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FredQuest Genealogy

Isaac N. Van Alen

Isaac N. Van Alen
(York Co. NE & Its People)

After a useful and well spent life Isaac N.Van Alen passed away on June 24, 1919, honored and respected by all who knew him. He was a native of the great Empire state, born in Buffalo, March 13, 1854, a son of Peter I. and Wilhelmina (Vandenburg) Van Alen, the former born in New York state and the latter a native of Holland, both of whom passed away many years ago.

Isaac N. Van Alen was educated in the schools of Buffalo and lived with his parents for some years thereafter. Later he removed to Michigan and there found employment as a shipping clerk with a railroad company, remaining in that line for two years. In 1882 he went to South Dakota and took a homestead near Oneida and on that holding proved up and farmed for some years. While living in South Dakota in 1886 he met and married Fannie L. Tagg, a native of Portland, Wisconsin, whose parents had moved to South Dakota some years before. Mr. Van Alen in addition to the demands of his own farm also superintended the work of the Tagg place for a time and continued thus engaged until 1889, when he and his family moved to York county and located in Waco. In the latter town he became connected with the elevator then operated by W.G. King with whom he remained for a time, next working in a grocery store and then going into the implement business with T.C. Tagg.

Having a desire to return to farm life Mr. Van Alen bought eighty acres of land near Waco and resumed farming, but the dry seasons of the early 90’s proved so disastrous to farmers in that neighborhood that he was compelled to relinquish the place. Later he rented land, finally giving up residence in the Waco district and moving to Gresham in 1909 where he bought twenty acres of land. On this holding he built a fine house, brought the place to a condition of excellent improvement and farmed for a while, raising a large quantity of alfalfa and engaging in the dairy business. He did not, however, live long to enjoy his new environment, as death called him on June 24, 1919. His character was of a kind that contributed in marked measure to the substantial and moral development of the community. He was an earnest member of the Presbyterian church and was liberal in his contributions to its upkeep. He gave his political support to the republican party but had never been a seeker after public office. Mr. Van Alen and his wife became the parents of two children: Ethel, who married W.W. Davidson, of Gresham; and Hazel, the wife of A.J. Wray, of Sioux City, Iowa, engaged in the implement business.

W.W. Davidson, deceased, was a son of William Davidson, was born in York county in 1889 and educated in the public schools of the county, after which he became a farmer. He was married at Gresham in 1913 to Ethel Van Alen and died on April 7, 1919. He spent his active life at general farming and gave special attention to the breeding of Polled Durham cattle. Two children were born to their union. Lloyd Van Alen and Willard Stanley, both living with their widowed mother at Gresham. Mr. Davidson voted the democratic ticket and was a member of the Masonic fraternity and of the Royal Highlanders. He was a man of much promis who had mad many and ardent friends by his uncompromising integrity and sincerity of purpose in all the relations of life.

T. E. Sedgwick, editor, York County Nebraska and its People
(Chicago: S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1921)