IAGenWeb Project

Audubon County


1889 Bios Index




CHARLES HOWARD VAIL is a descendant of the sixth generation of John and Elizabeth Vail, who came from England and landed at Southhold, Long Island, in 1650, to enjoy freedom to worship God; they were members of the Society of Friends. They had three children John, Samuel and Martha. The eldest, John, was a useful minister among the Friends of that remote period, and his descendants became distinguished in political life and scientific attainments. The second son, Samuel, was born October 21, 1678, and was twice married.He purchased a large plantation on Green Brook, near the place that is now covered by Plainfield, New Jersey; this property has been in time possession of members of the family ever since164 years. Samuel Vail died April 26, 1733. (A copy of his will is now in the possession of C. H. Vail.)His eldest son, John, and a brother occupied the Green Brook farm. In 1730 John married Margaret Shotwell Laing, and they were the parents of eight sons who were all married and who had large families, whose descendants are numerous and widely scattered.The eldest son, John Vail, Jr., and greatgrandfather of C. H. Vail, married Catherine FitzRandolph, a descendant of a large and influential family of Friends, who came from England to America in 1630, settling in Massachusetts. John, Jr . and Catherine had seven children Margaret, Edward, Amos, Isaac, Phoebe, Nathan and Joel. During the contest for American Independence, when the British forces held possession of PerthAmboy and the adjacent country, General Washington and staff called at time farm residence of John Vail, and asked to be guided to some prominent spot on the mountain, from which a good view of the plain below could be obtained; this request was granted, and the spot to which he was conducted still bears the name of Washington's Rock. Edward Vail, the second child of John, Jr., and Catherine Vail, grandfather of our subject, was born March 27, 1764, at Green Brook, New Jersey. When a young man his father gave him one of the Green Brook farms, and there he built a commodious residence. On time 26th of December, 1793, he was married to Sarah Kinsey, of Woodbridge, New Jersey, who was born June 8, 1770, and whose family have always held an enviable position in the best society socially, politically and religiously. They came originally from Scotland.Edward and Sarah Vail had nine children, six of whom lived to be over seventy years of age. Their seventh son, Abel Vail, father of C. H. Vail, was born February 12, 1807, at Green Brook, New Jersey, and was married November 2, 1831, to Arletta Bristol, of Dutchess County, New York. She was born March 1, 1809. Abel Vail was a hatter for many years, but afterward went upon the old homestead and was a farmer the remainder of his days.He and his wife were the parents of four children, of whom C. H. Vail is the youngest. In 1853 Abel Vail moved to Indiana, settling near La Porte; he died while on a visit to New York, August 15, 1885. In the history of the Society of Friends in New Jersey, it is said that there is no family name more honorably or continuously associated with the welfare of the society than that of the Vails. From the earliest records of the meetings it is learned that a conspicuous and important part was always taken by some of the family from the very beginning of the society.In 1687 mention is made of John Vail, as an active member of the first meeting at Amboy, and as one of the founders of the meeting at that place. Among the numerous names of ancestral fame and honor, that of Vail was pronounced the leading one in the number bearing it. Charles Howard Vail was born February 26, 1851, near Plainfleld, New Jersey.When two years of age his parents removed to Indiana, in which State he grew to manhood; he was educated in the district school, and spent his summers working on the farm.In 1875 he came to Audubon County, Iowa, and settled at Oakfleld; he soon after became clerk in a general store, a position he held until 1878, when he took charge of a branch store for R. Kemmling, at the old town of Hamlin. In the fall of 1879 he formed a copartnership with John T. Jenkins at Brayton, Iowa, in the drygoods and general merchandise business, under the firm name of Jenkins & Vail; this business relation continued until 1886, when Mr. Vail was elected clerk of the district court. He assumed the duties of that office January 1, 1887, and in the fall of 1888 he was reelected for the two years following, having filled the office to the entire satisfaction of his constituents. Mr. Vail was married March 31, 1880, to Mrs.Martha C. Reynolds, of Oakfield, Audubon County. Mrs. Vail was born in New York.They have two children Arthur H., born in Brayton, Iowa, June 2, 1881, and Arletta, born in Brayton, Iowa, August 10, 1883.Mrs. Vail had one daughter by her former marriage Rose G., wife of Joseph S. Grosvenor.
   From:  1889 Biographical History of Shelby and Audubon counties, pg. 699.

