Section D, lot 5
Benjamin F. VanMeter, Genealogies and Biographical Sketches, pp. 133-35: "John Milton, ninth son and youngest child of Isaac Van Meter and his wife, Rebecca, was born June 21, 1842; graduated at Center College, Danville, Kentucky; enlisted in the Southern Army in 1862, and served to the close of the war in Captain Nicholas' company of Colonel Cluke's regiment of General Morgan's command; was surrendered by Morgan and Cluke, and taken prisoner on the famous Ohio raid, and remained in prison eighteen months.
"After the close of the war he married Alice Yerkes, of Danville, Kentucky, in March, 1866, and has four daughters, viz: Amanda Yerkes, Susan Allan, Elizabeth S., and Alice.
"After the war he also graduated in law, and practiced for a few years in Lexington, Kentucky, but soon returned to his farm and followed that occupation since. For more than ten years he lived on a fine farm in Woodford County, Kentucky, but has since and to the present time resided on a farm three miles from Danville, in Boyle County, Kentucky. Is a prominent farmer and a useful and efficient elder of the Presbyterian Church.
"John M. Van Meter enlisted in the Confederate Army when Generals Bragg and Kirby Smith invaded Kentucky in 1862, in Company E, Eighth Kentucky Cavalry. His first service was in Eastern Kentucky with General John H. Morgan, trying to prevent the escape of Federal General George Morgan from Cumberland Gap to Ohio, hoping to co-operate with General John S. Williams' command in its advance from West Virginia for the same purpose, but General George Morgan eluded both armies through the mountains and made his escape to Ohio. General John Morgan's command then returned to Central Kentucky, and a day or two after the Perryville battle it skirmished with the advance guard of General Buell on the Clark farm, near Danville, Kentucky, but finally after maneuvering on the flank and rear of the Federal Army, Morgan's command fell back through Cumberland Gap into East Tennessee; thence through Kingston and over the mountains to Murfreesboro into Middle Tennessee, and made a brilliant fight at Hartsville, where Morgan with 1,100 men surprised and captured 2,400 Federals.
"The next important move was the Christmas raid of General Morgan on the Louisville & Nashville Railway into Kentucky, when the road was torn up as far as to Elizabethtown. Then after falling back into Tennessee, John M. Van Meter went with his regiment, detached and under command of Colonel R. S. Cluke, and made a raid into Central and Eastern Kentucky, thus returning for the first time to his home and native county and giving a great surprise to friend and foe. Colonel Cluke made a very successful raid, taking many more Federal prisoners than he commanded of Confederates, with immense quantity of army stores, wagons, mules, etc. He could only parole the soldiers, burn the stores and wagons, and take the drove of mules and horses out with him. This was in the months of January and February, 1863, and he finally fell back to Monticello with very few casualties, but with very hard, laborious marching, and plenty of excitement to prevent any despondency or lack of courage.
"The next movement of importance was the Ohio raid in July, 1863, and that was almost a continuous daily skirmish from the time he crossed the Tennessee line into Kentucky until General Morgan surrendered in Ohio, up near the Pennsylvania line. John M. Van Meter surrendered on the last day of that raid with Colonel Cluke and General Morgan; was kept in prisons Camp Chase and Camp Douglas until 1865, more than eighteen months, when finally he was paroled, sent around for exchange to Richmond, Virginia; was never exchanged, but was near Appomattox when General Lee surrendered. They were to have been declared exchanged at a certain time, and had promised to not take up arms until they were exchanged, but before the time arrived General Lee surrendered.
"J. M. Van Meter relates thus: During this interval our command, just from prison, was sent up on the railroad between Lynchburg and Abingdon to be fed wherever we could get persons to keep us. We remained for a few weeks at Salem, Virginia, but after the surrender at Appomattox I left with five or six others to go toward the Mississippi River, and on this trip we spent the night near Doublin Station, in Pulaski County, Virginia, at the home of Mr. Alexander Mathews, who was away from home with his only son. During the conversation with the family, Mrs. Mathews learned that I was a son of Rebecca Cunningham, who had been a special friend and perhaps a schoolmate in former years. So, when we left next morning she called me back, after the others had gotten beyond ear-shot, and gave me $11.00 in silver and gold.
