Yore Family Still Calls Lake Forest Home After 170 Years
The first Yore family member arrived in Lake Forest more than 20 years before its founding.
While there are many families in Lake Forest, whose family tree goes back to the founding of the city 150 years ago, there is one family who can be traced back to the area more than 20 years earlier.
Many of the members of the family of Michael Yore, who settled in what is now Lake Forest around 1840, and descendants are still residents of the city, and surrounding communities today.
The story goes that Michael Yore who immigrated to America from Ireland was travelling to Wisconsin by way of the Erie Canal and the Great Lakes, when a storm grounded his boat on the shores near Lake Forest.
After exploring the area, he abandoned his plans to travel further north, and settled on 160 acres of land that is now Everett and Waukegan Rds.
“He said ‘I don’t think I need to go to Wisconsin,’” explained Chris Yore, Michael Yore’s great-great grandson.
Approximately 170 years later, five generations of Yores have made their lives in the Lake Forest area.
“All of the people have stayed in the Lake Forest area,” said Chris Yore.
When Michael Yore settled the land, he sent for his wife Roseanna, and their two children, who had still been living in Ireland. They made a three week journey across the ocean, losing all of their wordly possessions along the way.
They built a log cabin on the property, which at the time was the only house that existed on Waukegan Rd. between Chicago and Waukegan.
He began farming on his land, and according to Chris Yore, started an Irish community settlement on the property for relatives that also came to the area from Ireland to escape the great potato famine.
“Everyone would show up at his house and wait for the mission,” said Yore, who explained that the influx of people showing up at the Yore’s house prompted Michael to establish and build St. Michael’s Catholic Church on the west side of Waukegan Rd.
“Roseanna said ‘Build this church, and get these people out of my house,’” he joked.
In 1855, St. Michael’s Church burned down. St. Patrick’s Catholic Church, now stands in its place.
Michael Yore donated land for a cemetery, located along what is now Telegraph Rd. Now known as St. Patrick’s Cemetery, it is the burial place for many generations of Lake Forest residents, including, Michael and Roseanna Yore, and their descendants.
“I think it’s very unique that I can go out to St. Patrick’s Cemetery with my children and show them generations of their ancestors,” said Gerry Yore Hart of Lake Bluff, a great-great granddaughter to Michael and Roseanna Yore.
In addition to growing their land, and community in Lake Forest, Michael and Roseanna Yore also grew their family.
They had a total of 10 children; Jane, George, Mary, Thomas, Catherine, Loretta, Louis, Mary Anne, Roseanna, and Joseph.
In later years, the Yore family moved out of the farming industry, and into the dairy industry, when George and Thomas Yore opened Yore Brothers Dairy.
Their pasteurization plant was located on Western Ave. in Chicago, and in the early 1900s, their business’ biggest client was the Chicago Archiocese, supplying milk to all of the city’s catholic schools and parishes, prior to the stock market crash on 1929.
Throughout the generations, the Yore family has played active roles in both Lake Forest and Lake Bluff communities.
Thomas Yore Jr. was instrumental in the establishment of the Deerpath Golf Course, which opened in 1926.
Gerry Yore Hart, and her family settled on Lake Bluff’s east side, and two of her children and their families have settled there as well.
After living in other areas of the country for a time, Gerry’s brother Chris, and his wife, Elizabeth, reside in Lake Forest. From 1989-1995, Chris was an owner of Smith’s Men’s Store on Western Avenue.
In addition, he has served on the Chamber of Commerce Board and is a member of the Deer Path Golf Course Advisory Board.
“When I grew up, it was a small town, and everyone knew everyone,” Yore said, explaining that there was no difference in status between some of the wealthier residents of Lake Forest, and those who lived more modestly.
“I think in the very beginning, it was bringing family and friends together to give them a sense of community,” he said. “Some of us can still feel the small town flavor of it.”
In 2004, the Yore family was recognized by the Lake Forest-Lake Bluff Historical Society with a Centennial Award, given to families of historical significance to the area.
So what keeps decendants of Michael and Roseanna Yore coming back to Lake Forest after 170 years?
According to Chris Yore, it has always been the small town feel.
"It was the innocence of it all. Everyone felt very safe and secure," he said. "I think we always take that for granted."