Notes About Abraham Yerxa

Major Abraham Yerxa, eldest son of John and Catherine (Gerow) Yerxa, was born about 1775 in Tarrytown, New York, and died in New Brunswick, September 10, 1857 (tombstone record), and he was 46 in his 1821 memorial. He came with his parents in 1783 to the part of Nova Scotia, now New Brunswick. He was eight years of age. Apparently he was named for his grandfather Abraham.

Major Abraham Yerxa became a well-to-do farmer and lumberman, and for many years was prominent among the business men of the locality. He was commissioned an Ensign in the Militia under Colonel John Allen, was promoted to the rank of Major when he was fifty-five years old, and served as such for almost thirty years. (1890 “Biographical Review of New Brunswick,” page 90)

Major Abraham Yerxa married Barbara Green on 10th July 1796. Barbara was born in 1780 and died November 10, 1857. There were fifteen children, ten boys and five girls. Major Abraham gave each of his ten sons a farm.

Memorial of Abraham Yerxa, Daniel Yerxa, Benjamin Yerxa, and John McIlroy

To His Excellency Major General George Stracey Smyth, Lieutenant Governor, and Commander in Chief, of the Province of New Brunswick &c ... &c ... &c.

The memorial of Abraham Yerxa, Daniel Yerxa, Benjamin Yerxa, and John McIlroy, married men, aged as follows, viz, Abraham Yerxa 46 years, Daniel 24, Benjamin 19, and John McIllroy 27 years.

Humbly Sheweth

That your Memorialist Abraham Yerxa, (a Captain in the first Battallion of the York County Militia) is a native of the State of New York, from which Country he emigrated with his Father’s family to this Province, at the conclusion of the American Rebellion; and now resides at the Keswick Creek in the Parish of Queensbury and County of York, and your Memorialists Daniel, and Benjamin Yerxa, and John McIlroy, are natives of this Province, has resided in this Province since the dates of their births, were never subject to any other Government; and now reside in the Keswick Settlement.

Your Memorialists never received any lands from Government.

Your Memoralists therefore humbly pray that they may have 1400 acres of Land granted to them on the Nashwalksis Creek, in the Parish of St. Mary, and County of York, one half of the said 1400 acres to be laid off on the south side of said Creek, opposite to Lands applied for by George Debeck, Charles King, and Joseph Marithew Sen, and the other half of said 1400 to be laid off on the north of the Lands applied for by the said George Debeck, Charles King &c. which said Land is in its natural state, no improvements having been made thereon.

Your Memorialist Abraham Yerxa, begs leave to state, that, Daniel, and Benjamin Yerxa, two of your Memorialists are his sons, are married men and settled in the Keswick Settlement.

Your Memorialists begs leave further to state, that it is their intention forthwith to commence the Cultivation and improvement of the Land they ask for, being of ability to comply with His Majesty’s instructions respecting the improvements of Lands, and that they have not, directly, or indirectly, bargained, or agreed, for the sale or transfer, of said Lands to any person, or persons whatever: and your Memorialists as in duty bound will ever pray.

19th Nov 1821

          Abraham Yerxa
          Daniel Yerxa
          Benjamin Yerxa
          John McIlroy

The families of Major Abraham's 15 children lived so close that all 15 families could be summoned together in two hours.

Inscription on tombstone in Mouth of Keswick Cemetery reads: "In memory of Major Abraham Yerxa who died Sept. 10, 1857, aged 82 years. Also his wife, Barbara, died Nov. 10, 1857, aged 77 yrs."

From the Carleton Sentinel, Sept. 19, 1857, Woodstock, N. B. "On the 11th inst. at his Homestead, Keswick, deservedly respected and lamented, Major Abraham Yerxa, aged 81 years, leaving a disconslate widow, fifteen children, and 126 grand and great grandchildren to mourn his irreparable loss."

Barbara Green was born in 1780 or 1781, possibly in New York. She married Abraham Yerxa on July 10, 1796, in Queensbury, York County, N.B. Barbara may have been the daughter of Henry Green, who was the son of Elizabeth Green of Cortland Manor, NY. Henry Green may also have had a daughter Elizabeth (Betsey), who married Jacob White, the son of loyalist Thomas White, who served in the New York Volunteers. They were granted land on Madame Keswick. Abraham Yerxa's parents, John and Catherine Yerxa, were witnesses to Thomas White's will in 1796. Henry Green was given settlement on lot 85 of the West bank of Madame Keswick in 1788.