Obit: Yerkes, Oliver (1830 - 1916)

Contact: Stan


----Sources: Colby Phonograph (Colby, Clark County, Wis.) 01/06/1916

Yerkes, Oliver (24 MAY 1830 - 3 JAN 1916)

Death has once more visited a home in this city (Colby, Clark Co., Wis.), and removed one of the oldest and most respected citizens to the person of Oliver Yerkes, who passed away at 12:30 a.m. Monday, of senile debility, at the age of 85 years, 7 months and 9 days.

Oliver Yerkes was born at Damascus, Wayne Co., Penn., May 24, 1830, where he spent his boyhood years. As a youth he was fond of adventure, and when still a young lad, went sailing on the great lakes. He afterward sailed the ocean for some time. In all he spent about twenty years of his life before the mast, and during that time had visited every important port in both hemispheres. In those days it meant much more to be a sailor. There were no floating palaces like we have today, but were principally sailing vessels and the duties of a sailor were attended with many hardships.

After leaving the sea he came to Washington Co., Wis. On July 28, 1857, he was united in marriage to Miss Catherine Wicker, at the old Barton House, Barton, Wis., which was then run by J.D. Wicker, Sr. About one year later, he and his bride returned to New York State, where on Aug. 12, 1862, he was mustered into the service of the U.S. and joined the Third New York Cavalry. He served with distinction all through the war, participating in most of the important engagements. He was mustered out of the service June 7, 1865, and was brevetted Commissary Sergeant.

After the war he returned to Wisconsin, remaining in Washington County until 1873, when he came with his family to Colby, taking up a homestead in the town of Hull (Marathon Co.), where they made their home for a number of years, until they moved into the city.

The life just closed has been a long and eventful one. He has always been a hard worker, and has been subjected to more or less hardship. In any task he had to perform he went at it willingly, always ready to take the hardest upon himself. The many years he has lived is evidence of the wonderful constitution he possessed. Even in alter years, when he was broken in health, he seemed to withstand ordeals from which a much younger person would shrink. He was thoroughly honest, and enjoyed the confidence of his neighbors and friends. He was endowed with a very sunny disposition, and always had a pleasant word for everyone he met.

Over fifty years ago he affiliated himself with the I.O.O.F., and at the time of instituting the lodge at this place, forty-one years ago, he became one of the charter members. For some time he has enjoyed the distinction of being the only surviving one. He was always a regular attendant at the meetings, and took a great interest in the order he loved so well. He was also a member of the G.A.R. and Rebekahs.

The great part of his married life he has spent in the companionship of wife alone. He has had his measure of pleasure and pain, and now that they come to "the parting of the ways", she who survives can look back on the well spent life of her partner, and be consoled by the fact that it has been complete, that is the way of the world, and the final reward. He has lived his years, his work is performed; his life is finished, and all that remains on earth of him is a sacred memory.

The funeral will be held at Colby Opera House, this afternoon, under the auspices of the I.O.O.F., his Grand Army Comrades acting as honorary pall bearers.



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