Corrections to the Yager History

William R. Yeager, Jr.

In a report on the descendants of James Yager [see vol. 6, n. 5, p. 345 of Beyond Germanna], I had to admit my frustrations in my search of several years for the parents of James Yager. He seemed clearly to be from the area of Virginia from which Madison County was later formed. His descendants referred to known individuals in the Germanna Yager families as relatives. His wife was clearly stated in the marriage license as Sarah Woollard. However, within the histories of the Yager families, there was no James Yager who married Sarah Woollard. Through original documents, I have now established these earlier histories of the Yager family contained errors. When these earlier histories are modified with documentation I have gathered and correlated, it seems as though the parents of the James Yager who married Sarah Woollard are most certainly Adam Yager, Jr. and Juriah Berry.


The first publication on the Germanna families, The Garr Genealogy, had reports on some of the Yeager families but the earliest generations, which were the important ones for this problem, were not included. The first complete description of the early Yeager families was by Arthur L. Keith who wrote "Nicholas Yager and Descendants" in the William and May Quarterly [2nd series, vol. IX, and vol. XII]. This became the basis for later reports including Claude L. Yowell's "Four Generations of the Yager Family of Germanna" which appeared in Germanna Record Ten. Counting Nicholas Yager, the 1717 immigrant, as the first generation, the James Yager in question would seem to be of the fourth generation. Clearly he was not of the first three generations and the fourth generation has approximately the correct ages to match the marriage license of James Yager in 1796 in which he was, by implication, of age.


In the very numerous fourth generation, there is only one James Yager. Yowell writes that this James married Malinda Yager with one child, Henry, born 1810. In 1813, not long after the birth of Henry, John G. Brown administered the estate of James Yager and became the guardian of Henry Berry Yager. If this were true, James (son of Adam, Jr.) Yager is not to be identified as the James Yager who married Sarah Woollard, who had nine children and who moved to Kentucky.


On a more detailed examination, the data just given for James Yager (son of Adam, Jr.) is suspect. First, the marriage of James Yager and Malinda Yager would be an uncle-niece marriage as Malinda was the daughter of James' sister, Jemima.  Additionally, Malinda's father and mother were first cousins as would be Malinda's father and James. It could also be argued that Malinda would not be old enough to have entered into marriage with James or else James would have been much older at marriage than is usual. The blood relationships are too close and the ages do not seem the best match. Apparently Keith and Yowell were not aware of the will of Francis Gibbs, written 13 April 1802 and probated 28 June 1810 in Madison Co., Virginia, which names grandchildren James, Lucy and Joel Yager whose mother, Mary or Molly, the daughter of Francis Gibbs, had died.


Molly had married Elisha Yager. A son-in-law of Francis Gibbs, John G. Brown, became the administrator of the estate of James Yager (Brown's nephew) and the guardian of the orphan Henry (B.) Yager who was the son of James Yager. Keith and Yowell had stated that Henry Yager was the son of James, the son of Adam, Jr. Based on the Gibb’s will and the administration of John Brown, this Henry Yager is much more likely to the son of James Yager who was the son of Elisha Yager. Also, there is an Orange Co. debenture of 20 October 1806 between James, Jr., son of Elisha, Nathaniel Yager and James Yager who signed as James, Sr. Nathaniel, Elisha and James were brothers. I believe the designation of "Jr." to Elisha's son was to show he was of younger age than Elisha's brother James. All of these things indicate the attributes which had been ascribed to James, the son of Adam Yager, Jr., should be placed with James, the son of Elisha. Then it is possible to say that James, the son of Adam Yager, Jr., married Sarah Woollard.


I believe, with excellent arguments, that individual number 37 in Keith should be the James Yager who was described in the earlier article in Beyond Germanna. The narration given by Keith for this James should be applied to the James who was the son of Elisha. Also, Keith shows that James, the son of Elisha, was a son of Elisha's second wife, Elizabeth. This is not correct as James was the son of Elisha's first wife, Mary Gibbs. Within Germanna Record Ten, individual number 27 should be the James Yager who married Sarah Woollard. The narration given there should be applied to Yowell's number 95, the James who is the son of Elisha.


I wish to extend my sincerest thanks to Shirley A. Minor and Barbara Vines Little for their help on this project.


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