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Schenectady County, New York: Its History to the Close of the Nineteenth Century
Chapter XXIV: Genealogy of the Yates Family

Go back to: Chapter XXIV | Bosie Family | ahead to: Tymensen Family

[This information is from pp. 270-277 of Schenectady County, New York: Its History to the Close of the Nineteenth Century by Austin A. Yates (New York: New York History Co., 1902). It is in the Schenectady Collection of the Schenectady County Public Library at Schdy R 974.744 Yat, and copies are also available for borrowing. Thanks to Carol Di Crosta for data entry help with this page.]

The Yateses, of English in name and origin, have by intermarriage become almost entirely Hollandized. All of the old stock in this valley came from Joseph Yates, who came over with Nichols, the English commander to whom Stuyvesant was compelled to surrender. Yates came to Albany and was pensioned as a soldier of the king. He seems to have been purveyor of Fort Orange, as he makes most earnest plea for his pay for wood, furnished to Fort Orange. Yates in Albany May 20th, 1730. Here will be traced only the Schenectady lineage of this old soldier of the king. Joseph was the progenitor of a numerous race now surviving in Albany, Montgomery and Schenectady Counties and scattered from them all over the United States.

The Schenectady descendants of Joseph can be therefore traced as follows:

He left surviving him six children: Christoffel, born April 16th, 1684; Robert, November 4th, 1688; Selia, born May 7th, 1693; Joseph, born March 17th, 1698, and Abraham, born March 1st, 1704.

Robert, son of the above Joseph, born November 4th, 1688, settled at Schenectady in 1711, and on the 15th day of February, 1712, married Margaret, daugher of Claas De Graff. He was a merchant and also had a tan-yard on Mill Lane. He died March 4th, 1748, in his sixtieth year. His grave is in Vale Cemetery not far from State Street entrance.

Joseph, son of Robert, born July 12th, 1714, married, September 5th, 1737, Maria, daughter of John Dunbar.

Robert, the oldest son of Joseph, born March 17th, 1738, married, in 1765, Jannetje Van Ness in Albany, where he settled as an attorney-at-law, and became a member of the Committee of Safety, during our Revolutionary struggle for independence, and was a devoted patriot. He was a member of the convention that adopted the state constitution in 1777; was one of the first judges of the Supreme Court of this State and eventually its chief justice. He was a member of the Federal Convention of 1787, and of the State Convention called to ratify the Federal Constitution. He died September 9th, 1801, aged sixty-three years, five months and twenty-four days. He left surviving one daughter, Maria, married to James Fairly, for many years clerk of the Supreme Court of the State of New York, and in the Revolutionary War was an aide-de-camp to Baron Steuben; and three sons, one of whom, John Van Ness Yates, was a talented lawyer, residing in Albany, and was Secretary of State for the State of New York from April 24th, 1818, to February 14th, 1826. He died January 10th, 1839.

Nicholas, another son of Joseph and Maria Dunbar, born December 20th, 1752, married Rebecca, daughter of Abraham Fonda. He lived at No. 5 Church Street. After his death his widow married Cornelius Van Vranken. Nicholas left surviving him four sons, respectively named, Abraham Fonda, Robert N., Isaac Glen and Joseph.

Abraham, born February 7th, 1788, after his marriage, removed to Oswego County and died there, leaving no offspring.

Robert N., born November 11th, 1789. During the War of 1812 this young man was appointed lieutenant in a rifle regiment of the United States army, and stationed at Fort Erie in Canada, when that fort was in possession of the Americans, under command of General Edmund P. Gaines, who sent him out from the fort at the head of a reconnoitering party, which was attacked by the enemy. In the skirmish he repulsed the enemy, but at the sacrifice of his own life. His body was brought back to the fort and forwarded to Schenectady for interment, where it is now deposited in the old Dutch church burying ground, sleeping with honor beside those of his patriotic ancestors.

In the report of his death to the war department, General Gaines regrets his loss, and gives him the character of a brave, promising and excellent officer.

Isaac Glen Yates, born August 23d, 1793, married a daughter of Frederick Rees of Glenville. He had several daughters and only one son, named Jacob, who removed to and settled in Illinois. Isaac was accidentally killed in Michigan, by falling from a railroad car while on his way to visit that son.

Joseph Yates, the youngest son of Nicholas, was the father of Nicholas A. Yates, and of Arthur Yates, scenic artist of the New York Central, and Hansen Yates of Front Street.

John, also a son of Joseph and Maria Dunbar, born June 12th, 1760, married Margaret, daughter of Jellis Fonda of Caughnawaga. He was the second surrogate of Schenectady and held the office for many years, until his decease in 1826.

Joseph, his oldest son, born October 4th, 1786, died June 12th, 1837, unmarried.

Giles Fonda, also a son, born November 8th, 1798, died unmarried. He was an attorney-at-law and on accomplished antiquarian. He succeeded his father in the office of surrogate, and held it for twenty years.

