Abel James Van Meter

A J Van Meter, one of the wealthiest and most popular farmers of Saline County, is the subject of this sketch.  He was born in Virginia in 1834, and was the son of Abraham and Elizabeth (Parsons) Vanmeter.  The mother was born in Hampshire County, Va., and died at her home in the year 1863.  The father of our subject was born in Hardy County, Va., in 1785.  Grandfather Joseph Van Meter was a soldier under Washington, and with his son, the father of our subject, served through he War of 1812.  The name of the grandmother was Hannah Inskip.
    The father of our subject came to Saline County in 1835, and located in the southern part, where he rented a small tract of land.  He remained on this but a short time, and then removed to Miami Township, where he remained up to the time of his death.  After coming to this State, he was obliged to make a home in a dugout until he could build a log cabin.  He was a successful farmer and accumulated a large amount of land.  In religious belief, he was a devoted member of the Methodist Episcopal Church South, which he joined in Virginia.  In his political faith, he was a strong supporter of Democracy.  His death occurred in 1866.  
    Our subject is one of a family of five children, but only two of these are now living.  Davis P. was born in Hardy County, Va., married Miss M. F. Nye, and resided in Saline County until the time of his death, which occurred in 1884; he had been a successful farmer.  Mary C., who was born in Hampshire County, Va., married J. P. Henning, and resided in Missouri until 1850, when she and her husband removed to California, where he engaged in the fruit business.  Rebecca A., a native of the Old Dominion, married Joseph D. Proper, and they resided in Saline County until the time of his death in 1865.
    At Lexington University, our subject carried on his literary studies for a time, and since leaving school has by close observation and reading attained an extended knowledge and broad culture.  At the end of sixteen years, he commenced farming, his first efforts being upon eighty acres of land obtained from the Government.  This was located in Miami Township, which was at that time in a wild condition.  In 1874, Mr. Vanmeter married Miss Christina A. Nye, a native of Ohio and a daughter of George Nye.  She died in 1883, and in 1886 our subject married Miss Anna M., daughter of Charles Pittman.
    Working hard, our subject soon saw the results in his cultivated land, fenced and planted with trees, and in the neat buildings which soon arose on the prairie.  Before long he was able to add to his farm one hundred and sixty acres on section 33, for which he paid $10 per acre, and he has continued to add to this until he has now a fine farm of twenty-six hundred acres, which is valued at about $20 per acre.  The home of Mr. Vanmeter is a modern two-story house of eleven rooms, which cost him $1,600, and his fine outbuildings, almost all built by himself, cost $5,000.  The gross receipts from his farm amount to $6,000 per year.  The crops which he finds most profitable are wheat and corn.
    Nr. Vanmeter has made a success of breeding fine cattle, particularly Durhams.  He also has some fine horses, among them an "Almont" stallion worth $500, and also a sorrel five-year-old, which he values at $500.  Politically, Mr. Vanmeter is a Democrat and has always been very actively interested in the affairs of his party, although he has never aspired to any official position.  He is one of the wealthiest men in Saline County, has hosts of friends and is universally esteemed.

From: Portrait and Biographical Record of Lafayette and Saline Counties, Missouri,; Published by Chapman Publishing Co., Chicago, IL, 1893, 648 pages.


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