George O. VanNatta

(b. April 20, 1846 d. October 20, 1931)

Son of James Van Natta and Elizabeth (Mustan) Van Natta of Newton County, Indiana
George O. VanNatta Memorial Day parade May 30, 1929
Burnside Post of the G. A. R. For photo of full chapter expand photo. Named therein from left to right: G. O. VanNatta, W. A. Patrick, S. S.Wilcox, G. W. Noble, D. L. Glenn and C. K. Hall.

What follows is the obituary of George O. VanNatta as found in the Newspaper in Ashland. His grave is to be found in the cemetery in Ashland.


G. O. Van Natta, Active Burnside Post Member Succumbs.

Taps were sounded Thursday evening October 20, 1931 for George O. Van Natta one of the best known Civil War veterans of the Civil War.

For 40 years a resident of Ashland, active in civic life in the city, one of the most active members of Burnside Post, G. A. R. maintaining an active Interest in these affairs up until the time of his death, Mr. Van Natta was one of the well known men of the city.

When but 17 years of age Mr. Van Natta responded to the call of Lincoln to fight for the preservation' of the Union, enlisting in August 1862 in Company E. 99th Indiana Infantry, and serving under Sherman from the battle of Vicksburg to the close of the Civil War, participating in the Grand Review at Washington D. C., before President Lincoln at the close of the conflict.

Almost since its institution Mr. Van Natta was a member of the Grand Army of the Republic, and for years was active In Burnside Post, filling almost every office including the position of Post Commander. He has been active for years in arranging for Memorial Day services, and of recent years has been happy to work with the American Legion members in carrying on this Memorial service.

Mr. Van Natta was a loyal Republican, a regular attendant at the Jackson county Lincoln Club meetings, and a devoted admirer of Lincoln. He was connected with the Ashland city police for a number of years and served as county road commissioner.

Born In Tippecanoe, Indiana April 20, 1846, Mr. Van Natta was aged 85 years, six months and nine days at the time of his death.

He came west shortly after the end of the Civil War and for 40 years has resided In Ashland, engaged In. the fruit growing business.

In addition to his widow, Mrs. Ida May Van Natta, Mr, Van Natta is survived by five children of' two previous marriage: Mrs. Cynthia Keith, Talent; Will Van Natta, St. Helens; Melvin Van Natta., Gilroy, California; Fred Van Natta, Portola, California and Marion Van Natta. A sister Mrs. Rhodia Lothian, resides in Iowa. There are five grand children and 11 great grandchildren

Note: the "Will VanNatta" listed in the obituary is a reference to "James William VanNatta" of St. Helens who often went by his initials "J. W. VanNatta". J.W. VanNatta settled in St. Helens shortly after 1906, and lived until his death around 1949. His wife was Anna Elizabeth Wikstrom . He had a son George G. VanNatta (b. 1907 d.2001) and a daughter Lillian VanNatta Allison.
From his civil war records, we glean the following additional information. George O. VanNatta was married to Ida May Griffith in Jackson County Oregon on November 4, 1904. His death certificate lists a father as James VanNatta and a mother's maiden name of Mustan. The his middle name was "Oglesby. He enlisted in the arm on August 15th, 1860 at Advance, Newton County, Indiana and became part of Co. "E", 99th Regiment Indiana Infantry Volunteers. He was discharged June 5, 1865 near Washington D.C.. He is listed as having a first wife, Elizabeth Strong who died in Iowa in January 1873 (See Below for correction), and a second wife Parmelia (Millie) Patrick to whom he was Married on April 28, 1875, and who died October 20, 1903 in Ashland, Oregon.

His children per the military records are listed as:

In an affidavit associated with his Military Pension, George O. Van Natta gave his birth place as Warren County Indiana, and reported that there was no public record of his birth, however in another document he stated he was born in "Tipicanew (sic) Co. Indiana." It also appears that he had a brother John who was 11 years his junior. In 1897 he applied for a 'invalid' pension on the basis that he had varicose veins which kept him from performing manual labor at least two thirds of the time for the last fifteen years.

James C. Van Natta (abt 1815-aft 1880) and Elizabeth (Muston) VanNatta

With the gracious help of other VanNatta relatives, in addition to the above I have gleaned the following information which may be helpful in tracing this linage through. The 1850 Census of Tippecanoe County, Indiana reflects a family of James (age 27) and Elizabeth VanNatta (age 28)and lists children consisting of Sarah age 11, Catharine age 9, Mary age 7 and George age 5. The age is correct and the location matches his statements that he was born in 'Tipicanew Co. Indiana"

The 1860 census in Newton County, Indiana, reflect a James (age 45) and Elizabeth (age 39) with the following Children: Charity (18), Mary (16), George (14), Rhoda (12), Marthy (8), and John (4). Nelley(1). The Children's names don't line up perfectly, but the fit is good. Mary and George and the parents names line up. Sarah would have been 21 by 1860, certainly old enough to be out of the home, and "Charity" and "Catharine" could be the same person. Rhoda is absent. Also note the inconsistent age for James.

Birth or death certificates are not to be found for either James C. Van Natta of Kentucky or Elizabeth Muston of Indiana. For example the 1880 census has James C. living hear George O. Van Natta with his 16 year old daughter Laura. The age of James C. is given at 65. This is consistent with the wife Elizabeth Muston Van Natta being deceased, and evidence he was alive. (There are occasional alternative spellings of "Muston" but this seems to be the correct one. It is a very English name. James C. and Elizabeth were married June 13, 1939, in Warren County, Indiana, but there are some spelling issues with the name.

Given that George joined the Indiana Volunteers in 1861 in Newton County, that his pension records include an affidavit from a brother John given to be 11 years his junior, and that his obituary reflects a surviving sister 'Rhodia Lothian' of Iowa, I am satisfied that the George O. Van Natta of Ashland is correctly associated with the James and Elizabeth VanNatta of Newton County, Indiana. The James VanNatta farm was said to be located east of Kentland, Indiana. The census information gives Kentucky as the place of birth of James VanNatta and Indiana as the place of birth of Elizabeth, the wife of James. Muston is given as her maiden name on the Death Certificate of George O. VanNatta but is not otherwise confirmed.

Elizabeth J. Strong Van Natta

Dateline November 6, 2005: By a chance internet search I located the cemetary records of Elizabeth J. Strong VanNatta which reflect that she passed on December 23, 1872 at age 24 and is buried in the Parvin or Old Rolfe Cemetery, Pocahontas County, Iowa. The cemetery is located in Section 26 Des Moines Township, Pocahontas County, Iowa. She was the first of 3 wives of George O. VanNatta, and the maternal ancestor of J.W. VanNatta, and his older sister, Cythia.

The Cemetary records also reflect the burial of "Betesy Salsbury VanNatta" who died in January 29,1880 reportedly at the age of 70. While the age is off by 10 years and the maiden name doesn't match, it is notable that Betesy is listed as the wife of J. VanNatta, and that the next generation up is James and Elizabeth VanNatta---Betesy, of course, being a common nickname for Elizabeth.

Going on Back.

One of the first settlers of Shelby Township was a John S. VanNatta (born 1801 Maysville, Kentucky and married to Sarah Haigh, a native of England) He settled in Shelby Township, Tippecanoe County in 1828. One of his sons is given to be a James. D. Van Natta also given as James G. VanNatta. The James that I am looking for would have been born supposedly in Kentucky in 1815 or 1823 (depending on which census you believe. Given that Aaaron was born to John S. and Sarah in Highland County Ohio (the place of his first married residence) on Januay 7, 1822, and his son James is believed by me to be the youngest of 7 children, this James doesn't match well. John was in Ohio not Kentucky where it is reported that my James was born. Likewise James D. (or is it G.) is thought to be the last born of John's and the year doesn't fit for that.

Gilbert Van Natta (1772-1849) born Geisbert Van Etten in 1772.

Gilbert is the connection I've been looking for. His baptism (see below) proving his birth and parentage, and his Indiana tombstore, along with some census records showing his residency in Kentucky and a son (James C. Van Natta (1815- abt 1880)) While Gilberts marriage to Rachael Sentenny (1775-1843) in 1820 was a bit belated, the birth of their first born [John Senteney Van Natta (1801-1868)] seems to negate the idea that Gilbert might have had a different wife earlier. John also ties Gilbert and Rachael to New Jersey. However, their second born, (Andrew S. Van Natta (1806-1890) shows a place of birth as Maysville, Kentucky. Their 3rd child Jemima (1811-1813) obviously died as an infant. The 4th born is, of course, James C. Van Natta.

