JAMES JOHNSON VAN EMAN. Among the leading representative families of Washington county none are more worthy of special mention in this volume than the one of which the gentlemen, whose name opens this sketch, is an honored member.
James J. Van Eman is a son of Samuel Logan and Martha (McConnell) Van Eman, both natives of Washington county, Penn. The paternal great-great-grandfather, Nicholas Van Eman, who was a Hollander, was married to Mary Wilson, and their children were George, Nicholas, Andrew, Garrett, Katie, Polly, Susan and Hannah. Of these, George was born September 12, 1753, in Holland, whence he emigrated to America, finally making a new home in Washington county, Penn., as one of the pioneers of North Strabane township, the place of his settlement being a farm near Clokeyville, now owned by Joseph Clokey. He married Rebecca Scott, and they had children as follows: Nicholas, George (a minister), Scott, Jane, Andrew, Rebecca, Elizabeth, Joseph, Garrett, William, Sarah, Abraham and Hannah. The father of this family removed to Stark county, Ohio, in 1810.
Joseph Van Eman, son of George and Rebecca (Scott) Van Eman, was born December 12, 1790, in North Strabane township, this county. When he reached maturity he left the paternal roof and located on a farm (now owned by Thomas Slater) in Cecil township, same county, which he afterward sold, and then, in 1818, bought one near where is now Van Eman station on Chartiers Railroad, in the same township, and here passed the remainder of his days. On February 28, 1811, he married Miss Isabel Logan, and the children born to them were Rebecca (married to John Johnson), James (deceased in infancy), Samuel L (father of our subject), Joseph (married to Sarah Lee), Mary (married to Samuel Alexander), George (a minister, married to a Miss Bowers), Cyrus (who died when young), Margaret (married to Israel Bebout), Logan (who married Jane Vance) and Sarah (wife of Samuel Bebout). The mother of this family was called from earth May 21, 1870, the father in 1875. They were members of the Centre Presbyterian Church in Peters township, in which for forty years he was a ruling elder. He was a man of superior mind, and of more than ordinary intelligence and executive ability. He was a director of the poor of Washington county, executor and trustee for many estates, and enjoyed the fullest confidence and highest respect of the community at large.
Samuel Logan Van Eman, son of Joseph and Isabel (Logan) Van Eman, was born July 20, 1816, on his father's farm in Cecil township, this county. On September 28, 1847, he married Martha McConnell, also a native of Cecil township, born in 1826 to James and Sarah (Phillips) McConnell, both natives of Washington county, the former of whom was a son of Alexander McConnell, who emigrated with his father from Scotland or the North of Ireland to Cecil township, this county, where both patented land; and the farm which Alexander secured has never been out of the family, being now in the possession of his great-grandson, John P. McConnell. To Samuel L. and Martha (McConnell) Van Eman were born children as follows: James J. (our subject); Belle M., born in 1850, married to John N. Brown, son of Rev. A. B. Brown, D. D., at one time president of Jefferson College; Sadie E. (unmarried), and Joseph Scott (deceased in infancy). The father of this family died October 11, 1891, the mother is still living. They were members of the Centre Presbyterian Church, Peters township, in which he served as a ruling elder for thirty-five years; upright and honorable in all his dealings, and, like his father, executor and trustee for several estates, he was respected and esteemed far and wide.
James Johnson Van Eman was born August 31, 1848, on the old homestead in North Strabane township, this county (near Van Eman station), and received his education at the common schools of his district and at an academy at Elder's Ridge, Indiana Co., Penn., completing his literary training with a course of study at Washington and Jefferson College. On leaving the latter institution he took up and continued work on his father's farm - chiefly buying and selling stock - till his marriage, February 9, 1871, with Miss Maggie Espy, when he opened a store in Thompsonville, Peters township. This he carried on six years, at the end of. which time, finding his health becoming impaired, he returned to the farm. Five years later he went to Pittsburgh, where for two years he had a store for the sale of agricultural implements, on leaving which he came to Canonsburg and established his present hardware store, tin and steel roofing establishment, now one of the most extensive businesses in this part of the county. To Mr. and Mrs. Van Eman have been born six children, viz.: M. Etta, Samuel Logan, M. Maude, Nellie, John Espy and James Jay. Mrs. Van Eman was born in Upper St. Clair township, Allegheny Co., Penn., a daughter of John (a farmer) and Margaret (Smith) Espy, both deceased of Scotch ancestry. Mr. Van Eman stands high among the leading business men of Washington county, and enjoys the esteem and respect of all who know him. He and his wife are members of the Central Presbyterian Church, of which he is a deacon. Mr. Van Eman is mayor of Canonsburg. In politics he is a Republican.
Text taken from page 272 of:
Beers, J. H. and Co., Commemorative Biographical Record of Washington County, Pennsylvania (Chicago: J. H. Beers & Co., 1893).
Transcribed January 1997 by Neil and Marilyn Morton of Oswego, IL as part of the Beers Project.
Published January 1997 on the Washington County, PA USGenWeb pages at http://www.chartiers.com/.
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