The Valley of Heart's Delight

Merchant of Wood, Coal, Hay and Straw

Surnames:  Hite, Rupp

An Iowan who has been succeeding so well, since he established himself in California that he is now rated as one of the leading dealers in wood, coal, hay and straw in Santa Clara County, is Ostrum H. Yerkes, whose office and yards are at 1066 Main Street, Santa Clara.  He was born in Benton County, Iowa, on May 16, 1875, the son of S. A Yerkes, a gentleman now eighty-five years old, a well-to-do farmer with an enviable record for public service as a supervisor.  He was born in Indiana, came to Iowa before the Civil War, and married at Vinton Miss Catherine Hite.  They reared a family of twelve children, eleven of whom are still living; at Vinton, Benton County, Iowa.  The youngest of the family is thirty-four, and the eldest fifty-four.

The eldest son and the fifth child, Ostrum, was sent to the country schools, and then he went for a year to the Tilford Academy at Vinton; and growing up to hear good reports of the Golden State, he decided to come out to California.  He became coachman for Mrs. T. B. Dawson at Sunnyvale, and there met his future wife, Miss Alice Rupp, daughter of John Rupp,  the well known railway man, once master-mechanic for the C. R. I. & P. Ry., who for forty-five years lived at Washington, Iowa, and is now living retired on a pension granted by the company, at the home of Mr. Yerkes in San Jose. 

He is a member of the G. A. R. back in Iowa, from which state he volunteered in the Civil War when but fifteen years old and served through that entire struggle.  He was in the siege of Vicksburg and went with Sherman on his March to the Sea and took part in the Grand Review at Washington, D. C., at the close of the war.  Mr. and Mrs. Yerkes were married on Washington's Birthday, 1904, at Washington, Iowa, and they remained in Iowa for a year after their marriage, when Mr. Yerkes conducted a furniture store at Vinton. but at the end of that time they decided to return to california, this being, in their opinion, the only place in which to really live. In 1905, they came to Santa Clara, and Mr. Yerkes leased the old lumber yard and went into business.  By close application to the needs of his patrons, anticipating their wants and leaving no stone unturned to please and satisfy them, Mr. Yerkes has built up a good paying trade, and for the purpose of a prompt delivery he maintains three wagons, and a two-ton Moreland truck.

Mr. and Mrs. Yerkes own a handsome residence, the old property of the banker, Mr. Birge, one of the finest homes in the town, and two children- Margaret C. and John Stephen Yerkes- share its comforts and pleasures.  The family attend the Baptist Church, and Mr. Yerkes is a deacon in that congregation.  In matters of national political import, he favors the Republican party platform.  H is a Mason, an Odd Fellow and a Modern Woodman, and is affiliated with the Santa Clara lodges.

Transcribed by Carolyn Feroben, from Eugene T. Sawyers' History of Santa Clara County,California,  published by Historic Record Co. , 1922. page 595