Wednesday, June 20, 2012

A Tough Childhood

William Yates' life as a boy is only documented through oral tradition. Unfortunately, his children and grandchildren do not recall the exact same information.

His youngest son, Sylvester, said, "I have heard my father say his father bound him out to a farmer who lived near Portsmouth, NH. This man treated him so that finally father ran away. He was caught and brought back but told the farmer that the next time he ran away, they wouldn't catch him. Afterwards, he ran away again and that time they didn't catch him." Martha Yates Littlefield, William's youngest daughter, said " I have heard father tell of how he was bound out to an Irishman when he was very small and how the Irishman abused him so that he ran away."

Two of his grandsons, Judge Edward M. Yates and Gilbert W. Yates, agreed in saying that they never heard William speak of his parents at all, any more than as if he knew not who they were. Both did recall he worked for a NH farmer for wages rather than being bound out. They remember him saying he had to work very hard and got very little schooling compared to other boys. Judge Yates spent much of his childhood in the home of his grandparents and stated "I always had the impression that he was some sort of castaway, a homeless boy, who in some way drifted to this country and got work in Portsmouth."

William told the following story to Gilbert. "The farmer was slack about having firewood on hand for the kitchen fireplace. His wife stood it as long as she could and then one noon when they were called for dinner, they found on the table was raw meat, potatoes, and unbaked biscuit. The farmer put in the next few days getting up wood."

Regardless of where he came from or what he did as a young boy, William left Portsmouth when he was fifteen and went to work at a brickyard in Saccarappa, near Portland, Maine. He also drove a stagecoach somewhere in the Portland area. When he was 18 or 19, he moved to Minot, Maine.

William Yates & Martha Morgan
Moses Yates & Martha Whittle
Gilbert W. Yates & Laura Emmons
Estes Gilbert Yates & Eva Delphinia Hayes
Linona Alice Yates

William B. Lapham & Silas P. Maxim (1884 & 1983), History of Paris, Oxford Co., Maine (New England History Press, Spmersworth, NH (1983).

Yates, Edgar Allan Poe, The Yates Book: William Yates and His Descendants; the History and Genealogy of William Yates (1772-1868) of Greenwood, Maine, and His Wife, Who was Martha Morgan, together with the line of Her Descent from Robert Morgan of Beverly (Old Orchard, Maine, 1906).

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