaron DAVIS Deceased of the one part and Harmon DAVIS one of the heirs of the said Deceased of the other part all of the county of CLAIBORNE and state of Tennessee, Witnesseth that the said Isaac YOAKUM and his wife Mary YOAKUM and Thomas DAVIS for and in Consideration of sixty dollars to them paid the receipt of which is hereby acknowledged hath and by these presents doth grand bargain sell convey & confirm unto the heirs of the said Harmon DAVIS and his heirs and assigns forever a Certain tract of land situate on Lot D of Henderson & Cos grant in Powels Valley being part of the tract which Aaron DAVIS Deceased lived and died on . . ."
Now, let's back up a minute. We have established there was only one George YOAKUM, and that he married Martha "Patty" VAN BEBBER, the daughter of Isaac VAN BIBBER, I, and Sarah DAVIS. But who were the parents of George, and who was Margaret? The Franklin YOAKUM Bible tells us George was the son of Valentine YOAKUM, killed at the massacre of Muddy Creek in 1771. Was there documentation in Virginia concerning this massacre? A search of the records for that time period revealed nothing. However, Order Book 8, for AUGUSTA County records, March 21, 1764 shows that Charles LYNCH qualified as administrater of Valentine YOAKUM and Frederick SEA. Was the Franklin YOAKUM Bible in error on the date of the massacre? Was this the same Valentine YOAKUM? My research has given me a Yes to both these questions. Further research of the Muddy Creek area shows positively there was a massacre in the area in July, 1763. Of the families involved, and it seems there were many, it seems that three influential men of the community were scalped: Archibald CLENDENIN, Frederick SEA, and "Felty" YOAKUM. These names are given in historical accounts from several reliable sources taken shortly after the incident. In searching AUGUSTA County records CLENDENIN and SEA estate settlements are found. Where was Felty's estate settlement? Who was this Valentine YOAKUM that is always found in the records with Frederick SEA?
The answer came in a study of the name Valentine. My theory to prove was that Valentine and Felty were one and the same person. Documentation of the name Valentine by studying countless examples has shown that Valentine is the formal name for the informal "Felty". There are no books that I have found to suggest this, but overwelming evidence found in the records of the time period, with Valentine being a common name then, and apparently a foreign language translation or some sort, yields the nickname Felty. Therefore, we now have historical account both in writings of the period and court records showing that the Muddy Creek massacre took place in 1763, rather than 1771.
Felty being the nickname of Valentine shed new light to other questions we had on the family. Since former researchers were treating Valentine and Felty as two distinct individuals, and now knowing they were the same man, helped identify the father of Valentine. It was common knowledge that Matthias YOAKUM was the father of Felty. His will in LINCOLN County, Kentucky in 1783 proved this. Matthias wife is identified in this will as Eleanor. She is by tradition, supposed to have been the sister of Frederick SEA, killed in the massacre. Whether she was the mother of Valentine is not clear at this time by this researcher. Matthias'es last will and testament, written Jan 29, 1780 in BOTETOURT County, Virginia, names his son, Felty, and suggests he is deceased. In the will he states: "and to my son Felty YOAKUM's oldest son, George, his heir, I give and bequeath one dollar." Matthias'es will only names his wife, Eleanor; his sons, Felty and young George; and Felty's oldest son, George. It is apparent that he had a much larger family and many went to Kentucky with him about 1780.
It is interesting to note that in Matthias' will, George is named as Felty's oldest son, suggesting there were other sons unknown at this time. What records are there supporting other children of Valentine. It has been stated by other researchers that George had two sisters; Elizabeth and Sarah. Whether there has been found any record that openly states this has yet to be seen by me. However, there is good circumstantial evidence now found in the Indian prisoners list made by Colonel Henry BOUQUET when he made arrangement with the Shawnee and Delaware Indians to set free roughly some 200 prisoners in late 1764 and early 1765. In treaty with the Indians at Fort PITT, BOUQUET demanded the safe and speedy release of the prisoners that been held hostage since several Indian raids of the area.
