VAN SANT SAMUEL
and Transcribed by
Davenport Democrat and Leader, Monday Nov. 11, 1912, page 3.
LeClaire has always had fine schools and many men now famous
throughout the United States received their early training here.
Among a few mentioned, Ex-Governor S. R. Van Sant of St. Paul….
Gazette, Thursday Morning, Aug. 12, 1869, page 4.
Business at the boat yard of J. W. Van Sant & Son, at LeClaire, is
improving very much. Some forty men are employed and plenty of work
is engaged. The Diamond Jo has just been thoroughly repaired and
will be ready for operations tomorrow. Steamers Charley Cheaver and
J. C. Gault are waiting to be overhauled. Several barges are also
waiting to be repaired as soon as can be done. Messrs. Van Sant &
Son expects to build a steamer entire this fall for which they will
furnish everything and fit up throughout.
Federal Census, LeClarie City, County of Scott
Daily Gazette, October 3, 1875, page 4.
DESTROYED BY FIRE.
At a quarter to 12 o’clock Friday night, the roof of the fine
residence of Captain Samuel Van Sant, at LeClaire, was discovered to
be on fire. An alarm was given, and the neighbors turned out, but
could do nothing to save the building. So they carried out most of
the furniture, and then saw the interior destroyed by flame.
The family were absent with the captain, on the river, and nobody
had been living in the house for ten days. There is no way to
account for the fire except by saying sparks from a distant
steamboat caused it (well nigh impossible), or charging to
incendrarism. The house was worth at least $2,500. There is
insurance to the amount of $600. About $150 worth of furniture was
destroyed, and was not insured.
Davenport Democrat, Monday, October 4, 1875, page 1.
THE FIRE AT LECLAIRE
Capt Smith informed us this morning, that Capt. Van Sant’s house,
which was burned Friday night, was no doubt the work of an
incendiary. The house was a two story frame, and valued at about
$2,000. Some of the furniture was saved. The family had not been
in the premises for over a week, all being on the river. It was
insured for $600, and the loss is stated to be about $2,500,
including the furniture. From indications, the fire was started
under the back porch. It is supposed some enemy of the Captain’s
took this mean method of revenge. The affair will be thoroughly
investigated by the Captain.
Davenport Democrat, Friday, September 5, 1879, page 1.
WENT THROUGH HERSELF.
Accident to the Steamer Silver Wave
What It Was and the Consequence
– Excursion Postponed.
An aggravating and damaging accident happened to the Silver Wave
last night. She “went through herself,” as the steamboatmen say.
She left LeClaire at 7 p.m. with a large party of ladies and
gentlemen, for a moonlight excursion to Clinton, and about 9 o’clock
a thundering report, followed by a fierce roar, then a crash as if
the steamer had been in two, terrified all the passengers, and the
terror was not lessened when steam poured out and prevailed all
parts of the boat thickly. Captain Van Sant soon had everybody
quiet, however. It was quickly ascertained that nobody had been
hurt. The larboard cylinder head had been blown away, and the wrist
twisted off. That was all – and it was enough. Quiet was restored,
and the Captain turned the bow homeward to make LeClaire with one
engine. So the music struck up again, dancing was begun again, and
the party proceeded to enjoy themselves as if nothing had happened.
This accident caused much disappointment in Davenport this
morning. The Silver Wave had been engaged by the Bethlehem Sunday
School for an excursion to Muscatine today and nearly three hundred
tickets had been sold for the trip. Captain Van Sant was here at 6
o’clock and informed the managers of the school of the accident.
The Silver Wave will be out of commission for four days to one week,
and the excursion is postponed to a date to be announced hereafter.
Davenport Daily Democrat, August, 1882, page 4.
LeClaire, Aug. 28, 1882. Usually a boat makes a few excursion
trips to the county fair, but at present there are no boats here
idle that carry passengers, so it is not likely that any excursions
will be made. Van Sant, with the faithful Silver Wave, has deserted
the Republic, probably for pastures new, and in that we lost our
best means of seeing the outside world.
