Where Was Jacob Yoho Born in 1775 and When Did He Move to Beaver County
By Donald R. Yoho, Jr.

Note: Donald Yoho Jr. is a retired Airforce Bird Colonel. His military experience can be read on the Yoho's In War Page. He currently lives in Florida and can be contacted at Donald Yoho Email

Most Yoho researchers agree that Jacob Yoho, probable son of John Yoho (born 1746), was born about 1775. This date is calculated from serial census data from 1800 through 1840. The 1775 birth year is the only year that fits completely with all five censuses. However, Jacob’s birthplace is usually given as Beaver County, Pennsylvania. I have not seen, nor have I read, any historical document suggesting that Jacob was actually born in Beaver Co. He certainly lived the majority of his life in North Sewickley Township, Beaver Co and died there as documented in the above referenced censuses and his recorded will, but it is unlikely that he was actually born
there. He may have been born in another area of what was to become Beaver Co, but even that is unlikely as the following discussion points out.

Immediately obvious is the fact that Beaver Co was not formed until 1800. Although sometimes confusing, referencing a location by a future name is not uncommon. So references to being born in 1775 in Beaver Co would, at least, have to mean “born in what would eventually become Beaver Co.” In 1775, the area that would become Beaver Co was sparsely populated by non-Native Americans. According to the Sewickley Valley Historical Society (http://www.sewickleyhistory.org), the Sewickley area, and all of the future Beaver Co land north of the Ohio River (about the northern two-thirds of Beaver Co) were not settled until after the Revolution, and after the lands were purchased from the local Native Americans in 1784 and 1785. Those lands were known as Depreciation Lands, land originally set aside for veterans of the Revolution that had been paid depreciated currency (that is to say they were underpaid) during their service. By the way, John Yoho, the RevolutionaryWar soldier and probable father of Jacob, is not identified in Pennsylvania Archive records as an owner of any Depreciation Lands. These lands were meant for Continental Army veterans, not militiamen. The earliest permanent settlers south of the Ohio River in what would become Beaver Co are documented in the History of Beaver County Pennsylvania and Its Centennial Celebration, written in 1904 by Joseph Bausman. The earliest settlers came to the region in the early 1770’s—no Yohos are found among those few names. Not until the census of 1800 and a list of taxables in 1802 for Sewickley Township (documented in the History of Beaver County, Pennsylvania written in 1888, published by A. Warner & Company) do we see any written documentation for Jacob Yoho, in southwestern Pennsylvania.

In a previous paper that I wrote (Yohos Move to “Western Virginia”—or Pennsylvania!) I noted that the Yohos moved to “western Virginia” around 1763 based on Henry Yoho’s war pension request and that John Yoho probably moved there in 1771 after he sold land near Winchester, VA. “Western Virginia” was likely southwest Pennsylvania and more specifically what is now Fayette Co, PA based on Yoho family members taking an oath of allegiance there in 1777. At that time, southwest Pennsylvania, including what would become Fayette Co, PA, was claimed by Virginia—thus it was “western Virginia.” Furthermore, John Yoho and his brother Henry served at Fort Pitt together in the Virginia Militia. When Jacob Yoho was born in 1775, it seems unlikely that John Yoho’s family would have been living in what would become Beaver Co and then move to what would become Fayette Co in 1777. It is more likely that the family already resided in the future Fayette Co at the time Jacob was born in 1775 and continued to reside there until the 1790’s. John Yoho’s sister, Catherine, married George Lemley. Pennsylvania Archive records show that George Lemley purchased land in what would become neighboring Greene Co, PA in 1784. The Archives also show that John’s brother, George Yoho, owned land in Fayette Co in 1794.

Jacob Yoho was married to Mary Lawrence, probably between 1795 or 1797 based on the birth of their youngest daughter. Based on census data, there was a daughter (probably the daughter that married a Hamilton referenced in Jacob’s will) born before son John (born 1799) between 1795 and 1798. Jacob would have been about 20-22 years old at that time. The Lawrence family is well documented by census and other data and has been chronicled by Dr. JM Freed in his book, The Mason-White Family History (Gateway Press, 1990). Similar to the Yoho family, the Phillip Lawrence family emigrated from the Palatinate in 1748 via Rotterdam to Philadelphia and first settled in Frederick Co, VA in the same time frame as the Yohos. The Lawrence family moved to what would become Fayette Co, PA around 1760, again about the same time that the Yohos left Frederick Co, VA. Phillip Lawrence and sons also took the oath of allegiance in 1777 in what would become Fayette Co.

Where would Jacob Yoho most likely have met and married Mary Lawrence? The Phillip Lawrence family, like the Yohos, were in the future Fayette Co in 1777. Phillip Lawrence, and presumably his daughter Mary, are found in the 1790 census in Allegheny Co in the region that was annexed from northern Washington Co in 1788. This area includes an area of what would
later be southern Beaver Co. Dr. Freed’s book notes that while in Beaver Co “he (Phillip Lawrence) was driven away by the Indians, who burned his house and contents, drove away his cattle, and left him with nothing but his family, who escaped by hiding in the dense thickets. Going back to Masontown [Fayette Co]…” The History of Fayette County, Pennsylvania (edited by Franklin Ellis, 1882) states that Phillip Lawrence was granted a tavern license there in 1796. So the Lawrence family, again presumably with their daughter Mary, moved back to Fayette Co in the first half of the 1790’s. It seems likely, then, that Mary Lawrence would have met and married Jacob Yoho in Fayette Co in the latter half of the 1790’s, around 1795-1797. Then by 1800, the Lawrence family (the widow of Phillip, Susanna) and the Jacob Yoho family, are shown next to each other in the 1800 Sewickley, Beaver Co, PA census. Phillip Lawrence died in Sewickley in 1799 or 1800 before the census per his will as documented by Dr. Freed.

Although the extended Lawrence family readily shows up in 1790 census data for Allegheny and Fayette Counties, there are no Yohos found in 1790 in Fayette Co, nor in Washington or Allegheny Counties that would later become Beaver Co in 1800. This is curious and leads me to wonder if something happened (like death) to John Yoho prior to the 1790 census, and Jacob, 15 years old, might have been living with another family and therefore undocumented by name. Some have speculated that a man named Jehu John on the 1790 Fayette Co census might somehow be John Joho/Yoho, but Jehu (first name) John (last name) shows up consistently and spelled the same in the 1790, 1800 and 1810 censuses, so it is unlikely to be John Joho/Yoho. Interestingly, Jehu John does live near Valentine Lawrence, son of Phillip, in all those censuses!

In summary, it is unlikely that Jacob Yoho was born in what would become Beaver Co, PA. He was more likely born in what would become Fayette Co and probably met and married Mary Lawrence there. The Lawrence family, and likely the Jacob Yoho family, moved to Sewickley, Beaver Co in the late 1790’s, being first recorded in Sewickley in the 1800 census.