George Yates IV was born abt. 1727 in Caroline County, Virginia, the second of three sons born to George Yates III and his wife, Ann Guinney. The Yates family had arrived in the colonies from County Berkshire, England three generations earlier and settled in Anne Arundel Co., Maryland. In 1729, George’s father disposed of the last of his holdings in Maryland, and from that point forward the family resided permanently in Virginia. The plantation was located in St. Margaret’s Parish, and his father was considered one of the leading citizens of Caroline County. George’s mother died when he was three years old, and he was still a minor when his father died in 1744, thus prompting the Caroline County Court to assign a guardian, William Conner, Gent., a neighbor of his father’s and a prominent subject of the parish. (Caroline Co., VA Order Book 1743/44, Folio 250).
As was the custom in the British colonies, each county had its own militia, and all free white males above the age of eighteen were subject to be called for military training and drill. The crown appointed the unit commander for each county and also commissioned a group of the county’s most prominent residents to assist in the command of the troops. On April 13, 1758, George Yates, then thirty one years old, was appointed lieutenant in the Virginia Militia for Caroline County. (Caroline Co., VA, Order Book, Folio 347). Seven years later, on August 8, 1765, he was appointed to the rank of Captain in the Virginia Militia:
“George Yates, Gent., produced a Commission from His Honour the Governor appointing him Captain of a company in this County and He took the oath according to law and signed the Test.” (1765 August 8, Caroline Co., VA, Order Book, Folio 106).
About 1750, George Yates married Frances Lewis, believed to be the youngest daughter of John and Frances Fielding Lewis, of Warner Hall, Gloucester, Virginia. Although no proof of their marriage has survived (Gloucester Co. records were destroyed by fire), all evidence points to this union. Together they had nine children: John, who married Elizabeth Gaines; Charles Lewis, who married Mary Goodloe; James, who married Lucy Partlow; Richard, who married Mary Pitts; Frances G., who married John Shirley; William, who married Isabella Gaines; Mary “Molly,” who married Thomas Shirley; George V; and Warner, who married Elizabeth Baxter.
The exact date for George Yates’ death is unknown, but court records suggest it was the latter part of 1777, which would have made him about fifty years old. Subsequent to his death, the Caroline County Court awarded the executors of his estate the sum of 10 pounds for care George Yates had provided to a sick soldier in the American Army:
“The court are of the opinion that the exors of George Yates, decd, be allowed the sum of 10 pounds for maintenance of William Raines a soldier in the service of the United States while in the small pox and the sum of 3 pounds to Doctr William Yates for attending the said soldier.” (1778 Mar 12, Caroline Co. VA, Court Min. Bk.)
George Yates may have died from small pox caught from one of the sick soldiers for whom he cared. The doctor identified above as William Yates was actually Dr. Michael Yates, George’s older brother. That same record has the last will and testament of George Yates admitted to probate on motion of the Executrix and Executors. Michael Yates (brother) and John Yates (son) were executors (Minute Book, Liber 1774-81, Folios 60 and 151). The executrix was not named.