VAN METER, JAMES BENJAMIN, now living retired from active life at No. 1141, North Second Street, Springfield, Ill., was for thirty years successfully engaged in stock farming in Fancy Creek Township, Sangamon County. Mr. Van Meter is a native of the county, born September 12, 1847, son of Abraham D. and Nancy A. (Hussey) Van Meter, his mother being the third white woman living north of the Sangamon River. Abraham D. Van Meter was born near Staunton, Va., November 8, 1801, and his wife was born in Ohio March 29, 1811. They were married in 1839, in Sangamon County, to which each had come with their parents, she in 1818, and he in 1822. After their marriage they spent the remainder of their lives on a farm in Fancy Creek Township. He died June 13, 1879, and she in September, 1882, and both are buried in Fancy Creek Cemetery. Mr. Van Meter served in the Black Hawk War, with rank of Colonel. He was well acquainted with Abraham Lincoln and his son James B. often saw mr. Lincoln in his boyhood. Besides James B., another son, Charles C. Van Meter, survives, and is a farmer in Fancy Creek Township. The latter was born October 8, 1854.
The education of James B. Van Meter was acquired in a log school house near his father's farm, where the seats were little better than rough planks. After leaving school, he worked on the farm with his father until he was twenty-two years of age, then began farming on his own account in Menard County, Ill. Four years later he returned to Sangamon County and acquired a farm in Fancy Creek Township, where he lived until 1903 and now occupies his handsome and comfortable residence on North Second street, where he has a sixty-foot frontage, and he also still owns 320 acres of farm land.
Mr. Van Meter was married in Fancy Creek Township, December 16, 1869, to Mary A. Thaxton, daughter of James and Margaret (Huffman) Thaxton, who was born in Sangamon County. Her father was born in Kentucky October 28, 1823, and her mother in Ohio January 2, 1827, and both came to Illinois in an early day. He died in 1894 and she in 1890. Ten children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Van Meter, namely: James E., born September 28, 1871, married Agnes Black; Webster H., July 10, 1876, married Carrie Graham; Mary, born April 24, 1878, is the wife of Frederick D. Cresse, a grocer of Springfield; Hal, born May 17, 1880, lives on a farm northwest of Athens, married Mildred Grant; Stella May, born April 6, 1882, married J. F. Duncan; Julia M., married Harry H. Rogers, a railroad man, living at Kingsville, Texas; Carrie M., born September 7, 1888, living at home; Charles R., born April 7, 1891, at home; Leslie B., born November 13, 1892, living at home, and one child who died in infancy. Mr. Van Meter has twelve grandchildren. James B. Van Meter is a member of the Methodist Church and fraternally is a prominent Mason, having joined the order in 1873, and Knights Templar. He also belonged to the Modern Woodmen of America for many years.