Front Row- (L to R): Grover Cleveland, Paul Russel, Charles Leslie.
Middle Row: (L to R) Levi Douglas, George Washington, Avery Tracy, Manerva Jane Miller, William Lawrence,
Back Row: (L to R) Minerva Jane, George Adelbert, Seymour Abram, John Gulliford, Agnes Tracy, Jefferson Miller.
The Sixth Generation:
George Washington Van Tassel6 (Abram5, Theodore4, Theodorus3, Jacob2, Jan Cornelissen1 Van Texel, Cornelius JansenI)
Born: December 1, 1845*1 in (prob) Chautauqua Co. NY.
Died: August 2, 1906*1 in Girard, Erie Co. Pa.
(Photograph at right by Hess Studio, Girard Pa.)
Married: Manerva Miller July 30, 1865*1 in Girard, Erie Co. Pa., daughter of Jefferson Miller and Agnes Tracy of Erie, Pa.
Notes for Manerva Miller Van Tassel:
Manerva had a house full of children and was much loved and respected by them all.
(See son Avery's tribute to his mother on the VT Memory Page. She was residing at
her son John's
Notes for George Washington Van Tassel: George was born in Chautauqua Co. N.Y. He moved with his family to Erie, Pa circa 1850. After his marriage to Manerva Miller in 1865, they moved to Girard, Pa (app. 15 miles west of Erie). George learned the trade of a tinner early on in life and passed it on to all of his boys with the exception of Levi who was a schoolteacher.
In the 1870 U.S. Census, George age 24, occupation - tinner, is listed in Girard Pa. with his wife, Manerva age 24, sons Adelbert 4 and Seymour 2, and his mother Zenetia (Tinkcom) Van Tassel age 66.
In the 1880 US Census, George was noted as residing on Chestnut St., Girard Borough, age 35, occupation - tinner. Residing in the household were: wife Manerva J. 35, sons George Adelbert 14, Seymour A. 11, Levi 9, John 8, daughters Minerva 6, Agnes 4, sons Jefferson 1, and William 4/12.
George holds U.S. patent # 289,483: dated December 4, 1883 - "Strainer for Eavespouts." George's patent application was assisted financially by Francis X. Lommer, proprietor of the Lommer House, Miles Grove, Pa. George's patent was an advancement over previous designs as the conical screen allowed for more debris and the clean-out door would function as an over-flow if the debris stopped the flow of water. See the following for further details of the patent: Diagram, Description.
Although never running for office himself, George was known as a staunch and vocal democrat. A devout family man, George also possessed a gifted pen. (See: George's letter to his Senator in support of his mothers War of 1812 Widow's pension and George's letter of congratulations to his brother Isaac on the occasion of his 50th wedding anniversary.)
George was a tinsmith by trade, but was also somewhat of a showman
at heart. He assembled his 10 boys into a VT baseball team that took to the
road - traveling to different towns in northeastern Ohio, northwestern Pa, and
western New York in the late 19th and early 20th century. George was the
coach of the team and oftentimes the umpire. A story passed down from
son Jefferson is that if George was the umpire, the VT team never had
a call go their way.
Family get-togethers were always festive. An article published in a local (probably Cosmopolite) newspaper recalls such an event:
The home of Mr. G. W. Van Tassel on Penn Avenue, Girard, was the scene of much joy and merrymaking on Thanksgiving day, Nov. 28, 1901.
