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Des Moines County >> 1888 Index

Portrait and Biographical Album of Des Moines County, Iowa
Chicago: Acme Publishing, 1888.


William S. Vannice, a retired farmer residing in Mediapolis, Iowa, was born in Shelby County, Ky., Dec. 31, 1814, and is a son of Isaac and Leah (Banty) Vannice. The father was a native of New Jersey, and emigrated to Kentucky at an early day with his parents, and was there reared upon a farm, following that occupation through life.  He there married Leah Banty, and they reared a family of fourteen children, all of whom reached maturity, and three are now living.  Isaac Vannice was a public-spirited man, taking great interest in all public enterprises, a friend to education and a member of the Presbyterian Church.  In the work of that church, of which she was a member, Mrs. Vannice took great interest, and early taught her children to follow the teachings of the Bible, and had the reward of seeing them all respectable Christian men and women.  In 1819, when William was a lad of but five years, the family removed to Switzerland County, Ind., and in the midst of the forest developed a farm.  There the parents lived until called to their final rest, the death of the father occurring in 1845, at the age of eighty-two, and of the mother in 1857, at the age of eighty-three.

Our subject was reared upon the farm, and the education he received was only such as the district schools in the new country afforded.  Being the youngest of the family, and the others all leaving the parental roof for homes of their own, William Vannice remained with his aged parents, taking charge of the farm until the fall of 1842.  Previous to this, on the 6th of December, 1838, he was united in marriage with Elizabeth Elston, a native of Henry County, Ky., and a daughter of William and Elizabeth (Maxwell) Elston, the father being descended from people in New Jersey, and the mother of Scotch parentage.  In the fall of 1842 Mr. Vannice and his young wife removed to Des Moines County, Iowa, where a farm was purchased in Huron Township on section 35.  The land was raw and uncultivated, but upon this a log cabin was built, into which they moved, living there for two years in true pioneer style.  Improvements were made and the land cultivated, but in 1844 they returned to Indiana, and rented a farm for eight years.  At the expiration of that time Mr. Vannice and his family again became residents of Des Moines County, returning to the cabin and the farm which had before been their home. The following spring a more commodious dwelling was erected, and here many happy years were passed.  In 1883, wishing to retire from active life, Mr. and Mrs. Vannice removed to Mediapolis, which has since been their home.

Mr. and Mrs. Vannice have been parents of eight children, five of whom died in infancy.  Thowe now living are as follows:  Parthenia, wife of Alexander Peck, a Presbyterian minister, whose home is in Douglas County, Dak., but who is now in charge of a church at Hawley, in that Territory; Sophronia, wife of William Morehead, a farmer in Yellow Spring Township, this county; and Charles Franklin, who has charge of the home farm.  Mr. Vannice and his wife are members of the Presbyterian Church, of which he has been an elder for many years.  In early life he cast his vote with the Whig party, but on the organization of the Republican party enlisted in its ranks, and is also a firm advocate of the Prohibition laws.  Mr. Vannice was among the earliest settlers of Des Moines County, and in its progress and advancement he has taken a special pride, and aided largely in the work of civilization, and in all its interests he has labored incessantly.  We are pleased to present this sketch of the pioneer and the citizen who is alike respected by young and old, rich and poor.

John W. Vanosdal has been a resident of Benton Township, Des Moines County, Iowa, for forty-five years.  He was born in that township, and is a son of William and Hannah (Banta) Vanosdal, both of whom were natives of Kentucky.  The father was a miller by trade, and when a boy emigrated to Indiana with his parents, settling in Switzerland County, where he grew to manhood, and was married.  Emigrating to Des Moines County, Iowa, in an early day, he purchased eighty acres of partly improved land on section 4, Benton Township, and there resided for six or eight years.  Later, he purchased another farm in Franklin Township, where he lived for a short time, and then purchased the site of the old Franklin Mills.  He built the original mill, which was first used as a sawmill, but afterward converted into a flouring-mill, and there he lived, carrying on the business of milling until 1856, when he sold out.  Removing to Mt. Pleasant, Mr. Vanosdal there engaged in mercantile trade for four years, at the expiration of which time he purchased a farm on section 33, Benton Township, where he lived until his death, which occurred Oct. 3, 1868.  He was born in 1816, and his widow yet resides in Mediapolis.  He was a devoted member of the Methodist Episcopal Church from childhood, being always one of the faithful workers in his Master's cause.  A public-spirited man, he was ever ready to do his part in matters of interest to the community, and in his political views was a Whig, being also strongly in favor of the abolition of slavery.

Mr. and Mrs. Vanosdal were the parents of twelve children, and, with the exception of two, all reached maturity--Marietta died in infancy, and Mitchell died when ten years of age.  The other children of the family were:  Mehala, wife of J. W. McDonald, of Yellow Spring Township, Des Moines County; Melissa, the wife of J. W. King, a resident of Mediapolis; Martha, who has been a teacher in the high school for twenty-five years; John W., our subject; Melinda, wife of T. S. Poole, a minister of the Methodist Episcopal Church at Bentonsport, Iowa; Mary, wife of Nicholas Boyce, of Mediapolis; Jane, wife of Henry Walker, of Henry County, Iowa; Anna wedded Frank Corden, of Mediapolis; Minnie is engaged in teaching in Phelps County, Neb.; and Birdie is now living with her mother, in Mediapolis.

Our subject was reared upon a farm, and received his education in the common schools.  On the 19th of August, 1862, he responded to his country's call for troops, and enlisted in the 25th Iowa Infantry.  He served one year, participating in the battles of Chickasaw Bayou, Arkansas Post and the siege of Vicksburg, and was discharged, Feb. 23, 1863, on account of disability.  Returning home, he remained until May 5, 1864, when he again enlisted in the 45th Iowa Infantry, and was discharged at Keokuk in September of that year.  After his return home, he again engaged in farming, in which occupation he has continued ever since, with the exception of four years, when he was engaged as a stock and grain dealer in Mediapolis, Iowa.

