James B. Van Meter

JAMES B. VAN METER is a native born citizen of this county, a son of one of its early pioneers and is one of the principal farmers and stock growers of Fancy Creek Township. This is the place of his birth he having been born here September 12, 1847. His father, Abraham D. Van Meter, was born in West Virginia and was a son of Henry Van Meter, who was a native of that State also. He removed to Pickering County, Ohio, when Abraham was a year old, and he there died in 1849, leaving considerable property. Abraham Van Meter was a young man when he migrated from the pioneer home in Ohio to the wilds of Southern Illinois in 1827. He lived there two or three winters before settling on a place of his own. He was engaged in the business of feeding cattle and drove them to Ohio to market. In 1828 he was married to Miss Nancy A. Hussey. She was a native of Ohio and came to this State with her father, Nathan Hussey, when she was nine years old. She was the third white woman to cross the Sangamon River in 1818.

Abraham Van Meter entered land after his marriage and bought other land and actively entered upon the pioneer task before him of developing it into a farm. At that time Indians were numerous in this part of the country and wild game was plentiful, there being but a few settlements in this region at that time. Mr. Van Meter lived to see the country well developed, aided in its growth, and died June 10, 1879, at the ripe old age of seventy-nine years. He was an officer in the Mexican War and was Colonel of his regiment. His widow survived him several years dying in 1887 at the age of eighty-two years. She was reared a Quaker but became a Methodist. These worthy people were the parents of ten children, of whom but three are now living.

Our subject attended the district schools, which were then taught in a primitive fashion in log school houses. He remained at home with his father till he was nineteen years old and was well trained to the life of a farmer. In early manhood he married and established a home of his own, taking as his wife Mary A. Thaxton. She is a native of Illinois, and was born January 26, 1852, a daughter of James H. and Margaret (Hoffman) Thaxton, natives respectively of Kentucky and Ohio. They emigrated to Sangamon County in an early day of its settlement. Mrs. Van Meter's mother died in the month of May, 1890, at the age of sixty-three years.

Mr. Van Meter has three hundred and twenty acres of land in his possession, which he has placed under admirable tillage and has supplied it with all the necessary improvements for carrying it on to the best advantage. His buildings are neat and well ordered and everything about the place wears an air of thrift and shows the presence of a hardworking, skillful manager. Here he and his wife have established a cozy home. The following is recorded of their seven children: James E. was born September 27, 1871; Hiram W., July 10, 1876; Mary E., April 24, 1878; Hal., May 17, 1880; Stella M., April 6, 1882; Julia M., April 5, 1886; and Carrie M., September 7, 1888. Mr. Van Meter is a clear headed, sound man of business, keeps his affairs in good order and is reckoned among the best citizens of his native township, to whose interests he is greatly devoted. In his political views he is decidedly a Republican; religiously the Methodist Episcopal Church finds in him one of its most conscientious members; socially, he belongs to the Masonic Order.


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