American Abolitionists and Antislavery Activists:
Conscience of the Nation

Updated April 4, 2021

l to r: Frederick Douglass, William Lloyd Garrison, Wendell Phillips

Encyclopedia of Civil War Biography - V


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A                    B                    C                    D                    E                    F               

                      Bab-Bee         Cab-Che         Dab-Dev                               Fai-Fle
                      Bel-Bon          Chi-Cle          Dib-Dye                                Flo-Fur
                      Boo-Bro         Cli-Cox
                      Bru-Byr          Cra-Cuy

G                    H                    I                     J                     K                    L

Gag-Gid         Hab-Har                                                                             Lad-Loc
Gih-Gra         Has-Hil                                                                               Log-Lyt
Gre-Gru         Hin-Hyd

M                    N                    O                    P                    Q                    R

McA-McW                                                   Pac-Pie                                 Rad-Riv
Mad-Mid                                                      Pik-Put                                  Roa-Rya

S                     T                    U                    V                    W                    XYZ

Sac-Sha          Tab-Tho                                                       Wad-Way
She-Smi         Thr-Tyn                                                        Wea-Whe
Sno-Sti                                                                                Whi-Wil 
Sto-Sza                                                                                Wim-Wyt



Encyclopedia of Civil War Biography - V

VAIL, Stephen, manufacturer, born near Morristown, N. J., 28 June, 1780; died there. 12 June, 1814. He received ordinary educational advantages, and in 1804 became the owner of the Speedwell ironworks, near Morristown, New Jersey. At these works the engine of the " Savannah," the first steamship to cross the Atlantic (1819), was built. Later he contributed money to aid in the construction of the electric telegraph, and at his place the first practical exhibition of the new invention was made. He was one of the lay officers that are required on the local bench, and so acquired the title of judge.— His son, Alfred, inventor, born in Morristown, New Jersey, 25 September, 1807; died there, 18 January, 1859, was educated at Morris Academy, and as a youth showed a fondness for study and investigation in natural science. In accordance with the wishes of his father, he entered the Speedwell iron-works, but on attaining his majority he determined to prepare for the Presbyterian ministry, and in consequence was graduated at the University of the city of New York in 1886. While in college he became interested in the experiments that Professor Samuel F. B. Morse was then conducting for the purpose of perfecting a system of telegraphy. Vail became convinced of the possibility of the scheme of electric communication, and his mechanical knowledge led to various suggestions on his part to Professor Morse. This acquaintance developed into an offer of partnership, and he obtained permission to invite Professor Morse to Speedwell, where he persuaded his father to contribute $2,000 toward the completion of the apparatus. In 1837 an agreement was signed by Mr. Vail, in which it was stipulated that he should construct at his own expense, and exhibit before a committee of Congress, one of the telegraphs " of the plan and invention of Morse," and that he should give his time and personal services to the work and assume the expense of exhibiting the apparatus and of procuring patents in the United States. In consideration, Vail was to receive one fourth of all rights in the invention in this country. Thereafter, until Congress appropriated money for the building of the initial line between Baltimore and Washington, Vail was active in developing the practical parts of the telegraph. His mechanical knowledge applied to the experimental apparatus resulted in the first available Morse machine. He invented the first combination of the horizontal lever motion to actuate a pen, pencil, or style, and then devised a telegraphic alphabet of dots, spaces, and dashes which it necessitated. The dot-and-dash system had already been invented by Morse for use in a code, but Mr. Vail claimed that he was the first to apply it alphabetically. He then devised in 1844 the lever and grooved roller, which embossed on paper the alphabetical characters that he originated. In March, 1841. he was appointed assistant superintendent of the telegraph that was to be constructed between Washington and Baltimore under the government appropriation. On the completion of the line he was stationed at Baltimore, and there invented the finger-key and received at the Mount Claire depot the first message from Washington that was sent over the wires, on 24 May, 1844, at the formal opening of the line. (See Morse, S. P. B.) The practical improvements in the original instrument that are of value in telegraphy were invented by Vail. Prior to 1837 the apparatus embodied the work of Morse and Joseph Henry alone. Prom 1837 to 1844 it was a combination of the inventions of Morse. Henry, and Vail, but gradually the parts that Morse contributed have been eliminated, so that the essential features of the telegraph of to-day consist solely of the work of Joseph Henry and Alfred Vail. The business relations that existed between Morse and Vail made it impossible for the latter to claim what might have been used against the validity of Morse's patents. In the years that followed, when Professor Morse was universally hailed as the inventor of the telegraph, the reputation of his modest partner was allowed to suffer. Amos Kendall, the associate and friend of both, said, at the meeting of the directors of the Magnetic telegraph Company that was held to take action on the death of Vail: "If justice be done, the name of Alfred Vail will forever stand associated with that of Samuel P. B. Morse in the history and introduction into public use of the electro-magnetic telegraph." Mr. Vail was the author of " The American Electro-Magnetic Telegraph" (Philadelphia, 1845).—His brother, George, congressman, born in Morristown, New Jersey, 21 July, 1809; died there, 23 May, 1875, received an academic education, and was associated with his father in the Speedwell iron-works. He also aided his brother. Alfred, with funds when the latter was engaged in perfecting the electric telegraph. In 1851 he was appointed by the governor of New Jersey to represent that state at the World's fair in London. Subsequently he was chosen to Congress as a Democrat, and with re-election served from 5 December, 1853, till 3 March, 1857. In 1858 he was appointed U. S. consul at Glasgow, Scotland, but he returned to this country in 1861, settled in Morristown, New Jersey, and was for many years a member of the court of pardons. Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. VI, p. 220.

VAIL, Stephen Montford, clergyman, born in Union Dale, Westchester County, New York, 10 January, 1818; died in Jersey City, New Jersey, 26 November, 1880. He was graduated at Bowdoin in 1838, and at Union theological seminary in 1842, having in the meantime been licensed to preach in the Methodist Episcopal church, and founded the first church of that denomination in Brunswick, Maine. He became professor of languages in Amenia seminary in 1843, was subsequently pastor in Fishkill, New York, Sharon, Connecticut, and Pine Plains, New York, and in 1847-'9 was president of the New Jersey conference seminary at Pennington. While occupying that post he induced the trustees of the institution to admit women as pupils, and he was tried before the ecclesiastical court of his church for advocating in his writings the cause of an educated ministry. He became professor of Oriental languages in the General biblical institute of the M. E. church at Concord, New Hampshire, in 1849, and held that chair until failing health required his resignation. In 1869 he became U. S. consul for Khenish Bavaria, travelled extensively in the East and Egypt, and on his return settled in Southfield, Staten Island, X. Y. fie wrote for the Methodist press, and was professor of Hebrew in the Chautauqua school of languages. Genesee College, Lima, New York, gave him the degree of D. D. in 1856. Dr. Vail was an active member of the Republican party, and an early Abolitionist. Previous to the Civil War he sustained a long and able controversy with Bishop John H. Hopkins on the subject of human slavery, the bishop being an earnest advocate of that institution. Dr. Vail published essays on slavery and church polity, "Outlines of Hebrew Grammar," and other educational hand-books, and "Memoir and Remains of Reverend Zenas Caldwell" (Boston, 1824): " Education in the Methodist Episcopal Church" (1853); and "The Bible against Slavery" (Concord, New Hampshire, 1864).
Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. VI, pp. 220-221.

VALENTINE, Edward Virginius, sculptor, born in Richmond, Virginia, 12 November, 1838. He was educated in Richmond, and when a mere boy studied anatomy at the Medical college of that city. His first desire for art arose from a visit to the New York exhibition in 1851. After receiving such instruction in drawing and modelling as could be obtained in Richmond, he went to Europe in 1859 to study. Upon his return he opened a studio in Richmond, and exhibited a statuette of Robert E. Lee. He made several ideal heads, among them "The Samaritan Woman" and "Penitent Thief," which were admired for their facial expression, and several portrait busts of southern leaders, including General Pierre G. T. Beauregard, General James E. B. Stuart, "Stonewall" Jackson, Commodore Matthew P. Maury, and General Albert Sidney Johnston, a colossal head of Humboldt, a head of Beethoven, a portrait bust of Edwin Booth, and "Grief," a marble female figure. He was finally given the commission to execute the marble figure of General Robert E. Lee (see illustration), in the mausoleum attached to the chapel of Washington and Lee University at Lexington, Virginia This is among the finest pieces of sculpture of the kind in the United States. Another of his works is a group representing Andromache and Astyanax.
Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. VI, pp. 225-226.

VALLANDIGHAM., Clement Laird (val-lan de-gam), politician, born in New Lisbon, Columbiana County, Ohio, 29 July. 1820; died in Lebanon, Warren County, Ohio, 17 June, 1871. He received an academical education, and from 1838 till 1840 taught at Snow Hill, Maryland. In 1840 he returned to Ohio, and in 1842 was admitted to the bar. In 1845-'6 he was a member of the Ohio legislature, and from 1847 till 1849 edited the Dayton "Empire." He belonged to the extreme state-rights wing of the Democratic party. He was a member of the National Democratic Convention in 1856. In 1857 he was a candidate for Congress against Lewis D. Campbell, and, though declared defeated, contested the seat and won it, serving from 25 May, 1858, till 3 March, 1863. During the 37th Congress he became conspicuous for his bold utterances against the acts of the administration in the conduct of the war, and on 5 December, 1862, offered a series of resolutions in which he declared "that, as the war was originally waged for the purpose of defending and maintaining the supremacy of the constitution and the preservation of the Union, . . . whosoever should attempt to pervert the same to a war of subjugation, and for overthrowing or interfering with the rights of the states, and to abolish slavery, would be guilty of a crime against the constitution and the Union." These resolutions were laid on the table by a vote of 79 to 50. On 14 January following, Mr. Vallandigham spoke to the resolutions of Mr. Wright, of Pennsylvania, defined his position on the war question, and said: "A war for Union I Was the Union thus made? Was it ever thus preserved? History will record that after nearly six thousand years of folly and wickedness in every form and administration of government, theocratic, democratic, monarchic, oligarchic, despotic, and mixed, it was reserved to American statesmanship in the 19th century of the Christian era to try the grand experiment, on a scale the most costly and gigantic in its proportions, of creating love by force, and developing fraternal affection by war; and history will record, too, on the same page, the utter, disastrous, and most bloody failure of the experiment." After his term in Congress expired, Mr. Vallandigham returned to Ohio and made numerous speeches, in which he attacked the administration with great violence and bitterness. General Ambrose E. Burnside, then commander of the Department of the Ohio, regarded these demonstrations of Mr. Vallandigham and his friends as intended to afford aid and comfort to the enemy; and, as the city of Cincinnati, as well as southern Ohio and the adjacent states, was in some peril from the raids of the Confederates, he deemed it his duty to suppress these demonstrations, and accordingly issued an order declaring that persons within the lines that were found committing certain specified acts for the benefit of the enemy should be tried as spies and traitors, and also said that the habit of expressing sympathy for the enemy would no longer be tolerated in the department. Mr. Vallandigham replied to this order on 1 May in a defiant speech, and General Burnside ordered his arrest. He was taken to Cincinnati, and, though he issued an appeal to his adherents, was tried by court-martial, convicted, and sentenced to close confinement during the war. President Lincoln changed the sentence to a banishment across the lines. This affair occasioned much discussion both in public assemblies and in the press. Without exception, the Democratic journals denounced the whole transaction. The organs of the administration took different views, some maintaining that the necessities of the case justified the measure, while others deprecated the action of General Burnside and the military commission. Not liking his reception by the leaders of the Confederacy—to whom he had given the assurance that they would succeed if their armies could only hold out till another election, when the Democrats would sweep the Republican administration out of power, and make peace—Mr. Vallandigham made his way to Bermuda, and thence to Canada, where he remained for some time. While thus in exile, he was nominated for governor by the Democratic party in Ohio, but was defeated, his rival, John Brough, having a majority of more than 100,000. The government made no objection to Mr. Vallandigham's return to Ohio, and he was a member of the Democratic national convention at Chicago in 1864, and brought about the nomination of George B. McClellan and George H. Pendleton. He was also a delegate to the National Democratic Convention in 1868. His death was caused by the accidental discharge of a pistol in his own hand, in the court-room, with which he was illustrating his theory of the manner in which a homicide had taken place.
Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. VI, pp. 227-228.

VAN BRUNT, Gershom Jaques, naval officer, born in Monmouth County, New Jersey, 28 August, 1798; died in Dedham, Massachusetts, 17 December, 1863. He entered the service as a midshipman on 1 January, 1818, served in Commodore David Porter s Mosquito fleet against pirates in the West Indies, was made a lieutenant on 3 March, 1827, and rose to be a commander on 29 May, 1846, and commanded the brig "Etna" in the Gulf during the Mexican War, during which he participated in the expedition against Tuspan and the second expedition against Tobasco. He served as a commissioner to survey the boundary-line of California in 1848-'50, and was promoted a captain on 14 September, 1855. He commanded the "Minnesota," and took an active part in the reduction of the forts at Cape Hatteras and in operations in the North Carolina sounds and the blockade of Hampton Roads, where he saved his ship from the Confederate ram " Merrimac." He was commissioned as commodore on 16 July, 1862, and was retired because of his age on 28 April, 1863.
Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. VI, p. 229.

VAN BUREN, James Lyman, soldier, born in Dunkirk, New York, 21 June, 1837; died in New York City, 13 April, 1866. He was graduated at the New York Free Academy in 1850, studied law, and travelled in Europe, returning shortly before the beginning of the Civil War. He entered the National Army as a lieutenant of New York volunteers, was detailed to learn the signal code, and acted as signal officer on General John G. Foster's staff at Roanoke Island and at New Berne. After the taking of New Berne he served as judge-advocate of the department on the staff of General Ambrose E. Burnside, and subsequently as military secretary to Governor Edward Stanly. He rejoined General Burnside after the battle of Antietam, and was with him while he commanded the Army of the Potomac, and afterward in the East Tennessee Campaign. In 1864 he served with credit in General Grants Campaign against Richmond, receiving the brevet of lieutenant-colonel for his bravery, and subsequently that of colonel for his services in the Knoxville Campaign. In the assault on the works at Petersburg he gained the brevet rank of brigadier-general.
Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. VI, p. 229.