"Elias Campbell, Jessie Spencer, John "Street" Van Meter, a young Smith, and a young Veal, and perhaps a few others, whose names I do not recall, were in our party. We came to Knoxville, Tennessee, where we were arrested and required to take the oath of allegiance to the Federal Government. We were kept in camp there for a few days, and during that time I determined to see if I could not get some money from home through the banks. I saw the cashier of a national bank there, and he agreed to cash my check for $1,000.00, with $25.00 discount, if I would have $1,000.00 put to my credit in the bank of D. A. Sayre & Co., in Lexington, Kentucky, by wire. I. C. Van Meter put the money there with very little delay, and I gave the national bank in Knoxville my check for $1,000.00, and he paid me $975.00 in greenbacks. I reserved enough to get me home comfortably, and divided the balance among the boys, giving each one only what was really needed to get him home. In a short time all that I had distributed was paid back to me, and a large interest was paid in gratitude. When we arrived at Nashville we got good clothes, bathed and barbered, rode on freight cars to Louisville, and thence to Lexington. When we got to Knoxville we had much trouble in getting entertainment, even of the poorest kind; but finally were allowed to sleep on some man's kitchen floor, and while we were there the family learned that one of the men who were sleeping on the floor had cashed a check on a Lexington bank for $1,000.00, and then the family sent a basket of good things to us to atone for their treatment. There was much persecution of Southern sympathizers then at Knoxville by the Federal authorities. So that I did not blame the people for the treatment we received.
"Soon after my return home I sent a shorthorn calf to Mrs. A. Mathews, of Pulaski County, Virginia, who had so generously given me the $11.00 in specie, and named the calf Token. I could think of nothing that would be of more real benefit to that naturally great cattle country, to rebuild the interest there, than a pure bred shorthorn bull, and years afterward I heard with great satisfaction of the benefit he had been to Mr. Mathews and that country in the improvement of cattle stock."
Married Alice Yerkes, born August 19, 1843 in Maryland, the daughter of Rev. Stephen Yerkes and Amanda Lovell; children, Ama Y., Susan A., Adie L. (deceased), John M. (deceased), Lizzie S., and Alice Y.; graduated from Centre College in 1862, and from the Law Department of the Kentucky [Transylvania] University at Lexington, practiced law two years in partnership with Judge Morton of Lexington; in 1870, located on a farm in Woodford County, where he reamined until 1883, when he sold the farm for $120 per acre and purchased a farm of 437 acres in Boyle County, three miles south of Danville; farm is in good condition, well improved, and in a fine state of cultivation, nice herd of short horn cattle, considerable space has been devoted to fruit culture, and has one of the most extensive and thrifty vineyards in the vicinity; Elder in the Southern Presbyterian Church; in politics, a Democrat. W. H. Perrin, J. H. Battle and G. C. Kniffin, Kentucky A History of the State, 4th ed., p. 1029 (F. A. Batley and Co., Louisville & Chicago 1887)(reprinted Southern Historical Press, Greenville, SC 1979, 1992).
Obituary, The Lexington Herald, p. 1, Tuesday, February 10, 1925: " Funeral services for John Milton VanMeter, 82 years old, who died at his home in Danville Sunday afternoon at 2 o'clock will be held this morning at 10 o'clock at the Danville Presbyterian church, of which Mr. VanMeter had served as an elder for 40 years.
"Burial will follow in the Lexington cemetery at about 12:30 o'clock. The honorary pallbearers will be the officers of the First Presbyterian church and members of the Robert J. Breckinridge camp of Confederate veterans.
"Active pallbearers will be the nephews of the deceased, N. P. VanMeter, Field VanMeter, of Winchester; S. L. VanMeter, J. C. VanMeter, T. W. L. VanMeter, Dr. B. F. VanMeter of Lexington and C. L. Steenbergen, John W. Yerkes, of Paris.
"Mr. VanMeter was a member of a large family which has played an important part in the social, historical and economic development of central Kentucky. The only surviving member of his family is B. F. VanMeter, Sr., of 225 South Ashland avenue, Lexington.
" During the Civil War he was a member of John Morgan's cavalry and for many years afterwards was the commander of the Robert J. Breckinridge camp of Confederate veterans. His wife, Miss Alice Yerkes, a daughter of the theologian and clergyman, Stephen Yerkes, of Danville, died about 12 years ago.
"The surviving children are Miss Ama Yerkes VanMeter, and Mrs. [sic] Sue VanMeter, of Danville, and Mrs. John Woodford, of Paris, and a surviving grandson, John VanMeter Woodford. Mr. and Mrs. Woodford and the grandson were at Mr. VanMeter's bedside when he died.
"He was born in Clark County, graduated from Centre College in the class of '62, and also the law school of Transylvania College. Upon graduation from Transylvania he became a partner in the practice of law with Judge Jere Morton, of Lexington."
Date of birth from VanMeter Family Bible
KY Death Record: VanMeter, John M., age 82, place of death: Boyle, date of death: 02-08-1925 vol. 006, certif. no. 02879, year 1925.