John W. Van Doran was reared on his father's farm and when he could be spared from his duties thereof, during the winter months, attended the district schools. In 1869 he removed to Knox County Illinois, where he first worked as a farm hand for about two years and after his marriage removed to Montgomery County, Kansas and continued to engage in agricultural pursuits for the next three years. Returning to Knox County, Illinois, he was engaged in farming and stock raising until 1886 in which year he came to Park County Montana where the cattle business occupied his energies until 1900. He then established his home in the city of Livingston, where he has a comfortable modern residence at No. 723 East Calendar Street. He disposed of his farm in 1905.
Mr. Van Doran was married in Knox County, Illinois December 6, 1870 to Miss Harriet Wagner, who was born in Canton, Fulton County, Illinois, daughter of Jesse and Nancy Wagner, natives of Pennsylvania. Mrs. Van Doren's parents were married in their native state and in 1840 removed to Fulton County Illinois and engaged in farming, later going to Knox County where Mr. Wagner carried on farming and stock raising until some years prior to his death, when he retired from business activities. He died at the age of eighty- eight years in Knox County, and his widow survived him but two years, having also reached the age of eighty-eight. They had a family of eight children, of whom but two survive: John, living in Kansas and Harriet who married Mr. Van Doren.
Mr. and Mrs. Van Doren have three children: Thirza, the wife of Harry Blair, Dr. Halsey, who is a dentist working in Livingston, who married Montana Meyers and Bessie the wife of Charles Landis.
source: A History of Montana by Helen Fitzgerald Sanders, 1913