The occasion was Reunion of the family at which all three generations, without an exception, met together for the first time. The following constitute the family: Mr. and Mrs. GW. Van Tassel, ten sons, two daughters, two sins-in-law, four daughters-in-law and eight grandchildren, numbering in all, twenty-eight persons; the gathering was one long to be remembered with joy. Your reporter can hardly describe the magnificent preparations for the banquet. Two special tables were arranged banked with flowers and evergreens, and fairly groaned beneath the burden of Thanksgiving turkeys, chickens and delicacies from the home and eastern markets. Promptly at one o'clock the generations were seated at the tables and the dinner was preceded with prayer by Mr. Van Tassel. He fervently thanked God for the noble sons and daughters that had been given them and in closing very touchingly referred to the devoted wife and mother to whom the family owe more than can be appreciated. The afternoon and evening were spent in delightful sociability. The day was a happy one for all, especially did the countenances of the father and mother glow with joy and pride; why should they not? There has never a death occurred in the history of the family, twenty-six children and grandchildren, and still the parents are in the prime of life and in vigorous health, the parents and older sons are vieing together in their youthful appearance. This remarkable family is a Girard family, they have resided here thirty-one years and all the children but three were born here. The community extends congratulations.
(Photo is undated - G. W., Manerva VT and extended family)
During his later years as a traveling salesman, George liked to engage in conversation with about anyone he met. Some of his road trips managed to appear in local newspapers:
September 6, 1899 – Argus and Patriot (Montpelier, Vermont)
G. W. Van Tassel, of Cleveland O. representing the Garry Iron and Steel Roofing company, has closed the contract with Ward & Douglas for the galvanized cornice work on the Langdon building. The cornice will be one of the finest in details to be found anywhere in New England. The company has placed considerable work in Vermont and has always been well spoken of.
September 6, 1899 – Argus and Patriot (Montpelier, Vermont)
NATURAL GAS IN MONTPELIER.
G. W. Van Tassell, of Cleveland, O., who is stopping in the city, thinks there is gas or oil in paying quantities in the neighborhood of Montpelier. Mr. Van Tassell is conversant with the gas and oil interests of Ohio and Pennsylvania, and declares that the surface indications point to the presence of both gas and oil.
In conversation with a reporter of the ARGUS AND PATRIOT last evening, Mr. Van Tassel said that the country about Montpelier reminded him very much of the Alleghany Valley, where gas and oil have been the making of the cities. He is enthusiastic on the question and says that when he returns here in November he will again look into the matter.
He says he saw a pool in the neighborhood of Dewey park coated over with an oily scum which is a sure indicator that there is gas in the ground. In the time of low water and extremely dry weather the gas percolates through the ground and rising under the water forms this crust.
He was surprised that the business men of Montpelier and Barre did not interest themselves sufficiently to secure the report of an expert and sink a test well. Should gas of sufficient quantity be found it would be the advent of a new era for the two towns, as well as the surrounding country. The high price of fuel alone, should, in Mr. Van Tassel’s opinion, be an incentive to the citizens to form a stock company to drill a test well. The cost of heating an ordinary residence, where gas is obtained, is about 50 cents per stove per month. Mr. Van Tassel states that the wells now supplying several houses in his city have been flowing steadily for about 23 years, and the pressure is fully as strong as when first opened. In addition, if the supply was found, all of the factories that require heat for power would find a reduction of expenses, making it much less that for water power.
October 28, 1899 – Watertown (NY) Daily Times
Carthage Man Who Was Worth a Quarter of a Million
WAS ONCE AN OIL MAGNATE
Transon Hammond Refused an Offer of $350,000 Just as the Bottom Dropped Out of His Wells.
Carthage, Oct. 24—It is a true saying that a man’s past history or future prospects cannot me even roughly estimated by present environment.
Transom Hammond, who resides in this village, is a bright, intelligent, well preserved man about 75 years old. For 30 years he has been a painter and in the winter has done odd jobs for a living. He is a brother of Erwin Hammond, of Utica, well known in Masonic circles, and an uncle of Henry Hammond, a popular conductor on the N. Y. O. railroad.
Recently an elderly gentleman, giving his name as George W. Van Tassel, of Erie, Pa., made inquiries of a chance acquaintance whom he met on the train, who happened to be from Carthage, if he knew Transon Hammond. Upon being answered in the affirmative, he told the following story in regard to Hammond.
