Ohio Biographies

Joseph Franklin Yoakam

Joseph Franklin Yoakam, owner of "The Riverside Farm," one of the most highly improved farms in Allen County, is justly numbered among the most successful agriculturalists of Shawnee Township. His farm is not as large as some others in this region, but every part of it is made to yield, and all of its resources have been developed so that the returns from it are greater than from many of much greater acreage. Mr. Yoakam was born in Amanda Township November 26, 1859, a son of James and Mary Ann (Brown) Yoakam, born in Ohio, and grandson of Solomon Yoakam and Jacob Brown, early settlers of Allen County. Following their marriage James Yoakam and his wife settled in Shawnee  Township but later moved to Amanda Township, returning, however, to Shawnee Township in 1869, at that time buying a farm, to which they kept on adding until at the time of his death he owned 300 acres, which he had improved, and of which 100 acres were very valuable. His death occurred in August, 1910, when he was eighty-eight years of age. His wife died when she was fifty-five years old, and following her demise he was twice married.

Growing up at home, Joseph Franklin Yoakam learned how to be a practical farmer under his father's watchful supervision, and attended the district schools. Until 1882 he remained at home but then moved on the thirty-six acres he had inherited in section 15, Shawnee Township, from his father's estate.  He also owned eighty acres in section 16 the same township, but sold ten acres of his home place, so that he is now operating twenty-six and one-half acres, doing general gardening.

In 1882 Mr. Yoakam was united in marriage with Lydie Ann Verbryke, born in Perry Tpwnship, a daughter of Peter and Ann (Ridenour) Verbryke, natives of Virginia and Pennsylvania, respectively, and a granddaughter of Peter Verbryke and Isaac and Lydia Ridenour, early settlers of Allen County, Ohio.  Mr. and Mrs. Yoakam became the parents of the following children: Zelma, who is Mrs. Frank Harpster, of Shawnee Township; Harley, who is a resident of Lima; Claude and Clyde, who are twins, the former being a resident of Lima and the latter of Marquette, Michigan; Merle, who lives at Lima; Harry, who lives at Cleveland, Ohio; and Richard and Harold, both of whom are at home. Clyde Yoakam enlisted in the great war in May, 1918, at Washington, in the Navy. He was sent to the Charleston, South Carolina, Naval Academy, and was discharged in August, 1919. He served fifteen months, eleven months oversees, and also served three months in the Belgium Relief service. Merle Yoakam enlisted July 24, 1918, and was honorably discharged August 24, 1919. He spent eleven months oversees with Battery T, Sixth Field Artillery, First Division. Seven months were passed with the Army of Occupation in Germany at Coblentz Bridgehead.

Mr. Yoakam belongs to the Methodist Episcopal Church of Shawnee Township. He is a republican, and has been township trustee since 1915. Fraternally he belongs to Lima Camp No. 84, Woodmen of the World.  While he has been very much occupied with his own private affairs, as township trustee and a public-spirited citizen, Mr. Yoakam has taken a creditable part in current events, and is entitled to the respect and confidence he inspires, for he has earned them. He and his wife have reared a fine family of children, all of whom are doing well, and are a credit to their parents and Allen County.