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Judge Edwin Michael Yerger

Judge Edwin Michael Yerger

Lebanon, Wilson County, Tennessee, USA
Death 5 Mar 1871 (aged 52)
Memphis, Shelby County, Tennessee, USA
Burial Memphis, Shelby County, Tennessee, USA
Plot Sect Turley Lot 333
Memorial ID 100096923 · View Source
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According to the 1850 Census for Memphis his wife was named Sarah, age 23. Their children were:

Mary Yerger age 4
Jennie Yerger age 2
Kitty Yerger age 1

His wife, Sarah, died June 3 1856 at the age of 29. Cause of death was listed as inflammation of the bowels. Just 5 months earlier she gave birth to a boy. He died just two days before his mother on June 1, 1856. Cause of death was listed as disease of the bowels.

In the 1860 Census for Memphis the family is residing in a hotel:
E.M. Yerger age 41
Mary J. Yerger age 21 (His second wife)
Mary S. Yerger age 14 (mother was Sarah)
Jennie Yerger age 12 (mother was Sarah)
Kittie Yerger age 10 (mother was Sarah)
Hattie Yerger age 8 (mother was Sarah)
Edwin A. Yerger age 6 (mother was Sarah)
Susan Yerger age 2 (mother was Mary J)
Geo. S. Yerger age 4 months (mother was Mary J)

His parents were Edwin Michael Yerger (1780-1841) and Margaret (Polly) Shall (1783-1833).

The Memphis Daily Appeal
March 6 1871

A noble heart, whose depths we have often sounded, has ceased to throb. The dazzling and unmatched intellect which has so long been the boast and pride of our community is shrouded in death. Hon. Edwin M. Yerger breathed out his great and generous soul yesterday at five o'clock p.m., at his residence in this city and the sad news of the death of a citizen so long prominent, so gifted, so genial, popular, and beloved, caused so many hearts to chant his dirge and to bleed with one common pang of grief and anguish. For two months the public mind has been familiar with Judge Yerger's hopeless condition. His disease baffled science; skill was powerless to cure; the delicate, assiduous attentions of wife, children, friends, availed not, and he slowly, silently, yet sadly sunk, and yesterday "Like a shadow thrown softly and sweetly from a passing cloud, death fell upon him."

When a light of such surpassing splendor has forever faded from the firmament, darkened by its extinction, we feel that something more than an ordinary announcement is required; and gratitude for the kindness of a friend in the hour of need, and admiration for the genius of the man, prompts us to mingle our poor tribute with the funeral offerings which others will give to the memory of the deceased. Edwin M. Yerger was born in Lebanon, Wilson county, Tennessee, on the 4th of January, 1819. He had, therefore, lived just two months and one day in the fifty-third year of his age. The parents of Judge Yerger acquired no distinction; but either one or both must have possessed an unusual amount of hidden genius, for all of their sons possessed extraordinary talent and have shed luster upon the legal professions of Tennessee and Mississippi. Without being a regular graduate, Hon. E.M. Yerger acquired a good English education. He commenced his career in life without means, and first engaged as a clerk in the post office at Nashville. In 1840, he removed to Vicksburg, Mississippi, and commenced the study of law under the direction of his oldest brother, Judge Shall Yerger, who was then one of the most distinguished lawyers of the State. His quick, retentive memory enabled him to procure license in a few months, and, after a short practice in Mississippi, he removed to Springfield, Illinois. But he felt isolated, and attachment for the old home which the new one could not subdue, and in 1843 he returned to Tennessee and at once located in memphis, where a brilliant career awaited him. With a commanding person and a handsome face, fine voice, conciliatory address, industry, ambition and self-reliance, he speediy climbed to the acme of professional distinction. His first speech was made at Raleigh, and consisted of only ten minutes duration, and he was so much dissatisfied with his first effort that he retired and brooded in sadness and despair over his failure. he, however, rallied during the week and redeemed himself by making a speech, which at once placed him on the road to a success surpassing his most sanguine expectations. Clients multiplied, and in a short time he was at the head of the West Tennessee Bar. Judge Yerger never became enamored of political life, like most of the young men of that day, who were possessed of intellectual powers. But in 1854, he was nominated as a candidate for Congress in opposition to Hon. F.P. Stanton. Judge Yerger reluctantly consented to make the race. The two parties were nearly balanced in the district, which, with the talents and the popularity of the candidates, made the contest one of unusual interest. Judge Yerger was defeated by only one vote. This experiment satisfied him that his great talent was not adapted to the political arena, and he again turned his attention to the law, the principles of which noble science he had mastered. Indeed, E. M. Yerger was a natural lawyer. He knew everybody and everything; never seemed to read, and yet was always thoroughly prepared in his cases, and showed that he was a lawyer by intuition. He had knowledge of the law, and his clear, vigorous judgment enabled him to apply it successfully. Nor did he rely upon this alone, for he was always armed with authority, the latest authority which ruled the principle, and most perspicuously illustrated it. his manner of argumentation was logical, without the stiff, cold formality of scholasticism. indeed, he was a natural logician. Before the Court he had great power of condensation and never weakened his cause by repetition or profuse elaboration. His manner was always collected and cool; his style chaste, without any great beauty or ornament, but always exceedingly cogent and lucid, and when the subject seemed most complicated, the acuteness of his analytical mind seemed to unravel and lay bare the true features of the case, with an ease and power that required scarce an effort. his conclusions were always deducted from arguments clearly logical. His mind was indeed remarkable for its large capacity. No man was ever blessed by his Creator with faculties of a higher order. The name and fame of such a man cannot perish. The bright orb has sank from the view of the community in fullness and beauty; but it will continue to pour upon the horizon a posthumous glory, that will tell of the splendor and greatness of the luminary that has passed away.

