One Township's Yesterdays Chapter XXVI
The VOREIS family of Union Township originated in Holland.
The first ABRAHAM VOREIS of the line was a native of that land of wooden shoes, windmills and dikes. He was born in the city of
Amsterdam in 1768, and came to America in 1785, "to improve his fortune." With him came his widowed mother.
ABRAHAM VOREIS proceeded westward as rapidly as possible. He was a farmer by occupation, but always on the move. It seems that he was
in New Jersey for a while, perhaps only a brief time, and early settled in Pennsylvania. Then he proceeded to Kentucky and from there
to Ohio, where he lived in Preble and Butler counties. The next stage of the migration brought the family to Union County, Indiana.
Again they moved, locating in Rush County, Indiana, about the year 1832.
It has been said: "Lastly, they came to Indiana," which is true, for it was in Indiana that the family halted, to remain, to settle
down and to stay, their wanderings at an end. Marshall County bade them welcome in 1836. Union Township claimed them Here they stayed.
ABRAHAM VOREIS, the first, never moved up to Union Township himself, officially. He remained in southern Indiana. He died in the
summer of 1860, (in 1855, another historian says), aged around ninety years. He was "strong and brave and not afraid of work," it has
The old family records were burned when the homestead near Burr Oak was destroyed therefore much of the early chronicle of the
VOREISes is rather hazy as to details. The family was large, and it is difficult to figure out all the connections.
Abraham, the first, married ELIZABETH DOWNEY. There were some twenty children, four of whom came to Union and Green Townships Of
John H. settled on the Burr Oak Flats
the second located east of Lake Maxinkuckee. Each took about 160 acres to begin with. The three who settled east of the lake map have
come ahead of John H., for he first came alone, locating north of Plymouth.
John H. Voreis came to Union Township through the influence of his wife's people, the Morris family, who had land near Lake
Maxinkuckee. He was three times married. By his marriage with PHOEBE MORRIS he had five children
Of these children, William D. (born in 1834) married MARIA DUNFEE; Milton died early; Abraham married REBECCA HENDERSON;
Elizabeth remained unmarried; and John M. (born in 1829) married in 1867 AGNES MCELVAINE of Plymouth. By his marriage with MRS.
ELEANOR (JACOBS) HENDERSON, widow of NATHAN HENDERSON, JOHN H. VOREIS had four children
George W. (born in 1846)
Louisa, wife of SAMUEL LORING of this county.
By his marriage with MATILDA COUN, JOHN H. VOREIS had one child, deceased.
To consider some of the personal history of JOHN H. VOREIS, the pioneer of '36, it might be of interest. He was born in Kentucky, it
is claimed in 1803. Another authority says he was a native of Ohio. However, be, came to Marshall County in 1836, settling in Union
Township that year or the next Here he purchased a quarter section of land and cleared a farm. He accumulated about nine hundred
acres before his death in 1863 or '64. Parcels of this Voreis land were scattered all over the northwestern part of the township,
in the Burr Oak neighborhood. He was familiarly known as "Preacher John," because he preached in the Christian Church. He was
married in 1828 and his wife, PBOEBE MORRIS, died soon after they came to Union Township. The country was new and she had the fever
so prevalent then. JOHN H. VOREIS married the widow Henderson in this township.
The old homestead near Burr Oak burned to the ground close to forty years ago. Many prized family possessions and heirlooms were
destroyed. The land where the commodious house stood is now owned by ED POLAND. An old pin tree that once rose beside the homestead,
still stands, a scraggy relic and reminder of the olden times.
JOHN M. VOREIS, a son of John H. and Phoebe (Morris) Voreis, lived until late years, a picturesque figure, a patriarch of these parts.
He was known as "Old Uncle Johnny." He was born in Rush County, Indiana, August 9, 1829, and was reared to manhood chiefly in Union
Township, receiving a practical English education in the common school and when old enough beginning life for himself as a farmer.
He was widely known as a stock-raiser. He came to this township as a boy of about eight years. In her history of Marshall County,
MINNIE H. SWINDELL inserted an excellent picture of him, as he appeared in his later days', in the open, axe in hand, engaged in the
work he was never afraid of. She spoke of him as "the only living resident who was here when the county was organized." The book was
published in 1923, and it was soon afterward the " Uncle Johnny" passed away at the ripe old age of ninety-four. He was well and
worked until the end. He died in a harness.
Abraham, another son of John H. Voreis and a brother of John M., was born in Rush County, Indiana, December 28, 1830, came to
Marshall County early in the thirties, received a fair educational training in the country schools, and began his life work as a
farmer, continuing such until his death. He was married in 1864 to REBECCA HENDERSON, daughter of Nathan and Eleanor Jacobs Henderson.
After the marriage, they settled in Union Township on the farm that was their home until his death in 1874.
The descendants of John H. Voreis, the pioneer, who are still living in Union Township are the following:
- George W. Voreis
a lifelong resident of the township, who today, in 1934, makes his home in Culver and is eighty-eight years of age.
