Richard Norris Van Cleef

Richard Norris Van Cleef
b. 16 May 1816, Brooke County, Virginia (now West Virginia), to John and Catharine (Norris) Van Cleef
d. 31 January 1893, Guthrie Center, Guthrie County, Iowa

m. 22 October 1837, Boone County, Indiana
Susanna Conley
b. 5 January 1819, Brown County, Ohio, to Rhesa and Mary (Poe) Conley, Sr.
d. 27 March 1883, Guthrie Center, Guthrie County, Iowa

Children with Susanna Conley:

  • John E. (b. 1838)
  • Rhesa Green (1842-1921) married Barbara Emma Jones
  • Mary Catharine (b. 1845) married Samuel C. Martin
  • Joseph W. (1848-1920) married Catherine Barbara Meskimen
  • William Garret (1852-1922) married (1) Florence Ann Metcalf, (2) Ida Pearl Polston Rush
  • Margaret “Jennie” (1854-1947) married James Samuel McLuen
  • Annie E. (1857-1875)
  • Martha Susanna “Suda” (1859-1877)

The John Van Cleef family moved in 1817 or 1818 to Dearborn County, Indiana, from West Virginia where Richard Norris was born, the third child of ten. His parents were both from Monmouth County, New Jersey. His father served in the War of 1812 from Brooke County, Virginia, in 1815, and he died in 1833 in Dearborn County, Indiana, from cholera during an epidemic. The mother, Catherine Norris Van Cleef, and most of her children moved to Boone County, Indiana, about 1834 with her father and mother, Joseph and Elizabeth Wooley Norris.

Richard Norris and his wife moved to Benton County, Iowa, probably in a wagon train of family members. The History of Benton County, Iowa, Vol. 1, 1910, page 92, states that they settled there in 1849. Richard and Susanna purchased some land in Big Grove Township in 1855 and platted a town they named Geneva. Lots were sold to at least seven Van Cleef and Conley family members, as well as other families. Unfortunately, the town did not thrive, probably because the railroad bypassed it, and by 1865, the last of the lots were sold off and the land became farmland again.

According to his obituary, Richard N. and his wife moved to Panora, Guthrie County, Iowa, in 1869 and in 1874 moved to Guthrie Center in the same county where they remained until their deaths.

Submitted by:
Paul L. Van Cleef
Lafayette IN

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