Historical fame and a colorful life


Historical Society’s annual meeting to feature presentation on Gen. Stephen Bates Yeoman

By Tyler Flora - [email protected]



The Fayette County Historical Society has the sword that was carried by Yeoman.

The Fayette County Historical Society has the sword that was carried by Yeoman.


Photos courtesy of Fayette Co. Historical Society

General Stephen Bates Yeoman


Photos courtesy of Fayette Co. Historical Society

This Thursday, the Fayette County Historical Society’s annual meeting will feature a presentation on the highest ranking soldier from Fayette County during the Civil War.

The meeting will take place in the St. Colman Fellowship Hall in Washington Court House. A social gathering will take place prior to the meeting at 6:30 p.m., with the meeting beginning at 7. This meeting is open to the public and all that have an interest are encouraged to attend.

The featured speaker this year is Ginger Thrush, who is a descendant of General Stephen Bates Yeoman. Yeoman was a Civil War general, appointed by Abraham Lincoln. Outside of his military background, he was reportedly known as a judge, an embezzler, and a philanderer.

Yeoman was born on Dec. 1, 1836 in Fayette County. He was the son of Alvah and Elizabeth Yeoman. Alvah was from New York and Elizabeth was from Virginia.

He died on June 17, 1917, in Los Angeles, California. Yeoman is buried in the Los Angeles National Cemetery.

The following is an excerpt from the Biographical Encyclopedia of Ohio 1876, provided by the Fayette County Historical Society:

“Stephen worked on a farm until fifteen years old, attending the winter schools. In 1851 he abandoned his guardian and proceeded to New Bedford, shipped on a vessel before the mast. He rose during his eight years of a sailor’s life to the positions of second and first mate. He circumnavigated the globe twice, was shipwrecked twice in the south Pacific Ocean, and passed 27 months on a whaling vessel. In 1859 he returned home and became a farmhand while also studying school, until the outbreak of the Civil War in April of 1861, when he accompanied Company F, 22d Ohio Volunteers, as Orderly Sergeant, to Virginia.”

It continues, “At the expiration of four months, the regiment was mustered out of the service and he returned home, recruiting Company A, 54th Ohio Volunteers, with which he went to Kentucky as Captain. He served with this regiment until 1864, when, on account of losing his hand which had been blown off by a cannon shot during the Battle of Arkansas Post.”

Yeoman married Cordelia Wood in 1863 and they had six children together: Minette, Ida C., Burton, Nellie, Grace, and Willard.

In 1865, he was mustered out of the service and by 1866 was elected Probate Judge of Fayette County, according to the biography. While serving at this position, he absconded with county funds and gambled it away in Cincinnati. Cordelia had to bail him out and make restitution. He later was reinstated to the same position.

He retired in 1870 to his farm in Madison Township. In 1872, he returned to Washington Court House where he established a lucrative legal business. Yeoman’s story certainly does not end there.

Thrush will have much more to share with the community about Yeoman during the presentation.

The Fayette County Historical Society has the sword that was carried by Yeoman.
https://www.recordherald.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/27/2022/10/web1_YeomanSword.jpgThe Fayette County Historical Society has the sword that was carried by Yeoman. Photos courtesy of Fayette Co. Historical Society

General Stephen Bates Yeoman
https://www.recordherald.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/27/2022/10/web1_Yeoman.jpgGeneral Stephen Bates Yeoman Photos courtesy of Fayette Co. Historical Society
Historical Society’s annual meeting to feature presentation on Gen. Stephen Bates Yeoman

By Tyler Flora

[email protected]