John M. Yerion is eminently worthy of representation in this biographical work, where
the record of many of Peoria County's pioneers and leading men is preserved for the
benefit of rising and future generations. He is a farmer and a stock raiser and is
conducting his business in Trivoli township, where he is pleasantly located in that part
generally known as Brunswick.
The father of our subject, George Yerion, was a native of Wythe County, Va., while his grandfather was a Pennsylvanian by birth and of German descent. He married in the Keystone State, and then removed to Virginia where he was successfully engaged as a farmer and stockman and became a large landowner. He was an early settler there and took part in the War of 1812.
His son was bred to the life of a farmer on the old plantation. He made tar and mined coal to some extent, and also engaged as a blacksmith. He was a good mechanic and made wagons and could do anything that required manual skill. His wife urged him to move to Illinois, where she wisely thought a man of his practical ability would find a good opening in the building up of a new country. In 1848, they started with their family on the eventful journey, traveling with two teams and a wagon, crossing the Ohio at Louisville, and proceeding slowly on their way to Peoria, which they reached at the end of nine weeks travel, and which they found to be a small place. One of the sons was sick on the journey, so they had camped for twenty-one days. They found plenty of game along the way and it added greatly to their supply of food. The father rented land in Trivoli Township, and engaged in farming until his death in 1850, closed an honorable and industrious life. He was a Democrat in Politics, and while a resident of Virginia was Justice of the Peace. He was a conscientious and upright man and a member of the Presbyterian Church.
The maiden name of the mother of our subject was Sallie Miller, and she was born in Wythe Co. Virginia, a daughter of William Miller, who was of English extraction. He was a farmer by occupation and during the War of 1812, was a soldier and an officer, and was wounded. The mother resided with her children here until 1875, and then went to live with a daughter in Platte County, Neb., where she died in 1886, at the age of eighty one years. Thirteen children were born of her marriage, of whom eight grew to maturity; Susan, Mrs. Minnich, who died in Trivoli; Sarah, Mrs. Hollandsworth, who died in Trivoli; John, Randall and Jackson, who died in Trivoli; David, a resident of Arkansas; Nancy, Mrs. Yerion, of Farmington; Martha, Mrs. Wolf of Nebraska. David was a soldier in the late war, enlisting in Company I, Eighty-sixth Illinois Infantry in 1861, and serving creditably throughout the war.
John Yerion was born February 12, 1829, on the Cherry Purchase in Tennessee, during the residence of his parents in that locality. He was reared in Virginia, gleaning what education he could in the subscription schools, that were held three months of each year in a rude log house, furnished with slab benches and having greased paper instead of glass in the windows. He helped on the farm, engaging in making tar, etc., and was twenty-one years old when he came to this county. Beginning life for himself in the fall of 1848, he worked out by the month until he was thirty-six years of age. In 1856, he leased a farm in Orion Township, Fulton County. Prior to that time, in 1854, he and his partner, made a trip to Texas driving two colts and returning in the month of November. The next fall he again visited the Lone Star State, going there to pilot seven families, and remaining there one winter, engaged in work. He was taken sick and came home, via the Gulf of Mexico, and the Mississippi River. In 1856, he went to Virginia to revisit his old home and remained there one winter, then coming back, once more engaged in farm labor. He is an extensive traveler, and made a trip to Dakota in 1882, and again in 1885. During the latter year he also visited Portland, Oregon.
In 1863, Mr. Yerion having been very successful in agricultural adventures located on his present farm, which he then purchased, and here he has since been actively engaged in raising grain and stock. He purchased the original eighty acres of his homestead for $3300 and has since added ten acres to his landed possessions, buying a small tract of land on section 28. His place is well fenced and has on it fine buildings, including a roomy house and good barns; also a fine orchard and good springs of water. He has horses for general purposes and uses two teams of draft horses in his work; he has full-blooded cattle and
hogs, buying and feeding swine in addition to raising them.
Our subject is very happy in his domestic relations, his filling a perfect measure the duties devolving upon her in her position as his helpmate and the mother of children, of whom they have two living- John M. and Flora M. Two children are deceased, Letta V., who died at the age of one month and Varina, who died when four years old. Mr. and Mrs. Yerion were married by Judge Follett February 17, 184. Her maiden name was Maria Stookey, and she was born in Timber Township January 30, 1840. For parental history see the biography of her brother, the Hon. D.B. Stookey, on another page of this volume. As a man of unblemished character and fine reputation, our subject is an important member of this community, and every scheme toward its advancement, religiously, educationally or materially, finds in him a liberal and able promoter. He has been School Director for years and for a period of nine years was Commissioner of Highways in this township. In his political views he is a strong Democrat. He is one of the foremost members of the Presbyterian Church at Brunswick, of which he is a Deacon.
Submitted by Londie Benson.