On the 10th of October, 1867, Mr. Vanosdal was united in marriage with Lydia Poole, daughter of R. D. Poole, a resident of Mediapolis.  Three children have been born of this union--Thomas O., Mary N. and Zora.  Mr. Vanosdal and his wife are members of the Methodist Episcopal Church. Politically, he affiliates with the Republican party, and is one of the well-informed and respected citizens of Benton Township.

O. K. Vinton, deceased, was a native of Leroy, Genesee County, N. Y., and when but a small lad, in March, 1811, removed with his parents to Kalamazoo, Mich.  He was a son of Nathaniel and Asenath Vinton, who were natives of North Hampton, Mass., and was the youngest of a family of eleven children.  He was born Nov. 2, 1835.  When fourteen years of age the death of his father occurred, and soon after his mother removed to Ohio, where, later, she married again.  The family became separated, and from that time the lad of fourteen was forced to make his own way in the world.  He learned the mason's trade with his brother, continuing in this employment, with the exception of two years, as long as he remained in Michigan.  Two years previous to his leaving that State, he traveled for his brother, H. H. Vinton, and a Mr. Denton, introducing a new material for tanning leather.  His travels led him to Indiana, where he became acquainted with Miss Elizabeth McKinney, of Newtown, who subsequently became his wife.  In 1862 Mr. Vinton formed a partnership with Jacob Hawes in the tanning business, also engaging in contracting for masonry at the same time, being very successful.  After three years of this double line of business he sold out to his partner, and continued contracting for buildings, until he entered the army in March, 1865.  On his return from the war, Mr. Vinton resumed his business, and in the spring of 1870 came to Burlington, invested in property and returned to Indiana, and the following December returned with his family.  Soon after coming to this city a partnership was formed with Mr. Daniels, which continued but a short time, and later with A. G. Swindler, which connection lasted for several years.  Mr. Vinton was a general contractor, doing all the different branches of his trade, and many of the fine buildings of the city were erected under his supervision, among which was the fine brick residence belonging to William Lyons.  He was also engaged in working for the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad.

On the 26th of June, 1862, Mr. Vinton was united in marriage with Miss Elizabeth McKinney, a daughter of Thompson and Sarah McKinney, both natives of Ohio.  She was one of a family of six children--William and Susan, deceased; Eleanor, wife of Mr. Dryden, a resident of Burlington; Mary became the wife of Mr. Armstrong, whose home is in Toledo, Ohio; Hubert, deceased; and Elizabeth, widow of O. K. Vinton. Six children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Vinton, four of whom died in infancy, while they were yet residents of Indiana.  The two born in Burlington are still living--Mary Asenath, born Nov. 23, 1872, and O. Karl, born May 25, 1874, and both are at home.

The death of Mr. Vinton occurred June 16, 1877, and the circumstances attending it were very peculiar.  It was the evening on which the plow factory on Washington street was burned, and he started for his horse to ride to the fire.  It not being in the stable, he returned to the house, remarking that he would take the street-car down town, but would not be gone long.  As he went to step on the car on Warren street he suddenly became unconscious, and fell.  His sickness was from spinal complaint of long standing, but, falling so close to the car that it bruised him quite severely in passing, the public thought the injury was the cause of his death, though really it was from disease.  His remains were taken back to Newtown for interment and placed beside those of his children. Mr. Vinton was a kind husband, an indulgent father, and one possessed of those qualities which make many friends.  Socially, he was a member of the A. F. & A. M.; religiously, he was a Presbyterian; and politically, a Republican.

Frederick Vogt, a gardener and breeder of fine, pure-blooded poultry, was born in Baden, Germany, Feb. 24, 1829, and is a son of Martin and Mary Vogt, who emigrated to America in 1831, locating at Newburg, N. Y., on the Hudson River, and later taking up their residence in Buffalo. They are the parents of six living children:  Frederick, the subject of this sketch; Mary, wife of Mike Stork, resides in Buffalo, N. Y.; John and Peter are also residents of Buffalo; Elizabeth, wife of Mr. Smith; Catherine, wife of Mr. Baker, deceased.  The father was stricken with that dread disease, cholera, and his death occurred in 1849.  Mrs. Vogt died in Buffalo at the age of eighty-four.

Frederick Vogt, the subject of this sketch, emigrated to America with his parents, and after their removal to Buffalo, he entered the printing office, as devil, at the age of fourteen, to serve an apprenticeship of seven years.  He started a German paper called the Patriot, but soon discontinued its publication.  In 1855 he went to Chicago, where he was employed in the job department of the Chicago Tribune, and in 1861, came to Burlington, being employed in the same department of the Hawkeye.  He was subsequently associated with John Dalldorff in the Iowa Tribune office until 1878, when he purchased his present place at the corner of Vogt street and Sunnyside avenue.

In 1848 Mr. Vogt wedded Miss Phoebe Esbernscheed, a native of Germany, born Nov. 1, 1829.  By this union there were nine children:  Mary C., who was born Dec. 14, 1849; Frances C., born Dec. 12, 1851; married George Eberhart; Charles F., born Feb. 2, 1854, married Emma Holcomb; George J., born March 3, 1856, amarried Annie Brocagan; Amelia C., born May 6, 1858, married Jacob Wagoner; Louisa R., born July 1, 1860, married Fred Jagger; William J., born April 25, 1864; Frederick H., born Dec. 12, 1866; and Carrie O., born Jan. 13, 1872.

Politically, Mr. Vogt ia a Republican, is well informed on all subjects of the day, is social in disposition and makes friends wherever he goes.