Samuel K. Van Meter

SAMUEL K. VAN METE , one of the leading physicians of Bowling Green, was born in that city March 24, 1824, and is the fifth in a family of four sons and four daughters born to Jacob and Martha Usher (Shrewsbury) Van Meter. Jacob Van Meter was born at what is known as White Stone Tavern, Botetourt Co., Va., in January, 1788, and in 1818 came with his family to this county, settled in Bowling Green, and for over sixty years was engaged in mercantile pursuits; he was also extensively engaged in farming and owned between 4,000 and 5,000 acres of land and a large number of slaves; he built and ran the first steamboat that plied on the Green and Barren Rivers, and with James R. Skiles procured a charter and built the Bawling Green & Portage Railroad; the first railroad in the State of Kentucky. He was a stanch Clay Whig, and in 1833 he was elected to represent Warren County in the State Legislature, and it was through his influence that the appropriation was made to dam and improve Barren and Green Rivers. He acquired great wealth, and during the late conflict between the South and North lost over $75,000 worth of property. He died February 27, 1874, and just before his demise stated to his wife that she would soon join him. She replied that she felt as well as usual, but her death occurred the next day at the age of eighty two years. Both had been devoted members of the Baptist Church, and the remains of both were buried in the same coffin. Jacob Van Meter was a son of Isaac Van Meter, who married Hattie Beck, whose mother, Lydia Burden, was a daughter of Benjamin Burden, Sr.. a distinguished citizen of Virginia. Isaac Van Meter was a son of Henry Van Meter, who was one of the earliest pioneers of the “Old Dominion.” Henry Van Meter, one of three brothers, had, before Washington’s day, surveyed the Fairfax estate, an immense tract granted by George III. The mother of Dr. Van Meter was a granddaughter of Col. John Dickerson, whose wife was Margaret Usher, a granddaughter of Counselor Perry, of Dublin, Ireland, and daughter of Samuel Shrewsbury, who married a Miss Dickerson. Dr. S. K. Van Meter was reared and educated in Bowling Green. He remained with his parents till twenty-one, when he engaged in mercantile business with a Mr. Mitchell, at Rumsey, for one year. He then returned to Bowling Green, commenced the study of medicine with Dr. T. B. Wright, and graduated from Louisville University. Four years after he located in Bowling Green and practiced his profession till 1880. In 1869 he received a paralytic stroke, which disabled him to some extent. Nevertheless he was very successful and has the largest practice of any doctor in Bowling Green. In 1878 he located on a farm of 160 acres, immediately north of Bowling Green, on the north bank of the Barren River, and also has interests in other farms. He was married, May 5, 1860, to Cessna J. Sharp, of Muhlenburgh County, a native of Christian County, and a daughter of John N. and Mary Ann (Usher) Sharp, who were born in Muhlenburgh County, Ky., and Virginia, respectively. John Sharp was a Presbyterian minister, and also carried on farming, and was a son of James Sharp, who married Sallie Cessna. James Sharp was born in Scotland, immigrated to the United States when young, and became one of the early pioneers of Kentucky. His wife was a French lady. The Doctor has had born to him five children: Martha Usher (deceased), Charles C., Mary U. (who married Prof. Miller, now living in Shreevesport, La.), William K., and Julia (deceased). The Doctor and wife are active members of the Episcopal Church. In politics he was first a Whig, and cast his first presidential vote for Gen. Taylor. Since the war he has affiliated with the Democratic party.

Copied from: "Kentucky: A History of the State" by Battle-Perrin-Kniffin, 1866.


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