Miles H. Van Meter

MILES H. VAN METER, a contractor and builder of Denver, was born in Grayson County, Ky., October 4, 1842, being a descendant of an old Virginian family that came to this country from Holland. His father, Rev. Isaac Newton Van Meter, a son of Abram, was born in Grayson County and grew to manhood upon a farm. March 15, 1855, he established his home in Macomb, McDonough County, Ill., then a very small place, with little appearance of future prosperity. He was a pioneer minister in the Baptist Church in Illinois. The people were poor, money was scarce and it was difficult for a congregation to support a pastor, so he operated a farm and in that way supported his family, preaching without charge. The farm that he cultivated is still owned by his wife, and upon it he passed away when nearly eighty years of age.

      The mother of our subject bore the maiden name of Lucinda Lawson, and was born in Hardin County, Ky. Her father, Henry Lawson, was a farmer at Lawson, Ky., which was named in honor of the family. She is now seventy-eight years of age and is hale and strong. Of her ten children all but one attained years of maturity. They were: Henry, who enlisted in the Eighty-fourth Illinois Infantry and died at Ringgold, Ga., after having participated in Sherman's famous march to the sea; Miles H. is next in order of birth; Cyrus L. is a farmer near the old homestead in McDonough County: Mary is the wife of Martin Shields, of Macomb; Mrs. Sadie Runkle also resides in Macomb; Hiram is in the employ of the Denver & Rio Grande Railroad at Gunnison, Colo.; David is agent for the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy road at Macomb; Mrs. Mattie Randolph and Mrs. Hattie Fuhr also reside in Macomb.

     Reared in Illinois, our subject as a boy attended the pioneer school of the district, held in a log house, with puncheon floor and split logs for benches. To reach this school he was obliged to walk two and one-half miles. At the age of twenty-one he bought a threshing machine, which he operated during the season. In 1868 he removed to Brookfield, Linn County, Mo., where he engaged in carpentering. Two years later he went to Malta Bend, Saline County, Mo., and followed the same occupation there until 1879, when he entered the employ of the Consolidated Tank Line Company. This concern he represented in Missouri and Kansas for two and one-half years, having his, headquarters in Kansas City. In 1882 he removed to Denver and represented the same firm in Colorado, Utah, New Mexico, Wyoming and Montana for ten years, but retired in 1892. Since then he has engaged in the erection of residences and public buildings, under the firm name of M. H. Van Meter & Son. He owns a comfortable home at No. 3245 Highland avenue.

     The first marriage of Mr. Van Meter took place in Saline County, Mo., and united him with Miss Clara Reeves, whose father, Felix Reeves, was an old commission merchant on the Missouri River. She was born in Saline County and died there, leaving two children: Harry L., who is in partnership with his father; and Joseph R. The older son has the reputation of being one of the finest amateur actors in Denver and indeed in Colorado. May 11, 1898 he enlisted in Troop A, Colorado Cavalry, under Colonel Torrey, and participated in the Spanish-American war. Mr. Van Meter was married in Emporia, Kan., to Miss Allie Lynn Truslow, who was born in Charleston, W. Va., the daughter of James A., and Fannie (Claspell) Truslow, of that place. One daughter, Mabel A., blesses this union.

     While in Malta Bend Mr. Van Meter was one of its first five trustees who succeeded in securing the incorporation of the place. Two of the trustees were in favor of licensing saloons; two were opposed. His was the deciding vote, and as long as he was trustee there were no saloons in the town. Politically he is a Republican and belongs to the Republican Club. He was formerly a member of the Patriotic Order Sons of America. 


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