Join Our Team



Fayette County, Iowa  

 Biography Directory


Portrait & Biographical Album of Fayette County Iowa

Containing Full Page Portraits and Biographical Sketches of

Prominent and Representative Citizens of the County

Lake City Publishing Co., Chicago

March 1891


~Page 441~


John Van Sickle


John Van Sickle, a farmer and stockraiser of Center Township, residing on section 2, is a native of Ohio. He was born near Steubenville, in 1837, and was the second of a family of eight children whose parents were Ephraim and Sara (Everley) Van Sickle. His father was a native of Pennsylvania, his mother of Barber County, Va., but at an early day they removed to the Buckeye State. Mr. Van Sickle was a laborer on the Virginia Pike and while thus working lost his eyesight in 1840. He then returned to his native State, and in Jockey Hollow, Fayette County, Pa., kept a tavern. His death occurred in 1880, and his excellent wife was called to her final rest in 1866. Of the family four are now living - Charlotte, now Mrs. Bradley of Pennsylvania; John of this sketch; Margaret, now Mrs. Stanton of Fayette County; and Albert who is now married and resides in Somerset County, Pa. The Van Sickle family is of Holland extraction and was founded in America by Ephraim Van Sickle, the grandfather of our subject, who left his native land, crossed the Atlantic and settled in Fayette County, Pa. The Everley family are of German origin and the grandfather made a location in Barber County, Va., from whence he afterwards removed to Ohio. He served in the War of 1812.

John Van Sickle was reared to manhood on his father's farm amid the mountainous regions of Pennsylvania. The public school system was not then in operation in that part of the State and his education was acquired in the subscription schools. On reaching manhood he began farming for himself and chose as a helpmate on life's journey Miss Nancy Ferguson, their union being celebrated in the Keystone State in 1856. The lady was born in Allegany County, Md., and is a daughter of Robert and Sarah Fannie (Little) Ferguson, the former a native of Ireland, the latter of Maryland, of German extraction. The parents resided in Maryland until called from this life, the husband dying in 1871, and his wife in 1867. Unto Mr. and Mrs. Van Sickle were born ten children who are yet living - Charlotte, now Mrs. Vaughn of Center Township; Lemming H., who is married and resides in Center Township; John and Robert; Mary, now Mrs. Hultz, of Smithfield Township; Willie, Minnie, Ellis, Thomas, and Nancy. The mother of this family passed away in January 1880, and in this county the following year Mr. Van Sickle wedded Miss Rosetta Jennings, a native of Wisconsin and a daughter of Enos Jennings who was born in the State of Ohio and came to Fayette County, Iowa, in 1867, locating near Albany, in Westfield Township. By the second union have been born five children - Walter, Lester, Grace, Levi, and Lydia Isabelle.


Mr. Van Sickle continued farming operations in Pennsylvania until 1867, when with the hope of bettering his financial condition he disposed of his property in the East and emigrated to Fayette County, Iowa, where he purchased a partially improved farm of ninety-five acres. Many improvements he has placed thereon which greatly enhanced its value as well as stand as monuments to his thrift and industry. These include a good house and barn. The farm now comprises one hundred and eighty-six acres, the greater part of which is under a high state of cultivation and is within five miles of Hawkeye. When Mr. Van Sickle came to this county the nearest rail-road was at Independence, but now he has only a short distance to take his produce to market and every convenience and luxury of the town can be easily obtained in but a short time. With a capital stock of $300 he began life in this community but is now numbered among the substantial farmers of Center Township and his success is due entirely to his own efforts. In politics he takes quite an active interest, voting usually for the best man and measures regardless of party affiliations for county offices but in national politics is a decided Democrat. Our subject participated in the Rebellion and was engaged in the first battle fought in Virginia, Rich Mountain and Phillipi, was a teamster in the employ of the Government and was in the service nine months."




back to Fayette 1891 Biography Index

back to Fayette Biography Directory

back to Fayette County home