William Van Hooser, whose upright life causes his memory to be cherished by all who knew him, was born in Madison county, Illinois, October 1, 1816, his parents being Abraham and Nancy (Howard) Van Hooser, who were pioneer settlers of Madison county. The father was a farmer by occupation and owned land near Collinsville, where he resided for many years, his death occurring on the homestead farm there. In the family were twelve children, seven sons and five daughters, of whom William Van Hooser was the fourth in order of birth and he was the last survivor of the family.

In the district schools, such as were common at that period, William Van Hooser acquired his education. The little temple of learning was a log structure and the methods of instruction were equally primitive. He, however, had the privilege of attending not more than three months in the year, but he made good use of his opportunities during that time. The remainder of the year was devoted to farm work, and he early became familiar with the duties and labors that fall to the lot of the agriculturist. His father gave him a farm in Madison county of eighty acres, which he sold in December, 1859, and then removed to the vicinity of Staunton Station, where he resided for sixteen years. He also lived for two years near Troy, Illinois, and on taking up his abode near Nokomis he purchased eighty acres of land. He eventually moved to Nokomis, where occurred his death in 1894. He successfully conducted his agricultural interests, placing his land under a high state of cultivation, and when invention brought upon the market new and improved machinery he purchased the better farm implements and thus facilitated his work. He was a man of progressive spirit and everything about his place was neat and thrifty in appearance.

On the 2d of February, 1840, Mr. Van Hooser was married to Miss Jane Hawks, a daughter of Drury and Mary Hawks. Mrs. Van Hooser was born in Grayson county, Virginia, was taken in early childhood to eastern Tennessee, and when quite young came with her widowed mother to Illinois, arriving in 1838, at which time the family home was established near Troy, in Madison county. There her mother died in 1854. Unto Mr. and Mrs. Van Hooser were born two children: Martha Jane, who died at the age of three months; and Mary, who died at the age of twenty years. She was married when nineteen years of age to Isaac Wilson, who now resides near Nokomis. There was one daughter by this marriage, Martha J., now deceased.

In his political views Mr. Van Hooser was a stanch Republican from the time of the organization of the party until his death. He was a member of the Christian church and for more than sixty years was a representative of its ministry. He put forth every effort in his power to advance the cause of Christianity and upbuild his church in his locality, and his influence was widely felt. A kindly spirit and sympathetic nature had endeared him to all with whom he came in contact, and his memory is cherished by those who knew him. He died in the year 1894 and his remains were interred in Nokomis cemetery. Mrs. Van Hooser still survives her husband. He sold the farm before his death, and his widow is living in Nokomis, occupying a pleasant home, and by reason of his industry she was left in comfortable financial circumstances. She has been a devoted member of the Christian church for sixty-four years and her Christian life furnishes an example that is indeed well worthy of emulation.

Extracted 11 Apr 2020 by Norma Hass from 1904 Past and Present of Montgomery County, Illinois, by Jacob L. Traylor, pages 43-44.

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