JOHN VAN HOUTEN
John Van Houten was one of those sterling pioneers who left an indelible impress upon the annals of Eaton county, where he was prominent in civic affairs and public office and where he became the owner of a fine farm, in section 18, Roxand township--the old homestead on which his widow now resides. Mr. Van Houten came from stanch Holland Dutch lineage, as the name indicates, and he was born in the state of New Jersey, November 29, 1819, having been a son of Peter and Ann (Wine) Van Houten. Mr. Van Houten was reared to manhood in New Jersey, where he secured a common-school education and where he learned the carpenter's trade, becoming a capable workman. At the age of nineteen years he came from New Jersey to Michigan, to join his parents, who had located in Eaton county a few years previously. He followed his trade at Vermontville and in the vicinity until the time of his marriage which occurred October 14, 1849 to Miss Judith Green, who was born in Orleans county, New York, August 5, 1832, a daughter of Eri A. and Joanna (Kelly) Green, who were early settlers in Chester township, this county.
Mr. and Mrs. Van Houten became the parents of seven children: Florence is the widow of John Dilley and resides in the village of Muir, Ionia county; Robert died in infancy; William Henry died February 26, 1875 at the age of nineteen years; Frederick E., is a resident of Portland, Ionia county; Ellen J. is the wife of Robert Dilley, and they reside in the village of Sunfield; Peter C. died January 7, 1887 at the age of 14 years; and Cornelius N. remains with his mother on the old homestead, he married Miss Ida Ingham, of Hoytville, this county, and they have three children--Daisy B., Orzina J. and Otto E.
John Van Houten secured a tract of government land and later came into possession of an adjoining tract, which his father had bought from the government, the property having continuously remained in the hands of the family. Mr. Van Houten reclaimed his farm from the wilderness, being energetic and progressive and developing one of the best farms in Roxand township. He erected the large and substantial frame house and the other excellent buildings which now remain as evidence of his thrift and good management and his homestead at the time of his death comprised one hundred and forty acres, the property now being owned by his widow and younger son, the latter of whom will eventually come into full ownership, as his mother receives a regular income from the farm during her lifetime and remains with her son in the home which is endeared to her by the associations and hallowed memories of the past.
Mr. Van Houten was identified with the Republican party from the time of its formation until his death, and was one of the leaders in its councils in Eaton county. He served twenty years as supervisor of his township, having held the office for a longer period than has any other man in the county except his friend and neighbor, the late John Dow. He was chairman of the county board of supervisors for seven years and also held many other local offices, ever commanding the esteem of his fellow men and standing forth as a type of sincere, upright and useful manhood. He was a consistent member of the Baptist church, in whose faith he passed to the better world on the 24th of July, 1899, his widow also having been a devoted member of the same church for many years. Judith Van Houten passed to the better world in March 1908, and is buried with her husband John and her sons, Peter C., and William Henry in the Welch Cemetery, Sunfield Township Eaton County, Michigan.Copyright ©2001 -2008 All rights reserved.
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