Children of John Yeo & Emma Selwood

Researched and compiled by Kathryn W. Kelly, Hampton, Virginia, U.S.A. & Shirley Peacock, N. Devon, England - August 1991

b. 1877
Cardiff, Wales
b. 1879
Cardiff, Wales
b. 1881
Ishpeming, Michigan, USA
b. 1883
Ishpeming, Michigan, USA
b. 1885
Ishpeming, Michigan, USA
b. 1887
Ishpeming, Michigan, USA
b. 1888
Ishpeming, Michigan, USA
b. 1889
Ishpeming, Michigan, USA
b. 1892
Minneota, Minnesota, USA
b. 1893
Minneota, Minnesota, USA
b. 1894
Minneota, Minnesota, USA
b. 1896
Minneota, Minnesota, USA
b. 1897
Minneota, Minnesota, USA
b. 1900
Minneota, Minnesota, USA

JOHN YEO ( back to top)


John Yeo, Jr., first child and eldest son of John and Emma Selwood Yeo was born 11 October 1877 in Cardiff, Wales. He came to the United States as an infant. As a young man he worked on farms, bridges and dam construction in various states. He did not marry and we considered him a "loner". He was a very quiet person and good with figures. He spent his summers on the farms helping Tom and Bert. During the winter months he moved to Mankato and spent his time at Grandpa and Auntie's home. I am ashamed to admit I did not look forward to his arrival as I had to give up my room to him. John registered for enlistment in World War 1.

We could always count on him having an extra nickel or dime, which he would give and he well understood a youngster's sweet tooth, as he had one himself. Many times he would share some delectable bakery treat or candy with us. He was an avid reader and enjoyed listening to the radio.

After Grandpa's death in 1948 when Jane and Emma moved to New Mexico, he spent his time between there and California. When Emma and Jane moved to Staunton, Virginia during Emma's terminal illness, he made his home· in California with Aunt Sis, living near Aunt Myra. He died in California on 1 December 1963 and is buried there.

EMMA YEO ( back to top)


Emma Yeo was born 2 July 1879 in Cardiff, Wales. She was the oldest daughter and although she never married, her life was filled with church affairs and deeds of kindness. Her example of Christian living will not be forgotten by those who knew her.

She was educated at Pillsbury Academy in Owatonna, Minnesota, graduated in 1903. She then attended St. Cloud Teachers' College, Mn. She took an advanced course at Mankato State Teachers' College and graduated with a Bachelor's degree in education 10 June 1915. She also did post-graduate work at the University of Chicago, and Washington University in Seattle.

She taught in the public schools and supervised work in the public schools for about twelve years, chiefly in Minnesota and North Dakota. She also taught for twelve years in South Dakota and Minnesota teachers' colleges.

At this time she was initiated into Kappa Rho, an educational sorority.

She had a small business in Albuquerque and later in Mankato from 1932-1935.

After the death of her mother in 1922 she gave up her teaching post and made her home with her father. She was very active at this time in school functions and was involved in many activities at the First Baptist Church in Mankato.

Emma, who had spent her early years helping her Mother with the large family, became an excellent cook. Being the eldest girl she was pressed into service around the house and was a skilled dressmaker. Some of the nicest clothes I wore during my elementary school years were a product of her skill. Auntie never minded doing menial chores around the house; she never felt her education entitled her to sit around with her hands folded. She was always active.

Following the death of their father, Emma and Jane sold the family residence at 328 Hickory Street, Mankato, and moved to Roswell, New Mexico. They later moved to Amarillo, Texas. In the spring of 1958 they moved to Staunton, Virginia, taking a small house there. After an illness of six months, Emma died on 8 October 1958. She and Jane are buried in Parklawn Cemetery, Hampton, Virginia.

HENRY YEO ( back to top)


Henry Yeo, third child of John and Emma Selwood Yea was born 12 August, 1881 in National, Michigan. He was baptised 17 August, 1884 in the Methodist Episcopal Church by the Reverend David Casler. His family moved to Minneota, Minnesota where he spent his boyhood and attended school.

In January 1905 he enlisted in the United States Army, serving during the Spanish-American War. He was honourably discharged in January 1909 at Fort Logan, Colorado.

After working several years in the Plentywood, Montana area, he moved to Richey, Montana in 1916 where he operated a men's clothing store. He married Grace Hargo, January 24, 1929 in Miles City, Montana and she preceded him in death. In 1930 he was a hotel manager in Richley, Dawson, Montana.