Davenport Daily Gazette, Wednesday, November 28, 1883, page 6.
LECLAIRE, Iowa, Nov. 26,
Capt. Sam Van Sant, who has been here for several days past settling
up his season’s business, has gone to Moline. He is always a
welcome visitor in LeClaire and will be cordially received, if he
ever concludes to remove here again, which not an improbable thing.
Davenport Weekly Republican, Wednesday, February 2, 1898, page 6.
AN OLD DAVENPORTER.
Captain Sam Van Sant Undoubtedly the
Next Governor of Minnesota.
Nomination in the Convention is Conceded and His Hold on the People
Will Elect Him.
If Captain Sam Van Sant is not the next governor of the state of
Minnesota a big majority of the people will be disappointed. The
Captain loomed up in Minnesota as a big political factor nearly as
soon as he left Davenport to take up his residence in Winona, and
his power and political influence have been in the ascendancy ever
The republican state convention of 1896 was where Captain Van Sant
did the work of his life and where his influence permeated the whole
party. He not only presided over the deliberations of the
convention with the greatest fairness and dignity, but failing by a
few votes of the convention as gubernatorial candidate, he threw
himself heart and soul into the campaign and toured the state
speaking night after night for his successful opponent, now Governor
Clough. This action commended itself to everybody, and showed that
the captain was a republican through and through, and a party worker
regardless of personal ambition. At the present time, Wm. Henry
Eustis of Minneapolis is the only man capable of running the genial
captain a race anywhere near equal, and the chances are all against
Mr. Eustis. The Stillwater Gazette speaks of the captain as
Van Sant’s greatest strength comes from the fact that he is near to
the people. This fact was amply demonstrated in his anti-convention
contest in 1896, a contest which has passed into history as being
one of the most stubbornly fought political battles ever known in
the state of Minnesota. No one knows this better than Governor
Clough himself, as he would probably testify if called upon to do
so, and he would also say that at no time in the fight did he
recognize that any one beside Van Sant and himself were in it.
Tightly assuming, that a man who could put up the fight that Van
Sant did against him, must be the choice of a large number of people
and recognizing that the party must put forward a clean, strong
candidate in the “off” year, in order to win, he, it is said, is
doing what he can to assist his cause.
Van Sant’s nomination and election will not jeopardize Senator
Davis’ chances for re-election in the least; on the contrary if one
may judge from the past we would say that with Van Sant as governor
Senator Davis would be less liable to opposition from the southwest
corner of the capital than with any other man we know of in the
It is a long time until convention time and great changes may take
place, but at this writing the Van Sant colors are way in the lead,
with excellent prospects of remaining there.
Davenport Times, Tuesday, April 15, 1902, page 7.
The Romance of the Old River
R. Van Sant, Governor of Minnesota
Soon a splendid exposition, costing
millions of dollars, will celebrate the centennial of the
Louisiana Purchase, and a grateful nation will recall the
beneficent statesmanship which added a magnificent empire to
the Union. But the full import of this, the wisest act of
Thomas Jefferson’s public life will lose its due emphasis to
the present generation and to those yet to come. If we fail
to realize—that this master stroke of his political genius was
not so much in the mere acquisition of a vast territory thus
peacefully annexed as in the fact that it gave to this nation
both shores of the greatest waterway of the western continent.
What would have been the effect on the history of this nation
had the western shore of the Father of Waters remained in the
hands of an Old World power? Imagination pauses at the
question, and the liveliest speculation can scarce drop to
supply this forestalled page of history. That a constant
menace to the peace of the republic was wiped out by the
statecraft of this far-reaching patriot is certain; that wars
and rumors of wars were expunged from the records of our
national experience is highly probable. --But this larger
phase of the lesson of the coming centennial may be merely
suggested, rather than amplified, for the purpose
Gov. Samuel R. Van Sant
of paying a
tribute to the character—one might almost say to the personality –of
the most individual of American waterways.
