GOVERNORS AND THE ANNIVERSARY
(John and Lydia Van Sant’s Seventh Wedding
Researched and Transcribed
By Sue Rekkas
John and Lydia Van Sant’s
Seventh Wedding Anniversary
Davenport Daily Republican, October 3, 1901,
OF MR. AND MRS. VAN SANT BY THEIR SON GOVERNOR OF MINNESOTA.
The following sketch of the
lives of Mr. and Mrs. J. W. Van Sant, who celebrated their 70th
wedding anniversary on Tuesday, though not long, is probably the
most accurate that has been prepared, as the author is none other
than their most distinguished son, Hon. Sam R. Van Sant, governor of
The reunion of the Van Sant
family at LeClaire, Iowa, Tuesday, Oct. 1, to celebrate the
seventieth anniversary of the marriage of J. W. and Lydia Van Sant,
was a memorable one: perhaps there is not another couple in the
entire state of Iowa who have been so long married.
John Wesley Van Sant was
born in New Jersey in 1810, consequently is in his 92nd
year; his wife, Lydia Anderson, was born in the same state in 1812,
and is now in her 90th year.
This old couple were early
pioneers in Illinois, going to that state in 1837, landing at Rock
Island, at that time called Stephenson. They settled on a piece of
land on Rock River nearby, Mr. Van Sant and young family suffered
all the privations of early pioneer life. He soon abandoned his
farm on Rock River; (it overflowed every spring). During winter he
taught school, worked at carpenter work or did odd jobs in order to
make a living for his family. He moved to Rock Island and worked in
the boat yard, and soon after became foreman; later he bought the
boat yard and has ever since been engaged in the building, repairing
and running of steamers on the Mississippi River. He had learned
the trade of shipbuilder prior to coming west. His ancestors before
him were seafaring men and vessel builders, and it was said of his
grandfather that he could build and rig a vessel and sail her to any
part of the world. He was in the naval service of the government
during the revolutionary war. It is fortunate that the cause of the
patriots succeeded; else the founder of this family might have been
hanged as a pirate. His father was a soldier in the war of 1812, and
while the subject of our sketch was too old to go to war for the
union, his two young sons, Samuel and Nicholas, did. Thus it will
be seen that this family was always patriotic.
Mr. and Mrs. Van Sant have
been members of the Methodist Church since childhood. That father
of Mr. Van Sant was a Methodist preacher, a great admirer of John
Wesley, and he named his first born after that distinguished divine.
Mr. Van Sant’s father died
at the age of 91 and his grandfather at the age of 94; so that these
three men may reach back to the year 1726—the year of the birth of
Johannes Van Sant, the founder of this family—or fifty years before
the revolutionary war. A wonderful record for three generations.
Lydia Van Sant (nee
Anderson) also comes from a long lived family; her father was a
revolutionary soldier, and it is very rarely that a son or daughter
of the American Revolution is found living. She is the daughter of
Elias Anderson, a revolutionary soldier.
One can scarcely realize
the vast improvement since this old couple came west. Within a
radius of 20 miles of the old farm on Rock River, are found three
populous cities, Davenport, Rock Island and Moline, and within the
same radius more than one hundred thousand happy and contended
people live. J. W. Van Sant and Lydia Van Sant had eight children
born to them, five of whom are living; Prof. A. C. Van Sant of
Omaha, Neb., Mrs. T. C. Harris – who is at present living with and
taking care of the old people; S. R. Van Sant, present governor of
Minnesota, N G. Van Sant of Sterling, Ill., and Mrs. T. B. Taylor of
Hampton, Iowa. One son, E. A. Van Sant, died in 1896 at Peoria,
aged 60. The other two children died in infancy. There are some
fifty children, grandchildren and great grandchildren living in
different parts of the country.
Mr. Van Sant moved to
LeClaire in 1864 and two or three years later with his son Samuel
formed a partnership, since which time they have been building and
operating steamboats on the Mississippi River. He is at present,
with his son, owner of several steamboats plying the Mississippi
River; in fact that they built the first boat with large power
purposely for the rafting business.
The health of both Mr. and
Mrs. Van Sant is good for people so advanced in years, and they take
a lively interest in all public matters: they are inveterate readers
of the daily papers, and were both greatly shocked at the death of
our dearly beloved president.
