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HALL G. VAN VLACK, UNION TOWNSHIP.
Now in his eightieth year, Hall G. Van Vlack has passed nearly half of his honorable life as a resident of Union township, and during that long period there has never been a time when his name has not been fair and his reputation broadening and strengthening. He has not been a passive witness of the county's development, but has done his full share in furthering its progress, both in matters public and agricultural. When the township of Bear Grove was organized he became its first supervisor, and in 1870 when the county government was placed in the hands of three supervisors at large he was elected a member of the board, serving in that capacity from 1872 to 1874, inclusive, and performing his duties so ably that during the latter year he was chairman. Otherwise, he was for many years prominent in the early public affairs of the county, and is now classed as one of the fathers in its formative period.
Hall G. Van Vlack, as the name would indicate, comes of pure Dutch stock, several of the family being among the first settlers of New Amsterdam, the predecessor of New York. Subsequently its representatives were identified with the War of the Revolution, and at an early day individuals commenced to acquire prominence in Dutchess county, N. Y. The paternal great-grandfather, Abraham Van Vlack, was a native of that county, where he died as a life-long farmer. One of his brothers was a leading lawyer and another a professor, who was prominent in educational work. John Van Vlack, the grandfather, was also an agriculturist of Dutchess county, and removed to Chautauqua county, western New York, where he spent the later period of his long life of eighty-seven years.
Hall G. Van Vlack is also a native of Dutchess county, New York, born June 19, 1827, his father, Daniel, continuing a resident of the Empire State until his death in May, 1883. Hall remained with his parents until 1844, when he was apprenticed to the carpenter's trade, which he followed at Dunkirk for about eleven years. The succeeding five years were spent in Erie and Titusville, Pa., as a contractor and builder, in which line he established a fine reputation throughout northwestern Pennsylvania. In 1868 Mr. Van Vlack migrated to Iowa, settling first at Des Moines, where for a year he busied himself at the avocation to which he had been trained. In the meantime he had purchased land in Cass county, with the determination of becoming identified with the great agricultural interests of the new country.
On coming to this county, in 1869, Mr. Van Vlack settled on section 11, Bear Grove township, immediately building a residence for his family and commencing to improve the place. In the following year he sold this property and purchased the land in Union township, which, through his industry and good judgment, became a valuable farm and fine homestead.
In 1850, while residing in Dunkirk, N. Y., Mr. Van Vlack was united in marriage with Elizabeth Waxham, a New York lady, who bore him two sons--Orson, born in 1854, and George, born in 1860. His wife died on March 15, 1897, aged sixty-eight years. Mr. Van Vlack still resides on the old homestead, which is associated with so much of the best period of his life; and, far from having outlived his usefulness, he has acceptably served as trustee of Union township for the past fifteen years, and his intimate knowledge of county affairs and his sound legislative judgment are still relied upon to settle more than one problem which vexes younger heads and less experienced leaders.
From "Compendium and History of Cass County, Iowa." Chicago: Henry and Taylor & Co., 1906, pp. 532-533.
Hall G. Van Vlack had been a prominent builder and contractor in Pennsylvania before he came to Des Moines, Iowa, in 1868, and to Cass county in the following year. He settled on section 11, Bear Grove township, built a residence and began the improvement of the place. Upon the organization of the township and the election of officers, in the fall of 1869, Mr. Van Vlack was chosen a supervisor representing the township, and in 1872, 1873 and 1874, after the reorganization of the county government, he was elected supervisor-at-large. In 1870 he sold his property in Bear Grove township and purchased land in Union, which he afterward improved into one of the finest homesteads in the county.
From "Compendium and History of Cass County, Iowa." Chicago: Henry and Taylor & Co., 1906, pg. 137.
Hall G. Van Vlack, the supervisor, was a prosperous Pennsylvania builder and contractor, who had come to Des Moines in 1868, and, after remaining there a year, had settled on section 11, built a residence and began improving his farm and homestead. In 1870, however, he sold his property, and removed to Union township, where he was elected a supervisor-at-large and became one of the most prominent men of that section of the county.
From "Compendium and History of Cass County, Iowa." Chicago: Henry and Taylor & Co., 1906, pg. 206.
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