Joseph Christopher Yates
) was an American
lawyer, politician. statesman, and founding trustee of Union College
Born in Schenectady, New York
, Yates catapulted himself up the ranks of his day, becoming successively the mayor of Schenectady (1798), state senator (1805), state Supreme Court justice (1808), and the seventh governor of New York
The home he inhabited in Schenectady while the state's chief executive still exists on Front Street in the city's Historic Stockade District.
As Governor, Yates sat for a portrait by John Vanderlyn, famed for his rendition of such eminent historical figures as George Washington, Aaron Burr, James Monroe, George Clinton, Andrew Jackson and Zachary Taylor. The painting is owned by the City of New York.
Joseph was born to Christopher "Colonel Stoeffel" Yates and his wife Jannetje Bradt in the autumn of 1768.
In the course of his days he took three wives: the first was for love: Ann, widow of James Ellice; the second was for money, Maria, daughter of John Kane; the last was for clout, as he required it to further his ambitious political career, Elizabeth De Lancey, a daughter of John De Lancey, of Westchester County, New York.
Yates had three children, all daughters: Helen Maria, the oldest, was born on September 28th, 1797. She was married to Colonel John K. Paige and died January 25th, 1829. Anna Alida was born September 14th 1806, married to John D. Watkins, a resident of Georgia. Jane Jesepha was born November 6th, 1811, married to Samuel Neil of New York.
Joseph C. Yates died on March 19th, 1837 at the age of 69. He was initially buried in a family cemetery in Schenectady County, New York
. In 1889, his daughter Jane reinterred the remains of Joseph Yates and those of several other family members to the Neil family mausoleum in the churchyard of St. Peter's Episcopal Church
in Bronx County, New York
. At present, there are no markers on the Neil family mausoleum to indicate that Gov. Yates is buried there.
In recognition of his contributions to public life in his native state Yates County, New York and the Town of Yates are named after Governor Yates.
More information on the Yates family can be found at the Schenectady County Historical Society.