JOSEPH FENTON VAN DEVENTER was born in Highland county, Ohio, June 25, 1826, a son of Jacob Van Deventer, who was born in Loudoun county, Virginia, a descendant of the colonial settlers who came from Holland in the early history of this country. The father of our subject was reared and married in Virginia, but removed to Ohio, where he was a pioneer of Highland county; there he bought a tract of timber-land, erected a log cabin, and made it his home until the fall of 1832, when he sold and came to Illinois; he was accompanied by his wife and children, and his brother and family. The trip was made overland, and after a journey covering three weeks he arrived in Schuyler county, which portion is now included in Brown county; he made a claim to a tract of Government land, bought a log cabin, and lived there until his death in 1833. He was twice married, the second wife being the mother of Joseph F. Her maiden name was Jane Rogers, and she was born near Paris, Kentucky, a daughter of Thomas Rogers; she kept the family together until her death in 1843. Joseph F. was a child of six years when his parents emigrated to the frontier; most of the land was owned at that time by the Government, the country was thinly settled, and the river towns were the only market-places. He attended the pioneer schools until he was old enough to assist on the farm; the mother had rented land which the sons cultivated. In 1850 Joseph and his brothers, Thomas and Henson, and a Mr. Adams and his son, crossed the plains to California; they started with ox teams March 27, and arrived at Weavertown, August 27. They engaged in mining thirty-five miles east of Sacramento until the following spring, and then went to Humboldt, and from that point across the mountains to Weaverton; there they resumed mining and continued the industry until June, 1852, when they started to Sacramento. They turned their attention to feeding cattle now, and followed the business until 1853, when they returned to Illinois, coming by the Isthmus to New York, and thence overland to their prairie home. Mr. Van Deventer and his brothers, Thomas, Barnett and Henson, combined their interests in farming and stock-raising, and bought land at different times, until they owned at one time 3,500 acres; Barnett and Henson are now deceased.
Our subject was married in 1868 to Lutitia Givens, who was born at Mt. Sterling, Brown county, Illinois, a daughter of John A. and Mary F. (Curry) Givens, pioneers of Brown county. Mr. and Mrs. Van Deventer have two children living, Homer G. and Lloyd T. They are both members of the Presbyterian church. He was formerly a supporter of the principles of the Whig party, but has been a Republican since the organization of that body. He is a man of honor and unquestioned integrity, and has the respect of his fellow-men.
Biographical Review of Cass, Schuyler and Brown Counties, Illinois, Biographical Review Publishing Co., Chicago, 1892, pages 191 to 192.
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