Spelled Yoakum, Yocum, Yokum, and others

YOCUM, Jesse 
Birth: VA Circa 1761
Service: VA
Rank: Sol
Death: LA p 1838
Patriot Pensioned: No Widow Pensioned: No 
Children Pensioned: No Heirs Pensioned: No 
Spouse:  Dianna Denton

Several descendants of Jesse Ray Yocum and Diana How Denton made their way to the lawless area in southwest Louisiana in the mid 1800s. Some were involved in the lawless activities of the time. Two sons were hanged. One, Zach Yocum, was hanged by "Regulators" in Louisiana (date unknown, perhaps around 1876) and the other was hanged by parties unknown in Texas in 1841. A grandson, Doc Addison fought off the Regulators, killing four of them, in Louisiana after fleeing from murder charges in Texas. Another son, Matthew (or Matthis) Yocum, along with his brother-in-law, James Collier, was suspected in the killing of Robert Collier (James's brother).  They then attempted to kill Charles Chandler, Robert Collier's son-in-law.

These lawless few constituted a minority of the Yoakum family members in the area at the time.

Handbook of Texas


The Yokum Gang was a group of reputed thieves and murderers who operated in the Neutral Ground between Louisiana and Spanish Texas in the early 1820s. Susan Callier (Collier), daughter of Robert Callier, who settled east of San Augustine in 1822, favored as a suitor, Matthew [Matthis] Yokum [son of Jesse Ray Yokum], a member of the gang; but her father ordered Yokum never to return to the Callier home and persuaded his daughter to marry Charles Chandler. Susan's uncle, James Callier, married a Yokum sister [Martha Yokum, daughter of Jesse Ray Yokum] and became a member of the gang. James Callier and Matthew Yokum then killed Robert Callier and started to San Augustine to murder Charles Chandler, but Chandler, aided by a slave who was killed in the encounter, killed both his assailants. Other members of the gang then murdered a Louisiana citizen and seized his African-American wife and mulatto children to sell as slaves in Texas, but David Renfro and his neighbors drove the gang out of the country and returned the woman and her children to Louisiana. The gang fled to Pine Island Bayou in the area of present Jefferson County and resumed their practices of robbery and murder until neighboring citizens hung (actually, they shot him) Thomas Yokum [son of Jesse Ray Yokum] and dispersed the remainder of the group.

Robert Bruce Blake

The Yocums mentioned in the Handbook of Texas article "Yokum Gang" are all children of Jesse Yocum, son of Matthias Yoakum and Diana Denton, both of Kentucky. Matthias Yocum, b 1790, KY; Thomas D. Yocum, b 1796, Ky (my ancestor) married Pamelia Peace, 9 Jan 1814, St. Landry Parish, LA; and Martha "Patsy" Yocum,b 20 Mar 1804, KY. m James Callier. Jesse and Diane had 11 children in all, and I have information on most. The story in the Handbook of Texas is based on a few facts and a lot of myths. Thomas D. Yocum was murdered 19 Sept 1841 and no one was ever charged. Let me know if you desire further information. 

Diane S. Thompson

Another Story about Yokums in SW Louisiana

The Author is James Henry Fawvor (1874-1972)
James Henry was a brother of Grandpa "Bill" Fawvor



Back in 1876, Cameron Parish was a part of Calcasieu Parish. There was no Cameron Parish at that time and it was a "Bad Man's Land." At that time there were no officers and courthouses and it was a wide open country. The cattle were not fenced up and there were worlds of cattle that would roam from the Mermentau to the Calcasieu River,

There were some pretty bad young men down here. When they wanted meat to eat, they would go out and choose the fattest cow they could find. It wouldn't make any difference who the cow belonged to. They would butcher the cow, cut the meat up in strings about one inch square, salt it, hang it on a line to dry, and it was called "tasso". The old bad men of the country got up a mob with Will Griffith as Captain. Will Griffith was afraid of Ralph Stewart, his stepson. He was living with Ralph Stewart's mother at the time. He got up the mob to murder him, and at that time Will Griffith and Mrs. Stewart had ten children in their family, Other members of the mob were Vilyar Theriot, Charles Theriot, Nicholai Broussardy Sosthene Richard, and Prank Pleasant. They got men from all parts of southwest Louisiana. There was supposed to be about 500 of them. They got up for the purpose to regulate the country but it was done more to murder these two young men and they did murder them in cold blood and that is how they came to be called Regulators. They didn't wear masks. When they wanted to take a man in charge, they would send strange men to keep themselves from being known.

