Younglove Genealogy 
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Ezra Younglove

"Inside Lulu Cemetery in Ida is a military grave marker for a War of 1812 veteran named Ezra Younglove. The marker, made in the late 1930's, about 80 years after the man's death, notes his war record: a second corporal in Butler's Kentucky infantry, the chief gunner on Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry's Niagara? and a spy.

The marker also states that he was awarded a gold metal. The state of Kentucky gave it to him in 1867, just two months before his death, in honor of his gallantry during the historic Battle of Lake Erie, when Perry defeated the British and gave control of the lake to America.

Younglove's military marker is a fitting tribute to any war veteran. But he does not lie beneath the stone. He is buried instead in an unmarked grave in a knoll by Monroe County Community College.

The Knoll, known as Potter's Field, is a historic cemetery where more than 195 people, including Younglove, are buried in unmarked graves.

The only marker on the site is a historical marker the Monroe County Historical Society placed there in 1988. It mentions Younglove, but none of the names of the others who are buried there.

Little is known about Younglove's work as a spy. Records at the Monroe County Historical Museum's archives say he enlisted in a company of spies in 1812, after war was declared. But that is it.

There is substantial information about the rest of his wartime service. The data was compiled by the late Joshua West, Younglove's grand nephew and the person largely responsible for having the military marker made.

According to West, Younglove was wounded severely in a sword fight shortly after enlistment, sustaining a 10-inch gash in his left shoulder.

He lost a lot of blood, but was taken in by Native Americans who sewed his wound with elm bark and nursed him back to health. He was given an honorable discharge and went home to Kentucky were he had worked before the war as a machinist.

He again enlisted in the infantry, this time as a second corporal with Capt. Butler's Kentucky volunteers. Several of the men including Younglove were picked to serve in Perry's fleet. He soon was promoted to chief gunner, or sharpshooter.

When Perry's ship the Lawrence, became disabled during the Battle of Lake Erie, the commander boarded the Niagara, the ship that Younglove served on. Under Perry's command, the Niagara kept the British from taking the Lawrence.

The Americans' gallantry eventually forced the British to surrender their six ships.

After the victory, Younglove was given $447.39 in prize money and an honorable discharge. He returned to his trade as a machinist and began amassing a fortune.

Exactly when he left Kentucky and came to Monroe is not clear according to the records in the archives: one document says 1820, while another states about 1850. In any case, he married a widow, Mary Catharine LaFountain, after his arrival. She preceded him in death.

In 1865, he moved to Ida Township to live with Henry Younglove West and his son Joshua. Henry Younglove West was the son of Elizabeth Younglove West Ezra's sister.

Five years earlier, the Kentucky Legislature had decided to award gold medals, to the riflemen who participated in Commodore Perry's victory. Because of a legislative technicality, the state congressmen never appropriated the money, however. They finally did so in early 1867. Younglove was awarded his medal on March 9, 1867. By then, he was ailing. Shortly before his death, he asked to be taken to the Monroe County Infirmary, which was located near where Monroe County Community College stands today. He died in the infirmary on May 25, 1867. At his request, he was buried in an unmarked grave in the potter's field at the infirmary and poor farm. The grave remained unmarked until September, 1937, when Joshua West, after years of trying, finally succeeded in getting a proper headstone for the grave. The headstone is no longer there, of course. According to a letter in the archives, it was moved sometime in the 1950s to the West family plot in Lulu Cemetery, where it continues to stand today.

Younglove's remains are still in Potter's Field."
The above article appeared in the Monroe Evening News on 10 Oct 1993. It was featured in "LOOKING BACK" - Monroe County's past remembered. Elisa Tomaszewski Monroe Evening News Staff writer wrote the article.

Posted: 25 June 2000
Revised: 22 August 2002


The Potter's Field Memorial Site

Monroe County, Monroe, MI


Ezra Younglove (6)
Samuel (5) Isaiah (4) Joseph (3) Rev. John (2) Samuel (1)

The date for Ezra's marriage is recorded as 1820, however I have found court dates that suggest he was married earlier than that. One dated 22 Aug 1816 that he was in court (Detroit, MI) over the estate of Francois LaFontaine his wife's previous husband. Again on 24 Dec 1816 he sued Charles Reame over the administration of the LaFontaine estate. He was recorded as being in court several times on assault charges in the year 1817, 1818 & 1819.
Ref: Burton Library Detroit.

Catherine was the widow of Francois Dubord dit LaFontaine. They had 5 children at the time of Francois Dubord dit LaFontaine's death. He was b. 23 Feb 1757 buried 31 Jan 1815 Detroit. Ref: French Families of the Detroit River Region 1701-1911.