The Davenport Democrat, September 27, 1901,
WILL HAVE A BIG TIME NEXT TUESDAY.
Governor Shaw Coming to the Van Sant
Which Will Wind Up With a Big Political
Demonstration in the Evening.
The celebration of the 70th
wedding anniversary of Mr. and Mrs. J. W. Van Sant, in LeClaire, is
to be made the biggest event in the history of that city. Governor
Shaw is an old friend of the family, and when he signified his
willingness to attend, with the family’s consent, plans were made
for the biggest demonstration ever known in LeClaire. Incidentally
it will be the opening of the Republican campaign in this district.
The local arrangements are
in the hands of Supervisor S. A. Wilson, township committeeman. The
main meeting in the evening will be in the auditorium, although it
may be found necessary to open both of the LeClaire halls. A
torchlight procession is being arranged, farmers from LeClaire and
all the adjoining townships to take part, and a special train is
likely to be run from this city. Probably one or two Davenport
speakers will be put on the bills.
The announcements comes
from Des Moines in the following form.
Governor Lesley M. Shaw of Iowa
“Des Moines, Ia.,
Sept. 26. The Republican state central committee is arranging
for a big mass meeting to be held next Tuesday evening at
LeClaire, Scott County. Two governors will be present and
address the meeting, Governor S. R. Van Sant, of Minnesota,
and Governor Shaw of Iowa.
The occasion is a big
family reunion of the Van Sants to be held in LeClaire on
Tuesday. It will be a celebration of the 70th
anniversary of the wedding of Mr. and Mrs. Van Sant who reside
Governor Shaw is well
acquainted with the family and has been invited to be
present. A brother and a sister of the Governor of Minnesota
were in school with Governor Shaw at Cornell College, Mount
There are a number of Van
Sant descendants living in the neighborhood of LeClaire, and as the
family did not object, it was thought best to have a big Republican
mass meeting in the evening after the festivities of the day, the
Van Sants having been lifelong Republicans.
The state central committee
accordingly took hold of the matter, with the result that the
arrangements have been carried out and a meeting decided upon.
LeClaire is a small town
about 12 miles from Davenport. It is located on the banks of the
Mississippi river, and for many years has been accessible only by
boats. A railroad built between Clinton and Davenport two years ago
connected LeClaire with the outside world, and it has grown
The Davenport Democrat, October 1, 1901,
CELEBRATE SEVENTY YEARS OF WEDDED LIFE.
Big Family Party at LeClaire, With Governors
of Two States Present
—Family Heirlooms Play Part at Feast—an
Mr. and Mrs. J. W. Van
Sant, of LeClaire, surrounded by relatives representing four
generations, have been the center of a celebration today of 70 years
of married life—a term of connubial happiness that is vouchsafed to
but few, making such occasions exceedingly rare. The present
celebration is also noteworthy for a number of features which would
give it distinction even among such rare events. The present
celebration is also noteworthy for a number of features which would
give it distinction even among such rare events.
The Family Gathering.
At the dinner which was
served in the Van Sant home at 5 o’clock this afternoon, there were
present the governors of two states, Governor Samuel R. Van Sant of
Minnesota and Governor Leslie M. Shaw of Iowa. Seated at the table
were four generations of the Van Sant family, from the venerable
couple whose anniversary was being celebrated to their great
grandchildren. Among those present were their five children Gov.
Van Sant of Minneapolis, A. C. Van Sant of Omaha, Neb., N. G. Van
Sant of Sterling, Ill., Mrs. T. B. Harris of Fergus Falls Minn., who
has made her home with her parents for the past year, and Mrs. T. B.
Taylor of Hampton, Ill. Among the grand children were Blaine
Taylor, who graduates from Cornell College this year, Ollie Taylor,
a school teacher in Minneapolis, Dr. J. W. Harris of Morris, Minn.,
and a son of Governor Van Sant. A son of Dr. Harris completed the
four generations. Governor Shaw was the principal guest of honor
outside the family.
A Neat Menu Card.
