The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Wellington Provincial District]
Yerex, George Manley
Yerex, George Manley, Importer of American Manufactures, etc., National Mutual Buildings, Customhouse Quay and Hunter Street, Wellington. Cable and Telegraphic address, “Yerex, Wellington,” Code, ABC, 4th Edition. Bankers, Union Bank of Australia, Limited. Private residence, Western Hutt. Mr. Yerex, whose name, it may be remarked, if correctly pronounced, will rhyme with “Berks,” established his present business some seven or eight years ago. During that short time he has made wonderful progress; and his success is certainly well merited, for there are few men in the Colony in whose characters are combined so many of the qualities needful for getting on in the world himself, and at the same time helping others to do the same. Liberal to a fault, and thoroughly upright in all his dealings, Mr. Yerex is endowed with perseverance, energy, pluck, and general business capacity, which, if carefully divided, would be more than sufficient for half-a-dozen average New Zealand business men. There is page 576 hardly a firm of importance in the Colony to whom he has not introduced some time and-labour-saving appliance. His principal lines are:—The New Yost Typewriters, the National Cash Registers, and Wheeler and Wilson's sewing machines; but his stock includes novelties of all kinds. He is in touch with all the foremost exporters and manufacturers of the United States, either by direct communication or through his numerous agents. The Chicago Exhibition tempted him to re-visit America, and while there he completed arrangements with several loading firms, who appointed him their sole agent for the Colony. The numerous testimonials he has, many of which have been inspected by the writer, show that his goods give general satisfaction. Socially, Mr. Yerex is as popular as he is commercially, as the following extract from a New Zealan 1 paper would indicate:—“Mr. George M. Yerex, who is the subject of one of our illustrations this week, is a native of the great Dominion of Canada, who has accepted New Zealand as his home. Canada is distinctively British in its characteristics of social, political, and religious life, but having the United States for near neighbours, many in Canada imbibe the free spirit of democracy and entertain a love of democratic institutions. Such a one is the subject of this sketch. Mr. Yerex's foreparents were originally settled on the Hudson River, New York, but with other United Empire Loyalists, when the United States declared their independence they removed into Qntario (then called Upper Canada), and were identified with the early history of that part of the country. Fort William Henry, at Kingston, Ontario, which is next to Quebec in importance as a military stronghold, was named after Colonel William Henry Young, Mr. Yerex's great-grandfather. Mr. Yerex himself, though considerably under forty, has had a somewhat chequered career. His early days were spent among the farmers of Central Ontario (called the ‘Garden of Canada’) and this familiarity with rural life has left its impress, so that he still prefers the solitudes of nature to the bustle of city life. His private residence is nine miles out of Wellington, on the slopes of the Belmont hills, overlooking the Hutt River and Valley. “The Wigwam,” as the quaint old house is appropriately called, presents the personification of cosiness and homely comfort, while the view overlooking Wellington Harbour is one of the finest in the Colony. He was not born with a silver spoon in his mouth, but what was of greater value, he possessed a genius for hard work; and farming, carpentering, cheese-making, school-teaching, and country storekeeping, have all been tried. In the year 1883 Mr. Yerex left Canada to represent a Canadian Company in Australia, and for five years he travelled extensively over New South Wales and Queensland. It was during his experiences in the remote towns of these colonies that he was most thrilled with the horrors of the liquor traffie, which tended to make him an emphatic Prohibitionist. It is as the friend of advanced temperance reform that he is perhaps best known throughout New Zealand. Something over a year ago Mr. Yerex made a tour through Canada and the United States, studying the question of Prohibition as carried out there. Considerable interest was shown by his letters not only on Prohibition, but also on other subjects, which were published in a Wellington journal at the time. Mr. Yerex, while in Canada, did good service for his adopted land by delivering several lectures on New Zealand, which were referred to in laudatory terms by the Canadian Press.” Since his return to New Zealand, Mr. Yerex has frequently occupied the public platform, addressing large audiences in Christchurch, Palmerston North, Wellington, and other towns. As a descriptive lecturer, his style is vivid, realistic, and pleasing, and never fails to draw a good house. In 1890 Mr. Yerex was married to Miss Clara Pinny, sister of Mr. F. J. Pinny, the well-known musical instrument importer, and sister-in-law to Mr. C. M. Luke, the present Mavor of Wellington (1895). Mr. Yerex was accompained on his American tour by his wife and little boy.