It is very interesting to note those taken from the Green Bryer Company communities in 1763. There were several different lists and release dates of these prisoners. In one list, called List D and dated November 30, 1764, we find the names of 13 males and 33 females. It is common knowledge that during the Indian massacres most men were killed, while women and children were taken prisoner unless there is some reason given to kill them. Most of the males on this list were young minors. This list contains the name Geo: YOKEHAM and Margar't YOKEHAM. Who is the Margaret YOAKUM? No age is given for her. Could she be the wife of the deceased Valentine? Could she be the person buried beside George YOAKUM in the Felix ROGERS Cemetery? It is an interesting theory and one which could be very possible. Researchers of the SEA family suggest she is Margaret SEA/YOAKUM, the widow of "Felty" YOAKUM, and sister of Frederick SEA, but they give no source for this information. Margaret YOKEHAM can also be found on LIST E of these lists of prisoners, as several prisoners can be seen named twice in these lists of prisoners.
List F, dated March 4, 1765, gives us the name of Elizabeth YOAKIM, 12 years old, and taken prisoner July 1763 from Green Bryar in AUGUSTA County. List G, dated May 12, 1765, gives us the name of Sally YOKIM, 5 years old, taken prisoner from Green Bryar Virginia and held captive for two years. This researcher strongly believes that these two females are the children of Valentine "Felty" YOAKUM. Elizabeth YOAKUM was married to John SHOEMAKER by Rev. John ALDERSON, Jr., on August 13, 1782 in GREENBRIER County. Sally, or Sarah, YOAUM was married to Peter VAN BIBBER, III, son of Peter VAN BIBBER, II., and Margery BOUNDS, by Rev. John ALDERSON, Jr., on July 22, 1785 in GREENBRIER County. Peter VAN BIBBER, III., was a first cousin of Martha "Patty" VAN BEBBER. Peter VAN BIBBER, III, was at the Battle of Point Pleasant and enlisted on as a Revolutionary War Soldier. He was living in Ripley County, Indiana when he applied for his Pension for services in this war.
Other names on these lists that are associated with the YOAKUM family history are: Michael SEE, George SEE, Mary SEE, Catherine SEE, John SEA, Peggy SEA, Sarah SEA, and Jean CLENDINNON. Testimony given by Jean CLENDENIN later shows that she was the only surviving child of Archibald CLENDENIN. The widow was taken prisoner and escaped during the journey back to the Indian villages.
Since we find George YOAKUM on the list of Indian captives, we know that he could not have made the brilliant escape described in the Franklin YOAKUM Bible. If the tombstone dates are correct, George would have been born in 1755, making him about age 8 when he was captured in 1763. Therefore, he would have been too young to escape from the Indians in the manner described.
Apparently the family of Matthias YOAKUM, Sr., was not attacked or he was not living in the Muddy Creek area at this time. Conrad YOAKUM, a younger brother of Valentine, was at the CLENDENIN home when they were massacred and was the only one to get away during all the excitement of the massacre. He was able to ride ahead and warn many of the other settlers before the Indians reached their homes.
Matthias YOAKUM, Sr., had many children. One son, Matthais YOAKUM, Jr., had a daughter named Amelia "Milly" YOAKUM. She married General James RAY about 1781 in Kentucky. In those days there had to be county militias, made up of the young men of the county, for Indian defense. The county militias were also important during the Revolutionary War time period. In trying to explain the D.A.R. marker placed at George YOAKUM's grave I have a theory. I suspect that one of the grandsons of Matthias YOAKUM, Sr., by the name of George "YOCAAM", living in LINCOLN County, Kentucky, may have served under General RAY during this time period. Matthias YOAKUM had several grandsons by this name. It is possible that this same General James RAY was a Captain of the LINCOLN County Militia while he lived there in this time frame. I suspect that someone has confused the County Militia record for this George "YOCAAM" to be the record of the Powell Valley George YOAKUM. This my explain the statement of him serving as a Private in Captain RAY's Company; LINCOLN Mil. LINCOLN Mil may have been shortened for LINCOLN County Militia? This is the only theory I have at this time concerning this matter. In studying the life of George YOAKUM, I., of Powell Valley, this researcher has not found any record of him fighting as a Revolutionary War Soldier under Captain James RAY. His military experience seems to be his involvement at Point Pleasant in 1774, his acting as an Indian Scout in the GREENBRIER County Militia, and his involvement in County Militias at RUSSELL County, VA., LEE County, VA., and GRAINGER County, Tennessee. I do not show him ever living in LINCOLN County, Kentucky.
NOTE: Later found information confirms that one GeorgeYOCUM and one Henry YOCUM did fight under the command ofCaptain James RAY in the LINCOLN County Militia in theRevolutionary period. See Bibliography attached. Thisresearcher suspects that these two men were younger children of Matthias YOAKUM, SR. There is proof that George YOAKUM, son of Valentine, was still in GREENBRIER County at this time.
We have now identified the wife and parents of George YOAKUM. We also know the grandfather of George. Now let's look at the list of children we have listed as children of George and Martha. The Henderson YOAKUM Bible lists seven children, Viz:
In researching the families of CLAIBORNE County, other YOAKUM names began to appear in the county records. The question then arose as to what their relation was to George YOAKUM, I. Common in early court records not named in the above list were John YOAKUM, Valentine YOAKUM, and Jesse YOAKUM. At this time I did not know that Valentine and Felty were the same person.
Research on Valentine YOAKUM of Powell Valley has shown that his wife was Charlotte REYNOLDS, and not Sarah REYNOLDS as suggested by the Bible. Charlotte was in CLAIBORNE County before she married Valentine and if she was from Western Illinois, it is not known. Given the dates involved, it is not believed she was from Illinois, however it is possible they may have lived there temporarily before they moved to ROANE County, Tennessee during the 1820's, where it is documented that Valentine died before the 1830 census, leaving his widow Charlotte with a large family in the 1830 ROANE County census. She is shown to be living next door to Peter YOAKUM, a brother of Valentine, in this census. With the new information we have concerning the name Valentine, we now know that he was the Felty YOAKUM mentioned in Henderson YOAKUM's record, and not to be confused as a second person.
In a letter written by George M. YOAKUM in 1907 to P. G. FULKERSON, an attorney, in Tazewell, TN., the identity of Jesse YOAKUM is given as another son of George, I. Although the author of this letter does not remember the names of George and Martha, he does remember the names of five of their sons. The letter reads:
"I am the son of Aaron YOAKUM and the grandson of Isaac YOAKUM. I am now 60 years of age. I do not remember the name of my great grandfather. The names of my grandfather and his brothers were:
Isaac, George, Jesse, Robert, and Felt.
George left Powells Valley and went to Tazewell. Jesse sold out and went to missouri. Felt to some point in Middle Tennessee and I do not know what afterward became of him. The YOAKUM's here are descendants of Robert and Isaac, those of Texas of George and those of Missouri of Jesse. The home of Jesse can still be seen in Missouri. My brother was there and went to the old home. It is my impression that the descendants of Felt also went West. I have never met or herd of them in Tennessee. My grandfather and his brothers owned jointly several thousand acres of land in Powells Valley around YOAKUM's Station. The old block house was located 14 miles southwest of Cumberland Gap on the farm now owned by the RUSSELL Brothers, signs of which can yet be seen. Near it is an old graveyard. My grandfather Isaac died about 55 years ago. I know that he was over 80 at the time of his death. The land they owned was part of the old HENDERSON Co. grant."
Considering the time frame of George YOAKUM's writing this letter and the time these events happened, this is a fair source to document the names of these brothers and what happened to them. Since he was born in about 1847, he would have been ten years old when his grandfather, Isaac YOAKUM, Sr., died in 1857. The downside is that in 1847 when he was born most of the YOAKUM brothers had scattered their different directions and so therefore most of what he would have known would have been from family members telling him of his uncles and their places of residence. Also, he did not mention anything about his great grandparents; George YOAKUM, I., and Martha VAN BEBBER, as he did not remember and/or no one had told him about their lives.