It was a happy party
that gathered around the table and partook of the bounteous
feast that followed an outline which was shown on hand pained
menu cards which showed a lion as the family crest, reproduced
from the decoration on the old family teaspoons, that have
been in the family for 200 years. With a sailing vessel or an
old Holland windmill also decorating all the cards, typifying
the Dutch descent of the family and the business that its
oldest member has followed for so many years, the words,
“Married Seventy Years,” and the dates, 1831-1901, made them
choice souvenirs of the occasion.
On the table also was the table
cloth that was used when Mr. and Mrs. Van Sant were married,
and which has been in the family a hundred years and is still
“nearly as good as new.”
needless to say that the best of spirits prevailed at this
gathering, remarkable for so many reasons, or that all present
and everyone else who know the venerable pair in whose honor
it was held wish them more happy returns of the day. Both are
hale and hearty for nonagenarians and may live to celebrate
their diamond wedding.
A Long Lived
That this is
not an unreasonable hope may be seen from the remarkable longevity
of the Van Sant family. J. W. Van Sant is now 92, his father
Nicholas lived to be 91, and his grandfather John was 94 when they
died. The three generations reach back 50 years before the
Sant, who was Lydia Anderson before her marriage, is a daughter of
Elias Anderson, who was a revolutionary soldier, making her one of
the few surviving original Daughters of the Revolution.
Some Family History.
It was 70
years ago today that John W. Van Sant and Miss Lydia Anderson were
married in the little Methodist Church at Toms River, N.J. The
groom was almost 22 and the bride was two years his junior.
unusually long and happy life fell to the lot of this couple. For
55 years there was not a death in the family of Mr. and Mrs. Van
Sant. Three years ago their sun, Elias Van Sant of Peoria, Ill,
died at the age of 60, and was the first adult member of the family
to be called away.
The elder Van Sant
is of Holland stock, and is a son of Rev. Nicholas Van Sant, a
Methodist preacher, who settled on the Delaware River above
Philadelphia. Many of his ancestors were in the Revolutionary and
colonial wars. Mrs. Van Sant is of English extraction and had many
ancestors who fought with the colonial troops during the revolution.
Takes to the
When a very
young man John W. Van Sant learned shipbuilding. Six years after
his marriage he removed to Rock Island, Ill., and was the pioneer
boat builder along the upper Mississippi. He established a dry dock
at Rock Island, Ill., and was the first man to build raft boats. He
engaged in the lumber and shipping business. Within recent years he
has met with success in his business ventures and he and his aged
wife have a very comfortable fortune.
Feels Young as
Mr. Van Sant
has retained his health during his 92 years of life and is as active
as most men are at half his age. It happened that the inauguration
of Governor Van Sant last winter occurred on the 91th anniversary of
his father’s birth. The old gentleman attended the inaugural
exercise and said that he felt but little older then he did the day
he was married.
nonagenarian attributes his good health to his temperate life. He
has always been a very devout Christian and has led a life of
sobriety. His wife has shared his good health and is vigorous and
active. Both of the old people have been very industries during
their entire lives and are unwilling to give up work in their old
age. Mr. Van Sant still has supervision of his boats and his wife
does most of her housework.
Last winter Mr.
Van Sant visited for several months with his son in Omaha. When
spring made its advances and the weather reports indicated that the
ice was moving in the Mississippi the veteran river man would not
remain in Omaha any longer, but hastened home to look after his
boats. He has spent all his life in the shipping industry and says
that he wants to die within sight of the old river, which has been
his home for so many years.
Every riverman remembers
the firm of Van Sant & Zebley, which established a saw mill at
LeClaire after the elder Van Sant removed there from Rock Island.
They did a big business for years. Later boat ways were opened in
connection with the mill, and were continued after the mill was shut
down, although never have they been run on such a scale as when J.
W. Van Sant was in his prime, acknowledged the best designer of
boats and the most skilled ship’s carpenter on the upper
Mississippi. The big packets filled the boat ways every winter.
There was the Tom Jasper, the Belle of LaCrosse, the Dubuque and the
Davenport and all the rest of the noted boats of that day. There a
big gang of men was busy all winter, building, repairing, and
remodeling the river fleet.
The First Rafter.