VAN BUREN, John Dash, merchant, born in New York City, 18 March, 1811: died in Newburg, New York, 1 December, 1885. He was graduated at Columbia in 1829, studied and practised law, afterward engaged in mercantile pursuits, and became the head of the importing-house of Benjamin Aymar and Company, New York City, retiring about 1850. He aided Secretary of the Treasury Salmon P. Chase in drafting tax and other financial bills, was a member of the legislature in 1863, and acted as Governor John T. Hoffman's private secretary in 1868-'72. Mr. Van Buren was a frequent writer for the press on questions of financial legislation, and a strong advocate of a metallic currency.—His son, John Dash, civil engineer, born, in New York City, 8 August, 1838, studied at the Lawrence scientific school of Harvard, and in Rensselaer polytechnic institute, where he was graduated in 1860. After serving for a Year as assistant engineer of the Croton aqueduct in New York City, he entered the engineer corps of the U. S. Navy, took part in the operations on James River, and was for four years assistant professor of natural philosophy and of engineering in the U. S. Naval Academy, being promoted first assistant engineer on 1 January, 1865. He resigned his commission on 22 September, 1868, was admitted to the bar in 1869, and practised law for a short time in New York City, then returned to the profession of engineering, was in charge for construction in the department of docks in New York City, was appointed on a commission to investigate canals in 1875, and in 1876-'7 was state engineer and surveyor. Besides papers in the "Journal of the Franklin Institute' and the "Transactions" of the American society of civil engineers, he has published "Investigation of Formulas for Iron Parts of Steam Machinery" (New York, 1869). 
Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. VI, p. 229.

VAN BUREN, Martin, eighth president of the United States, born in Kinderhook, Columbia County, New York, 5 December, 1782: died there, 24 July, 1862. He was the eldest son of Abraham Van Buren, a small farmer, and of Mary Hoes (originally spelled Goes), whose first husband was named Van Alen. Martin studied the rudiments of English and Latin in the schools of his native village, and read law in the office of Francis Sylvester at the age of fourteen years. Rising as a student by slow gradations from office-boy to lawyer's clerk, copyist of pleas, and finally to the rank of special pleader in the constables' courts, he patiently pursued his legal novitiate through the term of seven years and familiarized himself with the technique bf the bar and with the elements of common law. Combining with these professional studies a fondness for extemporaneous debate, he was early noted for his intelligent observation of public events and for his interest in politics. He was chosen to participate in a nominating convention when he was only eighteen years old. In 1802 he went to New York City and there studied law with William P. Van Ness, a friend of Aaron Burr. He was admitted to the bar in 1803, returned to Kinderhook, and associated himself in practice with his half-brother, James I. Van Alen. Van Buren was a zealous adherent of Jefferson, and supported Morgan Lewis for governor of New York in 1803 against Aaron Burr. In February, 1807, he married Hannah Hoes, a distant kinswoman, and in the winter of 1806-'7 he moved to Hudson, the county-seat of Columbia County, and in the same year was admitted to practice in the Supreme Court. In the state election of 1807 he supported Daniel D. Tompkins for governor against Morgan Lewis, the latter, in the factional changes of New York politics, having come to be considered less true than the former to the measures of Jefferson. In 1808 Van Buren became surrogate of Columbia County, displacing his half-brother and partner, who belonged to the defeated faction. He held this office till 1813, when, on a change of party predominance at Albany, his half-brother was restored. Attentively watching the drift of political events, he figured in the councils of his party at a convention held in Albany early in 1811, when the proposed re-charter of the United States bank was the leading question of Federal politics. Though Albert Gallatin, Secretary of the Treasury, had recommended a re-charter, the predominant sentiment of the Republican party was adverse to the measure. Van Buren shared in this hostility and publicly lauded the "Spartan firmness " of George Clinton when as vice-president he gave his casting-vote in the U. S. Senate against the bank bill, 20 February, 1811. In 1812 Van Buren was elected to the Senate of New York from the middle district as a Clinton Republican, defeating Edward P. Livingston, the candidate of the "Quids," by a majority of 200. He took his seat: in November of that year and became thereby a member of the court of errors, then composed of senators in connection with the chancellor and the Supreme Court. As senator he strenuously opposed the charter of " the Bank of America," which, with a large capital and with the promise of liberal subsidies to the stole treasury, was then seeking to establish itself in New York and to take the place of the United States bank. He upheld Governor Tompkins when, exercising his extreme prerogative, he prorogued the legislature on 27 March, 1812, to prevent the passage of the bill. Though counted among the adherents of the administration of Madison, and though committed to the policy of declaring war against Great Britain, he sided with the Republican members of the New York legislature when in 1812 they determined to break from "the Virginia dynasty" and to support De Witt Clinton for the presidency. In the following year, however, he dissolved his political relations with Clinton and resumed the entente cordiale with Madison's administration. In 1814 he carried through the legislature an effective war-measure known as " the classification bill," providing for the levy of 1,.000 men, to be placed at the disposal of the government for two years. He drew up the resolution of thanks voted by the legislature to General Jackson for the victory of New Orleans. In 1815, while still a member of the state senate, he was appointed attorney-general of the state, superseding the venerable Abraham Van Vechten. In this same year De Witt Clinton, falling a prey to factional rivalries in his own party, was removed by the Albany council from the mayoralty of New York City, an act of petty proscription in which Van Buren sympathized, according to the " spoils system " then in vogue. In 1816 he was re-elected to the state senate for a further term of four years, and, removing to Albany, formed a partnership with his life-long friend, Benjamin F. Butler. In the same year he was appointed a regent of the University of New York. In the legislative discussions of 1816 he advocated the surveys preliminary to Clinton's scheme for uniting the waters of the great lakes with the Hudson. The election of Governor Tompkins as vice-president of the United States had left the "Bucktails" of the Republican Party without their natural leader. The people, moreover, in just resentment at the indignity done to Clinton by his removal from the New York mayoralty, were now spontaneously minded to make him governor that he might preside over the execution of the Erie canal which he had projected. Van Buren acquiesced in a drift of opinion that he was powerless to check, and. on the election of Clinton, supported the canal policy; but he soon came to an open rupture with the governor on questions of public patronage, and, arraying himself in active opposition to Clinton's reelection, he was in turn subjected to the proscription of the Albany council acting in Clinton's interest. He was removed from the office of attorney-general in 1819. He opposed the re-election of Clinton in 1820. Clinton was re-elected by a small majority, but both houses of the legislature and the council of appointment fell into the hands of the anti-Clinton Republicans. The office of attorney-general was now tendered anew to Van Buren, but he declined it. The politics of New York, a mesh of factions from the beginning of the century, were in a constant state of swirl and eddy from 1819 till 1821. The old party-formations were dissolved in the " era of good feeling." What with "Simon-pure" Republicans, Clintonian Republicans. Clintonian Federalists, " high-minded" Federalists cleaving to Monroe, and Federalists pure and simple, the points of crystallization were too many to admit of forming a strong or compact body around any centre. No party could combine votes enough in the legislature of 1818—'19 to elect its candidate for U. S. Senator. Yet out of this medley of factions and muddle of opinions Van Buren, by his moderation and his genius for political organization, evolved order and harmony at the election for senator in the following year. Under his lead all parties united on Rufus King, a Federalist of the old school, who had patriotically supported the war against Great Britain after it was declared, and who by his candor had won the confidence of President Monroe; and Rufus King was re-elected with practical unanimity at a time when he was fresh from the hot debate in the U. S. Senate against the admission of Missouri without a restriction on slavery. His anti-slavery views on that question were held by Van Buren to "conceal no plot" against the Republicans, who, he engaged, would give "a true direction" to that momentous issue. What the "true direction" was to be he did not say, except as it might be inferred from his concurrence in a resolution of the legislature of New York instructing the senators of that state "to oppose the admission, as a state in the Union, of any territory not comprised within the original boundaries of the United States without making the prohibition of slavery therein an indispensable condition of admission." In that Republican resolution of 1820 " the Wilmot Proviso” of 1847 an the Missouri appeared above our political horizon, but soon vanished from sight on the passage of compromise in 1821. On 6 February, 1821. Van Buren was elected U. S. Senator, receiving in both houses of the legislature a majority of twenty-five over Nathan Sanford, the Clintonian candidate, for whom the Federalists also voted. In the same year he was chosen from Otsego County as a member of the convention to revise the constitution of the state. In that convention he met in debate Chancellor Kent, Chief Justice Ambrose Spencer, and others. Against innovations his attitude was here conservative. He advocated the executive veto. He opposed manhood suffrage, seeking to limit the elective franchise to householders, that this "invaluable right" might not be "cheapened" and that the rural districts might not be overborne by the cities. He favored Negro suffrage if Negroes were taxed. With offence to party friends, he vehemently resisted the eviction oy constitutional change of the existing supreme court, though its members were his bitter political enemies. He opposed an elective judiciary and the choice of minor offices by the people, as swamping the right it pretended to exalt. He took his seat in the U. S. Senate, 3 December, 1821, and was at once made a member of its committees on the judiciary and finance. For many years he was chairman of the former. In March, 1822, he voted, on the bill to provide a territorial government for Florida, that no slave should be directly or indirectly imported into that territory "except by a citizen removing into it for actual settlement and being at the time a bona-fide owner of such slave." Van Buren voted with the northern senators for the retention of this clause; but its exclusion by the vote of the southern senators did not import any countenance to the introduction of slaves into Florida from abroad, as such introduction was already prohibited by a Federal statute which in another part of the bill was extended to Florida. Always averse to imprisonment for debt as the result of misfortune. Van Buren took an early opportunity to advocate its abolition as a feature of Federal jurisprudence. He opposed in 1824 the ratification of the convention with England for the suppression of the slave-trade Perhaps because a qualified right of search was annexed to it, though the convention was urgently pressed on the Senate by President Monroe. He supported William H. Crawford for the presidency in 1824, both in the congressional caucus and before the people. He voted for the protective tariff of 1824 and for that of 1828, though he took no part in the discussion of the economic principles underlying either. He voted for the latter under instructions, maintaining a politic silence as to his personal opinions,
which seem to have favored a revenue tariff with incidental protection. He vainly advocated an amendment of the constitution for the election of president by the intervention of an electoral college to be specially chosen from as many separate districts as would comprise the whole country while representing the electoral power of all the states. The measure was designed to appease the jealousy of the small states by practically wiping out state lines in presidential elections and at the same time proposed to guard against elections by the house of representatives, as case of no choice at a first scrutiny the electoral colleges were to be reconvened. After voting for a few " internal improvements," he opposed them as unconstitutional in the shape then given to them, and proposed in 1824 and again in 1825 to bring them within the power of Congress by a constitutional amendment that should protect the "sovereignty of the states" while equally distributing these benefits of the government. In a debate on the Federal judiciary in 1826 he took high ground in favor of "state rights" as against the umpirage of the supreme court on political questions, and deplored the power of that court to arraign sovereign states at its bar for the passage of laws alleged to impair "the obligation of contracts." He confessed admiration for the Republicans of 1802 who had repealed "the midnight judiciary act." He opposed the Panama mission, and reduced the " Monroe Doctrine" to its true historical proportions as a caveat and not a "pledge." On all questions he was strenuous for a "strict construction of the constitution." He favored in 1820 the passage of a general bankrupt law, but, in opposing the pending measure, sharply accentuated the technical distinction of English law between "bankrupt" and "insolvent" acts—a distinction which, in the complexity of modern business transactions, Chief-Justice Marshall had pronounced to be more metaphysical than real, but which to Van Buren was vital because the constitution says nothing about "insolvent laws." He was re-elected to the Senate in 1827, but soon resigned his seat to accept the office of governor of New York, to which he was elected in 1828. As governor he opposed free banking and advocated the " safety-fund system," making all the banks of the state mutual insurers of each other's soundness. He vainly recommended the policy of separating state from Federal elections. After entering on the office of governor he never resumed the practice of law. Van Buren was a zealous supporter of Andrew Jackson in the presidential election of 1828, and was called in 1829 to be the premier of the new administration. As Secretary of State he brought to a favorable close the long-standing feud between the United States and England with regard to the West India trade. Having an eye to the presidential succession after Jackson's second term, and not wishing meanwhile to compromise the administration or himself, he resigned his secretary-ship in June, 1831, and was sent as minister to England. The Senate refused in 1832 to confirm his nomination, by the easting-vote of John C. Calhoun, the vice-president. Conscientious Whigs, like Theodore Frelinghuysen, confessed in after days the reluctance with which they consented to this doubtful act. A clause in one of Van Buren's despatches while secretary, containing an invidious reference to the preceding administration, was alleged as the ground of his rejection. The offence was venial, compared with the license taken by Robert R. Livingston when, in negotiating the Louisiana Purchase, he cited the spectre of a Federalist administration playing into the hands of " the British faction." Moreover, the pretext was an afterthought, as the clause had excited no remark when first published, and, when the outcry was raised, Jackson " took the responsibility" for it. The tactical blunder of the Whigs soon avenged itself by bringing increased popularity to Van Buren. He became, with Jackson, the symbol of his party, and, elected vice-president in 1832, he came in 1833 to preside over the body which a year before had rejected him as foreign minister. He presided with unvarying suavity and fairness. Taking no public part in the envenomed discussions of the time, he was known to sympathize with Jackson in his warfare on the United States bank, and soon came to be generally regarded by his party as the lineal successor of that popular leader. He was formally nominated for the presidency on 20 May, 1835, and was elected in 1835 over his three competitors, William H. Harrison, Hugh L. White, and Daniel Webster, by a majority of 57 in the electoral college, but of only 25,000 in the popular vote. The tide of Jacksonism was beginning to ebb. South Carolina, choosing her electors by state legislature and transferring to Van Buren her hatred of Jackson, voted for Willie P. Mangum. During the canvass Van Buren had been opposed at the north and championed at the south as "a northern man with southern principles." As vice-president, he had in 1835 given a casting-vote for the bill to prohibit the circulation of " incendiary documents " through the mails, and as a candidate for the presidency he had pledged himself to resist the abolition of slavery in the District of Columbia without the consent of the slave-states and to oppose the " slightest interference " with slavery in the states, he had also pledged himself against the distribution of surplus revenues among the states, against internal improvements at Federal expense, and against a national bank. Compelled by the fiscal embarrassments of the government, in the financial crash of 1837, to summon Congress to meet in special session, 4 September, 1837, he struck in his first message the key-note of his whole administration. After a detailed analysis of the financial situation, and of the causes in trade and speculation that had led to it, he proceeded to develop his favorite idea of an independent treasury for the safe-keeping and disbursement of the public moneys. This idea was not new. It was as old as the constitution. The practice of the government had departed from it only by insensible degrees, until at length, in spite of the protests of Jefferson, it had been consolidated into a formal order of Congress that the revenues of the government should be deposited in the United States Bank. On the removal of the deposits by Jackson in 1833, they had been placed in the custody of "the pet banks," and had here been used to stimulate private trade and speculation, until the crisis in 1837 necessitated a change of fiscal policy. By every consideration of public duty and safety, conspiring with what he believed to be economic advantage to the people. Van Buren enforced the policy of an independent treasury on a reluctant Congress. There was here no bating of breath or mincing of words: but it was not until near the close of his administration that he succeeded in procuring the assent of Congress to the radical measure that divorced the treasury from State banking and trade. The measure was formally repealed by the Whig Congress of 1842, after which the public moneys were again deposited in selected banks until 1840, when the independent treasury was reinstalled and has ever since held its place under all changes of administration. He signed the independent treasury bill on 4 July, 1840, as being a sort of "second Declaration of Independence," in his own idea and in that of his party. Von Hoist, Ae sternest of Van Buren's critics, awards to him on "this one question" the credit of "courage, firmness, and statesman-like insight." It was the chef d'oeuvre of his public career, ne also deserves credit for the fidelity with which, at the evident sacrifice of popularity with a certain class of voters, he adhered to neutral obligations on the outbreak of the Canada rebellion late in 1837. The administration of Van Buren, beginning and ending with financial panic, went down under the cloud resting on the country in 1840. The enemies and the friends of the United States bank had equally sown the wind during Jackson's administration. Van Buren was left to reap the whirlwind, which in the "political hurricane " of 1840 lifted General Harrison into the presidential chair. The Democratic defeat was overwhelming. Harrison received 234 electoral votes, and Van Buren only 60. The majority for Harrison in the popular vote was nearly 140,000. Retiring after this overthrow to the shades of Lindenwald, a beautiful country-seat which he had purchased in his native county, Van Buren gave no vent to repinings. In 1842 he made a tour through the southern states, visiting Henry Clay at Ashland. In 1843 he came to the front with clear-cut views in favor of a tariff for revenue only. But on the newly emergent question of Texas annexation he took a decided stand in the negative, and on this rock of offence to the southern wing of his party his candidature was wrecked in the Democratic national convention of 1844, which met at Baltimore on 27 May. He refused to falter with this issue, on the ground of our neutral obligations to Mexico, and when the nomination went to James K. Polk, of Tennessee, he gave no sign of resentment. His friends brought to Polk a loyal support, and secured his election by carrying for him the decisive vote of New York. Van Buren continued to take an interest in public affairs, and when in 1847 the acquisition of new territory from Mexico raised anew the vexed question of slavery in the territories, he gave in his adhesion to the " Wilmot Proviso." In the new elective affinities produced by this "burning question" a redistribution of political elements took place in the chaos of New York politics. The "Barnburner" and the "Hunker" factions came to a sharp cleavage on this line of division. The former declared their "uncompromising hostility to the extension of slavery." In the Herkimer Democratic convention of 26 October. 1847, the Free-Soil banner was openly displayed, and delegates were sent to the Democratic national convention. From this convention, assembled at Baltimore in May, 1848, the Herkimer delegates seceded before any presidential nomination was made. In June, 1848, a Barnburner convention met at Utica to organize resistance to the nomination of General Lewis Cass. who. in his "Nicholson letter," had disavowed the "Wilmot proviso." To this convention Van Buren addressed a letter, declining in advance a nomination for the presidency, but pledging opposition to the new party shibboleth. In spite of his refusal, he was nominated, and this nomination was reaffirmed by the Free-Soil national convention of Buffalo, 9 August, 1848, when Charles Francis Adams was associated with him as candidate for the vice-presidency. In the ensuing presidential election this ticket received only 291,263 votes, but, as the result of the triangular duel. General Cass was defeated and General Zachary Taylor, the Whig candidate, was elected. The precipitate annexation of Texas and its natural sequel, the war with Mexico, had brought their Nemesis in the utter confusion of national politics. Van Buren received no electoral votes, but his popular Democratic vote in Massachusetts, Vermont, and New York exceeded that of Cass. Henceforth he was simply a spectator in the political arena. On all public questions save that of slavery he remained an unfaltering Democrat, and when it was fondly supposed that "the slavery issue" had been forever exorcised by the compromise measures of 1850, he returned in full faith and communion to his old party allegiance. In 1852 he began to write his "Inquiry into the Origin and Course of Political Parties in the United States" (New York, 1867), but it was never finished and was published as a fragment. He supported Franklin Pierce for the presidency in 1852, and, after spending two years in Europe, returned in time to vote for James Buchanan in 1856. In 1860 he voted for the combined electoral ticket against Lincoln, but when the Civil War began he gave to the administration his zealous support. Van Buren was the target of political accusation during his whole public career, but kept his private character free from reproach. In his domestic life he was as happy as he was exemplary. Always prudent in his habits and economical in his tastes, he none the less maintained in his style of living the easy state of a gentleman, whether in public station at Albany and Washington, or at Lindenwald in his retirement. As a man of the world he was singularly affable and courteous, blending formal deference with natural dignity and genuine cordiality. Intensely partisan in his opinions and easily startled by the red rag of "Hamiltonian Federalism," he never carried the contentions of the political arena into the social sphere. The asperities of personal rivalry estranged him for a time from Calhoun, after the latter denounced him in the Senate in 1837 as "a practical politician," with whom " justice, right, patriotism, etc., were mere vague phrases," but with his great Whig rival. Henry Clay, he maintained unbroken relations of friendship through all vicissitudes of political fortune. Asa lawyer his rank was eminent. Though never rising in speech to the heights of oratory, he was equally fluent and facile before bench or jury, and equally felicitous whether expounding the intricacies of fact or of law in a case. His manner was mild and insinuating, never declamatory. Without carrying his juridical studies into the realm of jurisprudence, he yet had a knowledge of law that fitted him to cope with the greatest advocates of the New York bar. The evidences of his legal learning and acute dialectics are still preserved in the New York reports of Johnson. Cowen, and Wendell. As a debater in the Senate, he always went to the pith of questions, disdaining the arts of rhetoric. As a writer of political letters or of state papers, he carried diffusiveness to a fault, which sometimes hinted at a weakness in positions requiring so much defence. As a politician he was masterful in leadership—so much so that, alike by friends and foes, he was credited with reducing its practices to a fine art. He was a member of the famous Albany regency which for so many years controlled the politics of New York, and was long popularly known as its " director." Fertile in the contrivance of means for the attainment of the public ends which he deemed desirable, he was called "the little magician," from the deftness of his touch in politics. But combining the statesman's foresight with the politician's tact, he showed his sagacity rather by seeking a majority for his views than by following the views of a majority. Accused of "non-committalism." and with some show of reason in the early stages of his career, it was only as to men and minor measures of policy that he practised a prudent reticence. On questions of deeper principle — an elective judiciary, Negro suffrage, universal suffrage, etc.—he boldly took the unpopular side. In a day of unexampled political giddiness he stood firmly for his sub treasury system against the doubts of friends, the assaults of enemies, and the combined pressure of wealth and culture in the country. Dispensing patronage according to the received custom of his times, he vet maintained a high standard of appointment. That he could rise above selfish considerations was shown when he promoted the elevation of Rufus King in 1820, or when he strove in 1838 to bring Washington Irving into his cabinet with small promise of gain to his doubtful political fortunes by such an "unpractical" appointment. As a statesman he had his compact fagot of opinions, to which he adhered in evil or good report. It might seem that the logic of his principles in 1848, combined with the subsequent drift of events, should have landed him in the Free-Soil party that Abraham Lincoln led to victory in 1860: but it. is to be remembered that, while Van Buren's political opinions were in a fluid state, they had been cast in the doctrinal molds of Jefferson, and had there taken rigid form and pressure. In the natural history of American party-formations he supposed that an enduring antithesis had always been discernible between the "money power" and the "farming interest " of the land. In his annual message of December, 1838, holding language very modern in its emphasis, he counted "the anti-republican tendencies of associated wealth " as among the strains that had been put upon our government. This is indeed the mam thesis of his " Inquiry," a book which is more an apologia than a history. In that chronicle of his life-long antipathy to a splendid consolidated government, with its imperial judiciary, funding systems, high tariffs, and internal improvements— the whole surmounted by a powerful national bank as the "regulator" of finance and politics—he has left an outlined sketch of the only dramatic unity that can be found for his eventful career. Confessing in 1848 that he had gone further in concession to slavery than many of his friends at the north had approved, he satisfied himself with a formal protest against the repeal of the Missouri compromise, carried through Congress while he was travelling in Europe, and against the policy of making the Dred Scott decision a rule of Democratic politics, though he thought the decision sound in point of technical law. With these reservations, avowedly made in the interest of " strict construction" and of "old-time Republicanism" rather than of Free-Soil or National reformation, he maintained his allegiance to the party with which his fame was identified, and which he was perhaps the more unwilling to leave because of the many sacrifices he had made in its service. The biography of Van Buren has been written by William H. Holland (Hartford, 1835); Francis J. Grand (in German, 1835); William Emmons (Washington, 1835): David Crockett (Philadelphia, 1836): William L. Mackenzie (Boston, 1846); William Allen Butler (New York, 1862); and Edward M. Shepard (Boston, 1888). Mackenzie's book is compiled in part from surreptitious letters, shedding a lurid light on the "practical politics" of the times. Butler's sketch was published immediately after the ex-president's death. Shepard's biography is written with adequate learning and in a philosophical spirit.—His wife, Hannah, born in Kinderhook. New York, in 1782; died in Albany, New York, 5 February, 1819, was of Dutch descent, and her maiden name was Hoes. She was educated in the schools of her native village, and was the classmate of Mr. Van Buren, whom she married in 1807. She was devoted to her domestic cares and duties, and took little interest in social affairs, but was greatly beloved by the poor. When she learned that she could live but a few days, she expressed a desire that her funeral be conducted with the utmost simplicity, and the money that would otherwise have been devoted to mourning emblems be given to the needy.—His brother, Lawrence, soldier, born in Kinderhook, New York, in 1783; died there. 1 July, 1868, served in the war of 1813—'15, in which he attained the rank of major. He was a presidential elector on the Democratic ticket in 1852.—Martin's son, Abraham, soldier, born in Kinderhook, New York, 27 November, 1807; died in New York City, 15 March, 1873, was graduated at the U. S. Military Academy in 1827, and attached to the 2d U.S. Infantry as 2d lieutenant. He served for two years on the western frontier, and for the next seven years as aide-de-camp to the general-in-chief, Alexander Macomb, except during several months in 1836, when he accompanied General Winfield Scott as a volunteer aide in the expedition against the Seminole Indians. He was commissioned as a captain in the 1st U.S. Dragoons on 4 July, 1836, resigning on 3 March, 1837, to become his father's private secretary. He brought daily reports of the proceedings of Congress to President Van Buren, who was often influenced by his suggestions. At the beginning of the war with Mexico he re-entered the army as major and paymaster, his commission dating from 26 June, 1846. He served on the staff of General Zachary Taylor at Monterey, and subsequently joined the staff of General Scott as a volunteer, and participated in every engagement from Vera Cruz to the capture of the city of Mexico, being brevetted lieutenant-colonel for bravery at Contreras and Churubusco on 20 August, 1847. He served in the paymaster's department after the war till 1 June, 1854, when he again resigned, after which he resided for a part of the time in Columbia, South Carolina (where his wife inherited a plantation), till 1859, and afterward in New York City except during three years' absence in Europe.—Another son. John, lawyer, born in Hudson, New York, 18 February, 1810; died at sea, 13 October, 1866, was graduated at Yale in 1828, studied law with Benjamin F. Butler, and was admitted to the bar at Albany in 1830. In the following year he accompanied his father to London as an attaché of the legation. In February, 1845, he was elected attorney-general of the state of New York, serving till 31 December, 1846. He took an active part in the political canvass of 1848 as an advocate of the exclusion of slavery from the territories, but did not remain with the Free-Soil party in its later developments. He held high rank as a lawyer, appearing in the Edwin Forrest and many other important eases, was an eloquent pleader, and an effective political speaker. He died on the voyage from Liverpool to New York. He was popularly known as " Prince John," was tall and handsome, and of elegant manners and appearance.—Abraham's wife, Angelica, born in Sumter district, South Carolina, about 1820; died in New York City, 29 December, 1878, was a daughter of Richard Singleton, a planter, and a cousin of William C. Preston and of Mrs. James Madison, who, while her kinswoman was completing her education in Philadelphia, presented her to President Van Buren. A year later she married Maj. Van Buren, in November, 1838, and on the following New-Year's day she made her first appearance as mistress of the White House. With her husband she visited England (where her uncle, Andrew Stevenson, was U. S. minister) and other countries of Europe, in the spring of 1839, returning in the autumn to resume her place as hostess of the presidential mansion. The accompanying vignette is from a portrait painted by Henry Inman.
Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. VI, pp. 230-234.

