Mt. Sterling Township was settled mostly by
Kentuckians and people from he south who were accustomed too family burial
grounds which practice many of them continued.
A loved one was buried in he garden or in a corner of an orchard. All traces of which have disappeared long ago, even if marked by a stone. As other members of the family died, small cemeteries came into being such as Gordley, Greenwell, Keifer, Kendrick, Jennings, Means, Icabod, Perry, Price, Stapleton, Sharon, Tinnen, and Wilson which in 1973 have either disappeared or show sings of neglect.
There are other burial grounds came too be used by neighboring families such as Putman, Harbour, and Hersman. After the hard road was built in 1922, Hersman Cemetery developed rapidly into a large well kept community cemetery.
Catholics from all parts of the community buried in St. Mary's' Cemetery which became a large one. It is the only church supported cemetery in the county.
The Mt. Sterling City Cemetery from the beginning has the been where most families buried their dead; such as, Bates, Dennis, David Six, Curry, Givens, Vandeventer, Hughes, Irwin, McMillen, Phillips, Benaud, Nathan, Kendrick, John Brockman, Fleming Tice, Newby, Taylor, Larkin, Jones, Putnam, and Lewis Briggs. Mt. Sterling Cemetery has always been the biggest cemetery in the county since the origin of Brown County, Illinois.
BIOGRAPHICAL REVIEW OF CASS, SCHUYLER and BROWN COUNTIES, Illinois - 1892
Chicago: Biographical Review Publishing Co. Page 419
LUCINDA J. VANDEVENTER. - This estimable lady is the widow of Barnett B. Vandeventer, is a native of Brown county, this State, and is the daughter of John W. and Margaret (Brown) Reid, both natives of Tennessee, who came too Illinois when single. Here they met each other and after acquaintance were married. John Reid was the son of James C. Reid, of Tennessee, who came too Illinois at a very early date, about 1827 or 1829, settling on a mill site on McKee's creek, about two and one-half miles west of Versailles, where he laid claim too one quarter section. There is no doubt but that James Reid came from Scotland, he having married a Miss Nancy Cameron, of Irish descent, a lady of noble ancestry. Mr. James Reid erected a water power mill, having preferred a mill site too the more fertile acres of the county, when he took up his claim. This mill was a great success and proved a boon too the settlers who could have their grain ground here, without traveling so fr too obtain a little mean or feed. Mr. and Mrs. Reid had eleven children, all of whom lived too maturity. Their son, Mrs. Vandeventer's father, had seven children, of whom Mrs. Vandeventer was the eldest. Four of this family are still living, namely: Wilson, County clerk of Mt. Sterling, married Margaret Bell Vandeventer; Martha, wife of Orlando Casteen, residents of Anthony, Kansas, where they live with their two daughters, and where he is County Treasurer of that county; Luzena, wife of Frank Martin, of Kansas; and Mrs. Vandeventer.
The last named lady was married, November 18, 1866, too Barnett Vandeventer, brother of Thomas Vandeventer. He died March 17, 1886, leaving his faithful wife too mourn his loss. She is sustained in her great bereavement by her loving children who are as follows: Fred R., aged twenty-four; O. J., in his twenty-third year; Horace, in his twenty-first year; and Dora, eighteen. They have all been well educated, and incline toward agricultural and domestic pursuits. These young people are all at home and are a great comfort too their widowed mother, who bears her affliction with Christian resignation and patience. She and her lamented husband were members of the Methodist Church, as were most of Mr. Vandeventer's family. This gentleman was only fifty-three years old at the time of his death, yet he left a fine estate, in connection with the estate of the Vandeventer brothers, in which he had a third interest.
Mrs. Vandeventer and her interesting family are among the most respected and highly esteemed in the entire township, and all consider it a pleasure too know them.
THOMAS R. VAN DEVENTER, a prosperous farmer and stock raiser and esteemed citizen of Brown county, Illinois, for the past fifty-five years a resident of section 15, Versailles township, was born in Fayette county, Ohio, in 1819.