In 1865 or, thereabouts Hammond’s brother, John Hammond, was mayor of Erie, Pa. Transon Hammond settled there and soon became interested in the oil business. He sank the first well in Erie which gave a large flow. The oil was shipped by canal, without being barreled, to Pittsburg, where it brought a large price per barrel. Hammond then sank over 20 wells which gave back a large profit. The company was known as the Hammond Oil Company. Transon’s check was then good for $350,000. A large farm was purchased by Hammond and more wells sank. A syndicate offered $350,000 for the wells and the farm. This was refused. In a little while the oil played out and nothing was left from the wreck but the valueless land.
Mr. Hammond, upon being interviewed and asked if he knew a man by the name of George W. Van Tassel, a hotel man, of Erie, Pa., with whom he boarded eight years, was delighted. After describing him he told exactly the same story as Mr. Van Tassel, whom he has not seen for years, even to every little detail.
After dwelling upon many a reminiscences of the oil boom, Transon laconically remarked:
“Oh, if I’d only known that the bottom would drop out of those wells and taken the $350,000 I would now had a box to hold my hat and been drinking cherry cobblers.”
July 18, 1900 - Argus and Patriot (Montpelier, Vermont)
Montpelier Mere Mention
G. W. Van Tassel, representing the Garry Iron and Steel Roofing company, of Cleveland, O., is stopping at the Montpelier house. The demand for the material manufactured by the firm has become so great in Vermont that Mr. Van Tassel is required to spend a large portion of his time in the State and while doing so makes this city his headquarters. He says it is just like coming home to get to Montpelier.
By 1904, George's sons had grown old enough and it presented George an opportunity to form his own dream team.
August 3, 1904 - Conneaut, Ohio - The advertising poster for the first game of the Van Tassel Brothers Base Ball Team:
BASE BALL EVENT OF THE 20th Century
The first appearance of the Van Tassel Ball Team, the only team of its kind in the world, composed of father and ten sons. G. W. Van Tassel, the father, will act as one of the umpires, and Mrs. Van Tassel and two sisters will be in attendance. This team is wanted at the St. Louis World's Fair as a special attraction, and Conneaut people are to be given the chance of seeing them upon their first public appearance.
|1. George A. Van Tassel. - center field, Ashtabula, O.
2. Seymour A. Van Tassel. - first base, Westfield, N. Y.
3. L. D. Van Tassel. - second base, Conneaut, O.
4. John G. Van Tassel. - catcher, Conneaut, O.
5 and 6. - Sisters of the players
7. J. M. Van Tassel. - right field, Greenville, Pa.
8. William C. Van Tassel. - third base, Ashtabula, O.
|9. Charles Van Tassel. - pitcher, Girard, Pa.
10. Grover Van Tassel. - short stop, Conneaut, O.
11. Paul E. Van Tassel. - left field, Conneaut, O.
12. Avery Van Tassel. - mascot, Girard, Pa.
13. Mrs. Geo. W. Van Tassel - mother of the players, Girard Pa.
14. George W. Van Tassel. - umpire and father of the players, Girard. Pa.
|A big crowd is expected, as the members of the Van Tassel Team are all business men located in surrounding cities and have a wide acquaintance.|
October 11, 1905 - THE SYRACUSE (N. Y.) JOURNAL
THE CENTER PICTURE IN THE UPPER LINE IS GEORGE W. VAN TASSEL, FATHER OF THE TEN YOUNG MEN SHOWN IN THE GROUP.
A baseball team that is absolutely unique has been contributed to the diamond by George W. Van Tassel, of Girard, Pa. The team is made up entirely of Mr. Van Tassel's sons. Mr. Van Tassel is the father of 21 [sic.] children, all of whom are living. There are 10 boys in the family, the oldest being 38, and the youngest, the one shown recumbent in the picture, is 15. It was natural, with 10 boys in the family, to organize a baseball team, and the result has been a club that puts up a pretty scrappy fight on the diamond. The team has a number of victories to its credit this season.