CHARLES VAN GORDER, banker, Audubon, Iowa, is a native of New York, born in Delaware County on a farm, on the banks of the Delaware River, January 23, 1837. He is the fifth in a family of eleven children, eight of whom survive. His father, Simon Van Gorder, is still living, and is in his ninetieth year; he is a native of New York, born on the Delaware River, and is a farmer by occupation; his father was Lawrence Van Gorder, and his grandfather was John Van Gorder, of Hollandish descent. The mother of our subject was Miss Jane Fish, a native of Delaware County, New York, and a daughter of Isaac Fish; she was born in 1808, and died in 1882. She was a person of unusual merit. Charles Van Gorder passed his youth in his native State working on the farm; he received a commonschool education. In 1856 he drifted westward to Illinois, stopping in Henry County, and afterward in Bates County, Missouri, where he remained three years. In the spring of 1860 he came to Audubon County, Iowa, and soon afterward fitted up a fine freighting team to Denver, Colorado, and at the same time engaged in the manufacture of brick; he continued the freighting and brickmaking until 1862, when he entered the Union army, in the Thirtyninth Iowa Infantry, Company B; he was sent to the front, and took part in several battles, among them Resaca and Altoona, in the last of which he was wounded, being shot in the left foot; he was disabled for six months. Recovering from this wound, he was ordered to report at Washington, D. C., where his discharge papers were made out, and sent to Clinton, Iowa, where he received his pay, and final discharge. He filled every station from that of a private soldier to Captain. He then returned to Audubon, and accepted a position as clerk in a store, where he remained until 1869, when he was elected county treasurer of Audubon. He was reelected in 1871, serving four years. After retiring from office he engaged in the realestate business, which he continued until 1876, when he formed a copartnership with F. H. Whitney, and organized the Audubon County Bank; this partnership continued until 1883, when Mr. Van Gorder bought out Mr. Whitney's interest in the bank; since that time he has operated the business alone. He owns several good farms which he rents. In 1869 Mr. Van Gorder was married to Miss Laura J. Delahoyde, of Oakfield, Iowa; she is a daughter of Thomas Delahoyde, who died when she was quite young; she was born in Ireland, and came to this country when one year old. Mr. and Mrs. Van Gorder are the parents of three children Edwin S., Sidney L. and Lowene. Mr. Van Gorder has served as member of the city council and of the school board. He began life without any means, and has by tireless energy and excellent management attained an enviable position in the county.
   From:  1889 Biographical History of Shelby and Audubon counties, pg. 695.

HIRAM W. VAN GORDER, proprietor of the Audubon Marble Works, established this business in 1882.He was born in Bradford County, Pennsylvania, April 6, 1853, and is the youngest of nine children of Simon and Jane (Fisk) Van Gorder. The mother was born in Delaware County, New York, and the father is a native of Ulster County, New York. In early life they removedto BradfordCounty, Pennsylvania, where the mother died, and the father is still living on the old homestead, in his ninetieth year, having been born July 21, 1799. Hiram W. passed his youth on the farm, receiving a commonschool education. At the age of eighteen years he went to Elmira, New York, to learn the marblecutter's trade, working there three years as an apprentice, and two years as a journeyman. He drifted west in 1878, stopping at Audubon.There he was employed by his brother, Charles Van Gorder, as assistant in the bank for two years. At the expiration of this period he returned to Elmira, New York, and was engaged as a lettercarrier in the UnitedStatesmail service. Returning to Audubon in 1882, he opened the marble business, his shop being the first in the town.The trade is active during the summer months, but is more or less quiet in the winter season. Mr. Van Gorder is a practical cutter and a fine workman, doing all kinds of marblecutting. His sales reach over this and into adjoining counties.On November 15, 1882, occurred the marriage of Hiram W. Van Gorder and Miss Elizabeth Denniston, a native of Ohio, and a daughter of Joseph L. Denniston, Esq. They are the parents of one child Helen Irene.Mr. Van Gorder is a member of Veritas Lodge, No. 392, A. F. & A. M., and of Amity Chapter, No. 93. He is also a member of St. Omar Commandery, No. 19, at Elmira, New York.
   From:  1889 Biographical History of Shelby and Audubon counties, pg. 738.

Contributed by Marthann Kohl-Fuhs, April, 2005.

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