Shelby County, Indiana
John Wesley Vanarsdall
He began farming in Brandywine Township and there continued
until February, 1880, when he removed to a farm in Addison
Township. In February, 1884, he returned to Brandywine Township, and settled upon the farm he now occupies.
His first marriage occurred March 1, 1877, when Maria B. Thayer
wife. She was born in Brandywine Township, this county,
March 31, 1857. She was the daughter of Sidney and Frances
(Bass) Thayer, both natives of this county, the birth of the former occurring May 3, 1827, and of the latter June 21, 1832.
Vanarsdall died June 13, 1884, and October 30, 1885, Mr. Vanarsdall was married to
Annie J. Murphy, who was born in Hendricks
Township, this county, September, 4, 1853. She was the daughter
of Samuel and Emeline (Vaughn) Murphy, the former a native of
Pennsylvania, and the latter a native of England. The second wife
of our subject died within a year after their marriage — the date
being October 4, 1886.
John W. Vanarsdall, a prominent farmer of Brandywine
Township, was born in Mercer County, Ky., March 10, 1848. He
was the eighth of ten children — five sons and five daughters
born to John and Catharine Vanarsdall, both of whom were also
natives of Mercer County, Ky., of German descent. His paternal
grandfather was Stephen Vanarsdall. His four brothers were:
Stephen, Abram B., Elijah and James,
all of whom are living
except Abram, who died at the age of forty-one. His five sisters
were: Mary, Cyntha, America, Eliza and
Cora, of whom Cyntha
and Eliza are deceased. When he was a lad eight years of age
he accompanied his parents to this State and located with them near
Franklin, Johnson County, where he worked upon a farm until he
reached the age of sixteen, when he came to this county and
for a period of three and one-half years worked upon a farm by
the month. At the age of nineteen he took up the vocation of a
farmer for himself,
in which pursuit he has ever since continued.
|| John W. Vanarsdall|
History of Shelby County, Indiana, Chicago: Brant & Fuller, 1887,
"Brandywine Sketches", pages 628-629.
Clara Allen Vanarsdall
His first marriage resulted in the birth of
one child, Sherman, born May 10, 1881, died when three weeks
old. His second marriage also resulted in the birth of one child,
Orpha, born October 4, 1886, who is still living. Mr. Vanarsdall is a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and a Republican
in politics. He owns a fine farm, where he resides, of 280 acres,
about 240 of which are in an excellent state of cultivation. His farm
is fitted up with a handsome brick residence and a fine barn which,
with other substantial improvements, make it one of the most
desirable locations in the county. Besides this he is the owner of
two other good farms — one of 160 acres in Brandy wine Township,
and one of eighty acres in Hendricks Township. He is an industrious and successful farmer and is deservedly recognized as one of
the substantial and influential citizens of Shelby County.|
Photos above are from Boetker's Picturesque Shelbyville, c
1909. There is a picture of John Wesley Vanarsdall on page 728 of
Brant & Fuller.
Contributed by Phyllis Miller Fleming
Vanarsdall and Annie J. Murphy, daughter of Samuel,
were in love. She wouldn't marry him because he was "just a farm
hand." I believe he worked for either her father or uncle.
He left -
primising to come back rich and asking her to wait. He went to work for an
old maid in the Fairland area. When she died and "left him
everything" he came back to Annie and they were married. This odyssey
took seven years. Annie died within a year leaving one child, Orpha.
She married a Fleming and had one son, John [Wesley
Fleming]. He bears a strong resemblance to the photo of his
grandfather Vanarsdall. John Fleming married my classmate, Elizabeth
[French] Barnard. They have one son John Kemper's
age [John Wesley Fleming II, born March 10, 1948, exactly 100 years
after his great-grandfather, John Wesley Vanarsdall].
going with my parents to call on Orpha. She was confined to a wheelchair
for many years (crippling arthritis?). She was a beautiful woman,
meticulous and tasteful in her grooming. She was poised, gracious,
accepted her illness without becoming embittered. I have heard several
people remark that she was a lovely person - "not like her father."
sister, Mattie, died, her will left nothing to Annie's heir because
Mattie felt Annie had already had her share (in what way I never heard).
John Wesley Vanarsdall contested the will. At the trial the judge was
shown Mattie's Bible with marked passages and marginal notes. The judge
ruled that Mattie showed such discrimination and understanding in her Bible
reading -- she could not have been of unsound mind as Mr. Vanarsdall charged.
brother, John T. Murphy (my grandfather), gave his mother [Sophia
Emeline Vaugn Murphy] a set of dishes as a Christmas gift. [After
Sophia died] He sent his wife to the estate sale to buy back the
dishes. Mr. Vanarsdall ran up the bid to $300.00 (an astronomical sum for
the time). She came home, afraid of the consequences. He [John
T. Murphy] is supposed to have said, "If you hadn't bought them, I would
have beaten you to death."
supposed to be one piece of this set of dishes extant. It is a tureen and
was in the possession of Claire Strickler Hession (daughter
of Hazel Murphy, daughter of George, son
of Samuel ([George is] brother of John T.).
The china was
plain white with a wide gold border.
death, Mr. Vanarsdall married a widow named Allen with a
child named Glen. I'm not sure but believe Glen to have been
a girl. Orpha and Glen often spent their vacations visiting her uncle
VanArsdale's lived in the large brick house at the west end of Franklin Street
that later became Horde's Sanetarium. Orpha was married from this
house. Her country relatives drove in for the wedding - bringing their
wedding finery in boxes so they would be unmussed for the wedding.
Orpha's father supported his stepchild but for Orpha he collected from her inheritance from her mother -- even for room and board. After she became of age, her Uncle George considered going to court to have this money restored to her but did not.
1976, John Fleming received a certificate for holding land that had been in
family 100 years or more. He said land had been purchased (I would have
thought inherited by Sophia Vaughn Murphy) in 1855 thence to his grandmother
Annie Murphy Vanarsdal to Orpha VanArsdall Fleming to John.
Dad said that after his wife Annie died, and preparing for the sale, Mr. V. burned many family things like portraits, books, other pictures. Dad said Mr. V. claimed her family had not treated Annie right.
Contributed by a family member
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