Many of the old boats that
have passed away, and many that still float on the bosom of the
Father of Waters, were built there. The Brother Jonathan was named
after Mr. Van Sant’s partner, and was the first stern wheel raft
boat, which inaugurated the revolution in the rafting business,
rafts having hitherto been floated and guided with sweeps. The
Brother Jonathan showed how it could be better done, and the
LeClaire Belle, the D. A. McDonald, the Silver Wave, the Stillwater,
the Rambo, our own Pilot, the Musser and lots of others followed
each other off the LeClaire ways to do their part in making the
Mississippi one of the largest industries of the cities that lined
its banks. The last boat constructed by J. W. Van Sant is believed
to be the one bearing his name, built in 1890, and regularly, with
the Lydia Van Sant as bow boat, bringing rafts down the river to the
Mueller Lumber Company of this city and the Musser Mill of
In earlier days Mr. Van Sant also
constructed many sailing vessels, taking them to Clear Lake and
other bodies of water, where they were sold after their superiority
of model had been shown by out sailing all the other boats there.
Still on Active List.
Mr. Van Sant has never retired.
He has too active a mind to permit of continued idleness. He has
retained his interest in the Van Sant & Musser Transportation
Company, and has directed the repairs on the company’s boats during
the winter season.
A Devout Methodist.
The son of a Methodist preacher, Mr. Van
Sant has been a member of that church from his boyhood days. He was
a lay preacher, and was often called upon in his earlier days to
deliver a sermon, and did it as well as the minister. To his later
years he has carried a remarkable knowledge on a wide variety of
subjects, and to quote one who has long known him, he could discuss
intelligently any subject that came up in conversation. Of late
years he has been a little hard of hearing, but this did not
interfere with his regular attendance upon the services at LeClaire
consent he has for several years had a chair on the pulpit
platform, where he is to be seen as regularly as the Sabbath
comes round, listening attentively to the words of the
preacher, who stands but a few feet from him.
Full of Good Works.
Neither Mr. nor
Mrs. Van Sant have ever courted notoriety or public
attention. A quiet life has satisfied them, but in their
quiet way they have found opportunity for much usefulness.
The number of poor people in and around LeClaire who could say
that Mr. Van Sant has supplied them with lumber in their hour
of need or given them an order for food or fuel, will never be
known, until the day the veil is removed that hides the good
deeds of those who give with the right hand and let the left
hand know not. Always on what be called intimate terms with
the poorer classes, although well-to-do himself, the testimony
of those who have known Mr. Van Sant for years is that his
hand was open to all, and that he was always recognized as the
especial friend of the poor. So kindly has been his nature
that his old friends fail
to recall an unkind word he has said for a
living person. Always ready to condone and apologize for the faults
of others, he has lived a type of practical Christianity to those
who knew him.
A Devoted Wife and Mother.
Devoted to her home,
rearing a family that honors the early training, and supporting her
husband in all good works as well as in the toll and effort of 70
years of married life, Mrs. Van Sant has lived in the enjoyment of
the esteem and respect of her neighbors, and the blessing of long
life and freedom from sorrow has been merited in her case.
Elias Van Sant, the
deceased son, was a very able Methodist minister and his replies to
Ingersoll, delivered some 10 or 12 years ago, attracted widespread
This evening the event
assumes a political turn, the Republican committee of the district
and county having seized upon the opportunity offered by the
presence of a pair of real live governors in LeClaire, to open their
campaign. The auditorium, the largest hall in town, has been
engaged for the occasion, and both Governor Van Sant and Governor
Shaw will deliver addresses. That ought to be a good enough bill of
oratory for anyone. The idea of running a train from Davenport has
been given up, but a party will go up in carriages.
Democrat, October 2, 1901, page 7.
TOWNSHIP TURNED OUT TO HONOR THEM.
A Big Gathering Tuesday
Evening, to Which Governor Shaw Made
a Heart-To-Heart Talk That Had
Both Local Pride and Politics in It.
The reunion of the Van Sant
family in LeClaire yesterday and the jollification last evening
combined to make an event that will be memorable in the history of
the good old river town. The Van Sant’s have been holding reunions
for many years, and while the annual occasion has always been
regarded by the members of the family as one that none of them
should miss, in late years the sons and daughters, grandchildren and
great-grandchildren have made it a point to be present. Yesterday
was a day of special significance in the family, the celebration of
the 70th wedding anniversary of Mr. and Mrs. J. W. Van
Sant, and the couple that are doubtless the oldest in Iowa, enjoyed
the day, probably, as well as any of those present. It was the
happiest day in the life of Capt. Sam Van Sant, the son and governor
of Minnesota, for he had longed to be present on this auspicious
occasion, and the large audience that filed the hall in the evening
was made up of men and women from the homes of Democrats and
Republicans who wanted to see and hear Governor Van Sant and have
the opportunity to shake his hand once more and that of his aged
father, who has resided in the little town so long that there is not
a man, woman or child in it or in that vicinity for miles around who
does not know him.
Governor Shaw was present
as an old friend and guest of honor of the Van Sant family, and to
address the meeting at the hall on the political issues of the day.
But, while there was a large audience present, and while every
member of it listened to Iowa’s governor as he discussed the good
that the Republican party had done, and of course, that the
Democratic party has failed to do, it was not political doctrine or
the welfare of political parties that the vast throng were
especially interested in, or what they went there to hear. Governor
Van Sant has a strong hold on the town in which he made his start in
life and the outpouring last night was more in the nature of a
tribute to him and his father than anything else.
Governor Shaw was in Davenport
yesterday morning, but it was only for a short time. He took
breakfast at the Kimball and without waiting to see politicians lost
no time in getting down to the Front Street depot and taking the
train for LeClaire. Governor Van Sant had already arrived at his
old home, or the home of his father, and it was there that the
governors of the two great states spent the day.
Thos whose partook of the
reunion dinner were Mr. and Mrs. J. W. Van Sant, their son, A. C.
Van Sant of Omaha, daughter Mrs. T. C. Harris and son, Dr. J. W.
Harris and his wife and son, Van Sant Harris; Mrs. Major Holden of
Hampton, Ia., daughter of Mrs. T. C. Holden; Governor Van Sant and
wife and son, Grant Van Sant; N. G. Van Sant and wife of Sterling,
Ill.; Mrs. T. B. Taylor and son and daughter of Hampton, Ia.; Mrs.
Nebeker and Mrs. M. J. Scandrett of Davenport and Howard White of
Muscatine. These made up the family party with Governor Shaw as the
quest of honor. The decorations were American flags and cut
The meeting at the town
hall assembled people from LeClaire and all the townships adjacent,
and several carriage loads attended from Davenport, Supervisor S. A.
Wilson presided. Most of the county candidates on the Republican
ticket were present and occupied seats on the stage. Governor Van
Sant’s father was also seated there, occupying a seat beside his son
until Governor Shaw was introduced and then he placed his chair
nearer the edge of the stage, close up to speaker, where he could
hear the address.
The address of Gov. Shaw was
confined to political issues almost entirely. He stated at the
beginning that he did not come to LeClaire primarily to deliver a
political speech, but to attend the anniversary celebration of Mr.
and Mrs. Van Sant. He then launched into a discussion of the
problems that have been the subject of controversy between the
political parties and showed from a Republican standpoint what had
been done for the welfare and advancement of the country during the
many years that the Republican Party has been in power. Governor
Shaw is always an interesting talker and his presentation of the
issues from a party standpoint is always clear and explicit. He
spoke for about an hour and then Chairman Wilson introduced Gov. Van
Sant. Mr. Wilson stated that up in Minnesota he was known as
“Governor Van Sant,” but here in his old town the people knew him as
“Captain Sam Van Sant.”
Governor Van Sant’s Talk.
Governor Van Sant was
received with loud applause as he advanced to the front and it was
plainly evident that the genial former Scott County man was somewhat
affected by the greeting. He glanced at his aged father who sat
nearby, leaning forward in his chair to catch every word that his
distinguished son might say, and then taking a sweeping view of the
enthusiastic audience he began as the applause died away, by saying
that it would be hard to find a happier man than he was tonight. He
was glad to be in old LeClaire. It was there that he got his start
in life. It was there that he married the wife of his youth; it was
there that he had buried his children. There he had enjoyed many a
happy day with his aged father and mother, and he loved the people
of LeClaire. The place was full of many tender memories for him and
though he lived now in another state he would always cherish most
kindly thoughts of the people of LeClaire.