No stream in the world is richer in associations, in
picturesquencess, in all that is near, familiar and beloved to those
who have been as its children, than the mighty Mississippi; and as
one of those who have followed it faithfully for almost half a
century, I count myself happy to be assigned the task of recalling
something of the “Old River Days.”
It is impossible to review the life of the river, when its traffic
was at the height of its prosperity, without a touch of sentiment;
and as one who came of a nation and a long family line of
boat-builders and navigators, who was born on the shore of the
Mississippi, and, in the language of its people, was “marked for the
river,” I cannot pretend to speak of this majestic stream and the
stirring and picturesque life which it supported without an
attachment which is one of the strongest sentiments of my being.
And I am sure that thousands who have been and are now associated
with its shifting fortunes have not escaped a similar feeling.
Especially must this be strong in all whose childhood associations
are linked with the ever-changing drama of adventure, commence, war,
prosperity and misfortune which have ebbed and flowed in ceaseless
and ever-shifting variety in the process of its industrial
Stirring incidents of Early Days
Never can I forget the first impressions of my first trip on the
mighty bosom of the Mississippi; how the famous Dan Wright, an ideal
pilot of the old days, called me into the wheelhouse of the James
Lyon, allowed me to grasp the smooth handles of the wheel, and pull
the cords that released the melodious bellow of the great whistle,
and sounded like the chimes of the signal bells. Only the man who
has had a kindred experience can understand what is implied by the
term “Life on the River.” On the same initial trip I was introduced
to another and rougher phase of boating on the Mississippi—one which
will be recalled by all who took passage in the days before the
railroads had diminished the volume of its traffic.
Suddenly, as I hung about my hero of the pilot house, a shout went
up, and the burly mate struck out with his fists and felled a common
hand to the ground to the deck. Instantly there was a gleam of
knives, a flourish of clubs and the deck was dashed with blood.
But, as was usually the case, the big mate came off victorious and
the mutinous hands were put ashore at the first wood yard at which
the boat stopped for fuel.
What the Mississippi has done for the development of the Northwest
is pointedly suggested by another recollection of that trip in
1857. The cargo of the James Lyon was shelled corn in sacks, not
for seeding, but for consumption by the pioneer settlers. Then
there was scarcely an acre of corn grown in the Territory which is
now the state of Minnesota. Shortly before, Governor Ramsey had had
the hardihood to contend that the climate of his commonwealth was
not too severe for the cultivation of corn; later, boats brought
cargoes for seeding; and today Minnesota is the greatest “bread and
butter state” of the Union, for it is sometimes said that we raise
the wheat to feed the world, and when made into bread we can furnish
the best butter, and enough to spread it all. Last year we produced
31,500,000 bushels of corn alone.
Still another incident on the first trip of the first boat that we
constructed for the rafting business, the J. W. Van Sant, Mr.
Frederick Weyerhaeuser was a passenger. The raft was for his mill,
and he was anxious to see the departure tried. The success was
complete. At that time Mr. Weyhaeuser was a young man. Since then
his industrial genius has developed the greatest lumber interest of
the Northwest, and he has won for himself the title of “Lumber
King.” The magnitude to which this commerce has grown is suggested
by the fact that one individual fleet has carried annually two
hundred million feet of lumber down the river to enrich and up build
the territory tributary to the Mississippi. In a single trip one
boat has towed a sufficient tonnage of lumber to load to the limit a
railroad train two miles in length. It is scarcely saying too much
to assert that the total down river tonnage of lumber fleets any day
in the moving season is sufficient to stall the traffic of all the
competing railroad traffic of all the competing railroad from boats
to rafts, and amounts to 500,000,000 annually.
This marvelous development is due to the steamboat, and few, if any,
achievements of my life afford me more personal satisfaction that
the fact that I built and operated the first steamboat of large
power for this particular branch of river traffic.
