Obituaries - Thomas C. YARD
McDonough Pioneer Dead
Thos. C. Yard Passes Away Aged 93 Years.
Came to This County In 1832 When But a Child - Prominent And Prosperous Farmer
Thos. C. Yard passed away at his home on East Carrol street at 8:45 this morning as a result of a complicated ailment from which he has been sick for some weeks, lacking but one month of being 93 years of age. With the death of Mr. Yard another and among the last of the pioneers of the county, passes on.
Born in Connecticut
While Mr. Yard was born in Connecticut, at Stamford, Dec. 4, 1830, he was the son of English parents, who themselves were emigrants to this country, his father, Job Yard, being a native of Sommersetshire as was also his mother, Frances Chorley Yard. As was the custom of the time to make a considerable fuss over a christening, he was taken to New York City where he was christened in the Old Trinity Church, one of the historic places in New York.
At the age of two years his parents came to this county and located, and since that period he has been identified with the life of this county, that being his home from that time on. His parents came by water the mode of travel most used in those days, coming down the Ohio river and up the Mississippi to Warsaw which at that time was a prominent trading point and port. Debarking, they loaded their goods in a wagon pulled by oxen and came to this county locating on the farm in Emmet township now owned by the heirs of Job Yard, his brother, and occupied at present by Mrs. Sarah Yard. The hardships of the pioneer were undergone
and while Thomas was then but a child he took to work early as was the custom in those days. His father lived but six years after he arrived in this county and although worked diligently had but 40 acres of land cleared and under cultivation at that time, so difficult was the work.
The conditions of the pioneers marked the boyhood of Mr. Yard. He worked early and late, subsisted on the frugal meals of the pioneers and built for himself a constitution that stood the ravages of disease for nearly 93 years.
His boyhood, like the description given by Lincoln of his boyhood, was :"the short and simple annals of the poor." But while not blessed with a quantity of the world's goods in boyhood he possessed a will and trained to frugality that meant more to his later success in life that abundant means.
Dec. 28, 1854 he was united in marriage to Louis Phelphs, daughter of the late Lenander Phelphs, a man well known among the pioneers and the man who built the first bridge over the Crooked creek, north of this city, and which stood for years as monument to his workmanship. They went to housekeeping at once on a farm in Emmet township which has ever since been known as the Thos. Yard homestead. Mr. Phelphs was one of the first members of the Presbyterian church of this city and Mr. and Mrs. Yard attached themselves to this denomination. On that homestead, where they spent the major portion of their lives, twelve children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Yard, only four of whom. Mrs. Chas. Yard, Dr. Edmond, Truman and Mrs. John Ledgerwood, all of Macomb, survive.
The Yard homestead at the start combined but 56 acres but good management, frugality, and hard work, combined to the end that when he quit farming a few years ago he possessed 730 acres of land and the homestead had increased from 56 acres to 210. Mr. Yard did not depend on the land alone to furnish the competence for his farm work. He raised stock and studied stock. He profited by his mistakes and the mistakes of others in handling stock and became an excellent judge. He also bought and shipped stock and possessed a business acumen that acquired for him a large competence.
But the wanderlust struck him at one time. He tired of the farm and thought there was to be big money in the Golden West and set forth. It was the time when the plains were crossed by wagons and Mr. Yard make the trip in 1863. He stopped in Carson City for some time and then went on the California. He was not pleased with the west, however, as a place of locating and returned home, making the trip, by way of the Isthmus of Panama, as there was no canal at that time. From there he took a boat to New York City and returned to his home in this country.
With the exception of this trip west he resided on his farm for 41 years to the day. He left on Dec. 28, 1895. the anniversary of his marriage and went to California again with wife for five months stay. He returned to this city and located in the brick house on East Carrol street where they resided ever since, and where his aged wife awaits the call which will allow her to join her husband.
Mr. Yard was an ardent Republican all of his life and gave of his time an energy for the party cause he espoused. His friends and neighbors recognized his more than average mentality and his ability to analyze a question and believed in his arguments on a question discussed. He was a man whose honestly was never questioned and enjoyed the confidence of everyone who knew him.
A few months ago, realizing that he had not much longer to remain here as the natural trend of life as he had already far passed the age given mortal man, he disposed of a large amount of his property, dividing it among his children, reserving for himself and his wife all that would be necessary for their care and comfort for the rest of their days. All of this had been accumulated by the toil and hard work of himself and wife during their almost 75 years of companionship.
No eulogy is necessary in his death for his life stands before all as a monument of honesty, frugality and Christian living.
The funeral services will be held from the First Presbyterian church at 2 o'clock Saturday afternoon, conducted by Rev. Rodgers. Interment in the mausoleum in Oakwood abbey.
NOTE: Thomas C. Yard died November 1, 1923.
Contributed by Kathy Lathrop