For many years he managed a hotel-restaurant and also began farming interests. On 20 July, 1948 he married Edna Graber in Billings, Montana. The couple lived in Richey until four months prior to his death when he was confined to the Veterans' Hospital in Miles City, Montana, with a broken hip. He was later transferred to McCone Hospital where he died on the 4 th July, 1966.

(This information was furnished by his widow Edna Graber)

ELIZABETH YEO ( back to top)


Elizabeth Yeo (known as "Sis"), the fourth child of John and Emma Selwood Yeo was born on the 6 th February 1883 in Ishpeming, Michigan. In her later teens she lived with her Uncle Harry (Yeo) and his wife Emma in Butts, Montana.

She graduated in 1909 from Murray Hospital Nurses' Training School in Butte and spent her working life in the nursing profession. She married Samuel David May of Dwyer, Wyoming on the 10 th March, 1915. He was a widower and they had no children. Nothing more is known of him or his family.

Aunt Sis was a frequent visitor to Grandpa's house when I was a youngster. I remember her as one who always brought us exciting and unusual gifts. One of my gifts was a doll, a Negro doll. Until this time I di not know there were people with dark skin. Aunt Sis was a stern-appearing person and was very strict with us, not hesitating to reprimand or discipline if she felt we needed it, even though she was a guest in the house.

I hope to have a picture of Grandpa's sister, Mary Ann Yeo in this book, and if so, you who knew Aunt Sis will notice the striking resemblance between the two of them.

THOMAS YEO ( back to top)


Thomas Yeo, the fifth son of John and Emma was born on the 18 th August, 1885 in Ishpeming, Michigan. Shortly after this he moved with his parents to Minnesota and lived in the Minneota area for the remainder of his life. He enlisted in the army for World War 1. However, after retiring from active farming he did spend some time in the drier climate of New Mexico. (1920 Census)

As a lad he attended the local schools and on the 31 st January, 1916, he married a widow, Hilda Johnson Hovland of North Dakota.

Their children are :-

  • Elsie b. 16 December 1916, d. 18 July 1991 and married Edward Heinen. They had two sons, Edward and Richard.
  • Emma Leona, b. 18 August 1920, d. 7 May, 1988 and married Virgil Roberts. They had a daughter, Sharon.
  • Thomas b. 20 June, 1926 and married Maxine Papineau. They have children, Gregory Gene, Jeffrey Alan and Monte Stephen.

Thomas's grandson, Jeffrey lives in the family home which Grandpa John Yeo built. Thomas, Snr. died on the 20 th June 1954 and is buried in the Lutheran Cemetery in Minneota with his wife Hilda who died on the 31 st January, 1972.

GEORGE YEO ( back to top)



George, sixth child of John & Emma was born in Ishpeming, (Marquette County) Michigan on the 12 th January, 1887. He attended school in Minneota and later went to telegraph school in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He worked for the railroads most of his life and lived in Minnesota a good part of that time. He married Lyda Mary Butts, (born 26 th August 1892 in Plymouth, Iowa), in July 1915 in Plymouth Iowa. George died 25 th March, 1972 and Lyda on the 1 st February, 1981.

They had three children:-

  • Gertrude Emma b. 1 st September 1919 in North Dakota who married Shirley Atkinson
  • Clyde Henry b. 19 th February 1917, Plymouth Ia and died September 1989
  • Helen May b. 25 th August, 1931 in North Dakota and married 2nd September, 1951 in Barrett, Mn

    Their children are:

    • Steven Craig b. 1953
    • Bradley Donovan b. 1955
    • Lorrie Beth b. 1956
    • Rebecca Sue b. 1962
    • Julie Ann b. 1964

ALBERT YEO ( back to top)


Bert was the seventh child of John & Emma and was born on the 5 th October, 1888 in Ishpeming, Michigan. For the major part of his life he resided on a farm, a portion of the original land purchased by his father in Lyon County, Minnesota, five miles north east of Minneota. He enlisted in the army for World War 1.

He married Ona Dell Struthers, daughter of Robert William and Ada Brown Struthers of Allison, Iowa. To this union were born four children. Soon after the birth of the last child, Ona Louise, Bert's wife died on the 14 th March, 1924.

Their children are:-

    • Robert Wayne Yeo b. 1917 married Inez Johanna Stanton of Tracey, Mn. In 1941
    • Ada Elaine Yeo b. 1920 married Fred Eugene Raymond of Mephis, Tn. On the 4 th December, 1945
    • Bert Eugene Yeo b. 18 April, 1922 married Delores Pridal of Burton Township, Minneota, 22 June 1943. (Delores was b. 10 th May, 1923)
    • Ona Louise Yeo b. 20 th February, 1924 married Bert Thomas Olevson of Minnesota 2 nd November 1952. He died in 1978 and Ona still resides on the original farm where her father farmed, though the family house is no longer standing.

