Van Zandt Family
7.52 linear ft. (13 boxes)
Special Collections Department, Iowa State University.
Open for research
Consult Head, Special Collections Department
Van Zandt Family Papers, MS 213, Special Collections Department, Iowa State University Library.
JACOB AND ELIZABETH
This family started out
in North Carolina and had moved to Kentucky and then Tennessee
by the time the collection begins. Jacob and Elizabeth's
children were: Henry, William, Andrew, Washington, Samuel, John,
James, Jahu, Ermina, Uphamy and Mary. They also raised their son
Andrew's children, John and Sarah, after his death. Henry, his
wife Nancy, William, Andrew, and Andrew's family came to Iowa in
1848, and Andrew died soon after. His wife, Rody, and their
children returned to Tennessee. Jahu, John and James moved to
Webster County, Missouri prior to 1856. Jahu moved on to
northern Arkansas, where he died of a fever prior to 1863. John
and his wife (also Nancy) moved on to Texas, where he died in
1865. His wife returned to Tennessee.
The rest of the Vanzants
- Jacob and Elizabeth, their daughters Ermina, Uphamy and Mary
and grandchildren settled in Northern Arkansas around 1856,
where sons Washington, Samuel and John were already located.
Washington was killed during the Civil War by Union soldiers.
Elizabeth died during the war or shortly after. Uphamy died
about 1877, Ermina about 1881. Mary married Henry Breedwell.
Other family members who lived in Arkansas were Uphamy Bridwell
and Andrew Callahan, Sr., who may have been siblings of
Relatives of Nancy
McKeown Vanzant (Henry's wife) are also represented in this
section. There are letters from her brothers Thomas and J.S.
McKeown, her brother-in-law, Felix Barnhardt, and Martha T. Smith.
JAMES AND PHILOMA LYNN
VAN ZANDT FAMILY
James Van Zandt was
Henry and Nancy Vanzant's only surviving child. (They had lost
their daughter Mary in infancy and their daughter Mattie at the
age of 19). James married Philoma Lynn, whose family had come
to Iowa from Indiana in 1864. They had three children, Madge,
Mattie and Ralph. Madge married a Methodist minister, Charles
Hankins and had two children, Pauline and Robert. Mattie
married Tom Foster and they had a daughter, Martha. Ralph
apparently did not marry - at least we have no evidence in the
SCOTT AND JESSIE WEIR FOSTER
Scott and Jessie Weir Foster
were the parents of Thomas Weir Foster, who married Mattie Van
Zandt. They had another son, Carroll, and had two daughters who
died in childhood, Martha and Angie. This section also includes
materials of Jessie's parents, Andrew R. and Martha Huston Weir.
TOM AND MATTIE VAN ZANDT
Tom and Mattie Van Zandt
Foster had one daughter, Martha.
MARTIN AND MARTHA FOSTER
Martin and Martha Foster
Schmitt had one daughter, Sallie.
THE VAN ZANDT NAME
The family name is spelled Vanzant or Van Zant throughout the
1800's. After the turn of the century, the "d" was added. In the
material we have, its first appearance is in Mattie Van Zandt's
commencement program in 1906. James and Philoma Vanzant (Ralph,
Mattie and Madge's parents) were still using the original spelling
at the beginning of World War I; but by the time Ralph returned,
they too had adopted the "d" - but not the space between "n" and
"z". For the sake of simplicity, however, we are listing all of
James and Philoma's family as "Van Zandt". Later notations on
pictures have both the "d" and the space.
The primary focus of
this collection is the correspondence of Henry C. Vanzant, who
was born in Rutherford County, North Carolina in 1816. In 1848,
newly married to Nancy McKeown, he came to Agency, Iowa with his
wife, brother William, brother Andrew and wife Rody and their
children. Andrew died shortly after their arrival, and Rody and
the children returned to Tennessee. William moved to Kossuth,
Iowa shortly after coming to the state. He lived there until
joining the Union Army, August 11, 1861. Henry remained in
Agency until his death in 1905.
Henry Vanzant's letters
begin in 1838 and end in 1887. (There is also some legal
correspondence, filed separately). It is primarily family
correspondence, but there are a few letters from friends, and many
years of correspondence from George Wilson, Henry's landlord, from
whom he rented the 210 acre farm on which he lived from 1850
through at least 1882. The letters from Wilson are especially
interesting. An intelligent and articulate man, he often comments
on national and local events of the day, including the gold rush,
emigration to the west, politics and the economy.
Other letters of particular
interest are those of William Vanzant, written to Henry and others
while he was with the First Iowa Battery during the Civil War. Of
special note are the files 1/53, describing the battle of Pea Ridge
and file 1/67 which covers General William T. Sherman's attempt and
subsequent retreat at Vicksburg, December 29, 1862-January 1, 1863
and the Battle of Arkansas Post. Files 1/68 through 1/73 all
concern the Vicksburg campaign and more can be found in William's
diaries, files 3/31-3/33. William died of an unspecified disease in
the hospital in St. Louis on February 12, 1864. His brother Henry
collected his body, and apparently his effects, for there are
letters to William in the collection also, from friends in Agency
and Kossuth, as well as his colleagues in the First Iowa Battery.
Another significant portion
of the collection is Henry Vanzant's grandson, Ralph Vanzandt's
World War I correspondence. Ralph entered the Army in July of 1918
and went to Camp Pike for training. He was shipped overseas at the
end of September and was wounded slightly by shrapnel on November 5,
1918. Armistice was signed before he was released from the
hospital. His unit remained in Europe through the winter, and he
was in the hospital again, with pleurisy, in March 1919. He was
sent back to the states in May 1919. The letters from Ralph are
written to his sisters, Mattie Foster and Madge Hankins, and his
parents, James and Philoma Van Zandt. The letters to Ralph appear
to be ones he never received while in the Army - their envelopes are
covered with forwarding addresses, all finishing with James Van
Zandt's address in Agency.
Additional materials in the collection come from the family of
Mattie Van Zandt's husband, Tom Foster.
Full finding aid
(pdf format) with container list.