VAN BUREN, William Holme, surgeon, born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 5 April, 1819; died in New York City, 25 March, 1883. His grandfather, Beekman, and his great-grandfather, Abraham, who came from Holland in 1700, after studying under Boerhaave at Leyden, were physicians to the New York City almshouse. He was a student at Yale of the class of 1838 for two years, and was subsequently granted his degree. On leaving college, he studied medicine at the University of Pennsylvania and in the Paris hospitals. He received his diploma from the University of Pennsylvania in 1840, presenting an essay on "Immovable Apparatus," which was published by the faculty, and on 15 June of that year was appointed an assistant surgeon in the U. S. Army. Resigning on 31 December, 1845. he went to New York City to assist his father-in-law, Valentine Mott, in his surgical clinic in the medical department of the University of the city of New York. He soon took high rank both as an operative surgeon and family practitioner, also as a teacher and demonstrator of anatomy and surgery. When Bellevue hospital was organized in 1847 he was appointed one of the surgeons. In 1849 he became surgeon to St. Vincent hospital, and in 1852 he was elected to the chair of anatomy in New York University Medical College. He was visiting surgeon to New York hospital from 1852 till 1868, and from the latter date consulting surgeon. He was consulting surgeon also to Bellevue and Charity hospitals. He was one of the founders of the U. S. sanitary commission in 1861, and served as the medical member of its executive committee throughout the Civil War, declining the appointment of surgeon-general of the U.S. Army. He resigned his professorship in the University Medical College in 1866, on being elected professor of surgery for the newly established department of diseases of the genito-urinary system in Bellevue hospital Medical College. […]. 
Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. VI, pp. 235-236.

