Henry H. Van Natta

HENRY H. VAN NATTA is the present county attorney of Republic County. He has nearly completed two terms of service in that office. That service has been a distinction to himself and a matter of eminent satisfaction to the people of the county.

He was first elected to the office in November, 1912, upon the republican ticket. In 1914 he had opposition neither at the primaries nor in the general election. In Kansas local politics this was an almost unprecedented condition. One of the contributory causes was doubtless the fact that Mr. Van Natta is not only an able attorney and popular citizen himself but is the son of the venerable Nelson T. Van Natta, one of the splendid pioneers of Republic County where for thirty years he has successfully practiced law. Reference to the career of this pioneer lawyer is found on other pages. Even more important in the election of Mr. Van Natta as county attorney was the fact that in his previous administration he had shown unusual efficiency and had also practiced the principle contained in the declaration "equal rights to every one and special privileges to none." It has been characteristic of both his personal character and of his official administration that the most lowly vagrant accused of crime has received fair, honest consideration for the sole purpose of arriving at the real and true facts in the case. Once the facts have been ascertained, Mr. Van Natta has prosecuted with full consideration of those facts and under the warrant of law, and has not only given the accused but also the State of Kansas a square deal.

A son of Nelson T. and Catherine A. Van Natta, Henry H. Van Natta was born in Jefferson Township of Republic County, Kansas, December 29, 1875. Though he was admitted to the bar more than ten years ago, the greater part of his life has been spent on a farm. He attended the country schools and also the grade and high schools of Belleville, and in the meantime lived with his parents and found more or less constant occupation for his mind and muscles in the duties of farming. In September, 1902, he entered the law department of the university of Kansas, where he was graduated LL. B. in June, 1905, and in the following months passed a successful examination for the state bar. Being qualified as a lawyer, instead of taking up active practice he resumed the role of farmer and followed that vocation until August, 1909. Since then he has practiced with offices in Belleville, and a few years later came the official honor which has furnished employment for his professional energies to the present time.

Mr. Van Natta is a member of the honorary law fraternity Phi Delta Phi, to which he was elected while in the university. He was also affiliated with Belleville Lodge No. 129, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons. On April 3, 1909, he married Miss Ethel B. Colville. Their two daughters are Virleen K. and Bernice E. Van Natta.


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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