John Stonestreet Van Meter
John Stonestreet Van Meter died on March 8, 1904 of heart
trouble at 23 W. 93d St., New York, NY, wife and son at bedside, funeral
services at First Presbyterian Church, Lexington, on Friday at 11:00 a.m.; heart
trouble resulted from a prolonged illness which originated while serving in
pastorate at Second Church, Paris Kentucky in summer, 1903; while in Paris,
taken ill of inflammatory rheumatism, which disease he had contracted in the
Confederate army, and had suffered from intermittently since; had been taken to
Good Samaritan Hospital, remained a month and developed the heart trouble; was
born in September 1846 in Fayette County on the Bryan Station pike, the son of
Solomon and Elizabeth Stonestreet VanMeter; at the age of sixteen, entered the
Confederate army, serving through the war as a member of Company E, Eighth
Kentucky Cavalry; at
the end of the war, enrolled in and graduated from Washington & Lee University;
read law with his cousin, John I. VanMeter at Chillicothe, Ohio; married Miss
Lizzie Yerkes, daughter of Dr. Stephen Yerkes of Danville, KY, only son, John
[sic] Yerkes VanMeter; elected Fayette County Attorney; while holding office
decided to study for the Presbyterian ministry, gave up office and practice,
attended the Theological Seminary at Danville, and later graduated from the
Theological Seminary at Princeton, NJ; first charge was Cynthiana for three
years, then Hot Springs, AR, seven years, then Richmond and Clinton, MO for
several years, Los Angeles, CA for one year (where he went on account of his
wife's health), for past two years had been living in New York, NY where son was
attending Belleview College of Medicine; was one of seven surviving Fayette
County Attorneys, while in Lexington last year, the seven had their picture
taken in a group
which was published in the Morning Herald, with sketches of each (Col. W. C. P.
Breckenridge, Judge J. Soule Smith, Steven G. Sharpe, John R. Allen, John
Stonestreet VanMeter, and Hon W. P. Kimball); other survivors, sister, Mrs. W.
D. Nicholas of 440 W. Fourth [sic] St., Lexington, three half-brothers, Messrs.
Solomon, Ike, and Prewitt VanMeter, and half-sister, Mrs. Lucy H. Kerr, Fulton.
MO; was a Knight Templar, and the funeral will be held with Masonic honors.
From: Lexington Herald, p. 1,
Wednesday, March 9, 1904.
Death has been gentle and very kind to the Confederates, but as
they grow old, with this kindness, death removes them from this world of work
where old age is at a
disadvantage, and crowns them with the eternal crown of immortality, and their
ranks become thinner every day. On yesterday two Kentucky Confederates, who had
worthily won success in eminent professions, laid down the burdens of this
life-- one a successful physician in Sherman, Texas; the other a beloved
Presbyterian preacher in the city of New
York. Each had been a resident of Fayette, each belonged to large and widely
scattered Kentucky families and each was born in this favored Blue Grass
country. On yesterday Mrs. W. C. P. Breckinridge received a dispatch that her
brother, Dr. John Orlando Scott, had died that morning in Sherman, the city of
his residence for over a quarter of a century, from an operation performed the
day before; yesterday afternoon Mrs. William D. Nicholas received a dispatch
that her brother, Rev. John Stonestreet VanMeter, had died in New York of
disease of the heart.
. . .
