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info on francis yarnell
Posted by: tina mcnulty Date: January 01, 2002 at 17:35:39
  of 318

THERE WERE KINSMEN OF ABRAHAM LINCOLN IN SCHUYLKILL COUNTY" A Paper Prepared and Written for The Historical Society of Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania By Edgar Downey. Francis Yarnall married Mary Lincoln about 1741. He was born in Chester County in 1719 and was a Quaker. In the spring of 1740, he came to Berks County with his cousin, Joseph, holding a certificate of membershjip from the goshen Monthly Meeting. This certificate was presented to the Exeter Monthly Meeting and was accepted. He is said to have been a fair scholar and was a practical surveyor and soon acquired a good business with his compass and chain. In 1759 he was chosen as the trusted assistant of Benjamin Lightfoot in making the first survey for a road to Fort Augusta. About 1755 Yarnall took up a tract of land in Manheim Township (now North Manheim), near the Schuylkill, on which he erected a mill that became noted as the starting point of several surveys for the Provincial road. This tract is included in some of the land, now owned by the Schuylkill County Institution District. In 1765 he turned his mill property over to his son-in-law, Ellis Hughes, and, in 1766, took up a tract of land upon which a large portion of Port Carbon is now built. This latter tract is still known as the Yarnall Tract and is underlaid with anthracite coal. He cleared some of this land and erected buildings thereon. He placed his cousin, Joseph, in charge thereof, but the buildings were beyond the border line of settlement, and the Indians came along, chased the family away and burned the buildings. The road to Fort Augusta, of which mention has already been made, had not yet been built. Early in 1770 a commission was appointed to lay out this road, and Francis Yarnall was placed in charge of the survey, completing it promptly and showing much engineering skill in his work. While on this survey he noted some fine farm land in the vicinity of Taylorsville, Barry Township, and became so impressed with it that shortly thereafter he took up a large tract of land there, moved his family on it and cleared the land for several farms. Northumberland County was organized in 1772 and its southern line had not yet been run. For several years Yarnall was assessed as a resident of Augusta Township in that county. He was one of the three persons in that township to receive a license to keep a public house. Years later a the line of Northumberland County was accurately determined and this placed him in Berks County. In 1811 the land where his farms were located became a part of Schuylkill County and is now in Barry Township. The Great Road, of King's Highway, ran through his farms, and his property afforded an excellent site for an inn to accommodate the travelers, who came in large numbers over the new road bound for lands beyond where they sought to make new settlements. On this land Francis Yarnall and Mary Lincoln Yarnall, his wife, passed the rest of their days and on to their final reward. Their remains lie buried in the old burial ground, known as Reed's Cemetery, just off the side of the Great Road, which he had so well planned. It also lies on the south bank of the Mahanoy Creek at a point near where a covered bridge spans the stream and joins the road from the south to its continuation on the north bank. The graves of Francis and Great-grandaunt Mary are unmarked and obliterated by the coal dirt and refuse, which cover the burial ground, washed there by the flood waters of the creek. A few markers on the graves of Yarnall's still stand above the coal wash and the tangled bushes, which grow there. The dates of death of Francis and Mary are unknown. In a letter, written to Solomon Lincoln in 1848, Abraham Lincoln stated, "It is my father's understanding that Abraham, Mordecai and Thomas are old family names of ours. My grandfather had, as I think I have heard, four brothers: Isaac, Jacob, Thomas and John. He had three sons: Mordecai, Josiah and Thomas, the last my father. The "old family names" of the Lincoln family, we have observed, were taken, almost without exception, from biblical characters and persons. These "old family names" occur also in the Yarnall family, the family of Francis Yarnall and Great - grandaunt Mary Lincoln Yarnall. Through these traditional Christian names we can reasonably identify the Yarnall's of Schuylkill County, who bore them, as kinsmen of Abraham Lincoln. There was a Mordecai Yarnall, named after Mary Lincoln Yarnall's father, Mordecai Lincoln. Like Francis Yarnall, Mordecai, his son, was a surveyor. Old maps of schuylkill County show tracts of land with Mordecai Yarnall's name as the Warrantee. There was Isaac Yarnall, whose Christian name also was used by Lincolns. He was a member of the first Grand Jury to meet and serve in Schuylkill County. There was also a Jesse Yarnall, another Christian name occurring in the Lincoln family. At the time of his death, Jesse Yarnall was the owner of about 1500 acres of land at Taylorsville, Barry Township, Schuylkill County, and also of a valuable tract of 200 acres, now the site of Mount Carmel, Northumberland County. There was a daughter, Hannah, named after Hannah Lincoln Millard, a sister of Great - grandaunt Mary Lincoln Yarnall. Hannah Yarnall became the wife of Ellis Hughes, to whom Francis Yarnall, her father, turned over his sawmill, located in the vicinity of Connors Crossing in 1765. There was also a daughter, Mary, named after Great - grandaunt Mary Lincoln Yarnall herself. Mary Yarnall married her mother's nephew, John Lincoln, son of Great - grandfather Virginia John Lincoln. Today the marriage of first cousins is unlawful. By her marriage, Mary Yarnall Lincoln, to whom Abraham Lincoln was a first cousin twice removed, became his grandaunt by marriage. Her husband, Virginia John's son, was born in Berks County. He had migrated with his father to Virginia and later left that state. He and his cousin-wife settled in Lebanon, Ohio, where he died in 1835. The biblical names, so common in the Lincoln family, occur among the descendants of Francis Yarnall and Great-grand-aunt Mary Lincoln Yarnall. In the eighteen-eighties, the farm at Taylorsville was owned by Miss Lydia Yarnall, whose Christian name had been that of one of Virginia John Lincoln's twin daughters, Hannah and Lydia. So we can say there were kinsmen of Abraham Lincoln in Schuylkill County. ..................TO BE CONTINUED ?


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