VANCE, Zebulon Baird, senator, born in Buncombe County, North Carolina, 13 May, 1830. He was educated at Washington College, Tennessee, and at the University of North Carolina, studied law, was admitted to the bar in 1852, established himself at Asheville, North Carolina, was chosen county solicitor, and in 1854 was elected to the legislature. When Thomas L. Clingman entered the Senate, Vance was elected to succeed him in the House of Representatives, taking his seat on 7 December, 1858. He opposed the secession of North Carolina, yet after that step was taken he raised a company and was chosen captain, and soon afterward was appointed colonel of the 26th North Carolina Regiment, which became one of the most famous of the organizations of southern soldiers. In 1862 he was elected governor, while serving in the field. He soon saw the impossibility of obtaining sufficient supplies for the troops of his state without recourse to foreign aid, and therefore sent agents abroad, and purchased a fine steamship in the 'Clyde, which successfully ran the blockade, not only supplying the state troops with clothing and arms, but furnishing also large stores for the use of the Confederate government and for the hospitals, and general supplies for the people of his state. As early as December, 1863, perceiving the desperate nature of the undertaking in which the south was engaged, he urged President Davis to neglect no opportunity of negotiation with the U. S. government, but at the same time he was so earnest and efficient in contributing men and material for the support of the cause that he was called the war governor of the south. He was also conspicuous in his efforts to ameliorate the condition of Federal prisoners in his state. He was overwhelmingly re-elected for the next two years in 1864. When the National troops occupied North Carolina, Governor Vance was arrested and taken to Washington, D. C., where he was confined in prison for several weeks. In November, 1870, he was elected U. S. Senator by the legislature, but he was not allowed to take his seat, and resigned it in January, 1872. In the same year he was again a candidate for a senatorship, but was defeated by Augustus S. Merrimon, to whom the Republicans gave their votes. He received a pardon from President Johnson in 1867, and his political disabilities were removed by Congress in 1872. Soon after he had been refused a seat in the U. S. Senate by reason of those disabilities. He continued to practice law in Charlotte, taking no part in politics, except his conspicuous efforts as a private citizen to overthrow the reconstruction government in North Carolina. In 1876, after an animated canvass, he was elected governor by a large majority. He resigned on being again elected U. S. Senator, took his seat on 4 March, 1879, and by his wit and eloquence soon acquired a high rank among the Democratic orators of the Senate. In 1884 he was re-elected for the term ending on 4 March, 1891.  
Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. VI, p. 235.

VAN CLEVE, Horatio Phillips, soldier, born in Princeton, New Jersey, 23 November, 1809. He studied for two years at Princeton, then entered the U. S. Military Academy, was graduated in 1831, served at frontier posts in Michigan Territory, was commissioned as 2d lieutenant of infantry on 31 December, 1831, and on 11 September, 1836, resigned and settled in Michigan. He taught in Cincinnati, Ohio, in 1840-'l, then engaged in farming near Ann Arbor. Michigan, was an engineer in the service of the state of Michigan in 1855, then United States surveyor of public lands in Minnesota, and in 1856 engaged in stock-raising. On 22 July. 1861, he was commissioned as colonel of the 2d Minnesota Infantry. He served under General George H. Thomas at Mill Springs, for his part in which action he was promoted brigadier-general of volunteers on 21 March, 1862. He was disabled by a wound at Stone River, but resumed command of the division on his recovery, was engaged at Chickamauga, and was in command of the post and forces at Murfreesboro, Tennessee, from December, 1863, till 24 August, I865, when he was mustered out, having been brevetted major-general on 13 March, 1865. He was adjutant-general of Minnesota in 1866-'70, and in 1876-'82.  
Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. VI, pp. 235-236.

VANDERBILT, Cornelius, financier, born near Stapleton, Staten Island, New York, 27 May, 1794; died in New York City, 4 January, 1877. He was descended from Jan Aertsen Van der Bilt, a Dutch farmer, who settled near Brooklyn, New York, about 1650. Cornelius's great-grand-father, a son of the emigrant ancestor, moved about 1715 to New Dorp, Staten Island, where the family was converted to Moravian doctrines by religious exiles from Bohemia. His father was a farmer in moderate circumstances, who conveyed his produce to market in a sailboat, which the son (7)  early learned to manage. The boy. who was hardy and resolute, early became schooled in practical affairs and the direction of men, but neglected every opportunity for education. When sixteen years of age he purchased a boat, in which he ferried passengers and goods between New York City and Staten Island, and at the age of eighteen he was the owner of two boats and captain of a third. A year later he married a cousin, Sophia Johnson, and moved to New York City. He extended hi3 interests in boats, sloops, and schooners, engaged in traffic as well as transportation along the shores of New York bay and Hudson River, and built new craft on the latest and most approved models. In 1817 he engaged as captain of a steamboat that made trips between New York City and New Brunswick, New Jersey, and for twelve years worked for a salary. In 1827 he leased the ferry between New York City and Elizabeth, and, by putting on new boats, made it very profitable. Returning to New York City in 1829, he began to build steamboats of improved construction and fittings, and to compete in prices and service with the wealthy capitalists who owned the existing lines on Hudson River and Long Island sound, his success as a steamboat builder and manager caused the title of "Commodore" to be popularly attached to his name. Before he was forty years old his wealth was estimated at $500,000. He withdrew his steamboats from the Hudson River by arrangement with Robert L. Stevens, but maintained lines connecting New York City with Bridgeport, Norwalk, Derby, New Haven, Hartford, and New London, Connecticut Providence and Newport, Rhode Island, and Boston, Massachusetts When the emigration of gold-seekers to California began, he established a passenger line, by way of Lake Nicaragua, gaining large profits. Selling this in 1853. he visited Europe in the "North Star," which was constructed after his own designs, and surpassed all steam yachts that had before been built. The company to which he had transferred the Nicaragua short line evaded payment, and on his return Vanderbilt again engaged in the California traffic, threatening to force his dishonest competitors into bankruptcy. This he accomplished, and in the course of eleven years he accumulated $10,000,000 in this business. He engaged in ocean transportation while British ships were withdrawn during the Crimean war, building three of the finest and fastest steamers, and establishing a line between New York and Havre. His offer to carry the mails for nothing impelled the government to withhold the subsidy that it had paid to the Collins line and caused the cessation of its operations. A few years later Vanderbilt, who had begun to invest largely in the stock of the New York and New Haven Railroad as early as 1844, retired from the transatlantic trade on account of the sharp competition of Europeans, and gradually transferred his capital from shipping to railroad enterprises. When the "Merrimac" attacked the National vessels in Hampton Roads, he had his finest steamship, the "Vanderbilt," fitted up for naval purposes and sent to James River, intending to run down the Confederate ram. He gave the vessel to the government, and, at the conclusion of the war, Congress voted him a gold medal in recognition of his gift. His first important railroad venture was in 1863, when he purchased a large part of the stock of the New York and Harlem Railroad, and obtained a charter for a connecting street railroad through New York City, causing the stock to rise from ten dollars a share to par. Daniel Drew and other heavy speculators, with foreknowledge of the intention of the city council to cancel the franchise for a horse-car line through Broadway, sold stock for future delivery, causing it to decline heavily. Vanderbilt bought what was offered, till it was all in his hands, and the sellers could only make their deliveries by paying him double the prices that he had contracted to pay them. He began in the same year to purchase the shares of the Hudson River Railroad, a competing line, and, when he had obtained the control, procured the introduction of a bill for the consolidation of this and the Harlem road. Members of the legislature entered into a combination with stock-jobbers to defeat the measure, after promising their support, and in this way to cause Harlem stock, which had risen from $75 to $150 a share in anticipation of the consolidation, to fall below the former price, enabling them to make profits by selling while it declined. With the aid of financial allies, Vanderbilt was able to take all bids of stock, effecting a "corner" of much greater dimensions than the former one. The speculators for a fall had agreed to deliver 27,000 more shares than the entire stock of the road, and, when the time for settlement came, the Vanderbilt "pool" could make the price what they chose, but did not venture to raise it above $285 for fear of precipitating a general panic. After this stroke, by which he gained many millions, he purchased large amounts of New York Central Railroad stock. Fearing that the road would pass into his hands, the managers in 1864 made secret arrangements to have freight and passengers forwarded to New York City by river steamers, instead of by the Hudson River Railroad. In retaliation, in the second winter after the discriminations began, Vanderbilt changed the terminus of the Hudson River Railroad at Albany to the eastern side of the river, and ordered the employes to receive no freight from the Central Railroad. The stock of the New York Central Railroad fell in the market, and Vanderbilt and his associates gradually increased their holdings. In 1867 Vanderbilt was elected president of the company. The Harlem and Hudson River Railroads had improved greatly in efficiency and economy under Vanderbilt's administration. He now applied the same methods of reform to the New York Central road, increasing the rollingstock, improving the tracks, systematizing the service, and increasing the connections. In order to put an end to unprofitable competition in rates, he next sought to obtain control of the New York, Lake Erie, and Western Railroad (then called the Erie), and bought freely, while Daniel Drew, Jay Gould, and James Fisk sold "short" for a fall, winning the contest by flooding the market with new shares, illegally issued. They obtained from Vanderbilt about $7,000,000, but, after a legal controversy over the fraudulent issue, were willing to repay nearly $5,000,000. In 1869 he procured an act for the consolidation of the New York Central and Hudson River companies, and in the same year divided new shares among the stock-holders, adding 107 per cent, to the nominal capital of the New York Central and 80 per cent, to that of the 16 Hudson River Road. Notwithstanding the doubling of the stock, the market value of the shares, which in 1867 had ranged from $75 to $120, reached $200 in 1869. By purchasing a controlling interest in the Lake Shore, the Canada Southern, and the Michigan Central Railroads, he extended his system to Chicago, making it a trunk-line for western traffic. He erected the Grand Central Station in New York City, with viaducts and tunneled approaches, for building which the city paid half of the cost. Four tracks were laid on the New York Central line. Of the capital stock of the railroads that composed the trunk-line, amounting to $150,000,000, Vanderbilt owned one half. Although he had never contributed to benevolent enterprises, toward the close of his life he gave $50,000 to Reverend Charles F. Deems to purchase the Church of the Strangers, and $1,000,000 to found Vanderbilt University at Nashville, Tennessee. He had a fortune generally estimated at $100,000,000, all of which he left to his eldest son, William Henry, except $11,000,000 bequeathed to the latter's four sons, and $4,000,000 to his own daughters, his voyage to England and along the coasts of Europe from Russia to Turkey was recounted by Reverend Dr. John O. Choules in "The Cruise of the Steam Yacht “North Star” (Boston, 1854). Mr. Vanderbilt was an extremely handsome man, with a beautiful complexion. He was tall and graceful, and to the last retained an erect figure and an elastic step.—His son, William Henry, financier, born in New Brunswick. N.J., 8 May, 1821;  died in New York City, 8 December, 1885, was educated at Columbia grammar-school. Leaving school at the age of seventeen, ne engaged in business as a ship-chandler, and a year later became a clerk in the banking house of which the senior partner. He married in his twentieth year, and, his health failing, settled in 1842 on a small farm in New Dorp, Staten Island, that his father gave him. This he cultivated profitably, enlarging and improving it with but slight aid from his father, who at that time had a poor opinion of his financial ability. This estimate was altered when The son managed with great success the Staten Island Railroad, of which he was made receiver. When "Commodore " Vanderbilt engaged in railroad financiering at the age of seventy, he intrusted the business management of the railroads that came into his control to William H., who was chosen vice-president of the Harlem and Hudson River corporations in 1864, and afterward of the New York Central. To these great establishments he applied the same watchful attention and frugal economies which had restored to prosperity the bankrupt Staten Island road, and with the same success. While participating no more in the speculative plans of his father than he formerly had in his steamship enterprises, he aided materially toward their success by his efficient management. When he succeeded to the control of the railroad property he averted the consequences of a protracted war of rates and of a threatened strike of laborers by conciliation and compromise. With equal prudence he avoided a contest over his father s will with his brother, Cornelius Jeremiah, and two of his sisters, by agreeing to pay the brother the income from $1,000,000, which was five times as much as the will awarded him, and increasing by $500,000 the legacy of each of his sisters. Under his administration was completed the acquisition of the Canada Southern Railroad, which was effected by a guarantee of its bonds, and that of the Michigan Central by purchases in the open market. Between 1877 and 1880 he gained control of the Chicago and Northwestern line, comprising with its tributaries 4,000 miles of road. He obtained connection with St. Louis by means of the Cleveland, Columbus, Cincinnati, and Indianapolis Railroad. In November, 1879, in order to obviate financial rivalries by interesting other capitalists in the New York Central road and to put his own property into a more manageable shape, he sold 250,000 shares of the stock to an English and American syndicate, investing the $30,000,000 that he obtained in U. S. government bonds, of which a year later he held $53,000,000. In 1880 he sold his Interests in the Western Union Telegraph Company. In 1881 he lowered rates in competition with the New York, Western, Lake Erie, and other trunk lines, primarily in order to discourage the construction of the "Nickel Plate" Railroad. On 4 May, 1883, he formally resigned the office of president of the New York Central and Hudson River, Lake Shore and Michigan Southern, and Michigan Central Companies, and sidled for Europe. At the same time the companies were reorganized by the election of his son Cornelius as chairman of the board of directors of the New York Central, and Michigan Central Companies, and of his son William Kissam as chairman of the Lake Shore Road. The Nickel Plate Road, when completed, was acquired and added to the New York Central system, while the West Shore Road was forced into bankruptcy by a reduction of rates. Mr. Vanderbilt built a fine mansion, which, with two other family residences, is shown in the illustration, in New York City, which he filled with modern paintings, chiefly of the French school, and with other works of art. Five houses were built for his sons and daughters in Fifth avenue near his own. He was fond of driving, as his father had been, and purchased Maud S. and other famous trotting-horses. He added $200,000 to the endowment of Vanderbilt University, and gave $100,000 for a theological school and $10,000 for a library in connection with the university. In 1884 he gave $500,000 for new buildings to the College of physicians and surgeons, and a year afterward his daughter, Emily, wife of William D. Sloane, built and endowed in connection with it a maternity hospital at a cost of $250,000, and his four sons have erected and equipped a building for clinical instruction in connection with the college as a memorial of their father. He distributed $100,000 among the train-men and laborers of the New York Central Railroad when they refrained from striking in 1877, gave $50,000 to the Church of St. Bartholomew, and paid $103,000 for the removal of the obelisk that the Khedive Ismail gave to the United States and for its erection in Central park, New York City. General Ulysses S. Grant, two days before the failure of Grant and Ward, borrowed from Mr. Vanderbilt, on an exchange check, $150,000, which went to protest. The general then sent to Mr. Vanderbilt, as security for this loan, deeds to certain real estate, and his swords, medals, works of art, and the gifts made him by foreign governments. Mr. Vanderbilt proposed to return all this property to General Grant, but found that impossible, as it was liable to be seized by creditors of the firm of Grant and Ward. He then offered to give them to Mrs. Grant; but she declined to receive them. He then proposed to transfer all the property to the Union Trust Company, in trust for Mrs. Grant and her heirs. Mrs. Grant and the general refused this, on the ground that the original debt was a debt of honor. Mr. Vanderbilt then proposed that the presents should be transferred to Mrs. Grant during her life, and at her death be placed in the archives of the National government at Washington. This proposition was accepted, and Mrs. Grant immediately transferred the articles to the government. By his will he left $10,000,000 to each of his eight children, one half of each bequest to be held in trust; to his eldest son $2,000,000 more; $1,000,000 to the eldest son of the latter: and the residuary estate in equal parts to his two eldest sons, subject to the payment of an annuity of $200,000 to the widow, to whom he left his house and the artistic objects that it contained. He bequeathed $1,000,000 for benevolent purposes, including gifts to Vanderbilt University, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Young Men's Christian Association, the missions of the Protestant Episcopal church, and St. Luke's Hospital. He also provided for building and maintaining a Moravian church and a family mausoleum at New Dorp, Staten Island. The bulk of the family fortune, including the railroad securities, has, by agreement among the heirs, been left to the management of the two principal heirs, Cornelius and William Kissam.—The eldest son of William H., Cornelius, financier, born on Staten Island, New York. 27 November, 1843. was educated at private schools and trained to business. He was treasurer of the New York and Harlem Railroad from 1867 till 1877, then vice-president till 1886, and since that date has been its president. In addition to his connection with the roads previously mentioned, in 1883 he became president of the Canada Southern Company. He is a director in thirty-four different railroad companies, and is a trustee of many of the charitable, religious, and educational institutions of New York City. Among Mr. Vanderbilt's benefactions are the gift of a building in New York City for the use of railroad employes, a contribution of $100,000 for the Protestant Episcopal cathedral, and a collection of drawings by the old masters and the painting of the " Horse Fair,"' by Rosa Bonheur, to the Metropolitan museum of art. —The third son, Frederick William, is secretary and treasurer of the New York, Chicago, and St. Louis Railway Company, and is a director in most of the roads comprising the Vanderbilt system.— The youngest son, George Washington, has established a free circulating library in New York City, which was opened in July, 1888, and has maintained a manual training-school.
Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. VI, pp. 240-242.