We presume Judge Yerger left more personal friends than any man who has lived or died in West Tennessee. His friends became such from affection. They admired him for his ability and loved him for his kindness, generosity, and the nobility of his nature. Antagonisms engendered no bitterness in his soul, rivalry created no hatred, and disappointment did not lesson his cheerfulness. Public life did not chill the warmth of his heart. Our personal relations with Judge Yerger were of such a nature as to enable us to appreciate his many virtues. Failings he had, for they are the allotment of humanity; but long will the community mourn ere it mourn a better man or a nobler spirit. he possessed in an eminent degree those high qualities of head and heart which surely win and retain confidence, esteem and friendship. Truth, sincerity, kindness, courage and courtesy were stamped upon his moral nature. Though sometimes manifesting irascibility and acerbity of temper, he was generous, kind, and even gentle in his nature, and in his gushing magnanimity he preferred jeoparding his rights rather than fall short of all that was due to another.

Judge Yerger died without a shadow upon his broad and pleasant brow. A calm, high soul beamed from his eyes, and he died like a Christian and a philosopher. He bore his long sickness and sufferings with meekness and patience never equalled. Two weeks ago he was confirmed by Bishop Quintard in the faith of the Episcopal Church, and in the judgment of the friends who conversed with him during his sickness, he died a Christian.

The whole public is deeply grieved at the death of such a citizen. But sharp as may be the pangs of others, sharper will be the pangs in the desolate household. There, a stricken wife, to whom he was "the ocean to the river of her thoughts which terminated all," weeps bitter tears over the absence of the husband in whose light and joyousness and warmth of heart she drank in life's only bliss. Within the sanctities of the widowed home we will not intrude; but we supplicate heaven for balm to her crushed and bleeding heart, and to enkindle in her sad bosom a gentle heroism, sustained by which she can look with serenity upon her widowed house; and in the children that girdle her with beauty behold the inheritors of a name which will secure for them the love, the honor and the blessings of the whole community.

The funeral ceremonies will occur at St. Mary's church tomorrow, Tuesday, at 2 o'clock p.m.

Family Members




  • Created by: Mary & Kent
  • Added: 3 Nov 2012
  • Find A Grave Memorial 100096923
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Judge Edwin Michael Yerger (14 Jan 1819–5 Mar 1871), Find A Grave Memorial no. 100096923, citing Elmwood Cemetery, Memphis, Shelby County, Tennessee, USA ; Maintained by Mary & Kent (contributor 47170788) .