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Biographies U - V

 Following are some biographies of families who at one time or another lived in Henry Co. llinois. In some cases it is the parents, spouse or child who was a Henry Co. resident so please read carefully!





Fletcher Van Auken, residing on section 28, Galva Township, was born July 11, 1842, in Monroe Co., N.Y.  The ancestors of the Van Auken family, of which the subject of this sketch is a member, came from Holland and settled in Duchess Co., N.Y., about 1836.  They were members of a colony that were sent there by the Holland government, and a portion of their posterity still reside there.  Their descendants took an active part in the Revolution of the Colonies from the unjust government of the old country.

The record shows that the grandfather, Aaron Van Auken, was a Revolutionary soldier, and after the war was, engaged in the occupation of a farmer in New York.  He was married in that State, and died near Albany, as likewise did his wife, aged 102 years.  They were the parents of three children, of whom Aaron, Jr., was the only son.  He was born in 1800, in Albany Co., N.Y., and is yet still living, in Knox County, this State, where he came in 1858.  He was for a time Superintendent of a section of the Erie Canal, and held the office of Justice of the Peace, and likewise participated in the War of 1812, being in the engagement at Sackett's Harbor.  He married Catherine Ostrander, a native of Lowell, who is still living, at the venerable of 82 years.  She bore him six children, - Calvin, Anna, Wesley, Martha, William Harrison and Fletcher.

Fletcher, the subject of our notice, was reared in Rochester, N.Y., where he received his early education.  At the age of 17 years, he came to Knox County, this State, in 1858, with his parents, and has continually been engaged in the occupation of a farmer ever since that time.  He first purchased land in McLean County, which he farmed for two years, then sold it and bought in Woodford County, lived in the latter county four years, sold his land and then came to Galva Township, this county.  On arriving here, he purchased 123 acres of the old Bonham homestead, the oldest settler in Galva Township, which is located on section 28, where he is at present residing.  Previous to this he had lived from 1866 to 1876, one mile southwest of Galva, on a farm owned by his father.

Mr. Van Auken was married in Knox County, Oct. 18, 1863, to Margaret A., daughter of Joseph Armstrong, a native of Durham Co., England. She has borne him three children, viz.: Frank, Unnie and Ermina.  The latter died aged years.  Mrs. Van Auken is a member of the Christian Church.  Politically, Mr. V. is a sympathizer with the principles of the Democratic party, and, socially he is a member of the A.F.&A.M. belonging to Galva Lodge, No. 243.

Source: "Portrait and Biographical Album of Henry County, Illinois," dated, 1885.

Submitted by: Susan Fahnstrom

NOTE: Catherine Van Auken was actually born in New York, not in Lowell, Illinois, as it states.
This is my husband's family on his grandmother's side they all lived in Henry County, some of them were born there. The Fahnstrom's are my husband's grandfather's side of the family.


John W. Vader, son of Daniel Vader, was born in Henry County, Illinois, in 1859, where he lived till about nine years of age.  His father then removed with his family to Greene County, locating in Kendrick Township in 1868.  One year later the family removed to Scranton, where the father died November 13, 1872.  The mother died December 14, 1886, at Scranton.  John W., the subject of this sketch, grew to manhood in Scranton, and was united in marriage in Jackson Township, Greene County, on January 15, 1880, to Miss Cynthia A. Clopton, who was born in Greene County in 1855, a daughter of Isaac Clopton, of Jackson Township.  To Mr. and Mrs. Vader have been born two children -- Leo C. and Clara B. Mr. Vader followed agricultural pursuits till 1876, when he entered the postoffice at Scranton as clerk under H.C. Smith, postmaster.  In June, 1880, his wife was appointed postmistress, as he had not then attained his majority.  He soon after, however, assumed the duties of postmaster, holding that position until February, 1886, when the present incumbent was appointed.  At the general election in November, 1886, he was elected county recorder to succeed Thomas Bigger, and received a majority of 341 votes over Ed. Caughlin the Democratic candidate.  In politics Mr. Vader is a staunch Republican.

Source: Biographical and Historical Record of Greene and Carroll Counties, Iowa, Lewis Publishing Company, Chicago 1887 (Greene County)


VALENTINE, E. J.-Of the firm of Valentine & Sherwood, merchants, Mitchellville. Was born August 5, 1841, in Warren county, Pennsylvania, and at the age of thirteen years his parents came to Henry county, Illinois, where his youth was spent on a farm.

In 1865 be came to Iowa and located in the old town of Mitchellville, where he opened a general stock of dry goods and groceries. At the building of the railroad and the locating of the present town he put up the first store building and the first dwelling house, and sold the first goods in the town. Was postmaster of the old and new town until 1872, when he sold out his store and bought a farm, where he remained three years. He then came back to the city and built a brick building, and in 1875 formed a partnership with Henry Russell in the restaurant business, following the same until the same fall, when he bought Russell's interest and sold out to Mrs. Sternburg. He then bought the stock of goods of Mr. Hatcher and run a grocery store until the winter following, when he added boots and shoes. In September, 1878, he formed a partnership with Mr. John O. Sherwood. They put in an extensive stock which they continue to carry. They sell nearly half the goods that are sold in the town, as the books of the freight house will show.

January 1, 1867, he married Miss Mary Z. De Long, native of Pennsylvania. They have four children: William, Minnie E., Edmund T. F. and Johnny O., all living. He has held several township offices and has been justice of the peace.

Source: History of Polk County, Iowa", Union Historical Company, Birdsall, Williams & Co. 1880 p 940-941 Clay Twp