VANDERPOEL, Ann Priscilla, philanthropist, born in London, England, 25 June, 1815; died in New York City, 4 May, 1870. Her father, Robert O. Barnes, came to this country with his family in 1833. She married Dr. Edward Vanderpoel in 1837, and for many years was identified with philanthropic work in New York City. She founded the Ladies' Home U. S. Hospital in 1861, and gave her gratuitous services, for four years and a half, as a nurse to the Union soldiers, her labors being recognized by the government, especially by President Lincoln, who sent her an engraved certificate as a memorial of her work. In July, 1863, during the draft riots in New York City, she saved Mayor George Opdyke's house from fire and pillage by driving in an open carriage from Fourth street to Mulberry street, where the police office was situated, and sending a company of soldiers to his aid. To reach the office she exposed her life by breaking through a dense mob. She has been called the Florence Nightingale of New York.
Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. VI, pp. 243-244.

VAN DER VEER, Albert, surgeon, born in Root, New York, 10 July, 1841. He studied at Albany Medical College, was graduated in 1862 at the National Medical College, Washington, D. C, and served through the Civil War as a surgeon. He then settled in Albany, where in 1869 he became professor of the principles and practice of surgery in the Medical College. In 1882 he was given the chair of surgery and clinical surgery. During this time he was also connected with Albany and St. Peter's Hospitals. Dr. Van der Veer has achieved success in abdominal surgery. He has been president of the New York State Medical Society, and is a member of various other medical societies at home and abroad. Albany Medical College gave him the degree of M. D. in 1869, Williams that of A. M. in 1882, and Union and Hamilton that of Ph. D. in 1883. He has contributed to " Wood's Reference Handbook of Medicine and Surgery," and to several medical journals.
Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. VI, p. 244.

VAN DERVEER, Ferdinand, soldier, born in Butler County, Ohio, 27 February, 1823. He was educated at Farmer's College, Ohio, enlisted as a private in an Ohio Regiment during the Mexican War, rose to the rank of captain, and headed one of the assaulting columns at the capture of Monterey. He subsequently practised law, and became sheriff of Butler County, Ohio. At the beginning of the Civil War he became colonel of the 35th Ohio Volunteers, succeeded to the command of General Robert L. McCook's brigade, and led it, till the autumn of 1864, when he was made brigadier-general of volunteers, and assigned to the 4th Corps. General Van Derveer saw much active service, and, among many other engagements, participated in the battles of Mill Springs, Chickamauga, and Mission Ridge. Since 1870 he has been judge of the court of common pleas of Butler County, Ohio.
Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. VI, p. 244.

VAN DORN, Earl, soldier, born near Port Gibson, Mississippi, 17 September, 1820: died in Spring Hill, Tennessee, 8 May, 1863. He was graduated at the U. S. Military Academy in 1842, assigned to the 7th U.S. Infantry, and served in garrisons. After his promotion to 2d lieutenant, 30 November, 1844, he took part in the military occupation of Texas in 1845-'6, was made 1st lieutenant, 3 March, 1847, and brevetted captain on 18 April for "gallant and meritorious conduct in the battle of Cerro Gordo." He was at Contreras and Churubusco, and was brevetted major, 20 August. 1847, for gallantry in those actions. He also took part in the assault and capture of the city of Mexico, and was wounded at Belen Gate. He was aide-de-camp to General Persifer P. Smith, from April, 1847, till May, 1848, at Baton Rouge, Louisiana Lieutenant Van Dorn engaged in the Seminole War in 1849-'50, was made captain in the 2d U.S. Cavalry, 3 March, 1855, took part in the battle with the Comanches, 1 July, 1856, and commanded the expedition against those Indians near Washita Village, Indian territory, 1 October, 1858, where he was four times wounded, twice dangerously by arrows. He was again engaged with the Comanches in the valley of Nessentunga, 13 May, 1859. He became major of the 2d U.S. Cavalry, 28 June, 1860, but resigned on 31 January, 1861, and was appointed by the legislature of Mississippi brigadier-general of the state forces, afterward succeeding Jefferson Davis as major-general. He was appointed colonel of cavalry in the regular Confederate Army, 16 March, 1861, took command of a body of Texan volunteers, and on 20 April captured the steamer "Star of the West" at Indianola. On 24 April, at the head of 800 men, at Salaria, he received the surrender of Major Caleb C. Sibley and seven companies of U. S. infantry, and on 9 May he received that of Colonel Isaac V. D. Keeve with six companies of the 8th Infantry. He became brigadier-general on 5 June, and major-general on 19 September, 1861, and on 29 January, 1862, took command of the Trans-Mississippi department. He was defeated at Pea Ridge on 6-8 March (see Curtis, Samuel R.), and, being superseded by General Theophilus H. Holmes, joined the Army of Mississippi. At Corinth, 3-4 October, where he was in command with General Sterling Price, he was again defeated, and he was superseded by General John C. Pemberton. On 20 Dee. he made an attack on Holly Springs, Mississippi, which was occupied by Colonel Murphy with a body of U. S. troops, and captured a large amount of valuable stores. On 10 April, 1863, he made an unsuccessful attack on General Gordon Granger at Franklin. Tennessee. In the following month General Van Dorn was shot by a physician named Peters, on account of a private grievance. General Van Dorn provoked many strictures at one time by an order restricting the comments of the press on the movements of the army, though the step was taken in obedience to the commands of General Braxton Bragg. He possessed a cultivated taste, and was a fine draughtsman. When stationed at Newport, Kentucky, barracks, opposite Cincinnati, he devised and successfully tried in that city an elevated electric railway.
Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. VI, pp. 245-246.

VAN DYKE, Henry Herbert, financier, born in Kinderhook, New York, in 1809; died in New York City, 22 January, 1888, was apprenticed to a printer early in life, and at twenty-one years of age became editor of the Goshen "Independent Republican." He was subsequently connected with the Albany "Argus," and was active in state politics as a Free-Soil Democrat, following the lead of Martin Van Buren in the revolt against the "Hunker" Democrats that resulted in the election of Zachary Taylor to the presidency as a Whig. He subsequently joined the Republican Party, and was a presidential elector on the Fremont ticket in 1856. He became superintendent of public instruction for the state of New York in 1857, and in 1861 superintendent of the state banking department, holding office till 1865, when he was chosen by President Johnson assistant U. S. treasurer. The failure of his health compelled his resignation of that post in 1869. He was president of the American Safe Deposit Company in 1883-'8, and, among other business offices, held the presidency of the Erie Transportation Company.
Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. VI, p. 245.

VAN DYKE, John, jurist, born in Lamington, New Jersey, 3 April. 1807; died in Wabasha, Minnesota, 24 December, 1878. He was admitted to the New Jersey bar in 1830, and immediately rose to prominence in the Suydam-Robinson murder trial. He held many offices of trust and was the first president of the Bank of New Jersey at New Brunswick. He was elected to Congress in 1847 and served two terms, during which his course was marked by bitter opposition to slavery. In politics he was a Whig, and afterward one of the founders of the Republican Party in New Jersey. In 1859 he became one of the state supreme court judges, which post he held until 1866. Two years later he went to Minnesota, and was there, by special appointment, judge of the 3d judicial district. He published some anti-slavery pamphlets and contributed to magazines.
Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. VI, p. 246.

VAN NOSTRAND, David, publisher, born in New York City, 5 December, 1811: died there, 14 June, 1886. He was educated at Union Hall, Jamaica, New York, and in 1830 entered the publishing-house of John P. Haven, who gave him an interest in the firm when he became of age. In 1834 he formed a partnership with William Dwight, but the financial crisis of 1837 led to its dissolution. Mr. Van Nostrand then accepted the appointment of clerk of accounts and disbursements under Captain John G. Barnard, at that time in charge of the defensive works of Louisiana and Texas, with headquarters at New Orleans. While so engaged he devoted attention to the study of scientific and military affairs, and on his return to New York City began the importation of military books for officers of the U. S. Army, afterward receiving orders from private individuals and from academic institutions for foreign books of science. His place of business was at first at the corner of John Street and Broadway, and as his trade increased he began the publication of standard works by American authors on military and scientific subjects. This extension, with the growing demands for books on scientific subjects, led to his removal to 23 Murray street, where he continued until his death. In 1869 he began the publication of " Van Nostrand's Engineering Magazine," a monthly journal, which was devoted to selections from foreign sources, but also contained original papers on mathematics. Mr. Van Nostrand was one of the founders of the St. Nicholas and Holland societies, and was an early member of the Century and Union league clubs of New York City.
Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. VI, pp. 249-250.

VAN RENSSLAER, Henry, soldier, born in Albany, New York, in 1810; died in Cincinnati, Ohio, 23 March, 1864, was graduated at the U. S. Military Academy in 1831, but resigned from the army the next year and engaged in farming near Ogdensburg, New York. He was a member of Congress in 1841-'3, having been chosen as a Whig, and in 1855-'60 was president of mining companies. At the beginning of the Civil War he was appointed chief-of-staff to General Winfield Scott, with the rank of brigadier-general, and he became inspector-general with the rank of colonel on the retirement of General Scott, served in the Department of the Rappahannock in April and August, 1862. subsequently in the 3d Army Corps, and in the Department of the Ohio from 17 September until his death.
Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. VI, p. 252.

VAN RENSSELAER, Thomas, 1800-1850, New York City, NY, African American abolitionist, editor.  Executive Committee, American Anti-Slavery Society (AASS), 1840-1842.  Co-founded newspaper, The Ram’s Horn.  Van Rensselaer was formerly enslaved in the Mohawk Valley in New York.  He escaped from slavery in 1819.  He worked in the New York Vigilance Committee, which aided and defended fugitive slaves.  While in New York, he was an advocate for African American rights.  In 1849, he relocated to Philadelphia, where he continued his anti-slavery work. (Mabee, 1970, pp. 130, 270, 391n27; Gates, Henry Louis, Jr., & Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham, eds. African American National Biography. Oxford University Press, 2013, Vol. 11, p. 317)

VAN SANTVOORD, Staats, clergyman, born in Schenectady, New York, 15 March, 1790; died in New Baltimore, New York, 29 May, 1882, was graduated at Union in 1811 and at New Brunswick Theological Seminary in 1814, ordained to the ministry of the Dutch Reformed church, and was pastor of the church of Belleville, New Jersey, in 1814-'28, of the church in Schodack, New York, in 1829-'34, and then he moved to New Baltimore, where he resided until his death. He retired after completing his fiftieth year in the active ministry of the Reformed Dutch church. In 1864 he was in the service of the Christian Commission at Nashville, Tennessee. His last public appearance was in his ninety-first year, when he attended the 200th anniversary of the Dutch Reformed church at Schenectady, of which his ancestor was pastor, delivering the benediction in Dutch. Union gave him the degree of D. D. in 1876. He published several sermons, and "A Spiritual Gift," a series of fifteen discourses (New York, 1851). Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. VI, p. 254.

VAN SANTVOORD, Cornelius, clergyman, born in Belleville, New Jersey, 8 April, 1816, was graduated at Union in 1835, and studied at New Brunswick and Princeton Theological Seminaries. He became pastor of the Dutch Reformed church in Canastota, New York, in 1838, subsequently filled charges in New York state, was chaplain in the U. S. Army in 1861-'5, associate editor of the "Interior," Chicago, Illinois, in 1869-'71, and commissioner of schools in Ulster County, New York, in 1871-6. Rutgers gave him the degree of D. D. in 1855. He was a special correspondent of the “New York Times " during the Civil War, has published numerous magazine and newspaper articles, "Discourses and Miscellanies" (New York, 1856), and "Memoirs of Eliphalet Nott," with contributions by Professor Taylor Lewis (1876).
Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. VI, p. 254.

