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Captain VanZandt

Captain VanZandt was a colorful character to say the least. He is my 4th great-grandfather, a veteran of two wars, and from a sturdier stock of human than we see today; a true early American. Read his full interview below - scroll down.

Captain James Rollins VanZandt


One day, I was pursuing online books about Missouri, her pioneers and their stories. Lo and behold... the first book I click on opens with an interview with my 4th great-grandfather Captain VanZandt!

You can't imagine how many pages of census records I checked to make sure it is the same person. I nearly convinced myself it just couldn't be that easy. Hahaha!

But sometimes you stumble onto these incredible finds. I never dreamed of such an illustration of his personality. I'm on the proverbial genealogical cloud 9 right now!

Published in 1915, only a handful of years before Captain VanZandt dies in 1920, a Mr. Eli Hoenshel decides to gather stories of and from the area's oldest citizens to write a sort of personal account of Missouri history for future communities. He felt compelled to record the stories of these early American pioneers, and I for one am so thankful he did.

These stories and interviews were published in the White River Leader, a local newspaper that later merged with other papers in the area. It is reported that there are more such stories in the White River Leader (which I'm happy to help you research on my Newspapers.com account, click here for a list of services).

Interview with Captain VanZandt

"Veteran of Mexican War"

Tip: Zoom in for better reading or click here to view in your internet browser.


Hoenshel, E. J. and Hoenshel, L. S., Stories of the Pioneers : incidents, adventures and reminiscences as told by some of the old settlers of Taney County, Missouri, 1915 (Reprinted by Mr. Ben A. Parnell, Chairman of the Board of the Peoples Bank and Trust Company of Branson, Missouri: The School of the Ozarks Press, 1975), 72 p. [mch000083]. Digitized by Missouri State Library in 2008 at http://cdm16795.contentdm.oclc.org/cdm/compoundobject/collection/mocohist/id/9100/rec/112 (accessed on 4/27/2018). ComContact Missouri State Library at (573) 751-3615 or libref@sos.mo.gov.ment.


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Member of Association of Professional Genealogists,

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Oklahoma Genealogical Society,

International Society of Genetic Genealogy, and 

Boston University Genealogy Studies Program alumni.

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