On the other side of the argument, this letter confirms again the list of names in the Henderson YOAKUM Bible and also gives us the name of Jesse YOAKUM as a son. Jesse can be seen in the early court records of CLAIBORNE County and was believed to be a son of George and Martha, and this letter confirms those beliefs. Also, the fact that Felty went to live at some point in Middle Tennessee can be confirmed with the records of ROANE County in the late 1820's and the 1830 census, where both Valentine and Peter can be found. The Claiborne County Court records confirm the fact that George YOAKUM, Jr., went to Tazewell to live and we also know that he later went to MONROE County and living near by where Valentine and Peter were living in ROANE County. Descendants of Jesse YOAKUM can be found in Missouri today and anyone studying the YOAKUM's in CLAIBORNE County today will know that they do descend from Isaac YOAKUM and younger brother Robert YOAKUM.
Now, let's back up a long minute again to study Martha VAN BEBBER/YOAKUM, and the Margaret YOAKUM found in the Felix ROGERS' Cemetery. There is no information in any of the records of the Powell Valley period that show the name Margaret YOAKUM. The only records found showing the name Martha YOAKUM after the death of George YOAKUM in 1800 are the ones in Grainger County previously mentioned naming her and her son, Isaac YOAKUM, as administraters of George YOAKUM, deceased; and then one other record found in the Claiborne County Court Minutes for the June 1803 court involving Martha and Isaac YOAKUM in a legal suit agains Arthur MARKUM and George HOVER (HOOVER). This suit, no doubt, had something to do with the estate of George YOAKUM, deceased.
With what I had to go on in the record books it seemed that Martha disappeared after this June 1803 record. I had guessed her to be deceased shortly after this. The first break in her whereabouts came from researcher Anna LUTZ of Dunbar, WV when she found the record of a "Power of Attorney" given by George YOAKUM, II. (Jr.), of CLAIBORNE County, to James JARRETT, of GREENBRIER County, VA., and recorded in GREENBRIER County Court Records on Oct 25, 1808. In this record, George YOAKUM gave Power of Attorney to James JARRET for authority to proceed in recovering or inquiring into the dower rights of Martha YOAKUM concerning a tract of land on Muddy Creek, GREENBRIER County, VA. This tract contained 500 acres. George claimed his right to Power of Attorney was given to him by Martha YOAKUM on Oct 15, 1808 to receive or to act in her behalf in inquiring about her dower to this land. For Martha to have a dower claim this meant that her husband, George, must have owned or inherited the land. Martha, according to law, could receive one third of the land George YOAKUM owned upon his death. Whether Martha actually did receive this dower is not clear in the records of GREENBRIER County at this time, but the fact that she was alive in 1808 gave me hope of finding more information out about her.
More information concerning Martha came to me next from my good friend Earl QUINTRELL. In a biography book, "HISTORY of the EARLY SETTLERS of SANGAMON COUNTY, ILLINOIS", by John Carroll POWER, Springfield, Illinois, 1876, Earl found three biographical sketches on telling about William, James, and Matthias YOAKUM. The book explains that these three brothers went to Illinois with their mother in 1810 from CLAIBORNE County, Tennessee. Their father had died after moving to CLAIBORNE County from Virginia. Although the book did not call Martha by name, we can be sure from other documentation that this book identifies three more children of George and Martha YOAKUM, and also tell us that Martha YOAKUM did not die in Tennessee, but rather in the SANGAMON County area of Illinois, sometime after 1819. After finding this information a renewed sense of hope arouse in me that there was more information concerning this family yet to be found. The following information was taken from this book:
"William YOAKUM was born in 1791 in Virginia, and when he was an infant his parents moved to CLAIBORNE County, Tennessee, where his father died. His mother moved her family, about 1810, to MADISON County, near Edwardsville, Illinois. They moved next to MONTGOMERY County, and then to SANGAMON County, arriving June 10, 1819, at the north side of Richland Creek, in what is now Salisbury Township. William YOAKUM was married in 1821 to Sarah SIMMONS. They had eight children . . . . Mrs. Sarah YOAKUM died in 1863, and William YOAKUM was married January, 1868, to Mrs. Letitia HENDERSON, whose maiden name was RICE, and lives near Salisbury, Illinois. The mother of William, James and Matthias YOAKUM died in Salisbury Township.Matthias YOAKUM, brother to William and James YOAKUM, was born either in Virginia or CLAIBORNE County, Tennessee, came to SANGAMON County, Illinois in 1819. He married Elizabeth McHENRY, and had eight children . . . Matthias YOAKUM died August 27, 1857, and his widow lives in MENARD County, Illinois . . 1874.