Jane, a daughter of John, born in 1794, married Giles Yates, Esq., and died July 20th, 1848.

Elizabeth M. Yates, born December 1st, 1808, married John I. Yates, Esq., who died December 3d, 1851. This was the mother of Mrs. Austin A. Yates and Miss Elizabeth M. Yates, preceptress in Union School.

Elizabeth, a daughter of Robert, the first Yates who settled at Schenectady, born January 7th, married Ephraim Smith.

Maria, another daughter, born January 25th, 1718, married Gerrit Van Antwerpen.

Sarah, also a daughter, born August 19th, 1721, married Jacobus Mynderse.

Joseph, the grandson of Joseph the ancestor and son of Christoffel (Christopher) of Albany, married, January 17th, 1730, Eva, daughter of Jellis Fonda, and settled in Schenectady in 1734. He owned a large plantation reaching from Aesplaus Creek to Freeman's Bridge, and was the largest slave owner in the county.

Christopher, his oldest son, born July 8th, 1737, commonly called Colonel Stoeffel, married, October 16th, 1761, Jannetje, daughter of Andreas Bradt. He was a surveyor by profession; served as a captain under Sir William Johnson, and was wounded; lieutenant-colonel of Second Regiment of New York under Colonel Abraham Wemple; detached as assistant deputy quartermaster-general under Phillip Schuyler, and as a member of his staff retired with him at Saratoga when Gates took command. He was a member of the Provincial Congress of the Committee of Public Safety and of the first Board of Regents. He died in 1785.

Joseph, his eldest son, born November 9th, 1768, married first, September 30th, 1791, Ann, widow of James Ellice; secondly, Maria, daughter of John Kane, of Schenectady, and thirdly, Elizabeth De Lancey, daughter of John De Lancey, Esq., of Westchester County. He was originally an attorney-at-law of extensive practice; was the first mayor of Schenenctady, a state senator in 1807, judge of the Supreme Court in 1808, governor of the state in 1823-24, and died March 19th, 1837, full of honors, and with a distinguished reputation for industry and integrity. He had three children, all daughters.

Helen Maria, the oldest, born September 28th, 1797, married Colonel John K. Paige, and died January 25th, 1829, before the decease of her father.

Anna Alida, another daughter, born September 14th, 1806, married John D. Watkins, a citizen of Georgia.

Jane Josepha, also a daughter, born November 6th, 1811, married Samuel Niel of New York.

Henry, also a son of Colonel Christopher, born October 7th, 1770, married Catharine, daughter of Johannes Mynderse, October 24th, 1791. He was an attorney-at-law, for several terms a state senator, and at one time a member of the council of appointment, a man of excellent business qualifications and habits. He died in Albany March 20th, 1854, at the advanced age of eighty-three years. Mrs. Yates died in New York September 28th, 1841, aged sixty-nine years.

Henry Christopher, his oldest son, born June 13th, 1799, graduated at Union College in 1818, and died May 12th, 1847, unmarried.

Edward, another son, born October 21st, 1801, graduated at Union College in 1819, and died in 1833.

Stephen, also a son, born July 12th, 1805, graduated at Union College in 1825, and died June 1st, 1875.

Charles, another son, born March 1st, 1808, graduated at Union College in 1829, and died September 26th, 1870.

Mary, a daughter, born August 17th, 1795, and Jane Anne, another daughter, born February 29th, 1816, married Edward Satterlee of Albany. Both daughters are now deceased.

Andrew, another son of Colonel Christopher, born January 17th, 1773, married, first, Mary Austin; secondly, Hannah A. Hocker, who died October 22d, 1859, aged seventy-six years. Dr. Yates was a man of much study and literary attainments. He was a minister of the Reformed Dutch Church, esteemed as possessed of eminent piety, as a true friend of feeble churches and organization. Without great sensational eloquence, he was a sound divine, and often preached with great power. While teaching he was always engaged, more or less, in preaching the gospel. He graduated from Yale College in 1793 and studied theology under John H. Livingston, D. D., S. T, Professor. He was professor of Latin and Greek in Union College from 1797 to 1801; pastor of the East Hartford Congregational church from 1801 to 1814; professor of Mental and Moral Philosophy in Union College from 1814 to 1825, and principal of the Polytechnic at Chittenango from 1825 to 1836. He died at Day, Saratoga County, while on a visit to his sister, Miss Yates, October 14th, 1844, in his seventy-third year.

John Austin Yates, a son by his first marriage, born May 31st, 1801, graduated at Union College in 1821. He was professor of oriental literature in that institution from 1823 to the time of his decease, August 27th, 1849, and much distinguished for genial qualities and ready eloquence. He was the father of John B. Yates, colonel of the First Michigan Engineers under General William Tecumseh Sherman; superintendent of railroads in Tennessee, under President Johnson, and died October 13th, 1899, and of Austin A. Yates, an attorney-at-law, ex-judge of the county of Schenectady, and of Arthur R. Yates, who died November 4th, 1891, a captain in the United States Navy.

