This page contains biographical sketches (full or extract) of former Hillsdale County residents.
The majority come from pre-1921 published sources as cited in the sketch.

Dan C. Van Allen * Charles T. Van Aken * John A. Vincett * John W. Voorhes * Marvin S. Voorhes


Portrait & Biographical Album of Hillsdale County Michigan 1888, Chapman Bros. p. 932.
NOTE: This following info is an extract of the biographical sketch.

Dan C. VAN ALLEN, b. 12/30/1834, near Starkey, Yates Co., NY, was the son of Cicero P. and Margaret (SUTFIN) VAN ALLEN. Both were also b. in NY, the father on 5/17/1813 and the mother in July of 1813.
The family came to Mich. in about 1841, locating first in Clinton Co. In 1842 they moved to Hillsdale Co., eventually settling in Jonesville where the mother died in 1884. The father was still living in 1888.
Cicero P. and Margaret were the parents of Dan C., Darwin G., Laura, Lois J., Cicero, John, George, Eva and Homer.
During the Civil War, Darwin served in the 4th Mich. Infantry and, later, in the 27th Infantry. He was wounded at the Battle of the Wilderness and suffered imprisonment at Andersonville but was exchanged. His father brought him home but he lived only about a year.
Cicero Jr. was also a member of the 27th Mich. Infantry, with his brother, and like him suffered the terrors of Andersonville. He was transferred to another prison where he died.
Laura was the wife of Elder L. B. THOMPKINS of Jonesville. Lois, Mrs. Alexander STEWART, lived near Socorro, NM.
John was also a soldier in the Union Army and lived to return home where he farmed in Somerset Twp. George also lived in Hillsdale Co. Eva died at the age of 19 yrs. Homer lived in NM.
Dan C. VAN ALLEN's paternal grandfather was Daniel VAN ALLEN. He was of German ancestry, born in Rensselaer Co., NY where he died at the age of 81 yrs. He was a man of strong religious convictions, sterling character and pure principles.
Dan C. was drafted 3/15/1865 but served only two months, being mustered out 5/15/1865. Shortly after he purchased the 90 acre farm on section 17, Fayette Twp. where he still lived in 1888.
On 12/10/1859 he married Maria SCOTT, dau. of Abel and Anna (HOWARD) SCOTT, who were among the pioneers of Jackson Co., MI. Maria was b. 3/3/1842 near Grass Lake, Jackson Co.
The Scott family moved to Jonesville, Hillsdale Co. where Mr. Scott ran a grocery store. He died in 1868. His widow was still living in Jonesville in 1888.
Dan C. and Maria had two children, Eva and Scott. Eva married James RILEY of Fayette Twp. and was the mother of Dan C. Riley, b. 10/16/1886 and named for his grandfather.

Charles T. VAN AKEN

Compendium of History and Biography of Hillsdale County Michigan. Elon G. Reynolds, ed Chicago: AW Bowen & Co. 1903 - page 329-330.
NOTE: This is an extract of the full article.

Charles T. VAN AKEN was born at Hudson, Michigan 14 Dec 1855. His parents were Nathaniel and Julia A. RAMSEY VAN AKEN. They were both natives of New York, coming to Michigan in 1852.
Nathaniel was born 5 Jan 1829 at Clarkson, NY. He was accidentally killed in 1856. Nathaniel's father, John M. VAN AKEN was a New Yorkder by birth and died in Hillsdale County in 1851.
Charles was one of the early students at Hillsdale College and came to the city of Hillsdale in 1873. to start "a boot-and-shoe emporium". Charles sold his interest in 1884 and went to South Omaha, "where ie was a pioneer" and returned to Hillsdale in 1895.
Charles married Miss Frances A. COOK in 1880. They have three children: Bertha, Grace & Elsie.
Frances' parents were Hugh and Anna LYON COOK, pioneers of Hillsdale. Hugh was born in Pennsylvania in 1825, son of Samuel & Catherine ALBRIGHT COOK. Hugh died in 1895. [NOTE: There is a mini-sketch of Hugh within the sketch of Charles] Hugh and Anna/Hannah LYON were married in 1855 in New York. Anna/Hannah died in 1893.


From the Portrait and Biographical Album of Hillsdale Co., Mich., 1888, p.484

John A. VINCETT was a farmer who owned a good slice of land on section 10, Litchfield Twp., to which he came in the spring of 1875. He was a loyal citizen of his adopted country, having been born in Sussex, England, 6/22/1831. His parents, Anthony and Caroline (SHOESMITH), Vincett were also natives of Sussex, where the father worked as a butcher. The family came to the U.S. in 1845, buying a farm in Onondaga Co., NY. The father died just five years later, in 1850, aged 55 years. The mother kept the property until 1870 and is now (1888) living with her dau. Elizabeth in Onondaga Co. She is 85 years old.
John A. was the eldest of 5 sons and 3 daughters. He received the greater part of his education in his native land. He attended school two terms in NY and lived at home until 1860. In that year he married Julia UNDERHILL who was born in Madison Co., NY, 8/27/1835. She was the youngest child of Jonathan and Jerusha (BUSHNELL) Underhill, both natives of CT. Three Bushnell brothers came from England to the U.S. in colonial times, settling in New England. Their descendants later drifted into NY. Jonathan was engaged as a farmer his entire life. Jerusha survived her husband by some years and died at the home of her daughter in NY when 78 years of age. Julia, Mrs. Vincett, had 3 sisters and 2 brothers, all of whom are living.
John and Julia were the parents of six children: William A., living at home; Carrie who died when two and one half years old; Louisa who died at the age of six; Edward A., at home, and two children who died unnamed. William and Edward are assistants to their father in his farming operations. The latter is still in the prime of life, however, and able to labor with much of his old-time vigor and ambition. The Vincett homestead proper includes 115 acres and John also owns 40 acres, separate from the farm but in the same neighborhood. He cast his first Presidential vote for Abraham Lincoln in 1860 and is a staunch Republican. He and his wife are members of the Congregational Church in Litchfield.

