Squire  Vanpelt


Vanpelt, Squire L. (1819-1907) of Indiana. Born near Lebanon, Warren County, Ohio, September 21, 1819.  Member of Indiana state house of representatives, 1879.  Presbyterian.  Died in Shelbyville, Shelby County, Ind., January 11, 1907.  Burial location unknown..
The Political Graveyard
Picture from  Boetcker's Picturesque Shelbyville,  1909.
  

            Hon. Squire L. Vanpelt. Among the many illustrious men of Shelby County, few are entitled to more prominent mention than the gentleman whose brief biographical sketch is herewith presented.  Mr. Vanpelt was born near the city of Lebanon, Warren County, Ohio, September 21, 1819, and is descended from an old and highly respectable Holland family, several members of which came to America in the early part of the last century and settled in the eastern colonies, where they enjoyed much more than local distinction.  Daniel Vanpelt, the grandfather of subject, was born in New Jersey about the year 1750.  He served with distinction in the War of Independence, and fell while charging the enemy at the bloody battle of Long Island in 1776.  His son,  Alexander Vanpelt,  father of the subject, was born in New Jersey, 1773, and was also a soldier, having done valiant service on many a battle field in the last war with Great Britain in 1812.  He emigrated to Ohio in an early day, and from thence in 1821, to Shelby County, Indiana, having been among the first pioneers in this part of the State.  He was a farmer by occupation, a man of more than ordinary powers of mind, and died in the county of his adoption in 1849.  His wife, whose maiden name was  Elizabeth Pearce,  was born in New Jersey in 1781, and departed this life at her home in Shelby County about the year 1825.  Squire Vanpelt was the third child by his father's second marriage.  When two years of age, he was brought to the county, where amid the stirring scenes of pioneer life were spent his early years, and where in the rugged school of experience were developed those powers of perseverance and industry which have made him conspicuous among his fellow men.  He was reared to agricultural pursuits, and in 1844, began life for himself, choosing for a vocation that most useful of all occupations, farming, to which he has devoted the greater part of his attention, and in which he has met with encouraging success.  In connection with the farm he was for several years engaged in buying and shipping grain in this city but this branch of trade was not entered into for the purpose of making it a permanent business.  Mr. Vanpelt early became interested in politics, and as an active worker in the Democratic party, his abilities as a leader in local affairs soon began to be felt and appreciated by his friends and political enemies.  His first official position was that of Justice of the Peace, the duties of which he discharged in such a manner as to recommend him to a more responsible place, accordingly, in 1854, he was elected Sheriff of Shelby County, which position he held until 1858, having been re-elected in 1856. In 1858, he was the Democratic nominee for County Auditor, and after a spirited contest was triumphantly elected.  His record in that office justified the party in renominating him four years later, with the same result, and he discharged the duties of the position in an eminently satisfactory manner until 1867. For several years after the expiration of his term as Auditor, Mr. Vanpelt did not present himself for the suffrage of the people, but in 1878, at the earnest solicitation of his party friends he was nominated for the Legislature, and elected by the unprecedented majority of over more than 2,000 votes, a fact which attests his great popularity throughout the county.  His career as a legislator is similar to that earned in his other official positions, and the records of the Assembly show that he was always at his post ready to participate in the deliberations and discussions of all measures coming before the House for consideration.  Since the expiration of his term in the Legislature, Mr. Vanpelt has devoted considerable attention to the political questions of the day, on all of which he is well informed, being considered one of the' party leaders in Shelby County.  He enjoys great personal popularity, and is a man of intelligence and generous impulses.  He is a representative Democrat of the old school, and while an active partisan, against his official record no breath of suspicion has ever been uttered.  He married, in 1844, Miss Mary Major, who was born in Ireland in the year 1819.  Mrs. Vanpelt died in December, 1863.  Mr. Vanpelt's second marriage was solemnized in 1864, with  Emily M. Shank, of this county.  He and wife are members of the Presbyterian Church, belonging to the Shelbyville congregation.
History of Shelby County, Indiana, Chicago: Brant & Fuller, 1887, "Shelbyville Sketches", pages 542-543.
Contributed by Phyllis Miller Fleming

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