Kansas History and Heritage Project- Marshall County

Marshall County Biographies


George Van Vliet, a member of one of the pioneer families of Marshall county and a substantial landowner of this county, present proprietor of the old Barrett farm in Vermillion township, he and his family making their home there in the first frame house erected in Marshall county, is a native of the Dominion of Canada, but has been a resident of this county since 1869 and has therefore seen the development of this region since the early days of its settlement, a development to which he has contributed no small share. He was born in the city of Montreal, Canada, September 22, 1854, son of Hiram and Elizabeth (Hodgson) Van Vliet, who also were born in Montreal, the former of German parentage and the latter of English descent, who later came to Kansas and settled in Marshall county, becoming early recognized as among the most substantial and influential residents of the Frankfort neighborhood, and here they spent their last days.

It was on Thanksgiving Day, 1869, that Hiram Van Vliet and his family arrived at Frankfort, seeking a new home in this county. After looking about a bit he bought a quarter of a section of land in section 19 of Noble township, paying fifteen hundred dollars for the same, and there he established his home, one of the first settlers in that part of the county, and there he remained for twenty years, or until his retirement from the farm in 1889 and removal to Frankfort, where he died in 1898. Hiram Van Vliet and wife were the parents of four children, of whom the subject of this sketch was the second in order of birth, the others being Dr. John Van Vliet, now deceased, who for years was a well-known physician at Wheaton, this state; Mary, who is still living on the old home place in Noble township, and James, who also lives on the old home place.

George Wan Vliet was fifteen years of age when he came to Kansas with his parents in 1869 and he was from the very beginning of his residence here a valuable factor in the labors of developing and improving his father's farm in Noble township. In 1882 he bought a farm northeast of Frankfort and after his marriage in the summer of 1884 established his home there, living there and in Frankfort until January, 1911. when he moved to the old Barrett place at the village of that name, and has since occupied the old Barrett home, the first frame house erected in Marshall county. Upon taking possession of that historic old house Mr. Van Vliet moved the same up on the hill, built a modern porch and an addition to the house and otherwise remodeled it and now has a very comfortable home. That house was built by Albert Barrett, founder of the village which bears his name and for many years one of the foremost citizens of this part of Kansas. It was constructed throughout of walnut and oak and when erected became a social center for all the countryside in that part of the county. Mr. Van Vliet has been quite successful in his farming operations and is now the owner of more than seven hundred acres of excellent land, including a quarter of a section surrounding his home place, a half section on Irish creek and two hundred and forty acres northeast of Frankfort.

On July 30, 1884, George Van Vliet was united in marriage to Phoebe Barrett, youngest of the eight children born to Albert G. and Mary (McKeever) Barrett, the former of whom was born in Ohio and the latter in Indiana, who came to Kansas in 1855 and located in Marshall county, among the very earliest residents of this county. Albert G. Barrett was a mill man and upon coming here established a mill at Barrett, the settlement which sprang up around the same being the first considerable settlement in this part of the state. His mill was the first saw and flourmill in northeastern Kansas and the settlers for many miles about patronized him. Further mention of the life of this enterprising pioneer and useful citizen is made elsewhere in this volume and it is not necessary here to enlarge on the same, it being sufficient to say that Mrs. Van Vliet's parents performed nobly their part in the development of Marshall county, that both lived to ripe old age and in their passing left a memory that is as enduring as the community they virtually established and to which for years they gave the best that was in them. To Mr. and Mrs. Van Vliet three children have been born, Mrs. Elizabeth Haskins, who lives on a farm in the vicinity of the village of Vliets, in Noble township; Winifred, who married W. J. Schiller, of the Central Lumber Company, Kansas City, and died on June 29, 1916, leaving an infant son. George Walter Schiller, and Hiram, who died on January 15, 1902, he then being twelve years of age. Mr. and Mrs. Van Vliet have ever given their earnest attention to the general social activities of their home community and have been helpful in promoting all movements designed to advance the common welfare thereabout. Mr. Van Vliet is a Democrat and has ever given a good citizen's attention to local civic affairs, but has not been included in the office-seeking class. For more than twenty years he has been a member of the Masonic fraternity and takes a warm interest in the affairs of the local lodge of that ancient order.

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This website created July 4, 2011 by Sheryl McClure.
2011 Kansas History and Heritage Project