They went to Ralph Stewart's house and got him, but he happened to be pretty much of a man and twisted loose from them. As he ran, they shot him. Will Griffith walked up to him, after he was down and shot him in the top of the head. That happened near Oak Grove. Then they went on down out this side of Cameron at a little thickly settled place that was called Tassoville and captured Zack Yokum [son of Jesse Ray Yokum]. At the time they went in to capture him, he tried to tear pieces of cloth out of his wife's dress to use for wads to load his gun. One of his brothers [actually his nephew], Charley Yokum [grandson of Jesse Ray Yokum] climbed up an old mud chimney and the Regulators told him to come down they weren't going to hurt him. They took Zack Yokum across to the front ridge and hung him in a hackberry tree on Willow Island. while Zack Yokum was hanging to the tree, Frank Pleasant jumped on him and spurred him while he was choking and dying. 

Zack Yokum had a cousin  from Texas who was named Doc Addison [son of Julia Ann Yokum (daughter of Jesse Ray Yokum)] who had killed two men in Texas and was down here hiding from the law. The Regulators decided to take him. The reason they wanted him was because he was living with Will Griffith's oldest daughter, Sis Griffith. They came to his place about 2:00 o'clock in the morning and hollered to him to get up and make coffee. He hollered back and told then it was too early for coffee. He was at the home of Old Aunt Martha Yokum [sister of Jesse Ray Yokum], the wife of John Rutherford, who had a good picket fence around her house. He had the gates fastened and the Regulators could get in and they began pulling the pickets off of the fence. Doc Addison  happened to be well prepared for them. He had two muzzle loaded shot guns, The widow of Ralph Stewart's was there and she would load one gun while he shot the other one. He threw two loads of buckshot into them and he had to wait a little while for the woman to load the other gun. He couldn't afford to use both guns at the same time. By the time he got the other gun loaded, then he looked to try to find where they were. They must have found somewhere else to get coffee.

The next morning there was four of them laying dead and three others wounded and they sent a friendly man to ask them if they could come and haul them off and they told them to go back and tell them that they could come and get them because he would like to have left them laying there and let the buzzards eat them, but since they would stink, they could haul them off, and if they would come back the following morning before daylight to get coffee that he would have the coffee ready and plenty of buckshot to sweeten it. 

Doc Addison left his address with the Yokums and anybody who wanted to have his address. He went back to Yokum, Texas, where he was from and he told them that if they got up another mob down here, he would come back and take care of them. 

Ralph Stewart was shot and Zack Yokum was hung because they were wild young men going to dances, fighting, cutting up, and drinking whisky. There were no officers in Bad Man's land at that time. The officers would come down from Lake Charles to get them and they would get on their beautiful horses and leave out and wave to the officers to come on out to the country.

My old Daddy, Tom Fawvor (Thomas Fresimon Fawvor, Jr.), shot off a derringer pistol and they captured him and they tied him with his hands behind him and he saw who the ones were from down here in this Bad Man's Land and that is why I know exactly who were the ones in the Regulators from here.

Old Captain Manuel Sturlese joined the Regulators with the intention of begging and pleading for them not to hurt anyone. With all the begging and pleading Mr, Manuel (Sturlese) did, they decided to turn my daddy loose. 

Any time that a bunch of young men get up a mob to do bodily harm to anyone, they are nothing but a bunch of cowards. If Ralph Stewart or Zack Yokum would have had a firecracker to light and throw amongst the Regulators, that would have been the last they would have seen of them.

My mother was Julia Yokum, a sister to Zack Yokum and first cousin to Doc Addison, and she was named after her Aunt Julia Yokum [Julia Ann Yokum, mother of Doc Addison], a sister to Jess (Rae)Yokum [son of  Jesse Ray Yokum] and Doc Addison's mother. Doc Addison's father's name was James Henry Addison and my Uncle James Yokum [grandson of Jesse Ray Yokum] was named after James Henry Addison [husband of Julia Ann Yocum]. I was named after my Uncle James Henry Yokum [grandson of Jesse Ray Yokum]. The Yokums are a distant relation to Billy the Kid.

Site last updated 16 April,  2011
Copyright 2011 Leonard A Hale