James YOAKUM, brother to William and Matthias, was born in Virginia or CLAIBORNE County, Tennessee, and came with his mother to SANGAMON County. He married Julia OWENS, land had eleven children in MENARD County, Illinois. . . . James YOAKUM died in MENARD County, Illinois."
Now the thing that I needed to prove at this time was that the parents of William, James, and Matthias was George YOAKUM, I., and Martha "Patty/Patsy" VAN BEBBER. In a requisition to the Illinois Archives for help, I received the following census information for the year 1818, in BOND County, Illinois:
For MADISON County, Illinois I found the following:
These families in BOND County are shown to be living close or beside each other in the census order. An invistigation shows that this area of BOND County was later in MONTGOMERY County, Illinois. John YOAKUM is shown in other records to have settled in MONTGOMERY County. Research on this John YOAKUM shows that he married Rachel WEAVER before leaving Tennessee and some children were born in Tennessee before leaving for Illinois. He is known to have lived his life in the MONTGOMERY County, Illinois area and can be found in the various records of that county. Although I do not have a document spelling out word by word that this John is the son of George and Martha YOAKUM, I have no doubt that this is the case here. The circumstantial evidence here is so strong that little doubt could be raised concerning his identification.
The Peter YOAKUM shown above could also very well be the son of George and Martha. If so, it is known that he did not live there long before returning back to Tennessee and he can be found in the 1830 census of ROANE County, Tennessee living beside the widow of his brother, Valentine "Felty" YOAKUM. It is possible that Valentine YOAKUM is also in the 1817 Census of BOND County and living with either James YOAKUM or Martha YOAKUM. At any rate, they did move back to Tennessee, possibly after the death of their mother.
Was this Martha YOAKUM indeed the same Martha YOAKUM that was the widow of George YOAKUM, I? This researcher has no doubt that she was indeed the very one. In further documentation I received two biographies from Mrs. Ruby VENGLARCIK, taken from the Fort Wayne, Indiana library. They contained the record we seeked in showing this. In the book she found there, "Past and Present of SANGAMON County", the biobraphical sketches of two grandchildren of George and Martha can be found. These biographies read in part:
Page 257 and 258:
George H. YOAKUM-- George H. YOAKUM... was born in this county, June 27, 1829, a son of William and Sarah (SIMMONS) YOAKUM. The father was born in GREENBRIER County, Virginia, in 1789, and was a son of George YOAKUM, who was of German parentage. The latter removed with his family to Tennessee when William was a child and in that state resided until his death. his wife survived him and reared her family, caring for them as best she could and making for them the sacrifices that only a mother can. In 1810 she removed to Illinois, locating in MADISON County. Subsequently, however, she removed to MONTGOMERY County and in 1819 she came to what is now Salisbury township, SANGAMON County...... William YOAKUM accompanied his mother on her various removals and with her came to SANGAMON County. Here he was married in 1821 to Sarah SIMMONS, who was born and reared in Kentucky..... He passed away in 1880 at the advanced age of ninety-one years and his wife died on the 5th of December, 1865....
Pages 493 and 494 show the following sketch on Thomas C. YOAKUM:
Thomas C. YOAKUM-- . . . Mr. YOAKUM of this review, was born in MENARD County, Illinois, August 14, 1840, and now lives in Salisbury township, SANGAMON County, his home being on section 29... he is a son of Mathias YOAKUM, a native of Tennessee, born in 1798. The grandfather, George YOAKUM, removed with his family from Virginia to Tennessee, where he spent his remaining days. His widow afterward came to Illinois with her family, arriving in this state in 1810. She settled in SANGAMON County, but afterward established her home in MENARD County. Mathias YOAKUM was reared to manhood in MENARD County, and after attaining his majority he wedded Miss Elizabeth McHENRY, a native of Virginia, who came to Illinois with her parents, who first located in the southern part of this state but subsequently settled in MENARD County. At the time of his marriage Mr. YOAKUM took his bride to a farm in that county and continued its cultivation until his death in 1855...(NOTE: SANGAMON County was not formed until 1821 from MADISON and BOND Counties.)
