John was born in 1881. He is the son of John Yates and Sarah Blocker. He may have been named after John Spring, a friend of the family (see newspaper clipping.)
Baptized 5 May 1888 (see photos).
In 1904 and 1905, John was living in Lake Charles with his aunt Catherine Elizabeth, to further his education. He wrote:
Jan. 14, 1904 Lake Charles, LA
I have arrived in Lake Charles all O.K and have made arrangements with a Gentleman by the name of Williams to teach me. and what I have seen of him I think he is a fine Teacher. well he ought to be for he is a Teacher in the Lake Charles High School, it will cost more to go to him but I think it will be better than staying in N.O. I am with Aunt Kate and she says she won’t charge me any Board, but I don’t know about that yet, she may change her mind.
Apparently John's favorite subject was math:
Well I am getting along fine in mathematics but I am getting along some what slow in every thing else, of course I have got to learn the principal of these things and then perhaps I will get along better, I have been trying to learn how to write but it seems if I don’t have no turn that way, so I suppose I wont never be a very good writer, but the worse thing I have to contend with is knowing the meaning of words, and the next thing is spelling.
According to Juanita's family history, "From all accounts he was really a very outstanding young man, a gifted mathematician. He and my mother were close. He died of acute appendicitis, improperly treated as something else -- so often the case those days."
After his unexpected death in 1905, one of Kate's friends, Laura Overton, wrote to her about John:
Alexandria, April 2, 1905
Dear Mrs Murray,
This morning on my return from Church I was handed Winston’s letter which conveyed to me the very sad intelligence of the death of your loved nephew John Yates. I do not know when I was ever more greatly pained and shocked. How you will miss him! How his family will miss him, particularly his dear old father who looked to him to be the stay and comfort of his old age. He and you and all who loved him have my heartfelt sympathy
His is a loss too to society in general for such as he made the world better by his living. It is seldom that a stranger has made during a few days acquaintance so favorable an impression upon me as did your John. He possessed a most attractive personality, his obliging manner and gentlemanly bearing bespoke a fine character. On my own account I regret his death deeply and will never forget his acts of kindness to myself and to Winston.
All of John's letters to his father are uploaded here.
John's records in the 1900 census present an interesting challenge for the genealogist since he apparently managed to wind up on it twice. At the time his Aunt Catherine was running a boarding house in Lake Charles. We know for a fact that John lived with her in 1905 as we have letters from him at the time, so it is not a stretch of the imagination to suppose that he was living with or visiting her in 1900.
And in fact the 1900 Lake Charles census has a line in Catherine's household as follows:
John S. Yates, relation to head of household: "boarder," born January 1880, age 19, single, occupation: "Farmer," born in Louisiana, father born in England, mother born in Louisiana.
However, the 1900 St. Tammany Census also contains an entry for John Yates (alongside his brothers and sisters), born January 1881, age 19, single, occupation "Farmer," born in Louisiana, father born in England, mother born in Louisiana.
It is hard to believe that these two entries are not the same person. One possibility is that the St. Tammany Census occurred on June 11th, while the Lake Charles Census occurred on June 1st. Did John travel from one locale to the other in June and was thus counted twice? Or, did John, being 19 and thinking of himself as an adult, ask to be counted in Lake Charles, whereas his parents put him down on the list in St. Tammany? (One wonders, who got the birthdate wrong?)
↑ 1.01.1 Notes by family historian Juanita Gayer, given to Boone Yates Richardson, and uploaded here.
↑ 2.02.1 Year: 1900; Census Place: Lake Charles, Calcasieu, Louisiana; Roll: 560; Page: 1A; Enumeration District: 0016; FHL microfilm: 1240560. Description: Lake Charles Town (pt) Ward 3, Ward 4, All of corporation south of line along Division St East to Kirkman St, from Kirkman St along North Division St to east Corporation line Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2004. Original data: United States of America, Bureau of the Census. Twelfth Census of the United States, 1900. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1900. T623, 1854 rolls.
↑ 3.03.1 Year: 1900; Census Place: Police Jury Ward 2, Saint Tammany, Louisiana; Roll: 583; Page: 8A; Enumeration District: 0079; FHL microfilm: 1240583 Description Enumeration District : 0079; Description: Ward 1 including Madisonville Town Source Information Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2004. Original data: United States of America, Bureau of the Census. Twelfth Census of the United States, 1900. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1900. T623, 1854 rolls.
↑ Obituary - John Spring Yates 1 Apr 1905
Newspapers.com - St. Tammany Farmer - 1 Apr 1905 - Page 5
St. Tammany Farmer
1 Apr 1905
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It may be possible to confirm family relationships with John by comparing test results with other carriers of his ancestors' Y-chromosome or mitochondrial DNA.
However, there are no known yDNA or mtDNA test-takers in his direct paternal or maternal line.
It is likely that these autosomal DNA test-takers will share DNA with John: