Nora (Van Horn) Havens

MRS. NORA (VAN HORN) HAVENS. Long, honorably and prominently associated with business and public affairs in different sections of Kansas, the names of Van Horn and of Havens still represent very important interests. The Van Horn name has been a familiar one in Kansas since 1857, and that of Havens for the past forty-six years. A well-known representative of both is found in Mrs. Nora (Van Horn) Havens, a highly esteemed resident of Minneapolis, Kansas.

Mrs. Havens was educated at Topeka, Kansas, but her birth took place at Kent, in Jefferson County, Indiana. Her parents were Benjamin Franklin and Elizabeth (Robertson) Van Horn. The Van Horn ancestry has been traced to Holland, from which country, in colonial days, seven brothers of the name came to America. The immediate ancestor of Mrs. Havens founded the Philadelphia branch of the family, and the great-grandfather of Mrs. Havens was a soldier in the Revolutionary war.

Benjamin Franklin Van Horn, father of Mrs. Havens, was born March 4, 1827, at Kent, Indiana, and died at Minneapolis, Kansas, September 29, 1911. He grew to manhood in his native place and was married there and prior to coming to Kansas, in 1857, was a tanner. He located at Topeka and engaged in a mercantile business, but in 1860 removed to Greenwood County, Kansas. There he continued merchandising and also became a farmer. In 1863 he enlisted for service in the Civil war and served thereafter until its close as captain of the first colored regiment of troops in Kansas, through Arkansas, Indian Territory and Texas.

When the war closed Captain Van Horn returned to North Topeka, Kansas, and in that neighborhood continued his agricultural industries until 1872. He then sold and bought another farm, located six miles west of Topeka, on which he resided until 1895, when he once more sold and went to Texas and was engaged there in farming for the next five years. He then came back to Kansas and afterward, until his death, resided with his daughter, Mrs. Havens, at Minneapolis. He was an old-line republican and was a man of consequence in Kansas in early days and at one time was a member of the Territorial Legislature. He was one of the founders and always a liberal supporter of the Congregational Church at Topeka.

Mr. Van Horn was married in Indiana to Elizabeth Robertson, who was born at sent in 1830, and died in Greenwood County, Kansas, August 14, 1860. They became the parents of the following children: A daughter who died at the age of two years; Nora and Dora, twins, the latter of whom died at the age of twenty-one years, was the wife of Frank Parkhurst of Topeka; Simeon Hunt, who died on his farm in Texas at the age of thirty-five years; Samuel, who is a farmer in Brown County, Kansas; and Nathaniel, who died in infancy.

At her home in Topeka, Kansas, in 1871, Miss Nora Van Horn was married to A. P. Havens. Mr. Havens was born at Auburn, New York, September 25, 1843, and died at Minneapolis, Kansas, August 31, 1901. In 1845 his parents settled at Dayton, Wisconsin, and there Mr. Havens was reared and obtained his education. After his marriage he was engaged in the grocery business at Topeka for a few years, and then returned to Wisconsin for a few years and became a merchant there, but later resumed business at Topeka and from there, in 1878, came to Minneapolis. He possessed great business ability and was successful in whatever he undertook, his earlier business ventures being but preliminary to the establishing of a string of lumber yards after coming to Minneapolis that resulted in increased industrial activity in various parts of the state. He carried on his extensive operations under the style of the Leidigh &; Havens Lumber Company, and Mrs. Havens owns a large interest in the yards at Minneapolis, Delphos, Bennington, Culver, Salina and Barnard, and others in Lincoln County and still others in Missouri. The yard at Belied, Kansas, was subsequently sold. To the management of this business Mr. Havens devoted many years, and it was developed into such a vast enterprise largely through his sagacity and clear-sightedness and the personal integrity that brought him the confidence of the business world. While essentially and always a business man first, he was never unmindful of his duties as a citizen. In casting his vote with the republican party he gave expression to his views on public issues.

To Mr. and Mrs. Havens three children were born, the youngest of whom, Jean, died at the age of nine years. Two daughters survive, Lou and Helen. The former is the wife of S. E. Jackman, and they have one son, Albert Havens Jackman. Mr. Jackman is a miller and grain dealer at Minneapolis, Kansas. The second daughter is the wife of G. C. Baldwin, and they have two children, George C. and Jean. Mr. Baldwin is in the service of the United States Government, in the geodetic department for the conservation of water power, and they live at Boise City, Idaho.

Mrs. Havens is widely known socially and has long been unostentatiously active in charitable work and at present gives a large part of her time to forwarding Red Cross activities, of which organization she is an earnest member.


A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans, written and compiled by William E. Connelley, Secretary of the Kansas State Historical Society, Topeka. Chicago: Lewis Publishing Company, copyright 1918; transcribed 1997.
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