Volume 6, Number 11, Spring 1979
Dear Captain James R. VanZandt:
Were going to have a Reunion!
The VanZandts are comin' home! You know, Sir, youve got a passel of youngins out there, and they are coming to Missouri in October. I cant think of a finer month to come to the hills.
Youll be happy to know your youngest girl, Missouri Ann, and one of Toms twins, Edna, will be here. Actually out of Toms family, Daisy, left you the most Great, great grandchildren. Probably all hers and theirs will be here. She is the only one of Toms kids that stayed around Taney County. She married Higdon Melton---you remember Ernests only girl, Mayno will most likely be here--all the way from California. Gladys--she married Vancleff--lost her girl, Mary, and I think Pete and Bud are somewhere in California. The other twin, Jessie, had one boy, Eddie Banghart, and Glendle managed one boy to carry on the VanZandt name. I knew youd like that.
But lawsey, Captain, they are coming from all over. Your son Bill--he had a fine farm in Oklahoma, and he left a bunch of VanZandts out there. Some of them have been going to the family reunion for a number of years, but now that the meeting is in Missouri, theyll sure be here!
And Arizonas got over sixteen different ones listed in the telephone book in Phoenix alone. I dont know whether they come from Lige or Alfred or John. They all went west and we kinda lost track of them. I know a Joel VanZandt in Phoenix hasnt missed a reunion yet, and theyve been going on for thirteen years. But, California and Washington and Oregon all have VanZandts.
I guess us hill VanZandts cant feel too stuck up though, there are really two lines of VanZandts in the U.S.A., one is from Adam Wensel, who came to this land from the Netherlands, and Garret Stoffels, who settled in Pennsylvania about 1651. That last one is your patriarch. But those two boys were probably some kin.
Texas is roundin up their VanZandts, but that isnt hard cause they had the reunion last year and they busted their seams-- had almost 200 from 13 states! And believe me, they are rearin to ride to the round-up here in Missouri.
Then there will be a bunch of Moores from your Delilah. Yes, I know Delilah married a Brazeal, but her Mattye married a Moore, and some of them will be here with a lot of little ones--some of your great, great, greats. Just got a letter today from your Grandson, Charles A. Moore from down here at Blue Eye, talking about his bunch--well, he wasnt exactly braggin, but you could hear the pride underneath. Then theres Maxine Evans right over here at Forsyth, she comes from that side.
And Tennessees Granddaughter, Marylene Gilmore, lives right over here in Kissee Mills. Shell for sure show up. Shes been awful busy passing the word about the reunion. She cant seem to find where your namesake, James R. settled down. But now, shell find them--dont you worry. That gals got a nose like a Laborador Retriever.
Your youngest boy, George, he was the merchant over here in Branson for years. His son Bobs grandchildren are notifying them that went to LA.
And the youngest girl of yours and Martha Sullens--named Martha, of course, Why, that Mattie had a heart as big as a bucket--she married (William Campbell* Gibson) --course you knew that--but they took a little tyke of a thirteen year-old girl and raised her right along with their son Lee and their daughter Henrietta. When she was just past two her whole family died in a terrible epidemic. The Jess Tannehills took her--when they died, she came to Matt and "Billy Gibsons to live.
Listen Captain, she lives on a farm right next to yours, and she loves that old VanZandt house-place, and tends the cemetery in the kindliest way. Shell be here, and her two lovely daughters-- just as sure as they are true VanZandts. The Henriettas son Henry Jr., named for his dad, Henry Redmond Awbrey, is bound to remember hes a VanZandt.
Then theres Larry Melton, son of Hig and Daisys son Jr. Hes in the neighborhood. But they dont have to be in the neighborhood--I just bet his Pa flys all the way from California. I know for sure Maxine is flying in, and Tom from St. Louis, and Edwin from California and Paul from Kansas City.
But I guess your little Missouri* Ann will be the Star! She and Toms Twins are the same age. They played together and they giggled about a lot of things, but the funniest thing to them was 5-year old Edna calling 5-year old Ann, aunt". Must have been a sight to see the grown men of the family leaning over the cradle, chuckin her under the chin and calling her "Aunt Muggins".
Well so long Captain, and dont worry. Well put on a good show for you.
Your lovin great grand-daughter,
Copyright Ó White River Valley Historical Quarterly
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