1906 - The big umpire in the sky calls George out at home:
August 8, 1906 - Girard Cosmopolite
George W. Van Tassel--George W. Van Tassel, the son of Abraham Van Tassel, was born in Erie Pa., December 1, 1845 and died at his home in Girard, August 2, 1906. He was the youngest of a family of twelve children, ten boys and two girls.
He was united in marriage to Miss Manerva Miller, of Erie, July 30, 1865. He was the father of twelve children, ten sons and two daughters, a family that is the exact parallel of Mr. Van Tassel's father's family. All of the children together with his wife and four of his brothers survive him.
Mr. Van Tassel spent most of his married life in Girard, having moved here 36 years ago. For the past 15 years he was an efficient travelling salesman for the Gary Iron & Steel Co. He was one of Girard's most progressive and energetic citizens. He was much interersted in it's welfare and beautification. He was an obliging neighbor, a kind, devoted husband, and of late years a very devoted member of the Methodist Episcopal church, being found at all its means and grace. He was loved by the membership at large, and was an especial favorite in the Epworth League and Sunday school. His Sunday school class of young girls, in which he was so deeply interested, attended his funeral in a body.
The funeral services were held at the home Saturday, August 4th at 3 o'clock. It was conducted by his pastor J. C. A. Borland, assisted by Rev. B. A. Gloader of Mayville, N.Y., an old friend and pastor. The services were very simple but most impressive. A very deep feeling of sorrow and sympathy pervaded the entire service. Many kind friends and neighbors followed the body to its last resting place in Girard Cemetery. Six of the sons, Seymour, Levi, Jefferson, John, William and Charles acted as bearers.
The funeral was heavily attended, the following relatives and friends being present from out of town: George A. Van Tassel, wife and two children; Seymour A. Van Tassel, wife and two children, Westfield, N. Y., Levi Douglas Van Tassel and wife, Ashtabula; John G. Van Tassel, wife and three children, Conneaut; Mrs. J. Ely and daughter, Madison, Ohio; Mr. and Mrs. S. W. Beatty and two children, Kaylor, Pa; J. M. Van Tassel, Elyria, Ohio; Wm. Van Tassel, Ashtabula; Charles L. Van Tassel, Elyria; Grover C. Van Tassel and wife, Ashtabula; Paul R. Van Tassel, Girard; Avery T. Van Tassel, Ashtabula; Mrs. A. T. Van Tassel, Cleveland; Dan Wendell, Edinboro; Ida Beckwith, Mooreheadville; Mrs. Leslie Hopkins, North Girard, Mrs. Alice Bowen, Erie; James Blake, Conneaut; Chas. Bigsby of Gary Iron & Steel Co., Cleveland; Miss Elsie Hagenburger, Mentor; Rev. Gloader, Mayville, N.Y.
An unidentified Erie Newspaper reported G. W.'s death as follows:
G. W. VAN TASSEL DEAD.
George W. Van Tassel died at his home at Girard Thursday, of apoplexy. Deceased was about 60 years old and resided in Girard for many years. During the past year of his life he was a valued employee of the Garry Iron & Steel eompany, of Cleveland, O., traveling over a large territory in their interest. He won fame two years ago by having a ball team organized out of his own family circle, having twelve children, ten boys and two girls, and wherever they appeared they won hearty applause. He leaves besides his wife and twelve children, several grand children to mourn his untimely death.
The August 3, 1906 edition of the Buffalo (NY) Express reported:
OLD PLAYER DEAD.
George W. Van Tassell was one of a famous Family of Balltossers.
Special to the Buffalo Express.
Ashtabula, O. Aug. 2--George W. Van Tassell, a prominent traveling salesman, died at Girard, Pa, today aged 60 years. The widow, ten sons and two daughters survive, his being the first death in the family.
Nine of his sons compose the famous Van Tassell brothers' baseball team, of which deceased was umpire and the youngest son the mascot. Six of the sons reside in Ashtabula.
