biography from Portrait & Biographical Album of Mahaska Co., Iowa, 1887
JOHN VOORHEES, of Black Oak Township, is a pioneer of the days of 1853. He was born in Warren County, Ohio, Oct 2, 1829, and is a son of John K. and Mary (Rynearson) Voorhees, natives of New Jersey, both of whom settled in Ohio prior to their marriage. John K. was a blacksmith by trade, but in his later life followed farming. His wife died Dec. 28, 1863, at the age of sixty-three. Mr. Voorhees afterward came to Iowa, and died in this county Oct. 3, 1873, aged seventy-six years. There were eleven children in his family, five of whom died in childhood, six grew to manhood, and four are still living. The subject of our sketch was the fourth child, and grew to manhood on the farm, receiving only a limited education in the district school. In 1853 he concluded that the boundless West afforded, better opportunities for a young man, and consequently turned his face toward the setting sun and soon found himself in this county. His capital was $800 in cash, which he invested in the purchase of 240 acres of land on sectiog, 16, Black Oak Township, the cost price being $2,250. He paid out his $800 and went in debt for the remainder. It was cornparatively raw land, with only a few acres broken, but had a pretty good house for those times, and then he began the struggle for life. Believing, like one of old, that "it was not good for man to be alone," Mr. Voorhees was united in marriage, March 16, 1854, with Margaret Canine, a daughter of Peter V. and Charity Canine. She was born in Montgomery County,Ind., Aug. 28, 1836. By this union there have been eight children, two of whom died in infancy, and six arc yet living: John K. is a farmer in this township, and the inventor of the check-rower, an attachment to a corn-planter, manufactured by the Pella manufacturing company; Elbert S. D. is a traveling salesman in the employ of the Pella Manufacturing Company; Dora E. is the wife of S. J. Kent, and is living in Kansas; Frank C., Melvan and Fred are at home. Following his marriage Mr. Voorhees engaged actively in the cultivation and improvement of his land, as much as his means would permit, and soon found himself out of debt, and then purchased 160 acres of land on section 20, and still later added eighty acres more to his home farm, which now comprises the east half of section 16. In 1871 he built his present residence. It is a brick structure, with two stories and a mansard roof, costing $10,000. It is not only one of the finest farm residences in this county, but we doubt much if it is excelled in the State. The brick for its construction was manufactured on the farm in 1870. In his political relations Mr. Voorhees is a Republican, He is engaged in stock-farming, and it may be truthfully asserted is the leader in that business in this part of the State. He was one of the incorporators of the State Insurance Company, of Des Moines, and at the present time is a member of its Board of Directors and the owner of 120 shares of its capital stock. He is also a Director and stockholder in the Mahaska County Bank at Oskaloosa. From a comparatively insignificant amount of means with which to begin life, Mr. Voorhees has reached affluence, and is numbered among the wealthy farmers of the county. He is a gentleman of fine ability, as thoroughly conversant on general topics as with the details upon the home farm. He early became self-reliant, and believing fully that a will to do developed a way, worked out thc problem of success in life with no other aids than energy and industry, supplemented by, wise management. He is properly classed among the leading men of the county, not because of his wealth, but the moral and mental ability he possesses. There are none who enjoy in a greater degree the confidence and esteem of their friends than Mr. Voorhees.
Portrait & Biographical Album of Mahaska Co., Iowa, 1887
Mahaska County, Iowa Genealogy