The governor then branched
out into politics for a short time. He stated that they hold
elections in Minnesota only every other year and did not have fights
annually as was the case in Iowa. He hoped to see two Republican
representatives chosen from this county, and a Republican senator,
to the legislature. Nor was that all. If ever he came down here
and was arrested he wanted to be arrested by a Republican sheriff.
The governor declared that he was a Republican from principle. He
called attention of his hearers to the period from ‘92 to ’97.
Those years he said were the darkest in the country’s history and
the longest. But the last statement he modified by reference to
conclusion of the judges on a question he once heard debated in the
LeClaire Debating Society to which he once belonged in the early
days. The society discussed—“Resolved, that married men live longer
than single men.” The decision of the judges was that it seemed
longer to the married men. He referred to the present prosperity of
the country, saying that last year the amount of exports was the
largest in our history. He fired a shot at the 16 to 1 idea and
spoke a word in eulogy of McKinney, who he said was charged after
the Spanish War with trying to foist imperialism upon the country.
The record of the late president and the results that have been
attained through his wise administration of the nation’s affairs
showed the utter falsity of the charge that he was an imperialist.
His work had placed his name high in the heavens beside those of
Washington and Lincoln. The governor said that when the Civil War
was over there were people who thought that Grant would subvert the
rights of the people, and yet at the close of the conflict the
disbandment of the great army at Washington, so peacefully, exploded
the idea that Grant was an imperialist forever. The contest waged
by the forefathers of the republic was for liberty and the war with
Spain was for humanity. The only fault he had to find with that war
was that there was not fighting enough in it to go round. Had Spain
only held out long enough a demonstration of the greatest fighting
that the world has known would have been shown. He emphatically
declared that he was proud that he belonged to a party that had
never fired in the rear while it was fighting the battles of
country. He then mentioned the campaign of 1896 and said that had
it not been for the gold Democrats the Republican party would never
have won. It reminded him of the time that Stephen A. Douglas made
his great speech in which he upheld the hand of Abraham Lincoln and
which virtually sealed the fate of the confederacy. He refrained
from a discussion of the political issues in this state for he was
not familiar with them.
Governor Van Sant then
passed to a review of the state of Minnesota. He located in that
state, he said, to better his condition. That state was but three
years of age at the outbreak of the civil war, but it gave though
Governor Ramsey the first regiment that went forth to battle in that
great conflict. It was a great regiment and 87 per cent of its men
went down in gory battle. There were none more gallant in that war
than the sons of Minnesota. The governor spoke at length of the
growth of that state and defended the policy of expansion. He
closed with a beautiful description of the union of all sections of
the country as shown by the men who took part in the Spanish War. A
short time ago he received a letter from a lady whom he had known as
a girl in the south during the Civil War. She had a brother and
father in the confederate army. Governor Van Sant stated that he
was put on duty to guard some of the goods in the vicinity of her
home, but he paid more attention to her than to anything else. He
did not know what would have happened had he remained in the South
with the little rebel girl, but he came North and married a girl in
LeClaire. The letter received from this lady informed him of the
time when he met her in the south, stating that she had heard that
he become governor of Minnesota and that she had two sons who fought
in the Spanish War in Cuba. The letter was an evidence of the
conciliatory spirit that is actuating the people of the southland.
He did not known what the lady wanted him to do for her sons, but he
did know that the gentlemen seated on the platform behind him wanted
(referring to the candidates).
Before the governor left
the platform he thanked the people of LeClaire for the exceeding
kindness they had always shown him and his family. They had been
good to his old father and mother, and he would remember them all
his days for it. He did not know whether he would ever have the
opportunity again to attend a 70th anniversary. He spoke with
considerable feeling and as he again thanked his old friends and
neighbors his eyes filled with tears. That the residents of
LeClaire have a tender spot in their hearts for the governor and his
family was never more emphatically shown on any occasion than was
demonstrated last night. The two governors held a reception before
and after the meeting greeting friends who had come quite a distance
to see them. Scores of people called during the day and evening at
the home of the governor’s parents to pay their respects.
Chairman Wilson called for
three cheers for the two governors and they were given with great
vigor. The music for the occasion was furnished by Mrs. Carrie
Adams at the piano. At the request of Governor Van Sant the
audience rose and united in singing America.
