Pages 120-122, transcribed by Carolyn Ward from History of Allen and Woodson Counties, Kansas: embellished with portraits of well known people of these counties, with biographies of our representative citizens, cuts of public buildings and a map of each county / Edited and Compiled by L. Wallace Duncan and Chas. F. Scott. Iola Registers, Printers and Binders, Iola, Kan.: 1901; 894 p., [36] leaves of plates: ill., ports.; includes index.




JOHN H. VANNUVS, cashier of the Northrup National Bank at Iola, an early settler in Allen county and a gentleman widely known and universally esteemed, was born in Johnson county, Indiana, September 20, 1840. He is a son of Isaac Vannuys and passed his boyhood and youth upon the farm. He acquired a good elementary education in the country schools and in Hopewell Academy. Before he had undertaken to battle with the problems of life the Civil war burst upon the country and he attained his majority in the ranks of Co. F, Seventh Indiana Infantry. He enlisted for three years in August and his regiment went at once into West Virginia and became a part of the Federal forces fighting the battles for liberty and union in that state. Two weeks after leaving Indianapolis Mr. Vannuys was in the battle of Green Briar. Toward the latter part of the year his service in the field was interrupted by sickness and he spent a part of ths[sic] first winter in the hospital at Cumberland, Maryland, before furloughing home. He returned to his command in time for the engagement at Port Republic and was in the field with it till after the second battle of Bull Run. His lying out in all kinds of weather brought on an attack of acute rheumatism and he was so crippled by it that he lay in the hospital nearly all the second winter. When the Confederates started north on their second raid and all the men were being pushed to the defense of Washington the hospitals were drawn upon for their convalescents and our subject was given a gun with the rest. He was sent north with them to Columbia, near Harrisburg, on the Susquehanna river,


guarding the long bridge, and he reached his regiment again after the battle of Gettysburg had been won. He was able for duty the remainder of his term of enlistment and was in all the engagements of the regiment up to and including the fight in front of Petersburg, Virginia. He received a bullet through the right thigh in that fierce engagement and was rendered incapably[sic] of further service to the regiment. He was discharged September 20, 1864, and, upon returning home, he took a business college course at Indianapolis the following winter. In the fall of 1865 he was in the national bank at Goshen, Indiana, for a few months but severe illness forced his retirement and the following spring and summer he spent in the Second National Bank of Franklin, Indiana. In the spring of 1867 he came to Kansas and spent his first two years here upon an Allen county farm. He was associated with James Christian in the cattle business, more or less, in which enterprise Mr. Christian was also a partner. In the spring of 1869 he came to Iola and associated himself with William Davis in the clothing business. Before this firm ceased to exist he went into the bank of L. L. Northrup, where he had had occasional employment, almost from the inception of the bank and was soon a fixture there. He dates his permanency with the bank from April 1873. He has had such an extended connection with the institution that it seems this connection never had a beginning and never should have an ending. His relations have been so close to the guiding spirits of the institution and his attentions so unremitting to the institution itself that it can be said with propriety that he is a part of both. He has thought more about his duty to his fellows and to his Maker than to himself and has not profited by his opportunities as he might. Every charity, every benevolence crosses his path and every progressive movement for the substantial or intellectual improvement of his community is a beneficiary of his purse.

Mr. Vannuys' connection with the Presbyterian church of Iola has been long and constant. As Treasurer of the Board of Trustees his tenure of office runneth not, neither to his predecessor or his successor. His moral code is strict and unbending and his aesthetic nature is well cultivated.

Isaac Vannuys, our subject's father, was born in Kentucky in 1813. His father and our subject's grandfather was probably born in Jersey City, New Jersey, went to Kentucky many years ago and, about 1835, settled in Johnson county, Indiana, where he died in 1846 at about seventy years of age. He married a Miss Demaree and reared a large family. His son, Isaac, who died in 1844, married Elizabeth, a daughter of John Johnson. Elizabeth (Johnson) Vannuys was born in Henry county, Kentucky, in 1815. Her children are: Archibald C., who died in 1861; Charity E., wife of H. C. Winchester, of Carlyle, Kansas; Julia E., widow of Isaac C. LaGrange, of Franklin, Ind.; John Harvey, our subject; and Mary C., widow of Richard T. Overstreet, of Johnson county, Ind. Our subject's grand ancestors on both the paternal and marernal[sic] sides were native born English, Scotch, Irish and German respectively.

The political history of Mr. Vannuys can be sumed[sic] up in a few words.


He joined the Republican party as soon as he became a voter and that public safeguard has since been his political refuge.

Mr. Vannuys' first wife was Anna M. Overstreet, who died in Iola November 20, 1871, without leaving issue. In May, 1874, he married Emily A., daughter of the late L. L. Northrup. Mrs. Vannuys died in April, 1885, without issue.

Previous | Home | Next