Yager Family of Page County, Virginia

Nicholas Wesley Yager (1792-1868), a farmer and veteran of the War of 1812 and his wife, Christena Williams Overall (1803-1879) were both born in Virginia and were buried in the Yager Cemetery in Luray, VA. They were the parents of William Overall Yager and Francis Wesley Yager, both of whom attended the University of Virginia. (Keith, “Nicholas Yager”)

William Overall Yager (3 Apr. 1833-20 Jan. 1904) graduated from the Virginia Military Academy in 1852 and attended the University of Virginia in session 30 (1853-1854), where he studied law. He then went to Kansas and served as Engrossing Clerk for the Kansas State Senate before becoming the Probate Judge of Shawnee County, Kansas in 1856. (Allardice; Miller)

William joined the Confederate States Army in 1861 and first served with the First Regiment of Texas. He formed a new cavalry battalion in April 1862–known as Yager’s Battalion Texas Mounted Volunteers (Third Texas Cavalry Battalion)–and he was the commanding officer. He steadily rose in rank, and by the end of the Civil War he was a Colonel and commanding officer of the First Texas (Yager’s) Cavalry (CSA). Later in the War he was brevetted to acting Brigadier-General. He was paroled in San Antonio, Texas on 2 Sep. 1865. He was described as “sociable and devoid in the remarkable degree of the arrogant manner that characterizes many of the officers.” He retained the title of Colonel for the rest of his life. (Allardice; Wm. Yager Obituary)

William married a native of Missouri, Mary Elizabeth Rhodes (30 Jan.1842-12 Sep. 1932) in Guadalupe County, Texas on 23 Jun. 1863. The family left Texas and relocated to Springfield, Page County, Virginia in 1869. Their first daughter, Mary R. Yager, was born in Texas about 1867. Their four other children, William E., Ruth C., Eliza, and Mittie Blanche E. Yager were all born in Virginia. (Frost) In the 1870 U.S. census, William is listed as a “manufacturer of wool goods.”

From 1873 to 1875, William served as a member of the Virginia House of Delegates, and four years later he served one term in the Virginia State Senate. In the 1880 U.S. census he was listed as a “manufacturer.” He was then elected Superintendent of the Page County School Board. He held this office until 1883, when he was elected Treasurer of Page County, serving in this office until 1895. In the 1900 census William was listed as a farmer. At the time of his death at age 71, William was serving as the President of the Page Valley National Bank. He is buried in Yager Cemetery north of Luray, Virginia.

Francis (Frank) Wesley Yager (6 Jun 1835-2 Feb 1889) attended sessions 30-31 (1853-1855) at the University of Virginia. He studied Ancient Languages, Modern Languages, Mathematics, Chemistry, and Moral Philosophy during his time at the University. During the Civil War he served with Mosby’s Partisan Rangers as a Third Lieutenant in Company C and was promoted to Second Lieutenant of Company B. In Nov. 1864, Mosby asked him to resign because of his incompetence in the position. (Frank Yager Resignation, Fold3.com; Williamson)

On 12 Oct. 1865, Frank married Genevieve Turner Ashby (24 Nov 1844-12 Feb 1896), the sister of a comrade in Mosby’s Rangers. They had two children: Lucy Ashby Yager and Frank W. Yager. The 1870 U.S. census shows them as living in Springfield, Page County, Virginia with William O. Yager and his family. Frank Senior is listed as a “retired merchant.” In 1874 the Frank Yager family moved to Washington D.C., and the 1880 census shows them living there. Frank died and was buried in Washington D.C.


  • Allardice, Bruce S. Confederate colonels; a biographical register. University of Missouri Press, 2008, p.410.
  • Ancestry.com. 1850-1900 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc.
  • “Died [Genevieve T. Yager].” The Washington Post [Washington, D.C] 13 Feb 1896: 2.
  • “District of Columbia, Births and Christenings, 1830-1955,” index, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/F75C-K4K : accessed 09 Mar 2013), Frank W. Yager in entry for Yager, 24 Apr 1875.
  • “District of Columbia Deaths and Burials, 1840-1964,” index, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/F7RC-RDS : accessed 09 Mar 2013), Francis W. Yager, 02 Feb 1889.
  • Frank W. Yager, Resignation, Nov. 12, 1864.” Service folder, National Archives. Fold3.com
  • Frost, Cathi Clore. Descendants of Michael Clore and Nicholas Yager. [database online] http://worldconnect.rootsweb.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/igm.cgi?op=GET&db=clore&id=I43180
  • Keith, Arthur Leslie. “Yager Family,” William and Mary Quarterly, Second Series, 9, no. 4, (October 1929), p. 275-286.
  • Keith, Arthur Leslie. “Nicholas Yager and Descendants,” William and Mary Quarterly, Second Series, 9, no. 3, (July 1929), p. 186-200.
  • Miller, Aragorn Storm. “YAGER, WILLIAM OVERALL ,” Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fya08), accessed March 08, 2013. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
  • “Virginia Obituary [William Yager].” The Washington Post (Washington, D.C.), 21 Jan. 1904, p.8.
  • Williamson, James Joseph. Mosby’s Rangers: A record of the operations of the Forty-third battalion of Virginia Cavalry from its Organization to the Surrender. 2nd ed. rev. and enl. New York, 1909, p. 115.
  • Yager Cemetery, Luray, Page County, VA. Findagrave.com
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