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James Vantine

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Portrait and Biographical Album of Oakland County, Michigan
pp.856 - 859

Chapman Brothers, Chicago, 1891

James Vantine,
one of the most successful farmers and popular citizens of Brandon Township, was born in Clarence Township, Erie County, N.Y., September 4, 1833. He is the son of Albert, who is the son of Mathew, of Holland descent. Mathew was a farmer and a soldier in the Revolutionary War and lived to more than reach a century of honest and upright living. The father followed the patriotic example of his parent and took part in the War of 1812.

In 1840 he [Albert] journeyed by ox-team to Buffalo, by lake to Detroit and then by ox-team again to Genesee County, Mich. He took up land from the Government when the country was very sparsely settled. He first came out in 1837 and spent two winters in chopping before bringing out his household. He then erected a log house to shelter his wife and four children. He improved one hundred and forty acres. Deer was plentiful and the wolves killed a fine yearling heifer for him one night. He was a hard worker and died at the age of sixty-three years in 1865. He was first a Whig, then a strong Abolitionist, and later a Republican.

The mother of our subject bore the maiden name of Betsey Uptograff. She was a native of Erie County, N.Y., and seven of her eight children grew to maturity. They were named as follows: Mary; Ambrose, deceased; Ellen, Matilda, Elizabeth, Charity and James. She died at the age of seventy-four years, and her beautiful Christian life is the heritage of her children. She was a member of the Congregational Church.

Our subject was only six years old when he came to Michigan, but he recollects vividly the incidents of the journey. He stayed over night in a log cabin in Detroit. He saw many more Indians than whites. The log schoolhouse which he attended was one and one-fourth miles from home.

James Vantine began life for himself at the age of twenty-six, having spent the years after his majority in labor for his father. In return for this his father deeded him forty acres of land. He worked out some in the winters, receiving wages at the rate of $10 per month. He built a frame house on his forty acres and made his home there for twelve years, and purchased twenty-six acres in addition. He removed to his present farm in 1874. His marriage to Ellen Truax took place in 1850. She was a native of Michigan and lived only eight years after her marriage, leaving one child, Oscar, now married and employed in the white lead works at Detroit.

The second marriage of our subject occurred in 1865. The bride was Mary J. Harvey, a native of New York. Her two children are Hattie and Charles.

Mr. Vantine enlisted in December, 1864, in Company I, Thirtieth Michigan Infantry. He was mustered in a Detroit but was never sent to the seat of war on account of Lee's surrender. He was discharged in June, 1865.

He has always been an ardent Republican. He has two hundred and sixty acres here in two farms, most of it under cultivation. Here he carries on mixed farming in which he is very successful, as he is an excellent manager and has pursued an industrious and laborious life. A view of his residence and the rural surroundings appears on another page of this volume. (I have not copied that yet, but will when I next go to the library. cvy)