SENATOR JOHN YARYAN
Richmond, Ind., Jan. 27, 1894.” Senator John Yaryan died this afternoon, at his home in this city, at the advanced age of ninety-two years. Mr. Yaryan served in the last State Senate and was probably the oldest legislator in the country. He was born in Tennessee and came to Wayne county, Indiana, in 1859. He served many terms in the State Legislature, in the early days of the State, and was the author, in Indiana, of the law which gave the women the right to own property and to make a will. Mr. Yaryan’s illness was brief.
(From the Indianapolis Journal)
Hon. John Yaryan, Senator from the county of Wayne, in the Indiana Legislature, is without doubt, the oldest legislator in the world. He passed his ninetieth birthday on November 27, 1892, having been born in the second year of the century. He is fourteen years older than the State and is older than its present boundary line. At the time of his birth his parents were living in Blount county, Tennessee, of which Marysville is the seat. His ancestors were German, as the name would indicate. Mr. Yaryan’s educational opportunities were fair, for those early times.
A Mr. John Bigger was the first teacher of his recollection, who taught in a school-house located on his father’s farm ” this was in Union county, Indiana, in the vicinity of Liberty, the county-seat, which was, at that time, not yet thought of. His second teacher was William Bennett, an uncle of General Tom Bennett. The amusements of those days were corn-huskings, singing-schools and dances.
Senator Yaryan was unusually ambitious, in his boyhood, for an education, and pursued the opportunities at hand so assiduously that, at twenty-one years of age, he was able to teach in the schools of the settlement. His earnings as teacher were about ten dollars per month. The first office he ever held was that of Justice of the Peace ” this was before he was admitted to the bar.
Senator Yaryan began his legal studies in 1831, and was not admitted to the bar until 1839. ” I was required,” said he, ” to pass two very rigid examinations, before two Circuit Judges. Our Constitution, which was formed in 1851, changed the requirements, so that they have ever since amounted, practically, to nothing ” any citizen may become a member of the bar, on proof of moral character.”
The bar of eastern Indiana had some noted lawyers in the forties : Caleb B. Smith ” the friend of Lincoln ” and his talented brother, Oliver H., both learned and eloquent, practiced at the Union count}- bar. Samuel Parke ” also an orator and a noted Congressman in his day ” was a compeer of the Smiths. Senator Yaryan was the partner of Caleb B. Smith, in Union county, during the decade from 1840 to 1850.
Senator Yaryan’s interest in politics began at an early day. He lived to vote for eighteen Presidents ” from 1824 to 1892. It has only been two years since he retired from the practice of law, but he keeps busy as the executor of estates, etc., and as the secretary of the Odd Fellows’ Provident Association. He has no bad habits, and is regular in everything. His present wife is his second wife, to whom he was married in 1847. He is by no means antiquated in his ideas. His faculties serve him admirably, and he keeps posted about all that is going on. His life has been a useful and an honorable one. C. R. Lane.
[From the Richmond Item]
During the time that the remains of the late John Yaryan lay in state, at his residence, on North Tenth street, a large number called to look upon his form once more. As he lay, surrounded by flowers, he looked more as if fallen asleep than that death had claimed him.
At the Wayne county bar meeting, following his death, there were present Judge Comstock, C. C. Binkley, H. B. Payne, John L. Rupe, C. E. Shiveley, J. W. Henderson, Judge Abbott, F. C. Roberts, Judge Henry C. Fox, Judge Kibbey, Judge William A. Bickle, Lewis D. Stubbs, A. L,. Study, Jonathan Newman, I. Ben Morris, Thomas J. Study, Charles H. Burchenal, and Judge Bundy, of New Castle.
Judge Bickle said, “I never knew Mr. Yaryan, in all the forty years of my acquaintance with him, to do a mean or dishonest act, or utter a falsehood.” Mr. Burchenal said, ” He lived out his life well, and did his duty as he saw it.” Ben Morris said, ” For fifty years he has stood a prominent land-mark among the men of eastern Indiana. His fall was like the giant oak. I consider him one of the big Americans who constitute the bulwark of society.” L. D. Stubbs said, ” He was entirely incorruptible and thoroughly moral.”
The final services were held at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Rev. J. E. Cathell officiating. When concluded, the cortege formed in line and proceeded to Earlham cemetery, where interment took place.
Source; Poems & Sketches; George P. Emswiler; 1897