Biographical History of Montgomery and Adams Counties, Iowa.
Unless otherwise noted, the following biographies were submitted by Dick Barton.
Van Houten, a farmer residing on section 7, Prescott township, was born in New
Jersey, April 14, 1833, a son of John and Elizabeth (Kent) Van Houten, natives
also of that State. His father was a descendant of Holland Dutch ancestors, who
were early settlers in New Jersey; and his mother was the daughter of William
Kent, a native of New Jersey and of German ancestry. David was a babe when his
father moved with the family to Columbus, Ohio, where they lived two years. Then
they joined the Latter-Day Saints at Nauvoo, Illinois; two years afterward they
went to Missouri, and two years later still to Madison county, Iowa. John Van
Houten came to Adams county in 1867, and lived there until his death. His wife
is now living in Fremont county, Iowa, seventy-six years of age. David has three
brothers living: Peter, in Wyoming Territory; George A., in Lenox, Iowa, a
prominent horticulturist; and Oscar, in Fremont county, this State.
Van Houten, whose name introduces this sketch, grew up to manhood during the
pioneer times of Madison county, this State, when deer and wolves were
plentiful, and Frink & Walker Concord stages were the "fliers"
that carried the passengers overland. Des Moines was only a Government fort. In
1860 he went to Pike's Peak in search of gold, and returned to Iowa. In 1863 he
went to the Rocky Mountains and to the Pacific coast, and even to South America,
prospecting and mining. In 1866 he was in Nevada, engaged in the mines there; in
1867-8 he was on the Pacific coast again. Returning again to Iowa, he settled in
the neighborhood where he now lives, and has one of the best farms in that
section, consisting of 160 acres of well-improved land. He has a new residence,
26 x 32 feet in dimensions and one and a half stories high, a barn and all other
outbuildings and improvements necessary to a good farm, and well arranged, and
an orchard, etc.
his political sympathies Mr. Van Houten is a "Greenbacker." Has served
as Justice of the Peace three years, with entire satisfaction to the public. He
is now in the prime of life, and by his extensive travels he has a general
knowledge of the world, and is therefore liberal in his views. He is frank and
genial, as is characteristic of Western hospitality.
was married in Cass county, Iowa, to Miss Esther L. Cain, a native of London,
England, and a daughter of James and Esther (Thomas) Cain. She was twelve years
old when she came with her parents to America. By this marriage there have been
six children, as follows: Esther Elba, now the wife of George Carl, of Prescott
township; Anne; Charles F. lives in Quincy township; William, who was married in
November, 1891, to Netty Balentine, of Scotch parentage; and Alfred, Lulu and
David W. Five children were lost by death, namely: Elizabeth, at the age of
seven years; John W., in his fourth year; Peter W., in his second year; an
infant boy; and George, at the age of thirteen years. Charles F. has two sons, -
Malvern and David Howard; and Esther E. Carl has two children, - Mabel and