The Vast Influence of the River
In the inland sections of the country an impression prevails today
that the Mississippi is now no longer an active factor in the world
of transportation, that its traffic days are only a recollection,
and that the great stream has no claim upon the gratitude of the
people of the Northwest on the score of present benefits. This
delusion will be keenly resented by all who are loyally jealous of
the reputation of the great river.
True it is that it’s through passenger traffic has been almost
completely absorbed by the railroads. On the other hand, the volume
of its freight carrying, especially in lumber and coal, is still
very large, as the facts I have already cited will indicate. But of
far greater moment is its value as a conservator of freight rates,
it acts as a perpetual and unalterable check upon the greed of
railroad systems—and will continue so to act for all time to come.
With the completion of the Isthmian canal a new era of prosperity
will be assured to the river. A mighty volume of traffic will
suddenly be turned southward and the activities of the Mississippi
will be multiplied in a manner now hardly to be realized. This
great governmental enterprise should, for this reason, command the
heartiest support of every dweller in the valley of the Father of
Waters, and of all in the vast Northwestern empire tributary to it.
It is by no means to be admitted, however, that passenger traffic is
wholly a dead letter on the Mississippi. On the contrary, it is
still considerable, although radically changed in character. All
along its course the river is oiled by “short-line packets,” which
make daily and profitable trips between cities not far distant from
each other. The lines from Davenport to Burlington and from Keokuk
to Quincy are examples of this traffic, which will certainly
increase with the passage of time.
Another recent development is the excursion business, which is also
destined to increase. The boats devoted to these lines of the
carrying trade are modern and slightly, some of them costing fifty
thousand dollars each.
No review of the old days on the Mississippi is complete without
reference to the famous races in which the fast steamboats
indulged—a practice which has found appropriate embodiment in the
literature as well as the history of the West. How strong was the
racing spirit in the old-time river masters is best illustrated by
an incident which will ever remain vivid in my recollection.
As captain and part owner of the D. A. McDonald I had shown the
proper river spirit by trials of speed with all comers, and these
efforts to maintain the reputation of our boat had reached the ears
of my partner, Mr. Musser, a conservative man, much older than
myself. He had given serious admonition against the folly and
danger of racing, and had exacted a promise that I would not again
indulge in the practice. Immediately after I had given this pledge,
however, he accompanied me on an up-river trip.
We were in a deep and broad channel when one of the fastest boats of
the day hove in sight of our stern and was rapidly overhauling us.
The strain on my self-control was great and I could hardly restrain
myself from putting on more speed, when my partner suddenly appeared
at my side, his eyes blazing with the fire of contest.
“Sammy,” he exclaimed excitedly, clapping me on the shoulder—“Sammy,
throw in more coal and wood—Throw in all you want, and I’ll pay for
it!” But don’t let that boat pass you.”
Strife for speed records was not always or indeed generally inspired
purely by racing sentiment. The first boat of the season to get in
at the port of destination received her wharfage free and was sure
of a rich cargo, and the fastest boats were invariably in favor with
Among the boats which held high places in the galaxy of racers were
the War Eagle, the Hawkeye State and the Gem City.
In the golden days of the river it was not uncommon for a good boat
to clear fifty or sixty thousand dollars in a season, and one or two
of them brought their owners as high as one hundred thousand dollars
a year. A single trip in some instances yielded ten thousand
The Gem City, commanded by Captain Davidson, deserves an especial
place in river history as being the first boat to carry an electric
light on the waters. Electricity has been an important factor in
lessening the rate of river freightage by doing away with the
necessity of trying up at night. This is especially true of
Some Famous Pilots of the Past
Of the famous pilots of the old days volumes might be written. They
were a distinct class of marked individuality, with the common
characteristics of great courage, decision and sense of locality.
Their handling of boats and knowledge of the river were so marvelous
as to seem intuitive, almost super-national, to the lay mind. It is
a mistake, however, to suppose that in the essentials of their craft
they were superior to pilots of the present day. This common
supposition no doubt arises from the fact that the old veterans were
in the lime-light of publicity and that their successors are
comparatively unobserved. Now the pilots of the rafting boats
receive the highest wages, their maximum compensation being in the
neighborhood of two hundred and fifty dollars a month.
