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"A Pedigree Partly Indian, Partly Batavian"

    Van Tassel Biographical Sketches

Hiram Van Tassel

The early settlers of the West and Northwest of this country have been for the most part, men who were born to poverty and privation and who learned early in life the lessons of self-denial and self-reliance, and by taking care of themselves acquired readiness in emergencies and resourcefulness under all circumstances. To this type belongs Hiram Van Tassel, an influential citizen of Routt County, conducting a large and profitable ranching and cattle industry five miles east of Craig.

Mr. Van Tassel was born on March 15, 1859, in Antrim county, Michigan, and is the son of Andrew and Adeline Van Tassel, the father a native of Pennsylvania and the mother of England. They became residents of Michigan in early days and in that state they passed the remainder of their lives, the mother dying in 1859 and the father on January 20, 1890. The father was a gunsmith and carpenter, and working at these crafts he achieved a gratifying success. He was a Democrat in political faith and an Odd Fellow in fraternal relations. Five children were born in the family, only two whom are living--Hiram and his older brother Charles.

Hiram was obliged to look out for himself at an early age and consequently his opportunities for education at the schools were very limited. Until he reached the age of twenty years he was variously employed in Michigan, Pennsylvania and Illinois. In 1879 he became a resident of Colorado, and, locating at Lake City, he furnished supplies for the John J. Crook mines under contract, continuing in the business until he "went broke" at it in 1881. He then turned his attention to raising cattle near the boundary line between Gunnison and Saguache counties, and remained there so occupied until September, 1903.

He then sold the ranch of one thousand acres which he had acquired, getting a good price for it, and moved to the one he now occupies, which he bought. It comprises three hundred and sixty acres and he has one hundred and fifty acres in a good state of fertility and productiveness, raising hay, grain, small fruits and vegetables in abundance, but finding cattle and hay his most prolific and profitable products.

He is an enterprising and progressive citizen, and shows an earnest interest in every phase of the development and growth of his community. Fraternally he belongs to the Woodmen of the World, and politically he is independent. Mr. Van Tassel was married on February 3, 1887, to Miss Lydia J. Lovell, a native of Will county, Illinois, born on January 4, 1860. They have had four children, of whom one daughter named Pearl died on April 3, 1896, and Olive F., Earl A. and Blanche P. are living.

In his long life in this state, Mr. Van Tassel has had many trials, endured many hardships and taken part in many thrilling incidents. He witnessed the capture of Packer, the noted cannibal, and helped to build the scaffold on which he was to have been hanged. He also witnessed the hanging of Betts and Downing, two notorious outlaws. The last words of Downing were "Give me a chew of tobacco." While at work at the smelter Mr. Van Tassel also witnessed the shooting of his partner, George Young.

Moffat County, Colorado Progressive Men of Western Colorado- Copyright 1905


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