Vancleave Saga #8 Crossed-Eyed-Ben

My revised plan for Saga #8 was to do Jonathan son of Ralph but I covered him fairly well last week in Ralph’s Saga, so we’ll do my original plan and finish this VanCleave saga with Benjamin “Crosseyed Ben,” as he was called and not sure whether that indicates a physical condition or just a tag to distinguish him from his father, Benjamin Samuel, mother of course, Ruth Munson.

So, meet Ben born 9 September 1787 Jefferson County, Kentucky and died 26 October 1855 buried in Old Union Cemetery north of Waveland. He married 18 Dec 1809 Henry County, Kentucky to Mary Stevenson Mount (daughter of Matthias Mount and Mary Elizabeth Stevenson). They were farmers and were in Brown Township about three decades or more. His property was worth $2500 in 1850, five years before he passed. Their children numbered lucky 7: Mathias Mount; James S.; Thomas Jolly; Mary Jane; John Ralph; Ruth Ann and Sarah Ellen. Note: after writing this and reading over it, found another child of these two – Benjamin A born in June and passed away in September 1828 – buried with his parents.

Matthias Mount was thrice married #1 Nancy Nicholson mother of eight of his dozen children; #2 Charity Hunter (mother of four) and Mary Harris his third, all three marriages in MoCo. Matthias was born 26 March 1810 in Bull Creek, Kentucky. Although MM was a cabinet maker, he too was a minister. He also did some farming. A rather fun article on Rev. V. was in the C’ville Journal 9 Nov 1889 suggesting that Rev. CH Little (Danville IL) would far surpass (in weddings performed) the deceased Rev. Vancleave who was in his 90s when he died. Sure had to laugh – some news reporters are just after the story, right or wrong and this tale sure had the booboos. Definitely, a puffed-up mess! Rev. MM was only 87 when he died nine years after the article was written and he performed several more marriages as I assume Rev. Little did so not sure which won that race. Perhaps they weren’t even aware of the competition. Several of MM’s children passed young (Benjamin; Lovina; Joel). Others were John, Serena (who married one of Indiana’s best-ever judges James McCabe who lived in Warren County – three children at least, Nancy; Edwin; Charles; Sarah), Samuel Matthias (married Mary Johnson here, went to Missouri, Kansas and passed away in Santa Monica California in June 1916– at least three children, Minnie; William Mathias and Charles), Dorcas (married John Hunt and had five children, two passing young, the others Charles; Lula May and Daisy). MM’s other children were: Nancy Jane; Sarah Adeline; Martha and Mary. Other than their names, don’t know much about that group.

Next child of Ben’s was James S. born Shelby Co KY 21 Feb 1813 and died fairly young at 27 Aug 1855. His wife was even younger (Mary Mitchell died 4 April 1844 b 26 Sept 1816), passing in childbirth with their youngest of five children Ben died age 20, Samantha married James Mullikan; Alfred Thomas married Catharine Sayler and parented 7 sons (Bert; Charles Benjamin; John E; James Thomas; George W; Samuel M and William H. William Newton son of James and Mary (Mitchell) died at age 20 and their other son was James Brown (“Big Jim”) who died in bed in 1899.

Son, Thomas Jolly Vancleave born 14 August 1818 in Shelby KY passed away 9 April 1894 in Marion County, Oregon and is buried there with his wife, Harriet Williams. Parents of 7 sons: Francis Marion; John S; William Benjamin; Merideth; Washington Taylor; Wilson T and James M. Almost all of these sons were born in Scott Township, MoCo but James who died at 15 days as they moved out to Guthrie County, Iowa before the Oregon move.

Mary Jane Vancleave was born here (Jan 1826) and passed away some time between the 1900 and 1910 census, her husband, Robert Wasson living with their oldest son who remained so very close with them (William A; not sure what happened to his brother, Robert Morgan)

The Johnson Todd’s (mother Ruth Ann VanCleave) had a bunch of kiddos, Ruth the mother of an even dozen (America Malissa; John William; Mary Elizabeth; Sarah Jane; George Washington; Isaac Shelby; Henry Thomas and John William. Johnson’s first wife, Mary Hanna birthed two: James Clayton and Sallie died young). Perlina never married passing at her sister’s home in MoCo 25 Feb 1937); another of their sisters, Mary Ann died shortly after birth as did brothers, Samuel R and Andrew Jackson). Most of these folks stayed here, marrying into well-thought-of local families (Davis; Griffith; Maddox; Servies) but their son Johnson Benjamin was back and forth even passing here and returned for burial with his wife, Julia Ann Smith.

Sarah Ellen, the youngest of Ben and Mary’s children married local fellow, Samuel Demoret (Oct 1848) and Elizabeth, Mary and Johnson were I believe her children. He remarried and had a son Joseph. She died before she was 30.

So, there ya’ have my rendition of one of the many Ben Vancleaves, but this one (and his family) ranks among my favorites.

– Karen Zach is the editor of Montgomery Memories, our monthly magazine all about Montgomery County. Her column, Around the County, appears each Thursday in The Paper of Montgomery County. You can reach her at [email protected].