JANE YEO ( back to top)


My mother, Jane Yeo was the eighth child of John and Emma and was born in Ishpeming, Michigan on the 27 December 1889. She came with her family to Minneota. She attended the one-room district school which was a mile from the farm home. It was a typical rural school house, and at one time I had three aunts and one uncle in the school, in different grades.

Mother attended high school in the town of Minneota. Since winters were severe and a farmer's time valuable, she boarded in town during the week, doing housework for the lady to earn her room and board. She came home on weekends. After graduation from high school, Jane attended St Cloud Teachers' College to prepare for nurses' training. Apparently Grandpa was willing for his daughters to have post-high school training. A lot has to be said for his attitude towards careers for women. In many ways Grandpa was Victorian in his views, and in others, surprisingly in ahead of the times.

When I went horseback riding I was careful not to leave the house when he was out and about. He did NOT approve of trousers for women, for any reason. He also frowned on bathing suits (one wonders what he would have to say about the "string bikini"!!)

Jane was accepted at St. Mary's Hospital School of Nursing in Rochester, Minnesota. She was one of a small group of girls-who graduated in 1915. They worked hard, and as mother was fond of saying, they did everything; scrubbed floors, washed windows, beds, fixed trays and worked twelve hours a day, every day, and felt privileged to be able to do so.

Jane was pleased to be selected for anaesthesia training after she graduated; and was then associated with Drs. Charles and William Mayo, sons of the founder of the Clinic. She worked with many of the notable surgeons of that time, and admired these men, gentlemen and scholars, and considered herself fortunate to have been associated with them. She enjoyed those years and her photograph album is filled with pictures, not so different from those of any college girl of the times; posing with young men, dressed for dates or horseback riding or picnics. She always looked happy, and very serene.

Jane also did private duty nursing in Rochester and told me of some of her patients, among them, James J. Hill, the railroad magnate.

After working in Memphis for two doctors with whom she had worked at the Clinic , Jane decided to join the Army Nurse Corps when World War I started. John Yeo had three sons (Edward, Robert and Charles) and one daughter in the service. All returned safely.

Jane was not sent overseas, much to her disappointment but was stationed the entire time at Camp Pike Army Hospital, Camp Pike, Arkansas. She came in contact there, for the first time in her life, with adults who could neither read nor write. It was a surprise to her; these young soldiers who were serving as orderlies, were from the rural areas of the south and had not had any formal schooling.

After the War, Jane married Carlile Francis Williams, Sr. (he was b. 1893 in Middletown, N.Y. and died in Washington State in November 1966). My father was an accountant in a lumber camp at Black Diamond, Washington. I was born December 2, 1922 at King County Hospital, Seattle, Washington. I spent my early years in a lumber camp.

My parents separated (later divorced) after the birth of my brother, Carlile Francis Williams, Jr. 25 May 1925 in Mankato). Mother had returned to Minnesota and we began our lives with Grandpa and Auntie. (Aunt Emma). (1930 Census)

Jane and Emma moved to New Mexico and Texas after Grandpa's death in 1948. When it was discovered that Emma had terminal cancer, she and Jane moved to Staunton, Virginia. After Emma's death (October 1958), Jane lived in Newport News, Virginia, a few blocks from Kathryn, and spent her summers in Maine with May. She was marvellous support for me during the difficult times and was always ready and willing to do any thing that needed to be done. She enjoyed refurbishing furniture and painting and wallpapering.

She died 2 October 1980 in Hampton and is buried in Parklawn Memorial Park, Hampton, Virginia.

ROBERT YEO ( back to top)


Robert, the ninth child of John and Emma was born on the farm in Minneota, 22 .January 1892. He went west as a young man, pre-empted land in Montana and raised horses. He enlisted in the army during World War I and went into ship's carpentry work while stationed at Fort Lewis, Washington.

He married the former Anna Elizabeth Dick (Bessie) in Tacoma, Washington on 5 June 1919. His wife was descended from an early Virginia family who later settled in Canada. She preceded him in death in 1943.

After discharge from the service, Robert made his home in the Boston area where he worked in Civil Service until his retirement in 1955 and subsequent move to Stratham, New Hampshire.


  • Dick Selwood Yeo was born 28 February, 1920. He married Edna .Johnson. After her death he married Margery Nelson.
  • Roberta Yeo, born 1921 lived with her parents in Boston and, after graduation from Massachsetts Memorial Hospital School of Nursing married Donald Ryder. After living in Massachusetts for several years, the couple, with their children, Jimmy and Donna moved to the San Diego area. Their third child, Douglas was born there. After a valiant struggle with cancer, Roberta died in 1995.
  • Eva Ruth Yeo was born 24 May 1923 in Minneota and lived in the Boston area, attending schools there. She married Gervais Heal White on 10 February, 1946 in Boston and during his tenure of service with the United States Army, lived most of those years in Virginia where he was stationed at Fort Eustis. On his retirement from service, they moved to New Hampshire. Of this union were born three, children, Neal, Jr., Martha and Sue. Eva Ruth died in November 1975 in New Hampshire.
  • Mabel Yeo was born 18 July 1928. She, too graduated from Massachusetts Memorial Hospital School of Nursing and later obtained a degree from Simmons College in Boston. She married Stewart Whelpley, and after his death, married George Rollins. No children. She and George live in East Falmouth, Massachusetts, not far from Dick and Marge.

EDWARD (TED) YEO ( back to top)


Edward (Ted) Yeo was the 10th child born to John and Emma . He was born on the family farm at Minneota, 24 February 1893. He worked on farms in Minnesota as a young man and just prior to World War I he enlisted in the Army. He was a cook and became Sergeant, spending most of his service time in El Paso, Texas area and in California.

After his discharge from service, he married Clara Josephine Lean of Swede Prairie, Mu. in 1921.

He worked in Minneapolis, Minnesota as a children's barber. Later he moved to El Centro, California, establishing his own barber shop. He also worked in real estate. He died in January 1945.

Their children are:-

    • Cleo Emma Yeo b. 1926 in California
    • Edward (Ted, Jnr) Yeo, b. 1927 in California
    • Clara Yeo b. 1934 in California.

MYRA YEO ( back to top)


Myra the 11 th and only surviving child of John & Emma, was born on 24 th June, 1894 in Minneota. After high school she took a business course in banking at Mankato Business College, She worked in a local bank until her marriage to George Heine of Tracy, Minnesota.



RUTH YEO ( back to top)


Ruth, the twelth child of John & Emma was born on the 12 th March, 1896 in Minneota, Lyon County, Mn.

She attended local schools and later married a widower, Howard M Green, who had two children. He died in October, 1966. Ruth and Howard made their home in Seattle, Washington and she died there 11 th May, 1979


Their children are:-

    • Alice Ruth b. 1920 and married Robert Cowan on the 1 st May 1954 in Germany. She died in 1988 in Seattle.
    • Helen Ruth b. 27 th October, 1925 and married Arnold Isaccson
    • Paul John b. 1935

    Paul attended local schools, the University of Washington and did graduate work in French and Library Science. He earned a Doctor of Philosophy degree and presently works at Washington State College, Pullman, Washington. He is not married.

MAY YEO ( back to top)


May was the thirteenth child born to John and Emma. She was born in Minneota on the 25 th August, 1897.

May attended Mankato State Teachers' College and subsequently married Alison Chadburn Huntington of Maines. They made their home in the northern part of Maine in a small village called Mars Hill. Alison had an interest in Potato Farming and trucking.

After Alison's death, May operated a home for elderly ladies in her home. May died in Maine on the 20 th October, 1980. There were no children of this marriage.

CHARLES YEO ( back to top)


Charles, the last child of John & Emma was born in Minneota on the 5 th May 1900. He attended local schools there. He wanted to enlist in the army during World War 1 but he was under age and his parents would not sign the papers for him. However, when he became of age he enlisted.

After discharge from the Army, he worked for the telephone company in Phoenix and eventually became an executive with the Mountain States Telephone Company.

In December, 1936 he married Elia Paez, the daughter of a Mexican Government official. They have one daughter, Jo-Ann who spent her working years as a professional dancer.

Charles, who had cancer, attended a clinic in Mexico to be treated with Laetrile, a controversial drug, illegal in the United States. He and Ella were both most enthusiastic about the treatment. Though Charles went back to the clinic for regular checkups, the cancer never recurred. Charles died of a heart attack on the 25 th September, 1979.


  © 2003-6 Sheila Yeo | For more information on the Yeo family and the research contained in this site email sheila@yeosociety.com or call me on +44 (0)1626 360978