Harmon VanPatten, one of the most intelligent and respected members of the farming community of Alto Township, has
been identified with the agricultural interests of Lee County for a period of thirty years. He was born in Glenville, Schenectady County, N. Y., July 14, 1836. He is a lineal descendant of an ancient Holland family that was among the early Colonial settlers of the Empire State, and through his paternal grandmother comes of old New England stock.
Simon Bartlett Van Patten, the father of our subject, was born September 5, 1801, in the same town as his son, while his father, Frederick Van Patten, was born in the Mohawk Valley, near Schenectady, N. Y. His last years, however, were spent m his home at Glenville, where he had taken up his residence when a young man. The maiden name of his wife was Sarah Bartlett, and she was born in Massachusetts, her ancestry being of English origin. She survived her husband many years, and died at her old home in Glenville.
The father of our subject was reared to agricultural pursuits. He purchased a farm of forty acres in the town of Glenville, one mile from the Mohawk River, and resided there until 1871, when he came to Illinois to pass his declining years with his children, and died in 1875, at the home of his son Abram, in Malta, Dekalb County. His wife preceded him in death, dying in
Schenectady County, N. Y., in 1869. She was born in Gilderland, Albany County, N. Y., in 1804, her maiden name being Susan Van Patten, although she was not in anyway related to her husband. She was a daughter of John and Margaret (Prince) Van Patten. These are the six children that she and her husband reared: Sarah, John, Margaret, Harmon, Abram and Jemima.
Harmon Van Patten received his early education in the district schools, and resided with his parents until he was sixteen years old, when he went to live with a widow in the neighborhood. He had but little work to do other than chores, and he gladly embraced the opportunity to advance his education, as he was very eager to learn all that he could, and attended both the district and a select school. He was thus well fitted for the profession of teaching, and in his twentieth year entered upon that vocation. He continued to live in his native State until 1859, when he came to Illinois, and located in Willow Creek Township, where he found employment
in a nursery for a year. Desirous to still further increase his education, he then became a student at Rock River Seminary, at Mt. Morris, where he pursued a fine course of study. At the time of his marriage, he located on the farm that he now owns and occupies in Alto Township, and has since devoted himself to its improvement. He brings a cultured, well-trained mind to bear upon the problems that beset the skilled agriculturist who seeks to till the soil after the best methods, so as to make it produce abundantly without exhausting its natural fertility. His standing in financial circles is good, and none know him but to esteem him for those fine qualities of head and heart that arc his distinguishing characteristics.
Mr. Van Patten was married March 17, 1861, to the lady who presided over his home, and had for many years been to him all that a true wife can be to a man. Mrs. Van Patten, formerly Miss Hannah Nettleton, was born in the Province of Ontario, Canada. Her union with our subject has been blessed to them by the birth of five children, namely: Winnie Esteile, Minnie Delle, Ernest Martin, John Frederick and Hannah Mabel. Winnie married Lester L. Atwood, of Boone
County, Ill., and they have three children: Edna May, Grace and Lois Mabel. Minnie married Henry P. Moon, of Rock Rapids, Lyon County, I Iowa, and they have two children: Clarence and Ernest Frederick. Mrs. Van Patten died January 6, 1875. Mr. Van Patten was again married, September 4, 1878, to Miss Nettie Fuller, of Webster County, Iowa. This union has resulted in the birth of one child, Marian Delight.
History of Lee County Portraits and Biographical Lee County IL 1892