Ezra married 1st Catherine Chabert LaFontaine 8 Aug 1820 in Detroit MI. Ezra and Catherine had 3 children, Samuel David b. 1820; Catherine Ann; 1821 and possible Marie Elizabeth who m.1st. Louis Durocher and 2nd Nelson Dionne. At this point this is not a proven child.

After Catherine's death in 1835 Ezra retuned to Kentucky and married Margaret Russell. There is no record of children to this marriage. Following Margaret's death he returned to Monroe, Monroe, Co., MI. He lived with his nephew Henry West, father of Joshua.

Joshua West was a great nephew of Ezra Younglove (6). This is apparently the speech that he delivered at the ceremony honoring Ezra at the dedication of the gravestone in 1937. Which was sponsored by the Detroit Chapter of the National Society of the United States Daughters of 1812 in Monroe Co., MI. Who were celebrating the 124th Anniversary of Commodore Perry's victory on Lake Erie by dedicating a white marble marker on Thursday 16 Sept 1937 on the grave of Perry's chief gunner Ezra Younglove in Monroe County. The ceremony was held at the Monroe County Cemetery. The Gen. Alexander Macomb Chapter of Detroit of which Mrs. Marvin L. Hoagland was president conducted services. Mrs. Gordon W. Kingsbury, past state president and chapter chaplain led the prayers. Rep. Earl C. Michener, of Adrian delivered the address. Joshua West great nephew of Younglove represent the descendents and unveiled the marker. Mrs. Helen Baker Rowe, of Grand Rapids, represented the State Chapter.

I found this in the Monroe Historical Museum in 1985:

Life Of Ezra Younglove

First before I give the history of Ezra Younglove, the grave of which the Daughters of 1812 will dedicate the marker to his memory, as there is a great deal written of George Washington, but little has been written of those helping to achieve the great events of the Revolutionary War.

Samuel Younglove, the father of Ezra Younglove, was of medium height, rawboned, a heavy muscled man. Always achieved what he started to do. Therefore made him one of Washingtons most valuable soldiers. He being one of Washington's first volunteers. He with his two sons and one son-in-law went through the hazards of the early pioneer wars with Washington. The two sons and son-in-law were either slain or died of exposure and he, the only one left of the family, was Samuel Younglove. Samuel Younglove's family consisted of four sons and two daughters, of which Elizabeth Younglove West was the grandmother of the writer of this small history of the Younglove Family.

A story told of Samuel Younglove's achievements by Ezra Younglove, also by my father, Henry Younglove West. At one time things looked very gloomy for Washington, for what equipment and other war utensils he had were mired in mud. He called his men together for consultation after telling them prospects were gloomy, Samuel Younglove stepped up saluting Washington, said, "There is nothing, impossible, we can bring forward the equipment." With a pleasant smile Washington said to Samuel Younglove, "Detail your men and bring them forward and we will win the war." Which he did. Part of this is American History and part family history.

The life history of Ezra Younglove the marker of which we are here to dedicate. He was born in the year of 1771 in Monroe County, New York State. At the age of 12 years he enlisted as a page to one of the high officers, which I am unable to name. Serving his time out and was honorably discharged. One of his achievements was when he was called to the office and was given an important message and was asked, "Will you deliver this and return with an answer?" His answer was, "I will." With swollen streams and no bridges they thought it would be impossible. At the same time they detailed another page, gave him the message, and mounted on horseback with the same instructions. Ezra Younglove did deliver the message and returned. For this he received a medal. Days afterward the other messenger returned without delivering the message and without his horse.

After his discharge he learned what we term now as a machinist, but he called himself a Smith. My father always referred to him as a Smith. My cousin Levi Warren, after years of search for history of the Younglove family referred to him as a Smith. But as a fact he was a skilled machinist and his services carried him to all parts of the United States. He could not resist the call of his country to serve, so in 1812 he enlisted in a company of Spies, under a general I cannot name. In the early part of his service he fought a duel with swords with the enemy. After slaying the enemy he found he was severely wounded himself. A gash in left shoulder blade diagonal across his back about 10 inches long. After much loss of blood he was taken and befriended by the Indians. His wound was sewn with slippery elm bark by the medicine man, they nursed him to recovery. He was a great friend of the Indians. On account of his severe wound he was discharged, and returned to Kentucky.