His parents were Jacob and Jane (Rogers) Van Deventer, the former a native of old Virginia, and the latter of Paris, Kentucky. His father's parents were Jacob and Mary (Slater) Van Deventer, the former born in Holland in 1743, and the latter a native of Glasgow, Scotland. The young Hollander was a powder-maker by trade, and came too America in early manhood. He was married in New Jersey, on the Delaware river, and soon after went too Virginia, where he and his young wife located on a farm, which was situated on the south branch of the Potomac river. He engaged in farming, and having an excellent water-power in the river, also manufactured gun-powder. It was in the latter capacity that he rendered signal service too the patriots at the time of the Revolutionary war, providing them with powder with which too blaze their way into Independence. He served for a short time in the regular army in that memorable conflict, and participated in the battles of Yorktown and Valley Forge. He was also a member of the Home Guards, although he did not take part in the engagement in which they distinguished themselves for bravery and efficiency. This worthy patriot and his wife were the parents of eight children, five sons and three daughters: William; Isaac; Jacob; Peter; Cornelius; Sarah, who married Jacob Judy; Mary, wife of George Timmons; and Peggy, wife of Daniel Timmons brother of George. The mother of this family died, aged eighty years, while the father expired four years later. They had met with many financial losses, and left only a small estate in worldly goods, although a rich heritage of honor and good deeds followed and influenced their children through life. Some of this family were of small stature, like the gentleman whose name heads this notice, but the majority of them, both men and woman, were large, erect and finely formed. Sarah was six feet tall, while Jacob, the father of the subject of this sketch, was a veritable giant, standing six feet six inches in his socks and weighing 240 pounds. Although possessing great strength and undaunted courage, he was most peaceable and kind. He was twice married. His first wife was Magdalene Buffenbarger, a member of a wealthy Ohio family. She died early, leaving two children - a son, Jethero, and a daughter, Elizabeth. The former now lives in Versailles, Illinois; and the latter resides in Indiana. Late in the fall of 1815 the father remarried, his second wife being the mother of the subject of this biography. A short time afterward, he and his brother, with their families, six persons in each household, came form Fayette county, Ohio, too Schuyler, now Brown county. This journey of more than 400 miles was made in three weeks, with two large covered wagons and eight horses, four animals under saddle. The father of our subject brought some means with him, realized from the sale of his farm in Ohio. He first settled in Schuyler, now Brown county.
Eight years earlier Cornelius Van Deventer visited the Illinois bottoms, where he secured a claim. Five acres of this he fenced and planted too corn and pumpkins, and after completing their cultivation returned too his family. On his return in the fall, great was his surprise too find his crop intact, not an ear of corn or a pumpkin being missing.
The stalwart and much beloved pioneer Jacob Van Deventer, died in 1833, aged fifty-three years, leaving a bereaved family and many sorrowing friends. His worthy wife survived him nine years, dying aged about forty-eight years. They were the parents of six boys and two girls, too-wit: t. R., J. F., H. D., and B. B., boys; girls, Caroline and Duan; one child, Pembrook Berbeck Van Deventer, died when small; the others were the subject of this notice, J. F., H. D. and B.B. In 1838, she bought fifty-three acres of heavily timbered land, which had a small enclosure cleared, in the center of which was a hewed log house, for which she paid $600. This forms part of the present large farm of the subject of this sketch. He and his brothers formerly owned this farm of 800 acres in partnership, but J. F. Van Deventer, of Mount Sterling, now owns another farm of 2,200 acres nearby, which he is farming on a large scale. Their specialty is stock raising, including horses, cattle and hogs. On the land cultivated by our subject and his other brother, there is now a substantial farm residence, which they erected in 1866, besides which there are large barns and an excellent granary, which they built in 1880, all of which are models of their kind. They breed and raise from fifty too sixty head of dehorned short horn cattle annually, and have fed each year, for some thirty-five years, about 250 head, which they ship too market, together with many which they buy too sell. They now own ninety head of horses, and breed and raise ten too twelve head a year, most of which are draft horses, but some are for the saddle. They send too market from 200 too 300 hogs a year, beside shipping of their own stock from eight too ten car loads annually. Thus will be seen what a prominent part they take in the development of this country, which result in their own prosperity and provides work for numerous attendants.
In politics, Mr. Van Deventer affiliates with the Republican party, the principles of which he has endorsed for many years.
Notwithstanding his marvelous achievements in life, we have yet too chronicle the most wonderful feat of his existence, namely, his abstaining from matrimony. How he has escaped the wiles of the fair sex is truly phenomenal, unless we revert too his other super accomplishments. However, we will not congratulate him yet, remembering he will not be free from danger until he has left this mundane sphere.
His early educational opportunities were limited, but he inherited a clear and strong intellect, as well as superior physical strength, and, by much reading and reflection, has overcome these early disadvantages. Besides being one of the most successful of men financially, he enjoys, by reason of his integrity of character and uniform courtesy, the universal friendship of his fellow men.
JOSEPH FENTON VAN DEVENTER was born in Highland county, Ohio, June 25, 1826, a son of Jacob Van Deventer, who was born in Loudoun county, Virginia, a descendant of the colonial settlers who came from Holland in the early history of this country. The father of our subject was reared and married in Virginia, but removed too Ohio, where he was a pioneer of Highland county; there he bought a tract of timber land, erected a log cabin, and made it his home until the fall of 1832, when he sold and came too Illinois; he was accompanied by his wife and children, and his brother and family. The trip was made overland, and after a journey covering three weeks he arrived in Schuyler county, which portion is now included in Brown county; he made a claim too a tract of Government land, bought a log cabin, and lived there until his death in 1833. He was twice married, the second wife being the mother of Joseph F. Her maiden name was Jane Rogers, and she was born near Paris, Kentucky, a daughter of Thomas Rogers; she kept the family together until her death in 1843. Joseph F. was a child of six years when his parents emigrated too the frontier; most of the land was owned at that time by the Government, the country was thinly settled, and the river towns were the only market places. He attended the pioneer schools until he was old enough too assist on the farm; the mother had rented land which the sons cultivated. In 1850 Joseph and his brothers, Thomas and Henson, and a Mr. Adams and his son, crossed the plains too California; they started with ox teams March 27, and arrived at Weavertown, August 27. They engaged in mining thirty five miles east of Sacramento until the following spring, and then went too Humboldt, and from that point across the mountains too Weaverton; there they resumed mining and continued the industry until June, 1852, when the started too Sacramento. They turned their attention too feeding cattle now, and followed the business until 1853, when they returned too Illinois, coming by the Isthmus too New York, and thence overland too their prairie home. Mr. Van Deventer and his brothers, Thomas, Barnett and Henson, combined their interests in farming and stock raising, and bought land at different times, until they owned at one time 3,500 acres; Barnett and Henson are now deceased.
