SAMUEL L. VAN SANDT GRAVESTONE PHOTO
Aug. 19, 1920
SAMUEL L. VAN SANDT IS DEAD
His Father Immortalized by Harriet Beecher Stowe in "Uncle Tom's Cabin."
FATHER OF FIRST CHILD BORN HERE.
Fifty Years a Resident of Chanute With a Career of Faithful Public Service.
Funeral Services at Home of His Daughter, Mrs. O. L. Alcock, Tomorrow Afternoon.
Samuel L. Van Sandt, fifty years a resident of Chanute, father of the first child born on the townsite, and son of John Van Sandt, immortalized in "Uncle Tom's Cabin" as John Von Trompe" who aided "Eliza" to escape, died at his home, 109 North Evergreen avenue, yesterday afternoon at 4:30 after a long illness.
The funeral services will be held at 2:30 o'clock tomorrow afternoon at the home of his daughter, Mrs. Otto L. Alcock at 815 South Evergreen avenue. The Grand Army of the Republic will have E. A. Blackman, pastor of the Christian Church. F. M. Abbott, commander of the Chanute Post, today made a request that all Grand Army men attend.
Mr. Van Sandt's condition had been critical since the latter part of July or early this month, when he fell and never rallied. He had been disabled four or five years and unable to make his way about except by the use of crutches.
A Faithful Public Officer.
Mr. Van Sandt had been a resident of Chanute for half a century, coming to New Chicago, now a part of the city, in 1870. He was the father of the first child born on the townsite, a son, who died in infancy.
He had served the county faithfully as sheriff, being nominated as the Republican candidate, in 1887 when there seemed little prospect of success at the polls by that party in this county. Mr. Van Sandt was elected however, by 135 votes over J. E. Parsons, and was re-elected in 1889 by 245 votes over the same opponent.
Aged 78 Years.
He had also served as United States deputy marshal several times, as chief of police in Chanute, his last service in this capacity being during the administration of Mayor S. E. Beach in 1911, and had also been constable.
Mr. Van Sandt was 78 years old, having been born in Hamilton county, Ohio, August 9, 1842. His father died five years later. Mr. Van Sandt was liberally educated in the schools of Indiana and Michigan, attending high school in Michigan just before the war. His mother took her family to Maysville, Ind., soon after her husband's death and Mr. Van Sandt lived ther until he was about 16 years old, when he went to Kentucky, where he worked for a time; going from there to Michigan.
At First Bull Run.
When the Civil War began he enlisted in Company D of the Second Michigan infantry and went to the front in the early months of the struggle. He participated in the first battle of Bull Run, his regiment covering the retreat of the Federal forces to Washington, where it took up quarters in a barn after driving out the hogs which occupied the stable.
The Second Michigan went into battle again at Yorktown on the Peninsula and was also engaged at Williamsburg, Frazier's Farm, Savage Station and Malvern Hill. After considerable service with the Army of the Potomac the regiment was transferred from the command of General Heinzelman to General Burnsides' corps and took part in the campaign around Vicksburg and in the battle of Jackson, Miss.
Over Three Years in Service.
Being again transferred the regiment went into Kentucky and crossed the Cumberland Mountains into East Tennessee, where it participated in the engagements at Campbell's Station and London and finally the battle of Knoxville and the assault on Fort Saunders.
Returning to the Army of the Potomac the regiment took part in the great battles of the Wilderness, Spottsylvania, North Anna and others, and was part of the combatant forces in this locality when Mr. Van Sandt was discharged upon the expiration of his enlistment, he having been with the army three years and three months.
A Plains Freighter.
When the war ended Mr. Van Sandt returned to Indiana, where his mother lived, and soon after went to Clarinda, Iowa, where he remained for a year. He then startedwest and engaged in freighting for the government making several trips across the plains to Cottonwood and Julesburg, Neb.
Having gotten together a team and a few dollars he loaded his personal belongings upon a prairie schooner and came to Kansas, settling here with his wife, whom he married in Clarinda, Iowa, in 1867. She died the same year that her infant son passed away. In 1873, Mr. Van Sandt married Mrs. Martha E. Jackson, who died three years later. They were the parents of James Warren Van Sandt of 1003 South Grant avenue, this city. Mr. Van Sandt later married Martha E. Washington. They were the parent of two children, a son, Harrison, deceased, and a daughter, Olive, wife of O. L. Alcock. Mrs. Alcock is in California spending the summer.
Of a Famous Father.
Mr. Van Sandt had the distinction of being the son of John Van Sandt, immortalized as "John Von Trompe" in Harriet Beeacher Stowe's great novel, "Uncle Tom's Cabin." The father was reared in Kentucky, belonging to a slave-holding, well-to-do, plantation-owning family, but left the Bluegrass state when a young man to get away from the abuses of the slavery system.
So active was he in the matter of aiding negroes to escape slavery through the "underground railroad" system that Mrs. Stowe selected his career in depicting this phase of the campaign against slavery. His home was one of the stations along the road of escape and it was he who sheltered "Eliza" when she crossed the Ohio river on the ice in fleeing from her pursuers.
Sacrificed All For Cause.
His enthusiasm in the cause of liberty for the black man led him into a violation of the Fugitive Slave Law. He was arrested and, defended by Salmon P. Chase, later secretary of the treasury for President Lincoln and chief justice of the United States supreme court, and William H. Seward, later secretary of state in Lincoln's administration, who argued the case before the United States supreme court after Mr. Van Sandt had been convicted and heavily fined in the lower court.
The efforts to have the judgment of the lower court failed. Mr. Van Sandt was a member of a society organized in the east for the purpose of aiding any who should be overtaken by the law in the "underground railroad" business, and it was expected that this organization would bear a share of the cost of the suit and part of the fine, but the expected aid was never given and Mr. Van Sandt lost all of his property.
Prosecuted by State and Church.
He was not only prosecuted by the government, but, also by the Methodist church to which he belonged. He was an active and influential member of this denomination, but the church tried him because of his views on slavery. He was acquitted but took his letter out and was not afterward identified with the organization.
The Van Sandt case was tried in the United States supreme court in 1842, and Mr. Van Sandt's course was so radical for that time that public sentiment condemned it. His family, however, approved it and his son pointed to the position of his father on the slavery question with pride, regarding it as a distinguished achievement by a worthy ancestor.