When, however, the river was in its full glory, the “crack” pilots
who ranked with Scribe Harris, Smith Harris, Orrin Smith, the
brothers Ludwig, Ed. West and my other boyhood hero, Dan Wright,
received from four hundred to five hundred dollars a month, and
lived the lives of nabobs. Many of them vied with the owners and
masters of the boats, and some of them graduated from the
wheel-house into the captain’s cabin. In the main, however, a pilot
lived exclusively in the atmosphere of his craft; he thought
piloting, talked piloting, breathed piloting, and knew no other
element of existence.
Of the terrible disasters which attended river navigation on the
Mississippi history has made abundant record. Certainly one of the
most dramatic incidents which took place on the river was the
picturesque rout of the Indians by Captain Throckmorton, in the
Black Hawk war.
After the engagement of Bad-Ax, when the warriors were swarming on
the river between the shore and Battle Island, a little below La
Crosse, this captain drove his steamboat into their fleet of canoes,
the huge paddle of his wheel crushing their frail craft, and
creating greater havoc among them than the guns of the enemy.
The fierce engagements of the civil war which took place on the
river and along its shores may be left to history, with observation
that the outcome of that long and bitter struggle might have been
far different had it not been for this great waterway and the
facilities which it afforded to the army and navy of the North.
The first steamboat to thread the Mississippi to its upper waters
was the famous old Virginia, which accomplished this significant
feat in 1823, or 16 years after Fulton had astonished the world with
his invention.—Reprinted from the Saturday Evening Post of
Philadelphia, Copyright, 1902, by the Cutis Publishing Co.
Davenport Daily Republican, May 3, 1902, page 7.
GOV. VAN SANT IS STRENUOUS
The steamer Musser got into trouble Monday evening at Wabasha and
its raft was broken up. Governor Van Sant, who owns the boat, was
notified and the first train into Wabasha brought Minnesota’s chief
executive. The strenuous Samuel R., laid aside the cares of a great
state, forgot all about the railroad merger, and throwing off his
coat and vest went out onto the end of a dam and helped two of the
boat hands in their task of catching logs. He spent four hours at
such strenuous labor and was not visibly fatigued when he gave up
Daily Times, Tuesday, 1903, July 24 page 7.
TYPICAL AMERICAN IS GOV. VAN SANT
WILLLIAM E. CURTIS WRITES OF
Born at Rock Island and the Correspondence to the Chicago Paper
Governor Van Sant is made the subject of William E. Curtis’ letter
in the Chicago Record-Herald this morning. Curtis says under a St.
“Samuel Van Sant, governor of Minnesota, and the champion
‘trust-buster,’ is a typical American, although of Dutch stock, like
another typical American whom he admires. Like that other typical
American, he keeps as near the people as possible and his
Republicanism is of the stalwart and robust variety. He believes in
the people, and is willing to follow them, although he conceals a
good deal of leadership in a skillful way. Governor Van Sant is
proud of his state; he is proud of his party; he is proud of his
administration; he is proud of his accomplishments, and he is proud
of himself, with a worthy sort of pride that one cannot help but
admire. Nor does he conceal his satisfaction at the reforms he has
affected since he was elected chief magistrate of Minnesota. When
he wanted to be governor he told the people so, and they elected
him, and then they gave him a second term on their own account.
Both they and he are ambitious and hopeful of higher honors.
“Governor Van Sant is a self made man, although he owns a good deal
to his friends; but if he wasn’t the man he is he would not have had
the friends. His home is in Winona; he is a boatman on the
Mississippi River by trade, and has made a fortune in that
business. If you will make a voyage up or down the Father of Waters
you will see the name ‘Van Sant’ upon a lot of boats, most of them
shoving rafts of logs and lumber. They run between the big logging
towns on the branches of the Mississippi river to Dubuque and
Burlington; and often to St. Louis, and then, they come puffing and
snorting northward again against the current. Some seasons he
handled as many as 200,000,000 feet of logs. He has 300 boatmen on
his pay roll, and although he has employed thousands of them from
time to time, he has never had the slightest trouble or dispute, and
every boatman on the Mississippi River is his friend.