VAN VALKENBURGH, Robert Bruce, 1821-1888, lawyer, Union Colonel.  Republican Member of the U.S. House of Representatives from New York.  Member of Congress 1861-1865.  Voted for Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution, abolishing slavery. (Appletons’, 1888, Vol. VI, p. 256; Congressional Globe)

congressman, born in Steuben County, New York, 4 September, 1821; died at Suwanee Springs, Florida, 2 August, 1888. He received an academic education, adopted the profession of law, and served three terms in the New York assembly. When the Civil War opened he was placed in command of the state recruiting depot at Elmira, New York, and organized seventeen regiments for the field. He served in Congress in 1861-'5, having been chosen as a Republican, and took the field in 1862 as colonel of the 107th Regiment of New York Volunteers, which he commanded at Antietam. In the 38th Congress he was chairman of the committees on the militia, and expenditures in the state department. He was appointed by President Johnson in 1865 acting commissioner of Indian Affairs, during the absence of the commissioner, and in 1866-'9 was U. S. minister to Japan. He became a resident of Florida when he returned from that mission, and was chosen associate justice of the state supreme court, which place he held at his death. Judge Van Valkenburg was an able politician and jurist. Appleton’s Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. VI, pp. 256. 

VAN VLIET, Peter, Iowa Territory, abolitionist, American Anti-Slavery Society, Vice-President, 1839-1840.

VAN VLIET, Stewart, soldier, born in Ferrisburg, Vermont, 21 July, 1815. He was educated at the U. S. Military Academy, being graduated ninth in a class of forty-two in 1840, when he was promoted 2d lieutenant in the 3d U. S. Artillery. He served against the Seminole Indians and in garrison at several military posts in Louisiana, Georgia, and South Carolina, until 1846, when, having become 1st lieutenant and captain and assistant quartermaster. He was present at the battle of Monterey and siege of Vera Cruz, Mexico, in command of his company. Captain Van Vliet was in charge of the construction of Fort Laramie, Fort Kearny, and other frontier posts in 1847-'51, was actively employed in fitting out the Utah Expedition under Albert Sidney Johnston, and with General William S. Harney at the battle of Blue Water, 3 September, 1855, against the Sioux. He was chief quartermaster of the Army of the Potomac with rank of brigadier-general from August, 1861, till July, 1862, and rendered important service in fitting out troops for the field, and accompanied General George B. McClellan, serving under him in all the battles from Gaines's Mills to Malvern Hill. He was promoted major, 3 August, 1861, and lieutenant-colonel and deputy quartermaster-general, 29 July, 1866. He was on duty at New York City in 1862-'7, furnishing transportation and supplies, at Schuylkill Arsenal, Pennsylvania, in 1869, and was chief quartermaster of the Division of the Atlantic in 1872 and the Department of the Missouri in 1872-'5. He was brevetted major-general. U. S. Army, 13 March, 1865, for ''faithful and distinguished services during the war," and promoted to the full rank of colonel and assistant quartermaster-general, 6 June, 1872. On 22 January, 1881, General Van Vliet was retired from active service. Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. VI, p. 257.

VAN WINKLE, Peter Godwin, 1808-1872.  U.S. Senator from newly-formed State of West Virginia.  Served as senator 1863-1869.  Voted for Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution, abolishing slavery. (Appletons’, 1888, Vol. VI, p. 257; Congressional Globe; Dictionary of American Biography, Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York, 1936, Vol. 10, Pt. 1, p. 219)

senator, born in New York City, 7 September, 1808; died in Parkersburg, W. Virginia, 15 April, 1872. He moved to Parkersburg, Virginia, in 1835, and practised the profession of law there till 1852, when he became treasurer and subsequently president of a railroad company. He was a member of the Virginia constitutional convention in 1850, and of the Wheeling reorganizing convention in 1861, was in the West Virginia legislature from the formation of the new state till 1863, and in that year became U. S. Senator, having been chosen as a Unionist for the term that ended in 1869. He was chairman of the committee on pensions in that body, was a member of those on finance, pensions, post-offices, and post-roads, and in the impeachment of President Johnson was one of the members that voted for acquittal. In 1866 he was a delegate to the Philadelphia loyalists' convention. Appleton’s Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. VI, pp. 257.

VAN WYCK, Charles Henry, senator, born in Poughkeepsie. New York, 10 May, 1824. He was graduated at Rutgers in 1843, adopted the profession of law, and in 1850-'6 was district attorney of Sullivan County, New York. He served in Congress in 1859-'63. having been chosen as a Republican, and while holding his seat in that body became colonel of the 10th Legion, or 56th Regiment, of New York Volunteers. He served with General George B. McClellan in the Peninsula Campaign, and in 1865 was made brevet brigadier-general of volunteers. He was again in Congress in 1867-'71, and was chairman of the committee on retrenchments. He moved to Nebraska in 1874, engaged in farming, was a delegate to the Constitutional Convention in 1876, state senator in 1876-'80, and in 1881 became U. S. Senator. Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. VI, p. 257.

VAN ZANDT, John, died 1847, abolitionist.  Member and participant in the Underground Railroad in Ohio.  Van Zant was a former slaveholder from Kentucky.  He was sued in court by the owner of slaves he harbored in his home in Ohio.  His case was heard before the U.S. Supreme Court in Jones vs. Van Zandt in 1847.  The Supreme Court ruled in favor of Jones, upholding the principle that slavery was constitutionally protected.  Van Zandt was financially ruined by the courtand legal fees.  He died that same year.

VASHON, George Boyer, 1824-1876, African American, writer, lawyer, anti-slavery activist. (Gates, Henry Louis, Jr., & Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham, eds. African American National Biography. Oxford University Press, 2013, Vol. 11, p. 327)

VASHON, John B., Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, abolitionist.  Manager, 1833-1837, and founding member of the American Anti-Slavery Society, December 1833. (Abolitionist, Vol. I, No. XII, December, 1833)

VASHON, Susan Paul Smith, 1838-1912, African American, educator, writer.  Wrote articles for abolitionist papers. (Gates, Henry Louis, Jr., & Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham, eds. African American National Biography. Oxford University Press, 2013, Vol. 11, p. 329)

VASSAR, John Ellison, lay preacher, born near Poughkeepsie, New York, 18 January, 1813; died in Poughkeepsie, 6 December, 1878, was the son of Thomas Vassar. In early life he was employed in the brewery of Matthew Vassar, but, having become a religious man of very earnest convictions, he left the service of his cousin and devoted his entire life to self-sacrificing labors for the good of others. He was employed in 1850 by the American Tract Society as a colporteur, his first missionary work being in Illinois and other western states. Subsequently New York and New England were his field of service. During the Civil War he was at the front, engaged in religious labors of all kinds among the soldiers. Just before the battle of Gettysburg he was captured by General James E. B. Stuart's cavalry, who were glad to let him go to escape his importunate exhortations and prayers. At the conclusion of the war he visited, in the service of the Tract Society, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Florida. Few men of his day travelled more extensively or were more widely known than " Uncle John Vassar," as he was everywhere called. […]. Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. VI, p. 264.

VASSAR, Thomas Edwin, clergyman, born in Poughkeepsie, New York, 3 December, 1834, is son of William Vassar. His plans for entering college were frustrated by family misfortunes, and he was ordained to the Baptist ministry in 1857, without the advantages of a formal education. He has been successively settled as pastor at Amenia, New York, Lynn, Massachusetts, Flemington, New Jersey, and Newark, New Jersey, and is now in Kansas City, Missouri. He was for one year chaplain of the 150th New York Regiment, and was at several battles, including Gettysburg. He is the author of a memoir of his cousin, John Ellison Vassar, entitled "Uncle John Vassar " (New York. 1879), of which about 20,000 copies have been sold in America and England. He has received the degree of D. D.
Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. VI, p. 264.

VAUX, Calvert (vawks), landscape architect, born in London, England, 20 December, 1824. He was educated at the Merchant tailors' school, and was a pupil to Lewis N. Cottingham, architect in London. In 1848 he came to this country at the suggestion of Andrew J. Downing, whose architectural partner he became, and with whom he was associated in laying out the grounds that surround the capitol and Smithsonian institution, Washington, D. C, and other work of landscape gardening. On his suggestion, public competition was invited for the plans of Central park, and, in connection with Frederick L. Olmsted, he presented a design which was accepted, and possessed among its original features that of transverse traffic roads. During the completion of the work Mr. Vaux held the office of consulting architect to the department of parks. In 1860 he presented a design for Prospect Park, Brooklyn, which was accepted. Subsequently he was associated with Mr. Olmsted in designing the parks in Chicago and Buffalo, and the state reservation at Niagara Falls. They also designed the plans for Riverside and Morningside parks in New York City, and Mr. Vaux is now landscape architect of the department of public parks, with charge of the improvements of city parks. Meanwhile he has been exceedingly fertile as an architect, designing country residences in Newport and elsewhere, also dwellings and public buildings in New York City. The Belvedere in Central park, which is shown in the accompanying illustration, was designed by him. He has published "Villas and Cottages (New York, 1860).
Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. VI, pp. 269-270.

VEATCH, James Clifford (veech), soldier, born near Elizabethtown, Harrison County, Indiana, 19 December, 1819. He was educated in common schools and under private tutors, was admitted to the bar, practised for many years, and was auditor of Spencer County, Indiana, from 1841 till 1855. He was in the legislature in 1861-'2, became colonel of the 25th Regiment of Indiana Volunteers, 9 August, 1861, brigadier-general of volunteers, 28 April, 1862, and brevet major-general in August, 1865, at which time he retired from the army. He was engaged at Fort Donelson, Shiloh, the sieges of Corinth and Vicksburg, the Atlanta Campaign, the siege and capture of Mobile, and many other actions during the Civil War. He became adjutant-general of Indiana in 1869, and was collector of internal revenue from April, 1870, till August. 1883.
Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. VI, p. 271.

VENABLE, Abraham Woodson, congressman, born in Prince Edward County, Virginia, 17 October, 1799; died in Oxford, North Carolina, 24 February, 1876, was graduated at Hampden Sidney in 1816, and at Princeton in 1819, in the mean time studying medicine. He was admitted to the bar in 1821, moved to North Carolina in 1828, and established a large practice. He was a presidential elector on the Jackson ticket in 1832, and on the Van Buren-Johnson ticket in 1836, was chosen to Congress in 1846, and served by re-election till 1853, but was defeated in the next canvass. During his service in that body he gained reputation as an able debater and an opponent of the Free-Soil or anti-slavery policy and that of nullification. He was a presidential elector on the Breckinridge and Lane ticket in 1860, and in 1861-'4 a member of the Confederate Congress.
Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. VI, p. 275.

VENABLE, Charles Scott, educator, born in Prince Edward County. Virginia, 19 April, 1827, was graduated at Hampden Sidney in 1842 and at the University of Virginia in 1848, and studied at Berlin in 1852 and at Bonn in 1854. He was professor of mathematics at Hampden Sidney in 1848-'56, of physics and chemistry in the University of Georgia in 1856, and of mathematics and astronomy in the University of South Carolina in 1858-'61. He became captain of engineers in the Confederate Army in the last-named year, and in 1862-'5 was lieutenant-colonel and aide-de-camp to General Robert E. Lee, participating in all the important battles in which the Army of Northern Virginia took part. He became professor of mathematics in the University of Virginia in 1865, and still holds that chair. In 1870-'3 he was chairman of the faculty, and in 1887 was again chosen to that office. In 1866, he was one of the five commissioners appointed to visit Labrador to observe the solar eclipse. The University of Virginia gave him the degree of LL. D. in 1868. He has published a series of mathematical text-books (New York, 1869-'75).
Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. VI, p. 275,

VENARD, Stephan, 1823-1891, Lebanon, Ohio, abolitionist.  Active in the Underground Railroad in Indiana.

VESEY, Denmark, c. 1767-1822, African American abolitionist. (Gates, Henry Louis, Jr., & Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham, eds. African American National Biography. Oxford University Press, 2013, Vol. 11, p. 339; Appleton’s Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. VI, p. 603; Dictionary of American Biography, Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York, 1936, Vol. 10, Pt. 1, p. 258; Hinks, Peter P., & John R. McKivigan, Eds., Encyclopedia of Antislavery and Abolition.  Westport, Connecticut, Greenwood, 2007, Vol. 2, pp. 721-723)

VESEY, Denmark, conspirator, born about 1767; died in Charleston, South Carolina, 2 July, 1822. He was an African of great physical strength and energy, who had been purchased in St. Thomas, when fourteen years old, by a sea-captain of Charleston, South Carolina, whom he accompanied in his voyages for twenty years, learning various languages. He purchased his freedom in 1800, and from that time worked as a carpenter in Charleston, exercising a strong influence over the Negroes. For four years he taught the slaves that it would be right to strike a blow for their liberty, comparing their situation to that of the Israelites in bondage, and repeating the arguments against slavery that were made in Congress by speakers on the Missouri Compromise Bill. In conjunction with a Negro named Peter Poyas, he organized a plot for a general insurrection of slaves in and about Charleston, which was disclosed by a Negro whom one of the conspirators approached on 25 May, 1822. Several thousand slaves from neighboring islands, organized in military formations and provided with pikes and daggers, were to arrive in canoes, as many were accustomed to do on Sunday, and with one stroke take possession of the city, the forts, and the shipping in the harbor. Nearly all the slaves of Charleston and its vicinity, many from remoter plantations, and a large number of whites, were in the plot. The leaders that were first arrested maintained such secrecy and composure that they were discharged from custody, and proceeded to develop their plans. An attempt was made to carry them out on 16 June, but the insurrection was promptly suppressed. At length, on the evidence of informers, the chief conspirators were arrested and arraigned for trial on 19 June. The two courts were organized under a colonial law, and consisted each of two lawyers and five freeholders, among whom were William Drayton, Robert Y. Hayne, Joel R. Poinsett, and Nathaniel Hayward. Denmark Vesey showed much dialectic skill in cross-examining witnesses by counsel and in his final plea. He and five of the ringleaders were hanged first, and twenty-nine others on later dates, all save one keeping up to the end their calm demeanor and absolute reticence, even under torture. On the day of Vesey's execution a second effort was made to rouse the blades, but two brigades of troops, on guard day and night, were sufficient to deter them from action. The slaves were ready, however, to embrace the first opportunity, and re-enforcements of United States troops were sent in August to guard against a renewal of the insurrection. Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. VI, p. 603

VEST, George Graham, senator, born in Frankfort, Kentucky, 6 December, 1830. He was graduated at Centre College in 1848, and in the law department of Transylvania University in March, 1853. Beginning practice in central Missouri, he was chosen a presidential elector on the Democratic ticket in 1860, and in the same year was elected to the Missouri House of Representatives. In the legislative debates of the session of 1861 he was an ardent supporter of southern views. He relinquished his seat in order to take his place in 1863 as a representative from Missouri in the Confederate Senate, of which he was a member for two years. After the downfall of the Confederacy he resumed the practice of law in Sedalia, Missouri, whence he moved in 1877 to Kansas City, Missouri. He was elected to the U. S. Senate, taking his seat on 18 March, 1879, became prominent by his powers as a debater and orator, and was re-elected for the term ending 3 March, 1891. Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. VI, p. 284.

