History of Southeast Missouri, by the Goodspeed Press, page 1152
Biographical Sketches of Wayne County, Missouri. 1888.

Joel Yancey is a Virginian by birth, born August 13, 1830. His parents, Robert J and Catherine L. (Ross) Yancey were also Virginians and were of Welsh descent [1]. Great-grandfather Yancey and three brothers came to the United States from Wales and settled in Virginia and Kentucky [2]. One of the brothers was killed at the Battle of Eutaw Springs, SC during the revolutionary War [3]. The grandfather, Joel Yancey, served as Major in the War of 1812. He died in Virginia. Robert J Yancey and wife came to Missouri in 1835 and soon became residents of Wayne County. The father was a lawyer by profession , but after coming to Missouri followed the occupation of farming, and at the time of his death was a poor citizen. His death occurred in July, 1861. He was County Clerk at one time, and for many years was Justice of the Peace. Five of their eight children are living: Joel, Mattie A., Jenie, Charles D., and Virginius R. The eldest of these, Joel, was about nine years old when he came to this country. He made his parents house his home until the breaking out of the war, and he immediately enlisted in the Missouri State Guard and served six months. In 1862 he enlisted in Company B , Fourth Missouri Infantry, Confederate States Army, and served until the close of the war. He rose to the rank of Second Lieutenant, and was a participant in the Battle of Frederickstown, Missouri, Prairie Grove, Helena, Arkansas, Little Rock, Jenkins Ferry, Pleasant Hill and Sabine Crossroads, Louisiana. He was also in several sharp skirmishes but was not seriously wounded during the entire service. After returning home he worked at the carpenter's trade and also wagon and carriage making, in connection with farming. He owns about 315 acres of land and is one of the thrifty farmers of the county. Oct 22 1858 he married Alice Q. Taylor and by her became the father of ten children, only eight of whom are living: Charles R., John L., William L., Jessie B., Lawrence R., Margaret V. , Mary A., and Zinnia R. [4]   The wife died March 31 1875. Mr. Yancey is a Mason and was Worshipful Master of the Blue Lodge for six years, and was district Deputy Grand Master for ten years. He has taken the Royal select Master's degree and was Noble Grand of the I O O F  [5].  He has always taken a great interest in these organizations.


[1]  Indeed - the most common family story over the last century is that the Yanceys were of Welsh descent.  The legend has been that they descend from the Nanney Family of Wales.  But no evidence has ever been found to prove the Yanceys were Welsh nor that they descend from the Nanney family of Wales.  On the contrary DNA testing (done in 2013) has proved that the Yanceys do not have a common genetic descent from the Nanney family and most of the characterstics of the early Yanceys would tend to make one believe they were English and not Welsh.

[2]  The ancestry of Joel Yancey has been traced back – back to one Charles Yancey of early Virginia in the early 1700’s.   The story of “three or four brothers”  is a common myth among descendants of American immigrants and there is no evidence to support such a claim.  Joel Yancey (1830-1907) was the son of Robert Yancey (1797-1861) who was the son of Joel Yancey Jr (1774-1833) who was the son of Joel Yancey Sr (1753-1774) who was the son of Archelaus Yancey (????-1764) who was the son of Charles Yancey - who was probably the son of a Charles Yancey Sr who was probably an immigrant from the British Isles. 

[3]  Joel Yancey did not die at the battle of Eutaw Springs  as this battle took place in 1781 and Joel had died in Louisa County, Virginia in 1774.

[4]  Joel Yancey was married at least three times.  1st Wife: Alice Q Taylor ( 9 children);  2nd Wife:  Almira Johnson, divorced (2 children) ;  3rd Wife: Mary Lilly Effie Williams (6 children). At least 17 children in total (though there may have been more who died as infants)

[5] For info on Yanceys and Masonic connections see: http://yanceyfamilygenealogy.org/masonry.htm



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