The following obituary of James Hayden Van Hoose was published in the Arkansas Democrat on Monday, May 8, 1899. Van Hoose was twice elected mayor of Fayetteville and served as representative in the Arkansas General Assembly one term as well.
in Washington County Last
WAS INJURED BY A GUN
He Was Prominent in Masonic Circles,
and Was a Member of the State
Legislature in 1897
FAYETTEVILLE, May 7. — (Special.) — Col. J. H. Van Hoose died a few miles east of this city Saturday as the result of an unfortunate accident. With some friends he had gone to the country, hunting, and an accidental discharge of his gun cause a recoil which struck him with such force that an internal injury was inflicted, resulting in death soon afterward.
Twice did he serve Fayetteville in the capacity of major, and his record has been an excellent one. He was elected a member of the general assembly in September, 1896, and amply demonstrated his ability to fill the position. He was chairman of the committee on insurance and a member of the temperance committee during the session of 1897. He was the author of a bill to regulate insurance companies and one to encourage the growth of grapes. For forty years he had been a member of the Masonic fraternity. He was one of the most prominent figures in Masonic circles in the state, and, indeed, throughout the United States, ranking among the highest degree Masons. He was correspondent for a number of leading papers, and achieved quite a reputation in journalism, as both historian and poet. His writings have for years found an extended and appreciative reading public through the columns of “The Arkansas Democrat.” His mind was stored with an illimitable fund of reminiscences, and his long residence in the northwest gave him a grasp of pioneer history that comparatively few possessed.
James Hayden Van Hoose became a resident of Fayetteville in 1850. He was born January 8, 1830, near Paintsville, Johnson county, Ky., son of John and Lydia Van Hoose, who were natives of North Carolina, but who died in Washington county. He came to Arkansas with his parents June 1, 1839, they settling on the Middle Fork of White river, in Washington county. He received schooling in the “old-field” schools of the county, taught in log-houses with dirt floors and split puncheons for desks and seats. He worked for his father until 21 years of age, then went to Ozark Institute, near Fayetteville, for fifteen months, working to pay his board. He then went into the store of James Sutton as clerk, and sold goods for him for four years. Next he went into the mercantile business with Wm. McIlroy, and continued selling goods until 1881, when he entered into the life-insurance business which he followed the rest of his life. In 1856 he was appointed notary public by Gov. Elias N. Conway, and held the position continuously till his death. He was mayor of Fayetteville from April, 1880, to April, 1881, and in April, 1888, was elected again for two years. He was twice married. August 9, 1855, in St. Paul’s Episcopal Church at Fayetteville, he was married to Miss Melinda Ann McIlroy, and after her death he was married in the same church, June 13, 1869, to Miss Martha W. Skelton. There are no children now living of these marriages. He, however, raised an orphan girl, Mary W. Eaton, who is now the wife of Samuel Jarman, of Burton, Phillips county. Taking an active part in Masonry, he was honored by that fraternity, having been grand master, grand high priest and grand commander. He joined that order in 1853, and never changed his membership. He was born and raised a Methodist, but out of respect to the memory of his first wife, who was an Episcopalian, became a member of the Episcopal Church in 1868, being confirmed by Bishop Henry C. Lay. He was an ardent Henry Clay Whig in politics, and reverenced Albert Pike, Absalom Fowler, Frederick W. Trapnell, Robert Crittenden, David Walker and other Whig leaders in Arkansas, but after the demise of that party was an ardent and uncompromising Democrat.