“Boating and preaching run in the Van Sant family. The Governor’s
great grandfather was a boat builder down in New Jersey and fitted
out ships for the patriots in the War of the Revolution. His
grandfather was a soldier in the war of 1812, a shipbuilder and a
minister of the Methodist Church, and his six sons split on those
professions. Five of them entered the pulpit and the sixth, John
W., came west in 1837 and started a yard for building and repairing
boats on the Mississippi River at LeClaire, Ia. where he died on his
ninety-first birthday, after living to see his son inaugurated
governor of Minnesota.
“Governor Van Sant was born at Rock Island, served though the war,
never missed a battle, never was sick and never was wounded. After
the war was over he tried to get an education and entered Knox
College, at Galesburg, Ill.; but his money gave out and he had to
work at his father’s trade, which he followed until he became
superintendent of the shipyard. Later he and his father raised
money enough to buy out the yard, and have since prospered in their
“Twice was Captain Van Sant sent to the Minnesota legislature from a
Democratic district, and his second term was elected speaker of the
lower house without an opposing vote. Then, he became a candidate
for governor, and since his inauguration has distinguished himself
in various ways. His fight against the consolidation of the
Minnesota railways has made him a national reputation in which he
takes great satisfaction. He is a practical ‘trust-buster’ and
doesn’t confine himself to passing resolutions, writing messages and
making bluffs. But the ‘busting’ of the great ‘merger’ was not the
only incident in Van Sant’s administration worth talking about.”
Saturday Evening Post of Burlington, Iowa, July 11, 1914, page 2
GOV. VANSANT’S GREAT RECORD.
The Minnesota State capitol grounds at St. Paul are embellished with
heroic statues of men of that commonwealth that were eminent in war
and peace. That wonderfully fine and magnificent capital building
was constructed under the administration of Gov. Van Sant, who is
still a vigorous man with much further activity and usefulness
before him, and who is one of the big financial and real estate
operators in St. Paul. The State Capitol cost over four millions,
and Gov. Van Sant had part of the appropriation left, to be covered
back to the treasury, when the grand edifice stood completed and
ready for occupancy. Here certainly is a record of prudent and
faithful administration of public affairs that stands unique and
without a parallel. Almost anywhere else there would have been a
deficit of millions.
Capt. Van Sant is an old riverman and is still interested in the
boats being a large stockholder in both the Carnival City Packet
Company and the Northern Steamboat Company.
Davenport Democrat and Leader, January 10, 1922, page 13.
Governor Van Sant has a beautiful residence at Valrico, in the heart
of the orange country, which he calls “Anchorage,” taken in
reminiscent of the old river days when “Captain” Van Sant, as he was
then known, spent a great part of his time on the Mississippi. An
anchor, as he explains, played an important part in his early life,
and so he and his wife are anchored in the sunny clime of Florida
for the rest of their winters.
Daily Times, Saturday, October 3, 1936, page 1.
Ex-Gov. Van Sant Dead at Age of 92.
Van Sant’s Life A Story of River,
Politics, G. A. R.
Was Long Associated With Capt. W. A.
Blair of Davenport
ATTICA, Ind., Oct. 3 – (Associated Press) – S. R. Van Sant,
92, former governor of Minnesota, died here early this morning from
acute dilation of the heart.
Mr. Van Sant, traveling by automobile to Green Cove, Fla., became
ill and stopped at a local hotel. A nurse, Edna Danielson, was
Born in Rock Island, Ill. Mr. Van Sant was governor of Minnesota
from 1901 to 1906 and was grand commander of the G. A. R. in 1909
It was said burial will be in LeClaire, Ia.
