A Family Letter

By Nancy Crawford

This is a transcription of a letter written by Joseph Gallitin Yarbro (1829-1918) to one of his granddaughters. I’m related to him in several different ways due to intermarriage. Most directly, he would be my 3rd great uncle by marriage, he’s also my first cousin four times removed and my first cousin five times removed. My commentary appears in red.

Sept. 13, 1912

Dear Eliza,

My grandfather Edmund Yarbro was raised in Anson Co. N.C.. His ancestry of Fathers side came from England. Three brothers one of them never married and left no offering, his name was William Yarbro he had a tragic death was riding along the road he went on one side his horse on the other and killed there. The other brothers had families and tis said by grandfather all the Yarbro familys in the U.S. sprang from them and all of the names are akin. [Family lore has always been that the Yarborough, Yarbrough, Yarbro, and Yarberry surnames in the United States are all descended from these two brothers. The Yarbrough National Genealogical and Historical Association is of the same opinion.]

I don’t remember the names of Edmunds father or brothers. Think one of them was named James.

Grandfather Edmond went to Mecklenburg Co. N.C. after he was married and had two children Aquilla and our Pap Henry. [This is Edmond Yarbro, my 4th great grandfather.]

My grandmothers name was Sophia Gossett, she originated from the State of Maryland. I dont remember ever knowing the dates of Grand Fathers and Mothers births. They raised the following as far as I know. QUILLER, HENRY, JAMES, WILLIAM, NANCY, JOSEPH, and JOHN H. all lived to be grown. [The William mentioned here is my 3rd great-grandfather.]

They all moved from North Carolina to Tennessee, Perry Co. from 1818 about 1832 and nearly all of them sleep on the hill of Lost Creek on the BILL YARBRO PLACE. [This is referring to my 3rd great-grandfather, William Yarbro.]

Towit: Grandfather and Mother, Uncle Joe and Uncle William and Uncle Jim and Uncle John who moved here last of the year of 1864 from ALABAMA on his death bed when he arrived and died soon. I never got to see him.

Pap was buried on home place. Aunt Nancy is buried at old Mt. Zion Place by side of her first husband SILVANUS FISHER who died 1833, they was a noble family of people. [Sylvanus Fisher (1795-1834) is my 5th great-uncle.]

Mother was the daughter of SARAH LOYD CRAWLEY whos husband was WILLIAM MITCHELL CRAWLEY who died in Kentucky in 1814-1815. [Sarah Lloyd Crawley (1787-ca 1860) and William Mitchell Crawley (1782-1815) are my 4th great-grandparents.]

Our Pap and Mother was married on Lost Creek, Perry Co. now Decatur Co. Tn. on March 24, 1825 and had born unto them WILLIAM MITCHELL on Saturday Feb.17,1826 and died of cholera on the Mississippi River on board of the Steamer Amaranth from New Orleans to St. Louis, Mo., had just left New Orleans and was buried on Black Island just above Gulf Port, he died 8th Dec. 1848. A stranger who was with him in his last hours from State of Iowa wrote Pap and Mother about his death, said he sung and prayed, said he was going to meet his little sister, she had died some years before. [The name of the steamer is very hard to read in the original letter. A previous transcription had it as Ammaraidh. In my research, I discovered that the Amaranth is well documented to have brought cholera from New Orleans to St. Louis in December, 1848.]

