Van B. Cones

Van B. Cones, a native of Sugar Creek township, was born on May 4, 1844, the son of Washington and Elizabeth (Murnan) Cones. Washington Cones was born in Kentucky in 1812 and died on the old homestead in Sugar Creek township on December 31, 1846. He was the son of John and Rachael Cones, both of whom were of Scotch-Irish descent. The family moved to Greensburg about 1812. Washington Cones spent much of his early life in Decatur county, where he worked at the carpenter trade. He later returned to Sugar Creek township, where he was married in 1838. Elizabeth Murnan was born near Flat Rock, Indiana, in 1820, and was the daughter of Jacob and Sallie (Weston) Murnan, who were among the first settlers in this part of the country. The territory was one vast wilderness and many Indians were present at that time. Sallie was one of a family of thirteen children and the only one now living. Of the large family, ten lived to maturity.

After marriage, Washington Cones engaged in farming for himself, having bought eighty acres of his father-in-law, Jacob Murnan. The land was heavily timbered and here Mr. Cones built a rude one-room log cabin. He later built a one-room frame house and it was here that the son, Van B. Cones, was born. Just at the time when Washington Cones had succeeded in paying for his farm he died, leaving his wife and the following five children: Amanda, the widow of James Barnard, who died in 1863; Sallie, deceased, was the wife of Stephens Rollins; Rachel, deceased, was the wife of Joseph Fritts; Van B. and Washington, the latter of who is a resident of Burlington, Kansas.

After the death of Washington Cones his wife by heroic efforts managed to keep the little family together. This was a most difficult task in those days. She spun flax and wool and weaved the same into cloth, which enabled her to make a living. She died at the age of seventy-two years in 1892.

Van B. Cones was born on the old homestead of his father and on the land that his grandfather had entered from the government and here it was that his father died at the age of thirty-two. He attended school in the old log school house that stood just east of John Huber's blacksmith shop. After finishing the common schools he continued to assist on the farm until the time of his marriage to Margaret Hart on September 3, 1874. Margaret Hart was born at Dayton, Ohio, on November 20, 1855, being the daughter of Phillip and Elizabeth (Hockheimer) Hart, both of whom were natives of Germany. The parents, after coming to the United States, settled in Ohio, near Dayton, and late came to Hancock county, where the father died in 1857. After the death of the father the mother returned to Ohio, where she was married to George Kasparie. They later located in Sugar Creek township.

After the marriage of Van B. Cones he continued to live on the home farm until some time the next year, when he removed to an eighty-acre farm southwest of New Palestine, which he had purchased. Only half of the farm had been cleared at the time, yet there was a good frame house and a log barn. Mr. Cones at once began to clear the remainder of the place and to drain and improve it. He now owns thirty-one acres of the old home place and one hundred and five acres north of New Palestine, making in all two hundred and twenty acres.

Mr. Cones does general farming and attributes much of his success to the raising of hay and wheat. He has also made a success of the raising of hogs.

Mr. and Mrs. Cones are the parents of seven children, three of whom are deceased, having died in infancy. Those living are: Amerlia, Clara, Benjamin and Everett. Amelia is the wife of Benjamin Fralich and resides in Cumberland. They are the parents of three children, Curtis, Lorin and Letha. Clara is the wife of Walter Faut, of New Palestine. Benjamin is a resident of Indianapolis and Everett is a resident of Sugar Creek township and he and his wife are the parents of one child, Jeanette.

Politically, Mr. Cones is a Democrat and served as trustee of his townshp from 1900 to 1904. He is prominent and influential in the affairs of the county, being a man in whom all have the greatest confidence.

Transcribed from History of Hancock County, Indiana, Its People, Industries and Institutions by George J. Richman, B. L., Federal Publishing Co., Indianapolis, Indiana, 1916. Page 969-971.

Submitted by Sylvia (Rose) Duda, Laingsburg, MI October 19, 2001.

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Tom & Carolyn Ward / Columbus, Kansas /

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