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Jacob G. Vale


Posted By: Fran Hunt, Volunteer
Date: 10/6/2001 at 10:11:03

From the Portrait and Biographical Album of Jefferson and Van Buren Counties – 1890
Jacob G. Vale, ex senator of Iowa was born in the western part of York County Pennsylvania, July 7, 1821. The family is of English origin. He traces his ancestry back to Robert Vale, a native of England, who followed a seafaring life, being captain of the ship on which William Penn made his second voyage to America. In order to induce him to locate in America, Penn gave him one thousand acres of land in York County, Pennsylvania, on which he settled. Soon afterward he married Anna Bula, a native of Ireland, but a Quaker in religious faith. They had a family of six children, including William Vale, grandfather of our subject, who married Miss Anna Witherall a native of Ireland. They became the parents of two sons and five daughters, the youngest son being John who was born on the old homestead and there lived until the age of thirty years. On attaining his majority he married Miss Lydia Garretson, a native of Pennsylvania, but of English German Ancestry, and the union was blessed with a family of four children.
Our subject is the only survivor. He was but two months old at the time of his father’s death and he made his home with his maternal grandfather until the death of that gentleman, when Jacob was a lad of nine years. He then lived with his mother’s brother, Daniel Garretson, until nineteen years of age. With his brother he immigrated to Jefferson County Ohio and after attending school for a few terms was engaged as teacher in the district schools. He then spent a year in the Mt Pleasant boarding school, under the management of the Society of Friends, and during the succeeding twelve years followed teaching, and perfected his previous imperfect knowledge of the higher scientific branches. For eight years of this time he served as Principal of the Smithfield public schools, and also studied law under Edwin M. Stanton, Secretary of War under President Lincoln. He was admitted to the bar in 1844, in Jefferson County Ohio, and in 1847 was a candidate for the State Legislature in a democratic county in Ohio, where he was beaten by only twenty-one votes.
The same year Mr. Vale was united in marriage with Miss Anne, daughter of Benjamin Rex, a wealthy Ohio farmer, and unto them was born six children. They came to Iowa in 1850, after which Mr. Vale continued to practice only as an accommodation to his friends until 1860, since which time he has devoted himself entirely to the care of his farm. He first located in Lee County, where, in 1853, he was a candidate on an independent ticket for the Legislature but was beaten. In 1856 he came to Van Buren County, and in the fall of 1869 was solicited by representatives of both parties to become a candidate for the State Senate, and was elected by a fair majority, being the only independent Senator in the Thirteenth General assembly. Politically he is a stanch Republican, and religiously is a faithful Presbyterian. In his legislative labor he was conscientious, never advocating a measure until he was fully persuaded that he was right, and then it would require facts with the force of logic to turn him aside from the apparent path of duty. Opposite to his name in every enterprise, social, moral, financial or official, may be written the word “success.”
I am not related, and am only copying this for the information of those who might find this person in their family.


Van Buren Biographies maintained by Rich Lowe.
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