When a lad of about sixteen, Stonestreet VanMeter-- as he was then called--
enlisted in the Confederate service in our command; after the organization of
the regiment of Col. Roy Cluke, he asked to be transferred to that regiment, and
to a company made up of his friends and neighbors. After the war he studied law,
and settled in this city, and was elected County Attorney. He had married the
youngest daughter of Rev. Dr. Yerkes, who had been one of the Professors of
Transylvania when the writer was a student there. Joining the Presbyterian
Church, he was convinced that it was his duty to preach, and with the same
devotion to what he believed was his duty that he exhibited when he entered the
Confederate army, he gave up his chosen profession, resigned his office as
County Attorney and faithfully devoted himself to the laborious task of fitting
himself for the ministry in accordance with the custom and demand of the
Presbyterian Church. He
preached with marked success and acceptability in Kentucky, Arkansas, Missouri
and New York. We were taught to honor, preserve and reverence hereditary ties;
to remember with affectionate cordiality those whom our forebears had been on
terms of friendship. Among the beloved and honored guests at the house of our
father was Mr. Stonestreet, the
venerable grandfather of Mr. VanMeter-- an elegant, cultured and pious
Presbyterianelder, an old-fashioned, scholarly country gentleman. In our
childhood, there were many of these typical country gentlemen; farmers and
slaveholders, independent in fortune, and scholarly in taste; dignified,
influential and yet simple in manner and severe in life. We recall as we write a
number of these who were often guests at Cabell's Dale or Breadalbane; or at
whose house we had the delight to be guest-- sometimes taken when a lad to their
homes by our father, and afterwards invited there by the friends of our family.
We recall Mr. Stonestreet in his old age and are glad to have this opportunity
to put on record this tribute to his memory. Street VanMeter had also served
under us in his boyhood; he was a gallant, cheery, stout, healthy soldier;
always well, gay eager for duty and ready for battle or scout; and our terms of
cordial friendship were never weakened.
New York is remote from Texas, and Kentucky distant from each; yet these
Confederates died at home, in the sweet, lasting sense of that word; each had in
good faith done his duty as his heart and brain dictated; each had risked his
life for that which he was convinced was the command of honor and patriotism;
and when his cause was defeated, each had
devoted his life, his energies, his labors to build up this country and make it
a free, prosperous and Christian republic; each loved his fellow-man, and gave
his life for their up building. They were Kentuckians of old and excellent
stock; their ancestors migrated to this exquisite Blue Grass section before
Kentucky was admitted as a State; they had in their veins the blood of
revolutionary soldiers; and among their kin there were no better men or braver
soldiers either in the battles of war or the contests of peace.
From: Lexington Herald, p. 2,
Wednesday, March 9, 1904.
Solemn Services Held At First Presbyterian Church. Funeral
services over the body of the Rev. John Stonestreet VanMeter were held at 11
o'clock Friday morning at the First Presbyterian Church.
Mr. VanMeter, who at one time was County Attorney of Fayette county died in New
York Tuesday and his body was brought to Lexington Thursday afternoon at 5:10
and was taken to the residence of his sister, Mrs. W. D. Nicholas at 440 West
Third street. Dr. Edwin Muller officiated at the services, assisted by the Rev.
E. H. Rutherford of Paris. Dr. R. O. Kirkwood was to have assisted but was
called away from the city.
As the body was being brought into the church a quartette consisting of Misses
Eugenia Dunlap and Amanda Maul and Messrs Garland Barr and Howard Curry, sang
Abide With Me. Dr. Rutherford then read the twenty-third psalm and offered
prayer. The quartette then sang I Need Thee Every Hour. Dr. Muller read the
funeral service and offered a beautiful prayer.
As the body was being borne from the church the quartette sang Nearer My God to
About thirty Confederate soldiers, comrades in arms of Mr. VanMeter, were
present in a body and accompanied the 24 April 20, 2004 body to the cemetery.
Many beautiful floral tributes were sent, among them being a handsome Masonic
design of the compass and square in white and red flowers and banked with ferns.
Mr. VanMeter was a Knight Templar.
At the grave the committal service was said. The pallbearers were: I. C.
VanMeter, S. L. VanMeter, W. D. Nicholas, John W. Yerkes, Commissioner of
Internal Revenue, N. P. VanMeter, James C. VanMeter, John Woodford and Lovell
Yerkes. Mr. Yerkes came from Washington to attend the funeral of his relative,
Mr. VanMeter having been a cousin [sic]
of Mr. Yerkes. [Note: Mr. Yerkes and the decedent were brothers-in-law-- L. B.
From: Lexington Leader, p. 5, Friday,
March 11, 1904: