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(John and Lydia Van Sant’s Seventh Wedding Anniversary)


Researched and Transcribed

By Sue Rekkas


John and Lydia Van Sant’s

Seventh Wedding Anniversary




Davenport Daily Republican, October 3, 1901, page 7.





     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 Minnesota.


     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, page 6.








Governor Shaw Coming to the Van Sant Reunion,

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

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 in LeClaire.


     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 Vernon.


     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 accordingly.




The Davenport Democrat, October 1, 1901, page 7.








Big Family Party at LeClaire, With Governors of Two States Present

—Family Heirlooms Play Part at Feast—an Interesting History.


     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.”


    It is 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.

Hon. Samuel R. Van Sant of Minnesota


A Long Lived Family.


     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 revolutionary war.


     Mrs. Van 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.


     An 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 River.


     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 Ever.


     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.


     The worthy 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.


Built Many Boats.


     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 Muscatine.


    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 Methodist Church. 

By common 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 attention.


Tonight’s Jollification.


     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.




The Davenport Democrat, October 2, 1901, page 7.







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 flowers.


     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.








Each of the Distinguished Orators of the Occasion Addressed the Assembly

for an Hour on Political Situation

—Singing of America

—Reunion of 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 governors.


     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 others.




       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 LeClaire. 

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.



Collected and Transcribed by

Sue Rekkas

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