Children of George Washington Van Tassel and Manerva Miller are:
1. George Adelbert Van Tassel.
Born: October 28, 1866*1 .
Died: August 12, 1944*1 .
Married: Elizabeth Worsley, February 12, 1889*1 .
Notes for George Adelbert Van Tassel: "Dell," like his father, was a tinner by trade. He is listed in the 1900 U.S. Census living in Allegheny County, Carnegie Twp. Living in the household are: wife Elizabeth, b. Apr. 1871, son Lawrence S. b. 1890, daughter Marjory T. b. 1894.
By the time of the first game of the Van Tassel brothers' base ball game, he was living in Ashtabula, Ohio. Later he removed to Tiffin, Ohio.
2. Seymour Abram Van Tassel.
Born: September 11, 1868*1 .
Died: April 11, 1952*1 .
Married: Emma Struchen, November 28, 1890*1 .
Notes for Seymour van Tassel: Seymour Abram received his middle name in honor of his paternal grandfather, Abram Van Tassel. Seymour and family resided in Westfield NY where he was described in a local newspaper as "a friendly man well liked by everyone." He owned and operated a tin shop over the Waite Hardware Store. Pictured is Seymour's advertising postcard for his business, proclaiming: "S. A. Van Tassel, Tin, Steel and Slate Roofing, Furnaces. All work guaranteed. We will make of you a Satisfied Customer. Westfield N. Y. " Seymour is buried in Westfield.
3. Levi Douglas Van Tassel.
Born: June 29, 1870*1 , Girard, Erie Co. Pa.
Died: January 02, 1956*1 , Alvin, Texas.
Married: Alice Maude Miller, April 27, 1892*1 .
Notes for Levi Douglas Van Tassel:
The Socialist Party of Ashtabula nominated L. D. Van Tassel for Mayor and W. E. Boynton for Vice Mayor. The Socialist Party did not nominate a person by petition or a primary like the Democratic or Republican Party but hand picked their candidates.--The Twentieth Century of Ashtabula 1909, Part 3, by Darrell E. Hamilton.
"Lee" was a schoolteacher in Alvin Texas where he resided until his death. They had no children. He is buried in the Forest Park Cemetery in Houston.
4. John Gulliford Van Tassel.
Born: March 24, 1872*1 .
Died: September 04, 1951*1 .
Married: Lulu M. Blake November 02, 1894*1 .
Notes for John Gulliford: John was also a tinner by trade. In the 1920 US Census, John, age 48, was listed as living in Ashtabula, Ohio with wife Lulu 46, daughter Virginia 15, son Douglas 23, daughter-in-law Emma 20, and his mother Minerva Miller Van Tassel 74. Pictured is John's son Douglas, 3rd generation tinner, in front of his tin shop on South Main St. in Ashtabula, Ohio.
5. Minerva Jane Van Tassel.
Born: October 03, 1874.*1
Died: December 12, 1965.*1
Married: (1) Jacob Ely, December 22, 1896*1 (2) Theodore Busher.
6. Agnes Tracy Van Tassel
Born: April 01, 1876.*1
Died: February 22, 1964.*1
Married: . (1) Stoddard N. Beatty (b 23 May, 1873 Greenville, Pa.- died Jan 6, 1929, buried in Girard, Pa)*2. July 15, 1896 at Conneaut, Ohio by Rev. Kuntz (2) William Wirtz of Erie Pa.
Born: July 23, 1878, Girard, Erie Co. Pa*1 .
Died: March 21, 1973, Worcester, Mass.*1
8. William Lawrence Scott Van Tassel.
Born: January 31, 1880. *1
Died: December 13. 1952.*1
Married. (1) Virginia Fox, January 27, 1904. (2) Florence Leonard,
June 21, 1919.*1
A very quiet wedding was solemnized at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Ira Leonard of Lenox Saturday, June 21, 1919, by Rev. J. A. Goodrich, when Miss Florence M. Leonard of Lenox, O., was united in marriage to William L. Van Tassell of Ashtabula, O.
