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John Yeo was born 29 July 1834 at Port Hill, Prince Edward Island, to father James and his second wife Damaris (nee Sergent) Yeo. John's father was a prominent Island shipbuilder, as well as a ship owner, merchant, farmer, and politician. As a boy John spent time in England for schooling; however, upon completion of his education he returned to Port Hill and became involved in his father's various businesses.
When James passed away in 1868, John continued operating many aspects of the family business. He followed in his father's footsteps and earned his living as a merchant, farmer, shipbuilder and owner, and livestock breeder. He continued operation of the general store at the crossroads in Port Hill, a short distance from the location of the original Yeo family home and shipbuilding yard. John Yeo spent much of his adult life working and residing at the crossroads property.
John Yeo also followed in the family tradition of political involvement. At age 24 in 1858, he was elected to the Prince Edward Island legislature where he served as a member for many years and, at the time of Confederation, as Speaker of the House. In 1891, following his brother James' retirement from federal politics, John pursued the same seat his brother had held and was elected to the House of Commons. In 1898, he was appointed to the Senate at the recommendation of Sir Wilfred Laurier. John Yeo never married and passed away on 14 December 1924, still a member of the Senate.