HIRAM VANDYKE

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HIRAM VANDYKE is one of the largest landowners of South Buffalo Township, Armstrong County, where he lives on the old homestead on which he was born March 20, 1836. He has passed all but a few years of his life there.

Mr. Vandyke is descended from Thomas Vandyke of Amsterdam, Holland, who came to Long Island, New York in 1652, with his three sons, Hendrick Friscal, Jan Thomassen and Franz Claessen. It is not stated that they settled there, and Hiram Vandyke has been informed that his ancestors settled in Virginia thence coming North. He traces his descent through Jan Thomassen, and Nicholas Van Dyke, the first governor of the state of Delaware, was of this line, as also Dr. Henry van Dyke, of Princeton University. Up to the present time the preachers in the family have reached the number of about fifty, and Rev. E.H. Van Dyke, himself a missionary to Japan, knew of five foreign missionaries by this name. The Vandykes were formerly Dutch Reformed and Presbyterian, but are now found in almost all the denominations.

George Vandyke, grandfather of Hiram Vandyke, was possibly a son of the William Vandyke who according to family tradition moved West with his family from Delaware over one hundred years ago, the great-grandfather's name being William, from the best information Hiram Vandyke has. George Vandyke was the first of the name to locate in Armstrong County, Pa., coming hither from Westmoreland County in the early part of the last century. He was then unmarried. Settling at McVill, he obtained land from the government and became a farmer, being engaged as such until his death, in 1830, in his forty-eighth year. He married Elizabeth Sipes, of Armstrong County, daughter of Charles Sipes, a pioneer here, and they had the following children: William, Mary, Francis, George, Margaret, Elizabeth, Susanna and John. Most of this family lived in South Buffalo Township.

An old Allegheny River captain, James Murphy, told Mr. Hiram Vandyke some thirty years ago or more (and he was one of the oldest men in South Buffalo Township), in speaking of the Vandykes, that they had settled in Virginia and then came north to Westmoreland County. Hiram Vandyke remembers hearing the older members of the family speak of two uncles, Jacob and Michael, that remained there, and their descendants are there yet. He looked one of them up four or five years ago in Irwin, Pa., a member of the third generation, but found out nothing more concerning the family. R.L. Vandyke has been attempting for several years to compile a genealogy of the family.

William Vandyke, son of George, was born in 1810 at McVill, in South Buffalo Township, and was educated in the common schools. He lived with his parents until they died, on the place where his son Hiram now resides. In 1835 he married Elizabeth Wolf, of Logansport, Pa., both of her parents being of Armstrong County and of German stock; they died at Logansport. Her father, George Wolf, a farmer, was married three times, the maiden name of his first wife being Willard. They had children: Jacob, George, Lydia, Elizabeth, Christina, Mrs. Jack, Mrs. Karns, Mary and Eveline. By his second wife, whose maiden name was Williams, he had: Harriet, Rachel, Diana and Townsend. His third marriage was to a Mrs. Wagley.

After his marriage William Vandyke continued to make his home on the farm where his son Hiram now lives, in South Buffalo Township, putting up a one and a half story log cabin and a log barn. The land was all wild, but he cleared a good farm, owning over one hundred acres. He was a prominent man in his day, holding many township offices, was a Democrat in his political views and a member of the Lutheran Church. He died in 1847, his wife in 1853. They had the following children: Hiram; William H., a farmer of South Buffalo Township; Emily A., who died unmarried in 1863; Peninnah Jane, who married Henry Gardner, now living in Butler, Pa.: and Nathan Lee, deceased in 1902, who married Elizabeth Hill (also deceased), and lived in Freeport.

Hiram Vandyke attended the home schools and later high school under Professor Murphy. For several years he taught school. He remained at home with his parents until they died, and shortly afterward, in 1855, entered as a clerk, the employ of a Mr. Weaver, who owned a general store where the �Central Hotel� no is in Freeport, remaining with him until 1857. In 1858 he was at Cameron, Ill., where he was employed in a store, but with these exceptions he has remained on the old homestead, following farming. He has met with unusual success in agriculture, and has been able to add to his holdings until they now comprise about five hundred acres of valuable land, having one if the best farms in South Buffalo Township all under a fine state cultivation. He has been somewhat active in public affairs, holding several township offices, is a Republican in politics, and in religious connection is a Lutheran.

In June, 1863, Mr. Vandyke married Priscilla Sloan, a native of South Buffalo Township, daughter of James and Margaret (Rea) Sloan, of Armstrong County; he was a farmer. Mr. and Mrs. Sloan had these children: Isabelle married John M. Hill and lives in South Buffalo Township; Nancy Ann died unmarried; William (deceased) lived in South Buffalo Township; Priscilla was the wife of Hiram Vandyke; John E. (deceased), was a farmer in South Buffalo Township; Emily married W.H. Vandyke, of South Buffalo Township.

Mrs. Vandyke died Jan. 11, 1897. She was the mother of seven children: Edith E., who lives at home; Luella M.; L.G., a farmer in South Buffalo Township; George, a farmer in South Buffalo Township; Fred and Roy on the home farm in South Buffalo Township; and Vida V. who married H.M. Armstrong, of Grand Junction, Colorado.

Source: Pages 369-370, Armstrong County, Pa., Her People, Past and Present, J.H. Beers & Co., 1914
Transcribed March 2002 by Helen B. Miller for the Armstrong County Beers Project
Contributed for use by the Armstrong County Genealogy Project (http://www.pa-roots.com/armstrong/)

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