VICKERS, George, senator, born in Chestertown, Kent County, Maryland, 19 November, 1801: died there, 8 October, 1879. He acquired a classical education, was employed in the county clerk's office for several years, studied law, was admitted to the bar in 1832, and practised in Chestertown. He was a delegate to the Whig National Convention of 1852. When the Civil War began he was appointed major-general of the state militia. He was a presidential elector on the McClellan ticket in 1864, and one of the vice-presidents of the Union Convention of 1866. In 1866-'7 he was a member of the state senate. In 1868 he was elected U. S. Senator for the term that ended on 3 March, 1873, in the place of Philip F. Thomas, who had been denied the seat. He took a conspicuous part in the debate on the 15th Amendment to the Federal Constitution.
Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. VI, p. 287.

VICTOR, Orville James, author, born in Sandusky, Ohio, 23 October, 1827. He was graduated at the seminary and theological institute in Norwalk, Ohio, in 1847. After contributing to "Graham's Magazine" and other publications for several years, he adopted journalism as a profession in 1851, becoming associate editor of the Sandusky "Daily Register," which he left in 1856 to edit the "Cosmopolitan Art Journal." Moving to New York in 1858, he assumed charge also of the "United States Journal," conducting both periodicals till 1860. He next edited the "Dime Biographical Library," to which he contributed lives of John Paul Jones, Anthony Wayne, Ethan Allen, Israel Putnam, Winfield Scott, Abraham Lincoln, and Giuseppe Garibaldi, and wrote for newspapers and periodicals in New York City. In 1863-'4 he visited England, and there published a pamphlet entitled "The American Rebellion; its Causes and Objects: Facts for the English People." He edited in 1866-'7 "Beadle's Magazine of To-Day," in 1870-'l the weekly "Western World," and in 1872-80 the "New York Saturday Journal." He published during the Civil War, in annual volumes, a "History of the Southern Rebellion " (4 vols., New York, 1862-'5), which for several years he has been engaged in revising for republication in two volumes. His other works are "Incidents and Anecdotes of the War" (1863), and a " History of American Conspiracies" (1864). —His wife, Metta Victoria, author, born near Erie, Pennsylvania, 2 March, 1831; died in Hohokus, New Jersey, 26 June, 1886, was educated in the female seminary at Wooster, Ohio. When thirteen years old she published a story called "The Silver Lute," and from that time till her eighteenth year was a contributor to the "Home Journal" under the penname of " Singing Sibyl" or in connection with her elder sister, Frances A. Fuller, the two being known as "The Sisters of the West." In 1856 she married Mr. Victor, and in 1859-'61 she edited the "Home Monthly Magazine." A volume of poetry by the two sisters was published under the title of "Poems of Sentiment and Imagination, with Dramatic and Descriptive Pieces" (New York, 1851). She published individually "Fresh Leaves from Western Woods" (Buffalo, 1853); "The Senator's Son: a Pica for the Maine Law" (Cleveland, 1853), which had a large circulation in England as well as in the United States; and "Two Mormon Wives: a Life-Story" (New York, 1856 ; London, 1858). She was the author of " The Gold-Hunters." "Maum Guinea," and others of Beadle and Company's "Dime Novels." Among her numerous contributions to the periodical press were series of humorous sketches under the signature of ' Mrs. Mark Peabody," entitled," Miss Slimmens' Window" and "Miss Slimmens' Boarding House," which were issued in book-form (New York, 1859). The story of "Too True" was reprinted from "Putnam's Magazine"(1868). Her novels " Dead-Letter" and "Figure Eight " were issued under the pen-name of "Seeley Register" (1868). Her last novel was " Passing the Portal" (1877). She subsequently wrote humorous books entitled "The Bad Boy's Diary " (1880), " The Rasher Family " (1884)," The Naughty Girl's Diary " (1884), and "'Blunders of a Bashful Man" (1885), which were issued anonymously.
Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. VI, p. 287.

VIELE, Egbert Ludovickus, engineer, born in Waterford, New York, 17 June, 1825, was graduated at the U. S. Military Academy in 1847, assigned to the 2d U.S. Infantry, and, joining his regiment in Mexico, served under General Winfield Scott. He was then given duty on lower Rio Grande River, and was stationed at Ringgold Barracks and afterward at Fort Mcintosh. In 1853 he resigned, after attaining the rank of 1st lieutenant on 26 October, 1850. He then settled in New York City, where he entered on the practice of civil engineering, and in 1854'-6 was state engineer of New Jersey. In 1856 he was appointed chief engineer of Central Park, New York, and prepared the original plan that was adopted, tour years later he became chief engineer of Prospect Park, Brooklyn, for which he prepared the original plan, but resigned at the beginning of the Civil War. He responded to the first call for volunteers, and conducted an expedition  from New York to Washington, forcing a passage up Potomac River. After serving in the defences of Washington as captain of engineers in the 7th New York Regiment, he was commissioned brigadier-general of volunteers on 17 August, 1861, and directed to form a camp of instruction in Scarsdale, New York. In April, 1862, he joined the South Atlantic Expedition and had charge of the forces in Savannah River. General Viele commanded the movement that resulted in the capture of Fort Pulaski, and also took Norfolk and its navy-yard, becoming military governor of that city from its capture in May, 1862, until October, 1863. After superintending the draft in northern Ohio, he resigned on 20 October, 1863, and resumed his engineering practice. In 1883 he was appointed commissioner of parks for New York City, and in 1884 he was president of the department. He was elected as a Democrat to Congress in 1884, but he was defeated in his canvass for re-election in 1886. General Viele is president of the Equitable Home Building Association, for building houses in the vicinity of Prospect Park, Brooklyn, to be sold to tenants who agree to use them as homes only. Besides papers on engineering, sanitation, and physical geography, he has published a " Hand-Book for Active Service" (New York, 1861), and a "Topographical Atlas of the City of New York" (1865).
Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. VI, p. 291.

VIGNAUD, Jean Henry (veen-yo), author, born in New Orleans, Louisiana, 27 November, 1830. He is descended from an ancient Creole family, received his education in his native city, and was a teacher in the public schools of New Orleans in 1852-'6, being at the same time connected with " Le Courrier," of New Orleans, and other publications. In 1857 he established in the town of Thibodeaux, Louisiana, a daily entitled " L'Union de Lafourchu." which he edited till 1860, when he aided in founding in New Orleans a weekly review, " La renaissance Louisianaise," which did much to encourage the study of French literature in the state. In 1861 he published "L'Anthropologie," a work partly scientific but mainly philosophical. He became a captain in the 6th Louisiana Regiment, Confederate Army, in June, 1861, and was captured in New Orleans in April, 1862. In March, 1863, he was appointed assistant secretary of the Confederate diplomatic commission in Paris. At the same time he was a contributor to the " Memorial diplomatique," and in charge of the theatrical criticisms in several dailies. In 1869 he became secretary of the Roumanian legation in Paris, and in 1872 he was officially connected with the Alabama commission in Geneva, for which he translated nearly all the papers presented to that tribunal in behalf of the United States. In 1873 he was U. S. delegate at the International diplomatic metric conference, received the appointment, 14 December, 1875, of second secretary of the U. S. legation in Paris, in 1882 was U. S. delegate at the International conference for the protection of sub-marine cables, and on 11 April, 1882, was promoted first secretary of legation at Paris. Mr. Vignaud has contributed memoirs to the Institute of France and other learned societies, and since 1869 has been secretary of the Soeifite savante, of Paris. He has in preparation a " History of the Formation of the American Union " and a " History of the Discovery and Occupation of the Territory of the United States."
Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. VI, p. 292.

VILAS, William Freeman (vy'-Ias), postmaster-general, born in Chelsea, Vermont, 9 July, 1840. He went to Wisconsin, when eleven years old, with his parents, who settled in Madison. He was graduated at the State university in 1858, and at the Albany law-school in 1860. He practised in Madison till the Civil War began, when he entered the army as a captain in the 23d Wisconsin Volunteers. He rapidly rose to the rank of lieutenant-colonel, and commanded his regiment during the siege of Vicksburg and for two months afterward. Resigning his commission in August, 1863, he returned to the practice of his profession. He became a lecturer in the law department of the University of Wisconsin, and a regent of the institution. He was appointed by the Supreme Court in 1875 one of the board that for three years was engaged in revising the state constitution. He declined to be a candidate for governor in 1879. In 1884 he was elected to the legislature. The same year he attended the Democratic national convention as a delegate, and was chosen permanent chairman. On 5 March, 1885, President Cleveland made him Postmaster-General, and in December, 1887, he was transferred to the portfolio of the interior to succeed Lucius Q. C. Lamar, who had been appointed to the bench of the United States Supreme Court.
Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. VI, p. 293.

VILLARD, Henry, financier, born in Spire, Bavaria, 11 April, 1835. His name was originally Gustavus Hilgard. He was educated at the universities of Munich and Wurzburg, and came to the United States in 1853. He studied law for a time in Belleville and Peoria, Illinois, then moved to Chicago, and wrote for papers. In 1859 he visited the newly discovered gold region of Colorado as correspondent of the Cincinnati "Commercial," and on his return published a volume entitled "The Pike's Peak Gold Regions " (I860). He also sent statistics to the New York "Herald" that were intended to influence the location of a Pacific railroad route. He then settled in Washington as political correspondent for eastern and western newspapers, and during the war was an army correspondent. He married Fanny, a daughter of William Lloyd Garrison, at Washington on 3 January, 1866, went to Europe as correspondent of the New York "Tribune," returned to the United States in June, 1868, and shortly afterward was elected secretary of the American Social Science Association, to which he devoted his labors till 1870, when he went to Germany for his health. While living at Wiesbaden he engaged in the negotiation of American railroad securities; and, when many companies defaulted in the payment of interest, after the crash of 1873, he joined several committees of German bond-holders, doing the major part of their work, and in April, 1874, returned to the United States to represent his constituents, and especially to execute an arrangement with the Oregon and California Railroad Company. On visiting Oregon, he was impressed with the natural wealth of the region, and conceived the plan of gaining control of its few transportation routes. His clients, who were large creditors also of the Oregon Steamship Company, approved his scheme, and in 1875 Mr. Villard became president of both corporations. He was appointed in 1876 a receiver of the Kansas Pacific Railroad as the representative of European creditors, and was removed in 1878, but continued the contest he had begun with Jay Gould and finally obtained better terms for the bond-holders than they had agreed to accept. The European investors in the Oregon and San Francisco Steamship line, after building new vessels, became discouraged, and in 1879 Villard formed an American syndicate and purchased the property. He also acquired that of the Oregon Steam Navigation Company, which operated fleets of steamers and portage railroads on the Columbia River. The three companies that he controlled were amalgamated, under the name of the Oregon Railway and Navigation Company. He began the construction of a railroad up Columbia River, and failing in his effort to obtain a permanent engagement from the Northern Pacific Company, which had begun its extension into Washington Territory, to use the Columbia River line as its outlet to the Pacific Ocean, he succeeded, with the aid of a syndicate which was called a " blind pool," in acquiring control of the Northern Pacific property, and organized a new corporation that was named the Oregon and Transcontinental Company. After some contention with the old managers of the Northern Pacific road, Villard was elected president of a reorganized board of directors on 15 September, 1881. The main line to the Pacific Ocean was completed, with the aid of the Oregon and Transcontinental Company; but at the time when it was opened to traffic with festivities, in September, 1883, the "bears" of the stock market arranged an attack on the securities of the allied companies, and Villard, in the vain endeavor to support the properties, sacrificed his large fortune, and on 4 January, 1884, resigned the presidency of the Northern Pacific Railroad. After spending the intervening time in Europe, he returned to New York City in 1886, and has since purchased for German capitalists, large amounts of the securities of the transportation system that he was instrumental in creating, becoming again director of the Northern Pacific Company, and on 21 June, 1888, again president of the Oregon and Transcontinental Company. He has given a large fund for the State University of Oregon, liberally aided the University of Washington territory, founded a hospital and school for nurses in his native town, and devoted large sums to the Industrial art school of Rhenish Bavaria, and to the foundation of fifteen scholarships for the youth of that province.
Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. VI, p. 294.

VILLEPIGUE, John Bordenave, soldier, born in Camden, S. C., 2 July, 1830; died in Port Hudson, Louisiana, 9 November, 1862. He was graduated at the U. S. Military Academy in 1854, and served on the western border as a lieutenant of  U.S. Dragoons until the secession of South Carolina. Joining the Confederate Army, he was made a captain of artillery, and soon afterward promoted colonel and placed in command of Fort McRae, Pensacola, Florida. At the bombardment of this post he was severely wounded. He was transferred to Mobile, and a few weeks later to Fort Pillow, which he strengthened for the ensuing bombardment of fifty-two days, which was sustained until he was ordered to evacuate. His brigade opened the attack and covered the retreat of the army at Corinth. He was ordered to Port Hudson soon afterward with a major-general's command and the assurance of promotion to that rank, but reached his post only to die of fever.
Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. VI, p. 296.