Davenport Daily Republican, Wednesday,
October 2, 1901.
MEETING HELD AT LECLAIRE LAST NIGHT.
Each of the
Distinguished Orators of the Occasion Addressed the Assembly
for an Hour
on Political Situation
Van Sant Family on Occasion of Wedding Anniversary.
The governor’s meeting
at LeClaire last night was one of the most largely attended and most
enthusiastic held in that part of the county in recent years. Fully
1,200 people were present in the big town hall and they gave the two
distinguished speakers, Governor Shaw of Iowa and Governor Van Sant
of Minnesota, a most hearty reception. These gentlemen were the
only speakers of the evening. Each addressed the gathering for
about an hour. Governor Shaw reviewed the history of the Republican
party in connection with tariff legislation, told of the value of
expansion to American trade and paid a glowing tribute to the
American soldiers in the Spanish and Philippine wars. In speaking
of the Nicaraguan canal, he stated it would have the effect of
putting strong Hong Kong nearer to New York than it is to Liverpool
by way of the Suez Canal. At present the United States secures only
five per cent of the trade of the Pacific Ocean With the canal cut
and in operation it ought to control of the major portion of that
traffic and thus greatly add to the strength of the nation in a
commercial way. Trade supremacy, said the eloquent governor of
Iowa, seemed to be the manifest destiny of this country, and the
Republican Party in following out its policy was merely assisting in
development along the lines the changes in the world’s business
relations had marked out. On the subject of trusts the governor
called attention to the outcry the Democrats had made against them
without suggesting any way of remedying conditions.
Governor Van Spoke first of
the subject of imperialism, as the opposition termed it during the
last campaign. He praised the policy of the national administration
and paid a beautiful tribute to the lamented president. The Spanish
War, he stated, had been worth more than it cost merely because it
cemented the Union and wiped out sectional feeling as nothing else
could have done. Touching upon subjects nearer to home the speaker
called attention to the division in the ranks of the Democracy, as
illustrated in the action of the county convention yesterday in
repudiating the position of the state platform on the matter of the
endorsement of the Kansas City platform.
After the speaking, on
suggestion of Governor Van Sant, the audience rose and sang
“America.” Then three great cheers were given for the two
The musical features of the
evening were piano selections by Mrs. Wilson Adams.
Among those who drove up from
this city to take in the big meeting were W. H. Wilson, Senator
Hayward, Lon Bryson, Rudolph Rohlfs, Henry P. Jarchow, A. W. Hamann,
John Suiter, J. Jay Enderton, Dr. E. S. Bowman and a number of
The Van Sant Reunion.
Front row, seated left to right:
Clarke, John W., Lydia, Elias, Nellie
Back row, standing left to right:
Hester, Samuel, Nicholas
This great meeting
was only one of two notable events in LeClaire yesterday. The
other was the reunion of the Van Sant family on the occasion
of the 70th wedding anniversary of Mr. and Mrs. Van
Sant, parents of the Minnesota governor. The marriage of the
aged couple occurred at Toms River, N.J., when the groom was
22 years of age and his bride two years younger. Their life,
besides being remarkably long, has been extremely happy. For
35 years there was not a death in the immediate family. Mr.
Van Sant has long been a riverman and at the age of 92 is
still able to take an active part in the business of the
transportation line in which he is an owner. Nearly 65 years
ago he settled at Rock Island and sometime later removed to
Dinner was served yesterday afternoon at the
Van Sant home. Among those present were the five children of the
couple, Governor Van Sant of Minneapolis, A. C. Van Sant of Omaha,
Neb., N. G. Van Sant of Sterling, Ill., Mrs. T. B. Harris of Fergus
Falls, Minn., who has made her home with her parents for the past
year, and Mrs. T. B. Taylor of Hampton, Ill. Among the
grandchildren were Blaine Taylor, who graduates from Cornell College
this year; Ollie Taylor, a school teacher in Minneapolis; Dr. J. W.
Harris of Morris, Minn., and a son of Governor Van Sant. A son of
Dr. Harris completed the four generations. Governor Shaw was the
principal guest of honor outside the family circle.