Named after Christian County in Kentucky through the influence of emigrants from that county.
Established February 15, 1839 as Dane County (Laws, 1839, p. 104). Name changed to Christian County in 1840.
JAMES R. VANDERBELT has been engaged in active merchandising in Mt. Auburn for over twenty years, and is numbered among the old residents of this locality. He is a native of Indiana, born near Shelbyville, Shelby County, February 15, 1837, and is a son of David and Mary Ann (Nichols) Vanderbelt. The former was a native of Pennsylvania, coming from a family of Dutch ancestors, who were among the early settlers of the Keystone State.
David Vanderbelt, on arriving at manhood, left the scenes of his youth and went to Ohio, in which State he met the lady who became his wife. At an early day he removed further West, settling in Shelby County, Ind., where he followed his trade, that of a tanner. He also opened up a farm there, but after a few years went to Sullivan County, Ind., where he made his home until his death, which occurred in August, 1863.
The subject of this sketch grew to manhood in Shelby and Sullivan Counties. Since arriving at man's estate he has mainly acquired his education, as in his early days he had but few school privileges. In 1856 he came again to Illinois, drifted Westward to Missouri and Kansas, and finally was married in St. Clair County, Mo., to Miss Frances Shank, their marriage being celebrated February 13, 1859. The young couple returned to Illinois, and in 1860 located in Rochester, Sangamon County, where they resided about one year.
In 1861, Mr. Vanderbelt started in the harness business in Taylorville, and had made a fair start in this direction when he felt obliged by his patriotic impulses to drop all other considerations and go to the defense of the Union. He became a member of Company D, Forty-third Indiana Infantry, joining the regiment in Indianapolis, and going with it to the front. He was in active service until the close of the war, receiving his discharge papers June 6, 1865.
On his return from the South, our subject went to Cumberland County, Ill., and for two and a half years conducted a harness business at Neoga. In October, 1868, we find him in Christian County, located at Taylorville, and carrying on the business which he has followed without interruption during the most of his commercial career. In 1870 he finally settled in Mt. Auburn and embarked in general merchandising. He has been very successful as a business man, and the large patronage which he now has is owing entirely to his upright method of conducting his affairs.
Mr. and Mrs. Vanderbelt have two children living. Minnie Mabel is the wife of Frederick Shue, an agriculturist of this county; and Ada R. is the wife of James Lindsley, a farmer of Mt. Auburn Township. Two children died in early childhood, David Albert and Mary Idabelle. The parents are members of the Baptist Church.
During the administration of President Arthur, Mr. Vanderbelt was appointed Postmaster of Mt. Auburn, in which capacity he served for about seven years to the thorough satisfaction of his constituents. Since the war he has been a supporter of the Republican party, but cast his first vote in 1860 for Hon. Stephen A. Douglas.
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