In researching the area of SANGAMON County, this researcher is well aware that several years after the YOAKUM family of East Tennessee settled in Illinois, members of the YOCUM family of Kentucky also settled there. With the YOCUM's being cousins of this family, the YOAKUM researchers must be careful not to mix up these two families because of the repetition of the same family names used over and over in all the different branches of the family. The YOCUM family descends from members of the Matthias YOAKUM, Sr., family that went to Kentucky in the time period about the middle of the Revolutionary War, when Kentucky was still a part of the state of Virginia. Mathias YOAKUM was the grandfather of George YOAKUM, I., of Powell Valley. This Matthias YOAKUM, Sr., also had sons named Matthias and George, besides the Valentine YOAKUM we previously discussed.
As far as which children went to Illinois and how long they stayed there is still uncertain by this researcher at this time. It appears that several could have visited there or perhaps lived there for short periods of time, even if they did not stay permanent. Another possible child identified in Illinois is Nancy YOAKUM. The Henderson YOAKUM Bible stated that there was a daughter named Nancy. One possiblility of her identity in Illinois is the Nancy YOAKUM that married David BATTERTON. Nancy's brother, James YOAKUM, had a son named William YOAKUM that is known to have married Priscilla YOAKUM. She is buried in the old BATTERTON Cemetery with David BATTERTON. It is highly possible that this is the same David BATTERTON that married Nancy YOAKUM. Nancy's grave marker is not found, however, she most likely is buried there. The marker for David BATTERTON reads 44y 1m 19d - December 24, 1840; which means David was born Nov 5, 1796. David's age would be close to the estimated age of Nancy.
In review of the children of George YOAKUM and Martha VAN BEBBER, I feel comfortable in stating the following list as their children, but would not say at this time this is all their children. Further research on these families will reveal more truth and good information to be written in the history of this fascinating pioneer family:
1. Isaac YOAKUM (1778-1857) md. Mary DAVIS, daughter of Aaron DAVIS and wife, Rachel, of Powell Valley.
2. John YOAKUM (ca1781-1848) md. Rachel WEAVER, daughter of Samuel WEAVER of Powell Valley.
3. Peter YOAKUM, (ca1781- ) md. Sarah STINNET of Powell Valley.
4. George YOAKUM, II., (1783-1841)md. Mary Ann MADDY, daughter of William MADDY and Elizabeth MANN.
5. Valentine "Felty" YOAKUM (ca 1785- ) md. Charlotte "Lottie" REYNOLDS.
6. Jesse YOAKUM (ca 1787- ) md. Anna BERRY, daughter of Thomas BERRY of Powell Valley.
7. Robert YOAKUM (ca 1789-1824) md. Parkey BERRY, daughter of Thomas BERRY of Powell Valley.
8. William YOAKUM (ca 1789-1880) md.1. Sarah "Sally" SIMMONS; md.2. Mrs. Letitia RICE/HENDERSON
9. Margaret YOAKUM (ca 1791- ) md. _______ CONDREY/CONDRA (possibly Dennis?), of Powell Valley.
10. James YOAKUM (ca 1793- ) md. Julia OWENS. 11. Nancy YOAKUM (ca 1796- ) md. ? (possibly David BATTERTON)
12. Matthias YOAKUM (ca 1800-1857) md. Elizabeth McHENRY.
This researcher will not say at this time that list is complete, as there may be others not known at this time. Hopefully, further research may answer more of these questions. However complete this list of children is, I feel it is a good foundation for further research that may be done to identity more of the descendants of George YOAKUM, I., and Martha VAN BEBBER. It would be interesting to know the exact identity of the spouses for Matthias YOAKUM and Valentine YOAKUM, and to know if the Margaret YOAKUM lying beside George YOAKUM is his mother! Every effort has been made by this researcher to show an accurate account of this family. I sincerely hope this may help others in their quest to find their connection into this family. Indeed, this has been a labor of love and I have had a most enjoyable time in finding this information.
gss - Sep 22, 1997
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Steve Smith's Bibliography