Submitted by former MIGenWeb Hillsdale County Coordinator, Tracey Morris


From the Portrait and Biographical Album of Hillsdale Co., MI, 1888, p.725.

John W. VOORHES came with his parents to Michigan Territory in 1835 when he was a lad of fourteen years, from Ontario Co., NY. They came by way of the Erie Canal and the lake to Monroe and thence overland to Logan, Lenawee Co., where they settled for two years. They then removed to Somerset Twp., Hillsdale Co., where the father purchased 80 acres and labored with genuine pioneer patience and industry to build up a fine farm and comfortable home for his family. He was prominent in local affairs, an advocate of temperance and education. A Whig originally, he later became a member of the Republican party.

John was born Jan. 3, 1822, in Ontario Co., NY. His parents were John and Jane (MERRITT) Voorhes, both natives of NJ, having come to NY as young people. They settled in Seneca Co., NY, after their marriage and became the parents of eight children, all of whom came with them to Hillsdale Co. Both lived to be 75 years old, the father dying in 1865 and the mother in 1875. John served for a time in the War of 1812. Only five of their children are still living. All are engaged in agricultural pursuits and are residents of Hillsdale Co.

Our subject, John W., was married on Dec. 30, 1855, to Miss Mary BROSS, who was born Aug. 2, 1837, in Adams Twp., this county. Her parents were Luke and Theodosia (BRITTON) Bross, natives of NJ, who came to Michigan Territory about 1834. The parents died in Adams Twp., he in Nov. 1843 and she in May 1881. John W. and Mary became the parents of seven children. Of these, two, Josephine and Amy, died young. The remaining are:

Ella E., born Dec. 26, 1857, is the wife of Frank LOCKWOOD, a lumber dealer in northern Wisconsin, and mother of one daughter, Myrna, born Sept. 1886.

Betsy is the wife of William MERCER, a farmer in Somerset Twp. Merritt E., born Sept. 29, 1862; Frederick G., born Oct. 8, 1864, and Alma J., born July 21, 1867, are all still living under the parental roof.

submitted AUG. 2003 by  Katherine Paty, Tempe, AZ


From the Portrait and Biographical Album of Hillsdale Co., MI, Chapman Brothers, 1888, p. 276.

Marvin S. VOORHES was born Oct. 29, 1823, in Scipio, Cayuga Co., NY. His father was John Voorhes, a native of Trenton, NJ. John's father was thought to have been born in Holland. John was a young man when he moved with his parents from NJ to Cayuga Co. John's wife was Jane MERRITT, also a native of NJ.

In 1828, John and Jane moved to Romulus, Seneca Co., NY, where they lived until 1834. In the spring of that year, they and their eight children set out for Michigan Territory. They traveled via the Erie Canal to Buffalo, and by the lakes to Monroe, where they bought a team of oxen and a wagon and proceeded through the wilderness to Adrian. John and his sons worked for two years clearing their own land and that of others. In 1836, John sold his land, removing to Hillsdale Co., where he bought 80 acres of heavily timbered land in Somerset Twp. Here he was a resident until his death in 1865. His wife Jane survived him until 1875 when she too died on the family homestead.

Marvin S. was a lad of eleven years when he came with his parents to Michigan, and the wild surroundings and the incidents of pioneer life of his early home in the forests of southern Michigan left an indelible impression on his memory. He worked on the family farm until he was 21 years of age, then worked for others until 1852. On Mar. 8th of that year, he joined a company of colonists going to California. They were six months on the way, arriving at Marysville, CA, on Sept. 8, 1852. He mined there for two months, then worked in a sawmill for four years. He then returned to mining, this time in Yuba Co., where he remained until Dec. 1858. He returned to Mich., traveling by steamer through the Panama Canal to New York. With the savings from his California venture he purchased a farm in Somerset Twp. and lived there until 1874.

On Feb. 20, 1860, Marvin was married, in Somerset Twp., to Miss Alcinda LAMB, a native of Rose, Wayne Co., NY. Her father was Isaac Lamb, born in Ovid, Seneca Co., NY, whence his father, also named Isaac, removed in 1820 to Rose, of which he was a pioneer and where he died. Alcinda's father, the younger Isaac, was fourteen years old when his parents moved to Wayne Co. There he grew up and married Emeline HICKOK who was born in Rutland Co., VT, on July 15, 1809, the dau. of Moses Hickok. After their marriage, Isaac and Emeline Lamb settled in Wayne Co. and lived there until 1848. They then moved to Michigan, settling in Somerset Twp., Hillsdale Co. In 1865, Isaac sold out and moved to Lansing, from there moved to Lenawee Co. and finally, from there, to Gagetown, Tuscola Co., where he died Jan. 11, 1888. His wife Emeline died in Somerset Twp. in 1866. This couple had ten children.

In 1874, Marvin and Alcinda moved from their first home in Somerset Twp. to Pittsford Twp. Four years later they moved again, to Wheatland. Then in 1881, they returned to Pittsford Twp. and purchased the farm where they have lived ever since. Their wedded life was saddened by the death of their only child, a daughter, Altie M., who was born Aug. 15, 1864 and died Nov. 15, 1883. contributed Aug. 2003

submitted AUG. 2003 by  Katherine Paty, Tempe, AZ

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