Ex. Gov. Van Sant’s early life was a saga of the river. With his
father, J. W. Van Sant, one of the earliest employees of the
Weyerhaeuser & Denkmann interests, he began the building and
operating of raft boats on the river when that business was at its
They bought the huge rafts down the river that kept flourishing
mills in the tri-cities, Muscatine, Clinton and elsewhere humming.
In 1871, they began the building of river craft at a boat yards in
LeClaire. For a time they were associated with the Musser Lumber
Co. of Muscatine. Van Sant was a pilot and steamboat master
Associate of Blair
Mr. Van Sant’s death brought sorrow to Capt. W. A. Blair, pioneer
river man of Davenport. In 1882, Van Sant and Capt. Blair became
associated with a business venture which continued until 1923. They
operated well-known river boats, the Carnival City Packet Co. and
the Northern Steamboat Co., the Northern Star, Silver Crescent and
other boats are recorded in the river’s history.
In 1880, Mr. Van Sant went to Winona, Minn., then gaining fame as an
up-river lumber center, and before long he was into politics. He
was always a staunch Republican. He went to the legislature, became
speaker of the house and finally governor. He became interested in
banking in St. Paul.
At the age of 16, Governor Van Sant had enlisted in the Union army
in Rock Island and served three years. He became a leader in the
Grand Army of the Republic and was its national commander-in-chief
After the war he was a student at Knox College for two years and in
1904 was awarded a L.L.D degree from Cornell College, and the
following year Augustana College conferred the same degree upon him.
He was married to Miss Ruth Hall of LeClarie, Ia., Dec. 7, 1868, and
she preceded him in death April 24, 1928.
Governor Van Sant was a frequent visitor in the tri-cities and in
LeClaire for Memorial Day, 1930, and in September of that year
visited the Kahlke boat yards and exchanged reminiscences with Fred
A. Kahlke. He also spoke before the Rock Island Old Settlers at
Watch Tower state park. He was scheduled to speak in LeClaire on
Memorial Day, 1935, but was unable to be present.
Davenport Democrat and Leader, Sunday Morning, October 4, 1936, page
S. R. VAN SANT, EX-GOVERNOR, IS DEAD
Native of Rock Island and Former G.
A. R. Commander—Burial Here
Samuel R. Van Sant, former Governor of Minnesota and a native of
Rock Island, died early Saturday morning in Attica, Ind., at the age
of 92. Death was the result of acute dilation of the heart.
Traveling by automobile to Green Cove, Fla., he became suddenly ill
and stopped at an Attica hotel. He was accompanied by Edna
Danielson, a nurse.
Mr. Van Sant was governor of Minnesota during the years 1901 to
1906 and was commander in chief of the G. A. R. in 1903 and 1910.
Enlisted in Rock
Governor Van Sant enlisted in the Union army at Rock Island at the
age of 16 years, served three years without being wounded and
returned to Rock Island, even then too young to cast a vote for
Abraham Lincoln in 1864. He was always a staunch Republican.
Following in the footsteps of his father, J. W. Van Sant, a former
employee of the Weyerhaeuser and Denkmann lumber mills, he was known
as a builder and operator of rafting boats which hauled huge
shipments of logs on the Mississippi River.
In 1871 Governor Van Sant and his father started building raft boats
in LeClaire, operating several of them, and later joining with the
Musser Lumber Company of Muscatine.
Later in 1882 the governor and Captain Walter A. Blair, 2342 East
Eleventh Street, Davenport, formed a partnership in boat building
which lasted until 1923, long after Van Sant Had left the community.
About 1880 Mr. Van Sant moved to Winona, Minn., where he became
interested in politics. He was elected to the Minnesota Legislature
for several terms and served as governor of the state from 1901
Visiting the scenes of his youth in 1930, Governor Van Sant spent
several days in Rock Island, viewing the Kahike boat yards where he
reminisced river experiences with Fred A. Kahike. He took part in
the Memorial Day exercises in LeClaire in 1930 and in September of
the same year addressed the Rock Island County Old Settlers
Association at the Black Hawk State Park.