Son James Loyd was born Tues. Dec.18, 1827 and died at home March 27, 1876 or 1877. JOSEPH GALLATIN was born Wed.Dec.16, 1829 and liveing at this writing in reasonable health, MILTON JASPER was born Jan.3rd, 1832 on Tues., and died at JENNIE MAJOR place about the 13th 1912, died happy and well satisfied, bro. JASPER was a noble man. Sister MARTHA JANE was born Oct.22,1833 on Tues., and died in Oklahoma, near Ada the 10th Oct.1906. SARAH ANN PAMELIA CAROLINE was born Fri. May 29, 1835 died Fri. Nov.25, 1836. I remember well when she was buried at Mt. Zion near Uncle SLY FISHER. MARY ANN was born Oct.29th Fri. 1837 and died on Pabalt farm abt. first of July 1862. She had married South Carolina JOE YARBRO. HENRY NIXON was born on Sun. on Nov.1839 and died at Corinth, Miss. in the CONFEDERATE ARMY 5th or 6th of April 1862. NANCY EMALINE was born Tues. March 30, 1841 and died at home July 8th,1894. RUFUS LAWSON was born Fri. Oct.24, 1844 is living at this writing on the old home place and he raised a grand family of children. LORENZO DOW was born Monday Nov.16,1846 died near Johnsonville, Tn. at home abt. Dec.13,1909 and ws buried near Eva, Benton Co. Tn. was a noble PHISICAN. GEORGE ALWAYNE HUSTON was born Fri. June first 1849 died in ARKANSAS near MADISON, Sep.1879 or 1881. JESSIE THOMAS born Fri. Feb.1851 and now as I know lives in OKLAHOMA has been left here ever since 1895 or 1896.

Grannie Sophia Yarbro died Aug.7th, 1841 and Uncle Joe Yarbro who lived with her was sick on his deth bed at same time died on 17 Aug.1841. They lived where NANCY FERGUSON now lives. Uncle Joe was a prosperous farmer, and had lots of corn stock and ect never was married at his death abt. 40 years old. Granny Yarbro was a long tall grey eyed woman never take a dose of medicine in her life, she said. I dont know how old she was at her death. She would sing the loudest, Grand Sire Edmond Yarbro lived a number of years after her death and died at Uncle Bill Yarbos which would be the son of Edmond. It was said he was 85 years old or older. Grand Sire was a little short snubby size man with blue eyes.

Pap was born in Anson Co. Carolina on Tuew. Dec.18th, 1790, died in Decature Co. Tn. Oct.23, 1866 of malara fever was buried in the old apple Orchard near where he and mother lived all of their married life. Mother died May 10, 1886 at home and buried beside Pap. Uncle Jim Yarbro was born in 1792 at Paps May 2, 1864 burried at Master Bill Yarbros. He was a drinking man, had no family, married MOSE RICHARDSONS DAUGHTER, she died early. He raised one boy JOHNSON, he died in Missouri or Arkansas a few days ago. Uncle Jim said his trouble he refused a call from GOD to preach, hence his drinking afterward.

I must give you a history of my marriage. I married MARY ELIZABETH FISHER, DAUGHTER OF JACOB F. AND SOPHIA FISHER ON OCT.16, 1854 ON WHITES CREEK AT CEDER GROVE. She was my 2nd cousin, was a noble help mate for me hindered me not, was largely the cause of my success, she was a good housekeeper, a fine cook, said to be the best coffee makeer in the whole Country, was high tempered in her young days but she overcome all of that after she professed Religion, was a god benevelent woman as I ever knew, have heard she got up on seat and talked a long time. It was remarkable others said. I loved her dearly, our honeymoon lasted as long as she lived, raised 5 children to be grown, lost two by death when young, she died 10th Dec. 1882 and was 43 years 5 days old and ailing for 2 years with consumption. I missed her greatly. [The Mary Elizabeth Fisher mentioned here is my 3rd great aunt. Her father, Jacob Frederick Fisher is my 3rd great-grandfather. Her mother was Sophie Yarbro, she was the daughter of the William Yarbro mentioned numerous times in this letter. I love what he says about his wife and his marriage in this paragraph.]

I write this to Ruff and Susie, My health is good I enjoy eating and sleeping as well as ever did in life, although am nearly helpless owing to Kidney trouble, Am stouter and better off than was 20 years ago, and well satisfied waitin the call from the Master, would like to see you both and have a good time together, I pray GOD that we may have a part in the first Reserrection. Give my love to all of you children, grandchildren and families. Want you to write me about everthing Crops and ect. Our crops are poor not near so good as last year been dry since 17th Aug. hardest year to make a crop have experienced, we have a fine mast in woods, no hogs hardly to use it hogs have died of disease but a few left give this to Eliza Mae as is for her, her did not know if she would be off.

Sallies love to all family, write soon. J.G.Yarbro

[Sallie mentioned here is Sarah “Sally” Lawler, his second wife who he married in 1885.]

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