The bride wore a beautiful dress of messaline and crepe de chine and carried a corsage of pink roses and ferns. The bride received many beautiful gifts. After the ceremony light refreshments were served. Only the near relatives were present. --The Jefferson Gazette, Ashtabula County Thursday, July 3, 1919
Notes for William Lawrence Scott Van Tassel: "Will" was also a tinner and resided in Ashtabula, Ashtabula Co., Ohio. He and his 2nd wife Florence are pictured here.
9. Charles Leslie Van Tassel.
Born: August 26, 1881.*1
Died: September 20, 1949.*1
Married: Gertrude Kreider, August 31, 1906.*1
Notes for Charles Leslie Van Tassel: "Charlie" lived his entire life in Girard, Erie Co., Pa. He is buried in the Girard Cemetery. Charles' son, Jack Van Tassel, was a member of the 1947 Girard, Pa. championship football team.
10. Grover Cleveland Van Tassel.
Born: September 06, 1884.*1
Died: December 18, 1964.*1
Married: Clara Huntley, May 29, 1905.*1
11. Paul Russel Van Tassel.
Born: December 26, 1886, Girard, Erie Co. Pa.*1
Died: March 12, 1919, Jefferson, Ashtabula Co., Ohio.*1
Married: Myrtle A. Payne, (b. 1888, d. 1960) December 12, 1906.*1
Notes for Paul Russel Van Tassel: As a young man Paul opened a tin shop in Girard, Pa. Later he moved to Ashtabula, Ohio.
The Great Influenza Pandemic of 1918-1919, that counted 20-40 million victims worldwide, strikes the Van Tassel family:
*PAUL VAN TASSEL DIED AT HIS HOME WEDNESDAY MORNING
Was One of Large Family of Boys Who Had Family Base Ball Team
Paul M. VanTassell, one of the younger business men of the village, died Wednesday morning at 6 o'clock at his home on north Chestnut street from pneumonia and flu. He was taken ill last week while on his way to Cleveland.
The deceased was born in Girard, Pa., a little over 32 years ago and was one of a large family of boys. A few years ago his father organized the Van Tassell base ball team with himself and boys as the players, one of the most unique base ball organizations in the United States.
Mr. VanTassell has been a plumber and tinner for many years and was an active and hard working man.
He is survived by his wife and four small boys.
The funeral will be private at the home on Friday afternoon at 2 p.m. with Rev. J. A. Goodrich pastor, J. M. Miller, director.
*The Jefferson Gazette, Ashtabula County, Ohio; Thursday, March 13, 1919
Both Paul and Myrtle A. (nee Payne, Van Tassel, Hartwell) are buried in Oakdale Cemetery, Ashtabula Co. Ohio.
For information on Paul's son, see: George Van Tassel 1910-1978.
12. Avery Tracy Van Tassel.
Born: October 09, 1888.
Died: May 01, 1968.
Married: (1) Amelia Smith, November 26, 1919.
Here's where my Darling lies
So sound asleep
That I were beside her
So not to weep.
I loved her greater than any love
She was so sweet
Now the earth is heaped upon her
I can not sleep
Her life to me was happiness complete
For so short a time
While June was fair
She failed to wake.
And I am in a tomb as dark as her
Mine a living pain and despair
My Darling is at peace I am sure
How can I live and endure??????
Married: (2) Irene Beard, April 05, 1936.
Notes for Avery Tracy Van Tassel: Avery was the youngest of the twelve children and was the mascot on the Van Tassel family baseball team. He was a salesman by trade as well as poet and songwriter. It was said there wasn't much he couldn't do, and do it well. He and his second wife Irene, owned and managed beautiful "Edgewater on St. Lucie" apartments in Stuart, Fla. (pictured here).
*Much thanks goes to the late Avery Dale VT, grandson, and Mrs. Kathy Weisman, great-grandaughter of George and Manerva VT, for their contributions to this page.
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