A son of John H. and Eleanor (Jacobs-Henderson) Voreis, he was born in this township, July 12, 1846. For a number of years
he followed the trade of painting and paper hanging. In his younger days he taught school. He was always a prominent
figure in public affairs, and for some years has held the office of Justice of the Peace. Politically, he is a staunch
- Mrs. REBECCA ROBINSON, of Culver
- M. L. VOREIS, of Plymouth and Burr Oak
- Mrs. ELLEN HATTEN and family, of Culver
all trace their descent from John H. and Phoebe (Morris) Voreis through William D., the son of the pioneer, who went to Nebraska.
of WILLIAM D. VOREIS were
M. L., or "Lafe."
M. L. VOREIS has property near Burr Oak and is a part-time resident there. He has a home in Plymouth.
All the VOREISes who settled in Union and Green Townships in early times were of one family connection. Some remained in the southern
part of the State; the others who came north settled within a range of a few miles of one another. Turning now from the John H.
Voreis colonization of the Burr Oak Flats, we find of interest the early settlements of the three other pioneer sons of Abraham
Voreis, the first; namely, James, David R., and Abraham, the second, who located on lands east of Lake Maxinkuckee.
Among those given as early settlers of Union Township prior to 1840 were John H., Abraham and David R. Voreis. Abraham Voreis, Jr.,
was also listed as among the first settlers of Green Township. James likewise was mentioned as a Green Township settler. Both he and
Abraham located near Wolf Creek. David was not far away, in the northeastern part of Union Township. He was in the colony of pioneers
that took up lands in what is now the Rutland neighborhood. Prior to 1880, land was in the name of D. R. VOREIS northeast of Lake
Maxinkuckee. David R . and James, both of whom were living as late as 1890, cast their votes in Center Township in the first election
after the organization of the county, held August 5, 1836.
In 1835, when this was a wild western region, on the very border of civilization, JAMES VOREIS came from Rush County to settle in a
new country. He entered land in Green Township, and in 1836, the year following his arrival, brought his family. The land settled on
consisted of 120 acres of timber land, which he had previously purchased. He also walked to LaPorte and entered a claim to 160 acres
of timber land which is today in Center Township. At that time, the land was in dense forest growth. Upon his Green Township property,
James VOREIS built his first log cabin. Afterward, he entered 160 acres in what is now Union Township.
With his wife and children, he began pioneer life in the little cabin home, which they occupied until he was able to build a frame
house. James was born in Barren County, Kentucky, February 2, 1806, and when a small boy was taken by his parents, ABRAHAM and
ELIZABETH (DOWNEY) VOREIS, to Preble County, Ohio, then on to Union and Rush counties, Indiana, where he grew to manhood. He was in
Rush County in the '20s, being one of the pioneer farmers there. Reared a tiller of the soil, he at the age of twenty-one began the
pursuit of agriculture for himself. He farmed in Rush County until he came to Marshall County to settle on the land he had purchased
from the government.
James was married to ELIZABETH POLLARD in Rush County, January 15, 1831. They had nine children:
all of whom died prior to 1908 except William W., and George, who was known to be living recently in Mishawaka with one of his sons.
Thomas L., born in 1848, married HARRIET CLEVENGER. William W. was born in Rush County in 1834. He assisted his father in clearing
the wilderness and as the opportunity presented
attended the subscription schools, living at home until he was twenty-six, when he bought 160 acres, covered with forest, and there
built a log cabin. In 1862, he married SARAH SIPLE. His second wife was Mrs. MARTHA MILLER.
Jonas L. was born in this region, and died in 1902, aged fifty-seven. He married RACHEL A. MARKS. They had eight children:
six sons and two daughters. Among them was
Francis M. Near Maxinkuckee village today (in 1934)
FRANK VOREIS still resides amid surroundings that witnessed the pioneer beginnings and struggles of the family
Another son of James, became Sheriff of Marshall County. After sixteen years on the homestead farm, this boy went to Union Township
and worked for his father in the manufacture of brick and tile. The pioneer James, known as "Uncle Jim," had purchased 420 acres of
land altogether for himself and his father, Abraham. After losing his first wife, James married Mrs. LUCRETIA THOMPSON (NEE BODKINS).
many years, he resided in Green Township, one mile south of Wolf Creek Mills. He raised a large family, most of whom lived near him
during the development of this part of the country, and lived to be very old, not far below the century mark.
DAVID R. VOREIS, another pioneer son of the first Abraham and a younger brother of James, was born in 1812 in Preble County, Ohio,
and accompanied his father's family in the removal to Butler County, then to Union County, Indiana, and finally to Marshall County.
In 1838, two years after he arrived in this county, he married MARY A. LOGAN, who died in 1841. The first Dr. Logan was connected.
Two children survived
In 1842, David married SOPHIA DICKSON, who died in 1879. They had seven children. "DAVID R. VOREIS first lived about four and a
half miles south of Plymouth," said A. C. THOMPSON in 1890, but in a few years took up his residence in Union Township, about one
mile north of Maxinkuckee village, where he still lives. He has witnessed and helped to make as great changes around him as any man
now living in the county." He, too, is gone now. And the old VORIES homestead, located not far from the sunrise side of the present
Culver Bird Sanctuary, is gone now, also. It was destroyed by fire some time ago.