Dear Hazel Linn, I hope you'll allow me to call you on first name basis. I think I must have heard Grandad- Noah VanDorn- mention you many times. I surely remember him mentioning some Rickle. I have some old letters of Myron Beach VanDorn's and I did find that evidently Myron's sister Patty (Martha) married a Rickle. I have two letters dictated by Esther Newberry VanDorn. Either a WW Shafer or a WE Shaefer wrote the letters for her. (These letters were from Ohio.) Nelson and Freedom remained in Ohio. Through Iva Nelson, I have made contact with a grandson of Nelson VanDorn- a brother to Myron B. VanDorn. The grandson's wife tells me that she has been in contact with Freedom VanDorn's descendants as well. All of that generation is gone in Indiana. Edna Bruner was the last of the VanDorn cousins. I wrote a note to Steven, Dan Bruner and John Underhill this morning. I told them that her loses were enough to kill her. She lost her husband and her children. I would like to have a photo copy of all genealogical material in the VanDorn Bible but do not want to ask John Underhill for that at this time. When they go over the pictures- if possible I wish you and your daughter-in-law could be there and perhaps you could help identify some of the people. I would know my Grandad in any picture from a boy on down to his death, I loved him so dearly. He was my only grandparent. Grandmother VanDorn (Kate Kern) died in June of 1923. I was born in May of 1923. My brother and sister knew and loved her but I missed out on all of that. Edna Mahoney has been so kind in writing letters giving me info on the VanDorns. She (or rather her Grandfather, Peter A. Blue) lived by Myron B. VanDorn. I believe the farms were across the road from each other. I have county and township maps but haven't reviewed them lately. I plan to read and put on cassette all of the old letter I have from Ohio and also to try to get duplicates or copies of them. I also plan to copy our photograph of Elizabeth Alexander Warren and give the original to your daughter-in-law Dorothy. I do not have any pictures of Edna but hope to find one in the boy's photographs that I can copy. I like to have a photograph album along with my genealogical work. My second cousin Jim Kern of Colorado sure appreciated the picture of his father, Charles Kern. There are some errors that should be corrected in the info that I sent to Edna Bruner. I wrote for a few years to a Wilson VanDorn Ledley of New Hampshire. He completely discounted the story in the VanDoorn book by Abraham VanDorn Honeyman concerning the Cornelius Lambertzee who supposedly came to Long Island New York. He thought the first Doorn was a Diedlofzen (son of Diedlof). In his family eventually the surname Doorn was added to the patronymic name. Wilson V. Ledley died last year and I had not written to him since 1974 when my brother became ill. While we were corresponding though- I purchased two copies of the history that he had started on our family. I gave one to Iva Nelson and I have the other copy. His work was never published to my knowledge. I'm certain he would have written to me had he done so. In this partial manuscript he gives his views on the origin of our Doorns. He felt that they could have been German. I have some theories on the early origins of the family and I believe that they possibly originated in Holstein- a section between Denmark and Germany where the Saxons came from. The migration from Holstein would have been to Northern Germany or Northern Netherlands. There's a small town O'Doorn in Drenthe province of the Netherlands. Doorn of course means 'thorn' both in Dutch and German language. (I think the Germans spell it Dorn and the Dutch spell it Doorn.) I like to study the history of the probable country and then make up a theory of origin and try to prove or disprove the theory. The northern part of Germany and the Netherlands makes up a moorland or wasteland. This land like much of the Scottish Highlands would have growth of heathe and thistles thus the Doorn or thorns. Scotlands flower is the thistle. Myron B. VanDorn told Aunt Vesta that he was English and Irish. Now all of the VanDorns or Doorne married English or Irish wives down to Esther Newberry. The language of the Northern Netherlands would be more closely related to the various ancient languages of Britain than it is to the German or Dutch language. The people of the point farthest North in Germany and Netherlands are called Frisians and I have read that their language could be understood by some of the people in Great Britain. Mother's family came from Scotland- probably the highlands. The Sarbers were probably Danish. Of all of my related families I know the origin of only one - the Kerns. Charles Kern visited Colmar in Alsaac France after WWI to get letters to bring back to his Grandfather Kern (my Ggrandfather.) I hope to sometime to be able to tell the actual starting place of the ancestors that came to America in the Blue line, the VanDorn, Teel line, Sarbers, etc. If you know who has the Teel Bible I would like to see that sometime. I don't know if Goldie Kessler would know about that or not. Oliver told me where it was at one time and I failed to record the info so I have forgotten. Hope this letter doesn't confuse you too much! Ha! I admire you for collecting these pictures and trying to get family pictures to the family. Jim Kerns aunt who Dad called Frankie (Francis) Tucker died and I imagine some pictures were sold in her estate. I don't believe she had any children living at the time. One of Dad's cousins, Margaret O'Blennis was put in a nursing home in Logansport and I imagine her niece sold the family pictures of the Kerns. It disgusts me for people to be so cruel to an older person. They take their memories away from them when they need them most. Perhaps when I come to Mentone again, I will have the picture to give to your daughter-in-law. Best Regards, Helen Esther VanDorn P.S. I heard about you folks from Elaine Fugate. She was here in Indianapolis this past Sunday. She also mentioned a Herbert L. Swartz of South Bend who wanted some VanDorn history. I wouldn't know who that was. Are the Wayne Graffs still living in Warsaw? I have the address of 708 South Union St. I got this from a 60th Wedding Invitation in honor of Charles and Elizabeth Warren. I believe Dad was quite ill at the time. I found it in his papers. I photographed the tombstones of Charles and Elizabeth when I last visited the Palestine Cemetery. The flowers looked so lovely by the stone. I also photographed Earl Bruner's gravestone. I keep these photos in a book for reference to dates. Would any of you know where Lafayette VanDorn and Hiram VanDorn were buried? I hope to get more time to look at Mentone or Palestine for the graves.
Note from submitter:
I know the letter was long but I hope you found some of it interesting. I wish I could find this lady because I think she has a pile of information! I wrote a letter to the address on the envelope but it came back unopened. I have put it on the Kosciusko Co. discussion group web site to see if the names strike a bell with anyone. Most of the people she talks about are William VanDorn's children or their descendants. I have been through the trunk where my Grandmother (Dorothy) kept all of the family stuff and there's nothing on the VanDorns. This lady was helping her replace pictures because in 1965, my grandparent's house was blown away in the Palm Sunday tornado and they lost everything. My great-grandparents, Charles and Elizabeth Warren, lived behind them and were killed in the tornado. Please contact me with any possible leads. Thanks, Kathy
Submitted by: Tim & Kate Gavin