VINCENT, Strong, soldier, born in Waterford, Erie County, Pennsylvania, 17 June. 1837; died near Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, 7 July, 1863, after passing through Erie Academy and working for two years in his father's iron-foundry, entered the scientific school at Hartford, Connecticut, next became a student of Trinity College, and, leaving that, was graduated at Harvard in 1859. He then studied law, was admitted to the bar in 1860, and began practice in Erie. When the Civil War began he enlisted as a private for three months in the volunteer army, was chosen 2d lieutenant, and soon afterward was appointed adjutant. He re-enlisted for three years, was made major, and promoted lieutenant-colonel of the 83d Pennsylvania Infantry in September, 1861. He was engaged in the construction of siege-works at Yorktown, and soon after the battle of Hanover Court-House was prostrated with swamp fever. He returned to his regiment in October, 1862. as its colonel, and at Fredericksburg temporarily commanded a brigade in a difficult retreat. He declined the appointment of judge-advocate of the Army of the Potomac, in April, 1863, took command of his brigade as ranking colonel, and effectively supported General Alfred Pleasanton’s cavalry at Aldie. At Gettysburg, orders having come from the front from General George Sykes, at the suggestion of General Gouverneur K. Warren, for a brigade to occupy Little Round Top, Vincent, in the absence of the division commander, assumed the responsibility of taking up his own brigade. On reaching the hill, he quickly selected a position, posting his men on the left-hand crest of Little Round Top, and in the hollow between it and Round Top, where the Confederates made their first attempt to ascend the ravine and turn the left flank of the National Army, in withstanding which his force was supported by the command of General Stephen H. Weed and the battery of Captain Charles E. Hazlett on the middle crest of Little Round Top, and by the regiment of Colonel Patrick H. O'Rorke, which was sent up by General Warren just in time to frustrate the flank movement of the enemy. Vincent was shot while cheering on this regiment as it faltered before the fire of the Confederate infantry.
Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. VI, p. 299.

VINCENT, Thomas McCurdy, soldier, born near Cadiz, Harrison County, Ohio, 15 November, 1832. He was graduated at the U. S. Military Academy in 1853, and on 8 October, 1853, became 2d lieutenant in the 2d U.S. Artillery. During the three years that followed he served with his company in Florida during active operations in the field against hostile Indians, and from severe exposure in the line of duty became dangerously ill in May, 1855. During his convalescence Lieutenant Vincent compiled a "Sketch of South Florida," which was used by troops in the filial operations pending the removal of the Indians, and for which he received the thanks of the general-in-chief. During the years 1855-'6 he performed the duties of assistant adjutant-general and quartermaster and commissary of subsistence. He served with his company at Fort Hamilton and Plattsburg, New York, until August, 1859, when he was detailed as principal assistant professor of chemistry at the military academy. Declining the appointment of captain in the 18th Infantry, he was appointed assistant adjutant-general in July, 1861, and assigned to the Army of Northwestern Virginia, being engaged in the battle of Bull Run. In August, 1861, he became captain, and in July, 1862, major of staff. From 1861 till 1865 he was constantly on duty in the adjutant-general's office at Washington, particularly in charge of the "organization and miscellaneous business of the volunteer armies of the United States," persistent applications for service in the field being disapproved by Secretary of War Stanton for the reason that "the public interests demanded his presence in the war department." Not only did the responsibility for framing all the rolls and instructions issued for the government of the volunteer forces in service during the war, and the charge connected with a personnel of more than 90,000 commissioned officers, devolve upon General Vincent, but the preparation of the plan (of which he was also the sole author), and the immediate general direction of the work under it, for the muster-out and disbandment of the volunteer armies, numbering 1,034,064 officers and men, distributed to 1,274 regiments, 316 independent companies, and 192 batteries. This plan was prepared in advance of any notification from the Secretary of War, and was put into execution immediately upon submission to that officer and General Grant. Since the war General Vincent has been identified with all important changes in the methods of transacting the business of the War Department, the revision of army regulations, and he has served as adjutant-general of various departments, and in September, 1888, was ordered to Washington on duty. He became lieutenant-colonel and assistant adjutant-general in July, 1881, and was brevetted to the grade of brigadier-general. U. S. Army, "for faithful and meritorious services during the rebellion." General Vincent has made several reports to Congress on "army organization," and is the author of "The Military Power of the United States during the War of the Rebellion" (New York, 1881). 
Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. VI, p. 300.

VINCENT, Albert Oliver, soldier, born in Cadiz, Ohio, 7 February, 1842; died in St. Louis, Missouri., 9 December, 1882, was educated at common schools, and at the age of nineteen was about to establish himself as a printer, when, at the opening of the Civil War, he was tendered by Secretary Cameron a commission as 2d lieutenant in the 2d U.S. Artillery. From 1861 till 1866 he served with his battery, part of the time commanding it during all the operations of the Army of the Potomac, principally with horse artillery in conjunction with the cavalry, comprising thirty-five battles and minor affairs, besides continuous and rapid marches. He was commissary of musters and superintendent of volunteer recruiting service in 1865, and served with his regiment in California and Washington Territory in 1865-'7. He was brevetted captain for Antietam, major for Gettysburg, and lieutenant-colonel for faithful and meritorious services, 13 November, 1865, and declined the appointment of captain, 38th U.S. Infantry, in July, 1866. He served as major of the 4th Arkansas Cavalry in 1864-'5, and was retired from active service in 1869.
Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. VI, p. 300.

VINTON, David Hammond, soldier, born in Providence, Rhode Island, 4 May, 1803; died in Stamford, Connecticut, 21 February, 1873, was graduated at the U. S. Military Academy in 1822, was commissioned to the 4th U.S. Artillery, and in 1823 transferred to the infantry. After a term of garrison and special duty, he was sent to Florida in 1836, where he was employed on quartermaster duty, and in 1837 was made quartermaster-general of Florida. He continued in this service until 1846, in which year he was made chief quartermaster on the staff of General John E. Wool, with the rank of major, and served in Mexico. He was chief quartermaster of the Department of the West in 1852-'6, of the Department of Texas in 1857-'61, and was taken prisoner upon the surrender of General Twiggs to the Confederates in February, 1861. Being exchanged after a few months, in August, 1861, he was made deputy quartermaster-general and chief quartermaster at New York, where until 1866 he rendered valuable services. In 1864 he was brevetted, for faithful and meritorious services, colonel and brigadier-general. In 1866 he became assistant quartermaster-general, and in the same year was placed upon the retired list.
Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. VI, p. 301.

VINTON, Francis Laurens, engineer, born in Fort Preble, Maine, 1 June, 1835; died in Leadville, Colorado, 6 October, 1879, was graduated at the U. S. Military Academy in 1856, and assigned to the 1st U.S. Cavalry, but did not join his regiment, and on the expiration of his graduating leave of absence resigned on 30 September, and entered the Ecole des Mines at Paris, where he received the degree of engineer of mines in 1860. He was then an instructor in Cooper union, New York City, and afterward in charge of explorations in Honduras till 5 August, 1861, when he was commissioned captain in the 16th Infantry. On 31 October he became colonel of the 43d New York Regiment, with which he served in the Peninsular Campaign, and after a month's leave of absence he took command of a brigade on 25 September, 1862, having been commissioned brigadier-general of volunteers on the 19th, and led it in the Maryland and Rappahannock Campaigns till the battle of Fredericksburg, 13 December, 1862, where, his men being reluctant to advance, he himself headed the charge, and received a disabling wound that forced him to resign from the army on 5 May, 1863. His appointment as brigadier-general had expired on 3 March, 1863, but had been renewed ten days later. On 14 September, 1864, on the organization of Columbia school of mines, General Vinton became professor of mining engineering there, and in 1870 the duties of his chair were extended so as to include civil engineering; but he was retired on 15 August, 1877, and from that time till his death acted as a consulting mining engineer at Denver, Colorado. He was not only an accomplished mathematician, but a good draughtsman and musician. Many of his contributions to mining journals, notably those to the "Engineering and Mining Journal," of which he was staff correspondent after he went to the west, and his professional reports, were illustrated by his own hand. He was the author of "The Guardian." a poem (New York, 1869); also "Lectures on Machines," lithographed from notes (1869); and “Theory of the Strength of Materials" (1874).
Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. VI, p. 302.

VINTON, Samuel Finley, 1792-1862, South Hadley, Massachusetts, Whig U.S. Congressman, attorney.  Aided President Lincoln in the process of emancipating slaves in the District of Columbia by Congress.  (Appleton’s Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. VI, p. 303; Dictionary of American Biography, Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York, 1936, Vol. 10, Pt. 1, p. 284)

VINTON, Samuel Finley, congressman, born in South Hadley, Massachusetts, 25 September, 1792; died in Washington, D. C., 11 May, 1862. He was graduated at Williams in 1814, studied law, was admitted to the bar in 1816, and began to practise in Gallipolis, Ohio. He was chosen to Congress as a Whig, serving from 1 December, 1823, till 3 March, 1837, was a presidential elector on the Harrison ticket, and served again in Congress in 1843-'51. His last public service was in 1862, when he was appointed by President Lincoln to appraise the slaves that had been emancipated in the District of Columbia by act of Congress. He published numerous congressional and other speeches, including “Argument for Defendants in the Case of Virginia
vs. Garner and Others for an Alleged Abduction of Slaves” (1865). His daughter, Madeleine, married Admiral John A. Dahlgren.  Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. VI, p. 303.

VOGDES, Israel, soldier, born in Willistown, Chester County, Pennsylvania, 4 August, 1816. He was graduated at the U. S. Military Academy, and promoted 2d lieutenant, 1st U.S. Artillery, 1 July, 1837. For the next twelve years he was assistant professor and principal assistant professor of mathematics in the academy, being promoted 1st lieutenant in 1838, and captain in 1847. He was stationed in Florida from 1849 till 1856, and took part there in the hostilities against the Seminole Indians. After being in command at Fort Moultrie, South Carolina, and connected with the artillery-school for practice at Fortress Monroe, Virginia, in 1858-'61, he was ordered to re-enforce Fort Pickens, Florida, but he was virtually interdicted from carrying out his orders by instructions received from Washington subsequent to his arrival, and it was not until after the inauguration of President Lincoln that he was finally allowed to proceed with the work. He was promoted major, 14 May, 1861. On 9 October he was engaged in repelling the Confederate attack on Santa Rosa Island, Florida, during which he was captured. After his release in August, 1862, he served on the staff of General John F. Reynolds in the Maryland Campaign of that year. He was commissioned brigadier-general of volunteers in the following November, and was in command of Folly Island, South Carolina, from April till July, 1863, when he took part in the construction of the batteries on Lighthouse inlet for the proposed attack on Morris Island. He took part in that engagement, and also in the one on Folly Island. From August, 1863, till July, 1864, he was occupied in the operations against Fort Sumter and the city of Charleston. On 1 June, 1864, he was made lieutenant-colonel, and on 1 August he became colonel. After seeing further service in Florida, he had charge of the defences of Norfolk and Portsmouth, Virginia, from May, 1864, till April, 1865, in which month he was brevetted brigadier-general in the regular army for gallant and meritorious services in the field during the Civil War. On 15 January, 1866, he was mustered out of the volunteer service, and from that date until 2 January, 1881, when he was retired at his own request, after forty-three years of active service, he was in command of the 1st Regiment of U.S. Artillery. Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. VI, pp. 304-305.

VOLK, Leonard Wells, sculptor, born in Wellstown (now Wells), Hamilton County, New York, 7 November, 1828. At the age of sixteen he began the trade of marble-cutting in his father's shop at Pittsfield, Massachusetts In 1848 he went to St. Louis, Missouri., and in the following year he undertook modelling in clay and drawing without instructors. He was subsequently engaged in business. In 1855 Stephen A. Douglas, who was his wife's cousin, aided him to go to Italy for study. Volk remained there until 1857, when he settled in Chicago. His first sitter for a portrait-bust—the first that was ever modelled in that city—was his patron, and he subsequently, in 1858, made a life-size statue of Mr. Douglas in marble. In 1860 he executed a portrait-bust of Abraham Lincoln, the original marble of which was burnt in the Historical society building during the great fire of 1871. He revisited Italy for study in 1868-"9 and 1871-2. He was elected an academician of the Chicago Academy in 1867, and was for eight years its president. His principal works are the Douglas monument in Chicago, several soldiers' monuments, the statuary for the Henry Keep mausoleum at Watertown, New York, life size statues of Lincoln and Douglas in the statehouse, Springfield, Illinois (1876), and portrait-busts of Henry Clay, Zachariah Chandler, Dr. Daniel Brainard, Bishop Charles H. Fowler. David Davis, Thomas B. Bryan, Leonard Swett, Elihu B. Washburne, and many others.
Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. VI, pp. 305-306.

VON SCHRADER, Alexander, soldier, born in Germany about 1821; died in New Orleans, Louisiana, 6 August, 1867. He was graduated at the military academy in Berlin, and became 2d lieutenant, in the army of the duke of Brunswick, in which his father was a lieutenant-general. After twenty years service in Europe he came to this country at the opening of the Civil War, and was made lieutenant-colonel of the 74th Ohio Regiment. He was soon afterward made assistant inspector-general on the staff of General George H. Thomas, and served with credit at Chickamauga, Stone River, Chattanooga, the Atlanta Campaign, and Nashville. On 13 March, 1865, he was brevetted brigadier-general of volunteers. In 1867 he was commissioned major of the 23d regular Infantry and assigned to duty as acting assistant inspector-general of the District of Louisiana.
Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. VI, pp. 306-307.

VOORHEES, Daniel Wolsey, senator, born in Butler County, Ohio, 26 September, 1827. He was taken to Indiana in infancy by his parents, was graduated at Indiana Asbury (now De Pauw) University in 1849, studied law, was admitted to the bar in 1851, and began to practice in Covington, Indiana, in the same year. He was an unsuccessful Democratic candidate for Congress in 1856, and m 1858 was appointed U. S. district attorney for Indiana, which office he held until 1861. In 1859 he went to Virginia, at the request of Governor Ashbel P. Willard, of Indiana, to defend John E. Cook, the governor's brother-in-law, who had been put on trial for participation in John Brown's raid. He was then chosen to Congress and served from 1861 till 23 February, 1866, when his seat was contested successfully by Henry D. Washburn, but he sat in that body again in 1869-'73. During his service in the house he was a member of the committees on elections, appropriations, the judiciary, the revision of laws, and the Pacific Railroad. On the death of Oliver P. Morton, Mr. Voorhees was appointed to fill his seat in the U. S. Senate, serving from 12 November, 1877, and he was elected for a full term in 1879, and re-elected in 1885. In early life Mr. Voorhees obtained the name of "The Tall Sycamore of the Wabash," by which he is still frequently called. He has made a reputation as an orator.
Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. VI, p. 307.

VOSE, Richard H., Augusta, Maine, abolitionist.  Manager, 1833-1837, and founding member of the American Anti-Slavery Society, December 1833. (Abolitionist, Vol. I, No. XII, December, 1833)

VROOM, Peter Dumont, soldier, born in Trenton, New Jersey, 18 April, 1842, was graduated at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, New York, in 1862. He served in the Civil War, being wounded at South Mountain, was promoted major of the 2d New Jersey Cavalry in 1863, and brevetted lieutenant-colonel and colonel of volunteers for meritorious services during the war. He became 1st lieutenant in the 3d U. S. Cavalry in July, 1866. Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. VI, p. 306