Most of these articles were published in the late 19th and early 20 century in local histories. If you run across any that are not included below, please consider typing it up and contributing it to the web site. *Note: Although a valuable source, these histories are less accurate as subjects recount more than one or two previous generations.
Lewis Van Tassel
Lewis Van Tassel was born in New York, August 1, 1827. His parents were Cornelius and Beulah (Hudson) Van Tassel, natives of New York and Vermont, respectively. By trade he was a carpenter, and built the first frame house ever erected in Syracuse.
In 1835 he moved to LaPorte County, Indiana, where he farmed till his death, which occurred in 1859. They had in all, twelve children. The subject of this sketch attended school only six weeks. In 1849 he crossed the plains to California with oxen, by the northern route. He arrived in Placerville after a tedious and tiresome journey. At Cold Springs, Eldorado County, he mined and traded for two years. He it was that made the first "rocker" in this country.
In 1853 he came to Tulare County; the first year he labored by day's work. In the fall of 1853 he was elected Constable. After this he served out the unexpired term of O. K. Smith, as Sheriff of the County. In 1857 he went to Tehama County and was married to America Ann Forsee, a native of Indiana. In 1863 he came back to Visalia, and was elected Justice of the Peace, in which capacity he served eight years. He was on the first Grand Jury in Tulare County. Mr. Van Tassel is one of the pioneers of this County. He took up 160 acres of government land fourteen miles north of Visalia, the deed to which was made by General Grant. He has been an extensive stock man, and owns valuable town property in the city of Visalia. His farm which has been devoted to grazing will henceforth be devoted to vineyard.
Mr. Van Tassel lost his first wife in 1862, and in 1872 he married Mrs. Elizabeth Fraus. They have two daughters-Martha E., wife of A. J. Archer, and Jessie Jane.
Politically he is an enthusiastic and intelligent supporter of the Democratic party. He has been a hard worker and a good citizen, and in his old days is enjoying the fruits of his labors.
A Memorial and biographical history of the counties of Fresno, Tulare and
Kern, California : containing a history of this important section of the Pacific
coast from the earliest period of its occupancy to the present time, together
with glimpses of its prospective future, with profuse illustrations of its beautiful
scenery, full-page portraits of some of its most eminent men, and biographical
mention of many of its pioneers, and also of prominent citizens to-day.
Chicago: Lewis Pub. Co., 1891?, pgs. 705-706
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