From the 1885 History of Steuben County, Indiana

pages 794-795



Frank B. Van Auken, -- Three most important events in the ordinary life of man are his birth, his marriage, and his death.

  The subject of this meager autobiography passed in comparative safety the first of these, Nov. 13, 1850, at Chagrin Falls, Cuyahoga Co., Ohio.  Celebrated with Rheumina H. Sanders the second, in Otsego, Nov. 23, 1873, and now with kings and potentates awaits the inevitable hour that shall comprehend the third.

  At his nativity Dr. D. W. Bliss officiated, since distinguished at the death bed of a martyr president, and at the second Rev. Harlowe Carpenter, now we hope in the enjoyment of fame above.

  Frank B., next to the magical seventh son of Jacob H. and Nancy S. Van Auken, whose lives are elsewhere recorded in this volume, has since 1882 been proprietor of Magic Grove Farm on section 13, Steuben Township, where his youth was spent.  From 1867 to 1870 he studied in the Angola Academy receiving highest grade teacher's license at seventeen years of age.  At eighteen he taught school at Pleasant Lake, at nineteen became an itinerant writing teacher, and at twenty organized the first township graded school at Orland.  In the same year he with his brother, J. J. Van Auken, matriculated as sophomores in Hillsdale College, from which institution he graduated in 1874 receiving the degree of Baccalaurus Scientiae (we believe) two years meanwhile having been spent as principal of the new graded school at Pleasant Lake, assisted by his wife.  In 1875 the two brothers, F. B. and J. J. Van Auken, were elected County Surveyors of Steuben and DeKalb respectively, the former having only lacked the necessary votes two years previously -- a circumstance by no means uncommon in this interesting county destined to become, with her hardy people, beautiful woods, nestling lakes, and fertile soil, one of the favorite dwelling places of creation.  The other brother has maintained his honorable position almost continuously to the present time.

  Five years were spent by the writer in the delicate and responsible position of Superintendent of the Waterloo City Schools, graduating the first class from that institution in 1878.  Since retiring from the profession he has been treated by some of his opponents on the field of opinion with cruel malignity, being stigmatized a "good templar," "free trader" and Democrat."  But life is too short and time too swift on his golden wing for a full defense or denial in this place.  His gastronomic and somnolous powers remain, however, at this date unimpaired.

  And now, mindful of the danger of speaking long in the first person, we conclude:


"Such the brief page thy story fills."


Rheumina H., wife of Frank B. Van Auken, was born July 6, 1852 -- only daughter of Henry and Jane (Jackman) Sanders.  They have four children -- Sanders, born June 2, 1875; Nanne Jane, born July 29, 1878; Frank Verne, born Aug. 22, 1880; and Glenn, born Nov. 8, 1883.

  Mrs. Van Auken's father, an iron-maker, was born in Lancaster County, Pa., in 1811, and died in Otsego Township, Steuben Co., Ind., where he had cleared and improved a beautiful farm on section 23, now owned by ex-Sheriff Keyes, June 29, 1879.  He was highly respected for his intelligence and fine character.  Her mother is living at Butler, DeKalb Co., Ind.  Mrs. Sanders was born in Richland County, Ohio, in 1822, and in September, 1836, came to Steuben County, Ind., with her parents, Robert and Phoebe Jackman, and located in Richland Township.  Her parents had a family of twelve children, three of whom died in childhood.  The others were -- Henry, who was married, came to Steuben County with his family and settled in Otsego Township, where he died.  Richard, also married, settled in Otsego Township, where he died July 8, 1864.  Samuel was a young man when he accompanied his father to Steuben County, but returned to Ohio and was married and then settled in Richland Township, where he died in November, 1884.  He built the first cabin in Richland Township in the spring of 1836.  Mary is the widow of David Aldrich, of Otsego Township; Jane , now Mrs. Sanders; Robert died at the age of forty-nine years, unmarried; Lydia, the eldest daughter, died at Mount Vernon, Ohio, April 4, 1885.  Margaret married in Ohio, George Eagle, and came with her husband to Indiana about 1840, locating in DeKalb County.  Mr. Eagle died, and his widow afterward married James Johnson, who is also deceased.  The youngest daughter, Christina, married Marvin Gordon, and died a number of years since.  Of this large and well-known family there remains but three daughters, all widows.  Jane, the younest of the surviving daughters, was married in February, 1843, to Daniel Thurstin, a native of the State of New York, who came to Steuben County from Ohio with his parents, Eli and Margaret (Koons) Thurstin.  After his marriage he settled in Franklin Township, where he was killed in 1848 by descending into a well where poisonous gas had accumulated, his death being instantaneous.  Mr. and Mrs. Thurstin had three children -- Calvin H., of Butler, DeKalb County; Phoebe, wife of Henry Smith, of Cedar Rapids, Iowa; and Robert J., who died May 15, 1875, aged twenty-four years, was a student at Hillsdale College.  In 1851 Mrs. Thurstin married Henry Sanders, the father of Mrs. Van Auken.



Submitted by Kim Davoli