Biographical Sketches of Leading Citizens
Lawrence County Pennsylvania 1897


[p. 12] a retired farmer of Lawrence County, and Perry township, now a resident of the city of New Castle, was born in Perry township, this county, April 7, 1829, and is a son of Jacob and Nancy (Elliott) Van Gorder, and grandson of Jacob Van Gorder, Sr., who was born in Holland and came to America when a young man. Our subject's grandfather was taken prisoner at the Massacre of Wyoming and was to be killed, but his life was providentially saved by one of the squaws adopting him as her son. He lived with the Indians some five years, and then making his escape went to Pittsburg, where he followed farming principally as a means of livelihood. Later on, he bought a small tract of new land in the southern part of Lawrence County, and built a log-house thereon, cleared the land, married and raised six children: Jacob, Betsy, Tena, Margaret, Sarah, and one whose name is not given. Two daughters married two brothers by the name of Allen.

Jacob Van Gorder, the oldest child, and only son, cared for his parents, who died at quite an advanced age, the father when about eighty years old, and the mother when not quite so old by a few years. The farm was left to our subject's father, who added to it until he owned 250 acres; he also owned a saw and grist-mill, which he built and thereafter operated; he also built a large stone house, and the buildings are all standing to-day and are owned by his son Alvi. He held many offices of the township, and lived to enjoy seventy-eight pleasant years. His wife lived to the age of seventy-five. Their children were: Andrew E.; Israel; Louisa; Almira; Alvi; James; Isabelle; and two more, who died young.

Our subject worked in his father's mills until 1876, when he bought 96 acres of land in Perry township, and built a new house and barn, and carried on general farming until 1891, when he had accumulated enough property to enable him to retire; leaving the farm in charge of his only son and child, Jacob E., Mr. Van Gorder came to New Castle, and bought a house on County Line Street, which he enlarged and remodeled and now rents as a tenement, building another for his own use.

His first wife was Isabelle Evans, daughter of Jonathan Evans; she was born in 1829, and died in 1875, leaving one child, Jacob E., who married Harriet Morrison, and has a child named Verna. Our subject married as his second wife Miss Nancy Vance, daughter of James Vance. For many years Mr. Van Gorder supported the Republican ticket and served as supervisor, assessor, and as overseer of the poor; he is now a member of the National Prohibition Party. He is a member of the United Presbyterian Church.

Biographical Sketches of Leading Citizens Lawrence County Pennsylvania
Biographical Publishing Company, Buffalo, N.Y., 1897

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