John B., another son of Colonel Christopher, and his youngest child, born February 1st, 1784. In 1802, at the early age of eighteen years, he graduated at Union College with much honor, and immediately thereafter entered the law office of his brother, Hon. Henry Yates, as a law student. In 1805 he was admitted to the bar, and during the seven following years applied himself with great industry to the labors of that profession, and acquired much reputation as an ingenious and forcible advocate. But a short time previous to the War of 1812, inheriting the patriotic spirit of his father, he was commissioned a captain by Gov. Tompkins, and raised a large volunteer company of horse artillery. With this company he joined the army of General Wade Hampton, and served under him on the northern frontier of this state, in the campaign of 1813. After the discharge of his company from service under Hampton, Governor Tompkins appointed him one of his aides-de-camp, and sent him to the Niagara frontier with orders to call out the militia for the relief of General Brown and his army, who were closely besieged in Fort Erie by a superior force. At the expiration of his military service, he was elected a member of the Fourteenth United States Congress from the thirteenth (Schenectady and Schoharie) district, for the years 1815-16 in which he took a prominent and active part, much distinguished for ability and firmness. After the close of his congressional term, he removed to Utica, where he resumed the duties of his legal profession, but soon changed his home to Chittenango. Governor Tompkins, on retiring from office in 1817, to assume the duties of Vice-President of the United States, on account of his confidence in Mr. Yates' integrity and ability, appointed him sole manager of the "Literature Lotteries" of the State of New York. In consequence of the acceptance of his trust, he removed to the city of New York, and did not resume his residence in Chittenango until 1825; but during his residence in New York he frequently visited Chittenango to examine and direct the conduct of those in charge of his large estate there, which consisted of about 2,000 acres of land, with flour mills, saw mills, lime and plaster mills, woolen factory, stores, dry dock and yards for building and repairing boats, polytechnic school and various residences and buildings. At times as many as one hundred and fifty men were in his employ.

The result of his management of the lotteries was that he brought them to a successful termination before the expiration of the time limited by the Legislature.

He also became deeply interested in the commercial importance of the Welland Canal, when its stockholders were nearly sinking for want of funds, and by an investment of $137,000, and his great personal influence and exertions in his native state and in England, carried it into successful operation. In this he was largely aided by the Duke of Wellington.

Mr. Yates was a man of large and liberal views, and of great public spirit, an early and devoted friend of the Erie canal, and of all schemes devoted to civilization and public progress. He was for many years judge, and first judge of the county of Madison, which last office, and that of member of assembly, he held at the time of his decease.

Elizabeth, a daughter of Colonel Christopher, born May 7th, 1763, married Jellis A. Fonda.

Eva, another daughter, born January 13th, 1764, married William Johnson Butler of Niagara.

Helena, also a daughter, born November 16th, 1766, married Colonel McDonald, an officer of the British army stationed in Canada.

Anna, also a daughter, born March 12th, 1773, died April 17th, 1850, aged seventy-six years and unmarried.

Jellis, another son of Joseph Yates and Eva Fonda, and brother of Colonel Stoeffel, born April 22d, 1744, married, March 16th, 1768, Ariantje, daughter of Andries Bradt. He died in Glenville, November 13th, 1812, in his sixty-ninth year. He was a gallant young lieutenant in the Revolution, rising from a private in his brother's regiment and serving throughout the war.

Joseph, his oldest son, born August 7th, 1768, married, December 14th, 1788, Annatie, daughter of Isaac Roosa. He died in Glenville, September 13th, 1838, in his seventy-first year.

Isaac J. Yates, his oldest son, born in Glenville, February 22d, 1797; long a resident of the city of Schenectady; the holder of several offices of important trust in this community and a brigadier general of militia, died on his farm in Greenfield, Saratoga County, September 13th, 1848, aged fifty-one years. This was the father of Mrs. James Fuller and of the late mayor, Peter B. Yates.

Giles, another son of Joseph, born May 6th, 1801, died April 11th, 1853, in his fifty-second year.

John J. also a son, born March 5th, 1803, for many years an enterprising citizen of this community, and for several years postmaster in Schenectady, died December 3d, 1851, aged forty-eight years. This was the father of Mrs. Austin A. Yates and Mrs. Alexander J. Thompson. Andrew J., another son of Joseph, born November 25th, 1806, belonged to the Class of 1834, at Union College, and died October, 1873, at his country seat near Fultonville, Montgomery County, aged sixty-five years. He left no issue.

Andrew, another son of Jellis, born July 14th, 1782, died in Glenville, August 25th, 1846, in his sixty-fifth year. Harriet, his wife, died September 4th, 1850, in her seventieth year.

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