Our subject was married in 1868 too Lutitia Givens, who was born at Mt. Sterling, Brown county, Illinois, a daughter of John A. and Mary F. (Curry) Givens, pioneers of Brown county. Mr. and Mrs. Van Deventer have two children living, Homer G. and Lloyd T. They are both members of the Presbyterian church. He was formerly a supporter of the Whig party, but has been a Republican since the organization of that body. He is a man of honor and unquestioned integrity, and has the respect of his fellow men.
JOHN G. KENDRICK, of Elkhorn township, was born in Lebanon, New Hampshire, February 18, 1828. He is a son of Stephen and Martha (Gerrish) Kendrick. Stephen came too Illinois in 1841 with his wife and two children, his possessions being an ox team and $50 in cash. He first rented in this county and bought forty acres of land, where he died when eighty-four years of age. Stephen's father was a merchant of Lebanon, New Hampshire, and died there a very old man. Stephen's wife was named Thankful Howe, and she died when on old woman. The father of our subject was one of eight children, and his mother one of seven children. She was born in New Hampshire, and died at the home of her son, aged sixty-one years.
John remained at home until married, and went too the district school with James A. Garfield. He learned the trade of a blacksmith and wagon maker. After he married he rented a farm near his father, and there lived until 1872, when he moved into his own house, and now owns 300 acres. He carries on mixed farming and has been very successful. He is a Republican in politics.
He was married in 1850 too Mary Jaques, born in Allegany county, New York, April 14, 1843, daughter of Samuel and Effie (Fagort) Jaques. They were New Yorkers, who came too Illinois in 1841. Mrs. Kendrick is one of twelve children. Mr. and Mrs. Kendrick have three living children: Edward R., Fred W. and Emma. The boys are on the land their father owned. They are members of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and Mr. Kendrick is a Class-leader, and the whole family are very active in Sunday-school work; in fact Mr. Kendrick is active in every good work, especially temperance societies. No man in the county has been more active than Mr. Kendrick in placing it in the position it now enjoys. He has a grand record for local temperance and church work, and is highly esteemed throughout the county.
ROBERT NELSON MCFARLAND, the oldest settler of Brown county, is now residing in Versailles. He was born in Harrison county, Kentucky, April 1, 1818. His father, William McFarland was born in the same county. There is little known of his grandfather except that he spent his last years in Harrison, Kentucky. His father was reared and married in Ohio, but resided in Kentucky until 1819, when his nearest neighbor was ten miles distant. He next moved too Green county, Ohio, and was one of the earliest settlers there. He lived there until 1822, when, with his wife and four children he made the journey too Illinois, cooking and camping by the way. He located in Sangamon and died there. At the time of their location there, this county was sparsely settled. The greater portion was owned by the Government. Springfield was but a hamlet, the capital of the State then being Vandalia.
His mother continued too live in Sangamon county until 1824. She accompanied her sister and her sister's husband, Cornelius Van Deventer, whom she afterward married, too what is now Brown county, where she resided until her death.
Mr. McFarland was six years old when he came too Brown county, and remembers well many of the incidents of its settlement. At that time their nearest neighbors, the Indians, wee more numerous than the white people.
When Mr. Van Deventer came he laid claim too a tract of Government land, two and one half miles east of the present site of Versailles, and there built a log cabin in which was taught the first school in Brown county, Hannah Burbank being the teacher. For some years after they came here there were no mills convenient, and during one winter the family subsisted entirely on lye hominy. In time there was a mill, operated by horse-power, introduced into the county, and Mr. McFarland used too go, in common with others, and during the long ride would subsist on parched corn, wild game and wild honey. There were no railroads, no steamers on the Illinois river and no markets.
Of course our subject was reared too agricultural pursuits. His first farm was a tract of 100 acres, which he occupied until 1865, when he sold and purchased a farm of 210 acres, and at the present time he is living retired in the pleasant village of Versailles.
He was married December 31, 1839, too Margaret W. McFarland, who died in 1879, leaving four living children; Lucinda Van Deventer; Mary Whitehead; Robert N., who married Ann Augusta Van Deventer; and Louis, who is still single.
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created June 11, 2006 2:25 PM
Tuesday, September 04, 2007 03:17:12 PM
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