Arie Van Atta (1745-1838 ) and the Name change from Van Etten to Van Atta

This seems to be the generation that was creative with their surname. In my line the name morphed to Van Natta, but also to various veriations. It appears as one word 'Vannatta' two words as in "Van Natta" or "Van Atta" and other variations.

There are several Arie Van Ettens around, however the knot is tied as to which one because the Arie of 1745 was the the married to Jacenuentje Hall, Readington, Hunterdon, New Jersey, USA

The clear news is that on November 22, 1772 Geisbert Van Etten was baptized at this samea church in Readington, N. J. where his father (Arie of 1745) was baptized earlier. Geisbert, of course, was morphed to Gilbert, and Van Etten became Van Natta. It seems that we have a photo of Gilbert's tombstone which ties him to the 1772 birth in New Jersey.

In the Almost Beginning.....

The 7th child of Jacob Jensen Van Etten (1632-1693) was Emanual (Manuel) Van Etten (29Dec1681-1741 ). He married Antje De Hooges (1682-1764) on May 10, 1702 and moved to Marbledtown and ultimately to Readington, N. J. He had 9 or possibly 10 children. He was an Elder in the Readigton church in 1721. Of interest to us is the 6th born child, Arie Van Etten (1714/15-1746) of Readington, N. J. who married Elizabeth Chrisom (1715-1852)(listed as Chrishon in the baptism records of their 4th child). The precise date of death of Arie of 1715 isn't available, but he did write a will in 1744, and did add a codicil to the will dated August 29 1746, noting the birth of a son also named "Arie", the birth of which is confirmed by a baptism record of the son Arie performed June 20, 1746. The senior "Arie's" estate was probated in the 1746-1747 time period.

In the Beginning .......

The name "Van Natta" incuding Variants such as 'Van Atta" and 'Vanatta" are fairly easily traced to New York, which was founded by the Dutch and initially given the name "New Amsterdam". In 1632, Jacob Jensen, son of Johhannes Marinessen and Wilhelimina Hones was bord and theyerafter baptised on October 22, 1634 in Etten North Brahant, Holland. Jacob Jensen appears to to arried in the New World by 1658, and was married in 1664, the same year that the Dutch settlement became the English settlement of New York.

As summarized by Wikipedia, "On August 27, 1664, while England and the Dutch Republic were at peace[The Second Anglo-Dutch War (4 March 1665 – 31 July 1667)] , four English frigates sailed into New Amsterdam's harbor and demanded New Netherland's surrender, whereupon New Netherland was provisionally ceded by Stuyvesant. On September 6, Stuyvesant sent lawyer Johannes De Decker and five other delegates to sign the official Articles of Capitulation. This was swiftly followed by the Second Anglo-Dutch War, between England and the Dutch Republic. In June 1665, New Amsterdam was reincorporated under English law as New York City, named after the Duke of York (later King James II). He was the brother of the English King Charles II, who had been granted the lands.

The transition to being British became official with the end of the war: "In 1667 the Treaty of Breda ended the conflict. The Dutch did not press their claims on New Netherland. In return, they were granted the tiny Island of Run in North Maluku, rich in nutmegs, and a guarantee for their de facto possession of Suriname, captured by them that year. Elsewhere, Wikipedia reports that "the conquest of New Netherland by the English was confirmed on 21 July 1667, producing the Colonies of New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Delaware."

Your head will spin if you try to figure out the European politics of this era, but for our purposes, it's enough to know that the Dutch had traditionally not paid much attention to 'surnames' while the british did. When a Dutchman needed a surname it was consistent with Dutch tradition to simply adopt his community of orgin, thus the "Van Etten" (Van meaning "of" or "from" was therefore no surprise. His marriage bans published in late 1664 said "jacob Janse, J.m. (young man) of Etten in Brabant and annetje Arians of Amsterdam, deserted wife of Aaert Pietersen Tach, both resided here (in Wyltwych)" The Marriage produced 11 children and the written records beginning with the birth of the first in 1670 reflect the surname "Van Etten", and thus it began. (

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