His most recent visit was in Moline on May 28 of this year when he
attended the annual reunion of Co. A. of the Ninth Illinois Cavalry
of the Civil war. He was one of five surviving members of the
Davenport Democrat and Leader, Monday Evening, October 5, 1936, page
The Van Sant Funeral.
services for Governor Samuel Van Sant, 92, who died Saturday in
Attica, Ind., from heart disease, will be held in Minneapolis
Tuesday after which the body will be sent to LeClaire, Ia., for
Daily Times, October 7, 1936, page 2
FUNERAL SERVICES FOR S. R. VAN SANT
HELD IN LECLAIRE
Military funeral services for S. R. Van
Sant, former Governor of Minnesota and past grand commander of
the G. A. R. who died Saturday in Attica, Ind., were held at
9:15 a.m. today at Glendale Cemetery, LeClaire. The Rev. Miss
Edna Watson officiated, while members of the Buffalo Bill post
of the American Legion had charge of the services.
The guard of honor consisted of Roy H. Suiter,
C. C. Brown, Paul Brown, William Hollman, Frank Clark, Ed
Suiter and James J. Ryan.
Members of the firing squad who fired a salute as taps were
sounded were Sergt. F. R. Gray, T. A. Kwasigroch, C. G.
Stewart, V. F. Chapin, T. R. Walker, C. B. McAdams, E. W.
Adamison, C. L. Mear and L. M. Derwiter.
Pallbearers were J. A. Hanley, T. B.
Stone, H. D. Gault, W. J. Laycock, J. A. Meyer, Charles
Shuler, Sr., C. C. Thompson and W. A. Blair.
Among the relatives from out of the city who
attended the services were the deceased’s son and
daughter-in-law, Mr. and Mrs. Grant Van Sant of Green Cold
Springs, Fla.; his brother and sister-in-law, Mrs. N. G. Van
Sant of Sterling, Ill.; his grandson, Grant Van Sant, Jr., of
Kansas City, Mo.; a niece Miss Grace Hall of Dubuque; his
housekeeper, Miss Edna Danielson of Minneapolis, Minn., and
Thomas Gainey of Moline, who was in the Governor’s company in
the Civil War.
by Bob Jones
Davenport Democrat and Leader, Wednesday Evening, October 7, 1936,
MILITARY HONORS MARK BURIAL OF
EX-GOV. VAN SANT
Burial services for former Governor S. R. Van Sant of Minnesota,
were held with full military honors at the Glendale Cemetery in
LeClaire at 9:15 a.m. today with Miss Edna Watson, pastor of the
LeClaire Gospel Tabernacle officiating.
Buffalo Bill Post No. 347 of the LeClaire American Legion, attended
the services in a body and composed the escort of honor, consisting
of Roy H. Suiter, commander, C. C Brown, William Hollman, Frank
Clark, Paul Brown, Ed Suiter and James Ryan, Spanish American War
A firing squad from the Rock Island Arsenal, with Sergeant F. R.
Gray in charge, fired a salute at the gravesite. The firing squad
was composed of T. A. Kwasigroch, C. G. Stewart, V. F. Chapin, T. R.
Walker, C. B. McAdams, E. W. Adamison, C. L. Mear and L. M. Detwiler.
Bearers were J. A. Hanley, T. B. Stone, H. P. Gault, W. J. Laycock,
J. A. Meyer, Charles Shuler, Sr., C. C. Thompson and
W. A. Blair.
Relatives from out of the city who attended the services were his
son, Grant Van Sant and Mrs. Van Sant, Sr., Green Cold Springs Fla;
his brother, N. G. and Mrs. Van Sant, of Sterling, Ill.; a grandson,
Grant Van Sant and Mrs. Van Sant, Jr., of Kansas City; his niece,
Miss Grace Hall, Dubuque, Ia.
Also attending were Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Gainey, and Miss Edna
Danielson of Minneapolis. Miss Danielson, nurse of the former
governor, was accompanying him at the time of his death
Samuel Van Sant house in LeClaire, Iowa as it stands today.