Then after recovering again he would not resist the call of his Country. He enlisted with Capt. Butler as Second Corporal. And from the Kentucky Volunteers they picked most of the soldiers for Perry's vessel. He was then promoted as Chief Gunner. After the victory on Lake Erie, he was honorably discharged with 3 months pay in advance and a gold medal for his gallantry.

One of his favorite stories he loved to tell was the victory on Lake Erie, when the great Commander "Perry" said: "Don't give up the Ship." He gave the command to his men to double the charge for he knew the strength of the little guns. At a historic meeting at Toledo, Ohio, about 50 years ago the speaker mentioned Ezra Younglove, as the only living member in 1860 of the Perry Fleet of his great achievement in war. Also mentioned as chief gunner and a man of great skill as he helped man the vessel so gallantly protected.

After his discharge in 1814 he went back to follow up his trade in which in those days he became quite wealthy. But in the pioneer days with the method of traveling and other labors he had to give up his trade on account of his health. In about 1850 he came to Monroe, Michigan to make his home. Here he married a widow woman named LaFountaine. If my memory is right, and I think it is, she had a son, Louie LaFountain or Fountain that visited my great uncle at my father's home after the death of my great Uncles wife in 1860 or shortly after his wife died. In the summer of 1865 he came to live with my father in Ida Township, Monroe County, Michigan. As his affliction of running sores on both feet it was impossible for him to get around only by crutch and cane. And the writer of this was detailed, not as a nurse, but as an errand boy. In the winter of 1867 his affliction became worse, gangrene setting in and the great distance of doctor, Monroe being nearest. By his request he was taken to County Infirmary and passed away May 25, 1867. His request was to be buried in the Infirmary Cemetery.

This ends the life of one of our most beloved citizens."


The writer of this small history thinks there have been very few mistakes made, as my father Henry Y. West, was in possession of three Honorable Discharges, and also two medals, one gold and the other bronze.
- Joshua West.

Note: Other genealogists have told me that this manuscript is more fiction than fact. This may be true, but I also think that to Joshua's knowledge he thought it to be fact. These are stories that he was told by his father and grandfather and Ezra himself. The Honorable discharges are fact and so are the medals, however I do feel the date of birth is wrong and the marriage to Catherine LaFountaine is recorded in Detroit as 1820 and that could have taken place possibly even earlier. Catherine did have a son Louis, who was the youngest of Catherine's children. The visit of Louis to Ezra reflects some sort of bond between the two of them. Ezra did come back to Monroe, in the summer of 1865 and that was after the death of his second wife, Margaret Russell who he had married in Kentucky. The stories above may be embellished to some extent, but I for one will include them in my history account of Ezra Younglove.

Posted: 25 June 2000
Revised: 22 August 2002


Ezra's Name Etched in Stone


"A shaft of granite, rising 352 feet above South Bass Island on Lake Erie in Ohio, inside etched in stone is the names of the men who served on the American fleet under Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry against the British fleet in September of 1813 in the battle of Lake Erie.

PVT. Ezra Younglove who served on the Niagara as a sharpshooter is listed among them.

I had a chance to visit the monument in 1984 and was stunned to see a Younglove name on the wall. I inquired to the National Park Service on the involvement of Ezra in the war and the following excerpt is from the letter that I received.

July 27, 1984 "The names of the men aboard the fleet are derived from Samuel Hambleton's prize list of participants so that prize money could be paid after the British fleet was captured. Younglove is listed as a second corporal aboard the Niagara, the sistership of the Lawrence, and he was paid $447.39 in prize money on September 18, 1814. Apparently he enlisted early in the War of 1812, was wounded and then discharged. He later re-enlisted as a private in the 28th U. S. Infantry regiment, commanded by Colonel Thomas D. Owings, initially in Captain Henry Gist's company and later in Captain Thomas L. Butler's company. The muster roll for Butler's company states Younglove was "attached 17 Octo' 1813."

During the Battle of Lake Erie the soldiers from Harrison's army served primarily as volunteer marines. Perry was desperately short of sailors prior to the battle and Harrison asked for volunteers from his army to serve on the fleet. Their duty was to fight on deck or in the rigging with their muskets in an attempt to pick off British officers and gunners. The Niagara's role in the battle is controversial but after Perry transferred to her near the end of the action, she was in the thick of it and played the decisive roll in ending the battle. Although on the prize list as a second corporal and receiving a non-commissioned officer's share of prize money, Ezra Younglove was actually a private. Since there was a fairly large contingent of the 28th U. S. aboard the Niagara, and since there was probably only one other sergeant and corporal, Younglove was probably given a temporary promotion because of past experience. In any event it doubled his prize money."

Sincerely,
Harry C. Myers
Superintendent