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V Family of Isaac & Amanda Reader Van Dorn V




Isaac Van Dorn

Isaac Van Dorn was born in Pennsylvania in 1801. When Isaac was fourteen years of age, his father bound him over to a German farmer until he reached the age of twenty-one. The farmer was cruel, and Isaac ran away to Kentucky. He joined Stephen F. Austin’s first colony and emigrated to Texas in 1822. His party camped at San Felipe on the banks of the Brazos River and later moved to Cedar Lake in Matagorda County.

On June 26 1826, Van Dorn and Daniel E. Bayles (Balis) filed their application with Stephen F. Austin as partners in Matagorda County. Their application was accepted April 14, 1828, when they were granted League #67, west of the San Bernard River. By mutual consent, they divided the land June 13, 1835; Van Dorn took the north-half and Bayles the south-half. Van Dorn’s land was situated between Caney and Peyton creeks.

In January, 1827, Van Dorn attended a meeting at which he vowed his loyalty to the Mexican government and condemned the Fredonian Rebellion. As a member of A. C. Buckner’s company, he fought at the Battle of Velasco on June 26, 1832. He was a member of the committee on safety and correspondence at Matagorda in October, 1835. In December Van Dorn was recommended by J. W. E. Wallace to Henry Smith to be a lieutenant in the artillery.

Van Dorn was elected the first sheriff of Matagorda County in 1837. Harvey Kendrick and J. W. E. Wallace were witnesses for his $5,000 bond. He resigned as sheriff in 1841 and took up ranching, where he could be closer to home. After being appointed a commissioner—with Thomas Stewart and George M. Collinsworth—to examine land titles in Matagorda County, May 1, 1840, Van Dorn’s signature is found on many documents in the early county records. On March 10, 1841, President Mirabeau B. Lamar granted Van Dorn 13 ½ labors (2,389 ½ acres) of land. It was situated on the north side of Matagorda Bay, between Tres Palacios and Carancahua bays.

Following the Texas Revolution, he married Amanda Malvina Reader, daughter of Benjamin C. and Mary Ann Reader, on May 3, 1837. She was born on November 20, 1819, in Adams County, Mississippi.

After their marriage, Isaac built a large home on his plantation near Liveoak Bayou. He built a two-story house with four rooms downstairs and one large room upstairs. There were two fireplaces in the house, one at each end. He burned oyster shells to make lime for the mortar and used square wooden pegs for nails.

Van Dorn has a herd of cattle and chose the letter “V” as his brand, which was recorded June 30, 1842, and re-recorded on March 18, 1852. The “V” brand is now used by the Van Vleck Future Farmers of America.

The Van Dorns were members of Christ Episcopal Church in Matagorda, where Amanda and five of their children were baptized on May 28, 1847. Isaac and Mary Ann Reader were her sponsors. Van Dorn died on May 30, 1860; Amanda died February 26, 1872. Both were buried at Matagorda Cemetery beside their children. They were the parents of ten children.

1. Mary Catherine Van Dorn , born June 21, 1838, married Albert G. Moore, January 15, 1860.
2. Moses Morrison Van Dorn, born Januaryh 5, 1840, married Sarah Amelia. (He was shot on the ranch in 1869 and was buried at McNeil Cemetery; Sarah then married Benjamin H. Rowe of Brazoria.
3. Lydia Letitia Van Dorn born on October 11, 1842, married George W. Kennedy, December 11, 1859.
4. Isabella Adelina Van Dorn, born on December 15, 1844, married John Matthews, December 26, 1861. (He was the postmaster at Caney.)
5. Margaret Fitzellen Van Dorn, born March 27, 1847, died July 24, 1855, buried at Matagorda.
6. Cassandra A. Van Dorn, born 1848, married William R. McNeal, October 1, 1866.
7. Susanna Elzada Van Dorn, born March 8, 1854, married Peter H. Arnold, May 16, 1868. (They are buried in Alvin, Texas.)
8. William Hezakiah Van Dorn, born July 3, 1850, died September 11, 1855, buried at Matagorda.
9. Isaac Wadsworth Van Dorn, born June 18, 1856, married Rose Forstier, April 2, 1974. (Following his death, she married John Mobile.
10. Infant son Van Dorn, died at birth, August 24, 1858, and was buried at Matagorda.

Historic Matagorda County, Volume I, pp 98-99


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Mar. 11, 2013
Mar. 11, 2013