John Yeo of Centerville, Iowa

John Yeo died in Centerville, Iowa in December 1940. The local newspaper ran his obituary the following month (referring to him as John Yoe). It stated that he had been born in Devon on 20 August 1860 and had married Jane Simmons there before emigrating; no record of this marriage has been found. According to the obitiary, John was left with three young children and he married again. No record of his second marriage has been found.

The obituary mentions surviving children Mae Ambler and William Yeo. (An 1841 ‘delayed certificate of birth’ for William gives his name as William Henry Yeo, his date of birth as 29 October 1891, and names his parents as John Yeo and Emma Jane Simmons.)

John Yeo married Rebecca Workman at Seymour, Iowa on 1 December 1913. A licence for the marriage, issued the previous month, records John’s age as 57 and Rebecca’s as 58. It was stated to be the third marriage for each of them. The licence gives John’s birthplace as ‘England, Devonshire’, his occupation as ‘miner’, and names his parents as Henry Yeo and Jane Dunn. It gives Rebecca’s birthplace as Ohio, names her parents as William H. Shocknesse and Elizabeth Wingard and indicates that her birth surname was Shocknesse.

So is this John Yeo a son of Henry Yeo and Jane Dunn? They baptised a son John Yeo at Milton Damerel on 19 February 1853 before moving to Camborne, where the men in the family became miners. The 1841 obituary refers to John as a member of the United Mine Workers of America and states that he worked as a miner ‘as long as his health permitted’ but gives a date of birth over six years later than the 1853 baptism date.

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