Select Young Miscellany

Here are some Young stories and accounts over the years:

Yonges of Bristol

The first recorded Yonge was John Yonge who was bailiff of Bristol in 1385.  He was recorded as living on Temple Street.  His son Thomas was a prosperous merchant in the town and was Mayor of Bristol in 1410.

One of Thomas’s sons, John, came to London, did well and was Lord Mayor of London in 1471.  He was knighted by the king for the part he played in resisting an attack by a Kentish mob.  Other Yonge descendant lines were to be found in Devon (at Colyton) and Berkshire (at Basildon). 

The main Yonge line stayed in Bristol.  Thomas Yonge was MP for Bristol from 1435 to 1451.  He later had problems with the Yorkists.  Even so, this Yonge family had become substantial landowners in Gloucestershire by Tudor times.  Queen Elizabeth stayed at Sir John Yonge’s house in Bristol in 1574.  The family later built a grander residence there, the Red Lodge, which has survived until today.  By the time of Sir John’s death in 1589, the Yonge spelling had become Young.  Their monument in Bristol Cathedral, which survived until 1861, reads:  

“Here lyeth the bodies of Sir John Young knight and Dame Joan his wife.  By him she had issue of Sir Robert, Jane and Margaret.”

Sir Robert Young unfortunately squandered his inheritance and later had to sell the Red Lodge.

John and James Yonge

The records of St Saviour’s church in Dartmouth showed that John Yonge married Joanna Blackaller there in 1640.  At that time Dartmouth was a boom town because of its involvement with Newfoundland cod fishing. This activity may have drawn John Yonge to the town as he himself went out to Newfoundland many times with the cod fishing fleets. 

His son James was born in 1647 and, like his father, made voyages to the Newfoundland fisheries.  He later became a naval surgeon and a prominent citizen of Plymouth.  He died in 1721 but left a journal of his life. 

The Victorian writer Charlotte Yonge may have been a descendant.  She wrote in her autobiography:

"Our tradition is that in the time of James I, when knight’s fees were heavy, a gentleman of the Norfolk family eluded the expensive honor by fleeing into Devonshire.  His son acted as a surgeon in the Cavalier Army.

However, there is no other evidence for this Norfolk connection to John Yonge.  Another speculation is that he may have come to Devon from Ireland.

The Youngs of Auldbar

Auldbar castle lay on the right bank of the South Esk river near Brechin and had been acquired by the Young family of Seton in the 17th century.  Notable Youngs of Auldbar were:
  • the Rev. Alexander Young who was made Bishop of Edinburgh.  
  • the Rev. John Young who went to Ulster and was granted lands at Coolkeragh in Derry.  
  • and Mary Young who fled Scotland with her husband John Lamont after the Lamont massacre by the Campbells.  They found a haven in county Antrim in Ireland and never returned to Scotland.  
The Youngs held Auldbar for less than a hundred years.  On the death of David Young in 1743 the estate was sold to relatives, the Chalmers family.  Auldbar castle, a four-storey tower, was demolished after a fire in 1965.

The Young Surname in the 1891 Census

Youngs (000's)



Henry Young Shipwrecked Off Martha's Vineyard

Henry Young from Edinburgh had joined and served four years in the British Navy when his ship was wrecked off the US East Coast near Martha's Vineyard.  He swam ashore and married Lydia Ross the daughter of a ship owner there in 1766.  They lived at Tisbury.  He built and taught in the only school on Martha's Vineyard.  He was drafted into the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War but was soon released as he was the only teacher available on the island.  

After the war Henry moved to Fenner near Rochester in upstate New York in 1803.  His great grandson Alonzo Young took the family west to Illinois in the 1850’s.

John Hayden Young, the Father of Brigham Young

In 1769, at the age of six, John lost his father when he was killed after being hit by a falling tree.  He and his younger brother were bound out to a neighbor in Hopkinton who, it was said, treated them very cruelly.  John took it for five years and then ran away and joined the Continental Army.  

After the War was over, John married.  In the winter of 1801 he and his wife and their eight children set off on a hundred mile trek from Hopkinton, Massachusetts to Whitingham, Vermont where they were to construct ar new home in the wilderness.   The ninth child Brigham Young was born during their first year in Vermont. 

His children used to relate this story about him: 

“One Sunday he was walking in the woods with one of his neighbors, when his dogs began barking and he found they had ‘treed’ a very large black bear. He tried in vain to get his neighbor to stay and keep the bear up the tree, but his neighbor departed to get a gun. 

He then decided to cut a hickory sapling to poke at the bear.  Down came the bear.  His dog caught him by the end of the nose, causing him to open his mouth.  Thereupon Young pushed his sharp stick down his throat and killed him.  When his neighbor returned, he found to his surprise the bear nicely dressed and ready for roasting.”

John later moved his family to upstate New York where in 1831 he first heard the preachings of the prophet Joseph Smith.  Three years later he was ordained as a patriarch of the Mormon church.  He died in 1839.

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