Petersburg Axis, 1905
Joseph VanNattan, a pioneer resident of Athens, and a highly respected citizen expired suddenly Sunday evening at his home just after he had finished reading to some friends who were present, the history of his family which he had recently written. The deceased was aged 84 years, 2months and 4 days, and had been enjoying unusual good health. He leaves a widow, aged 81 years; five sons and two daughters; forty-two grand children; thirty-seven great grandchildren and one great great grandchild. His children living are Joseph, who resides in Alva, Okla.; John who resides in Macomb; Daniel of Green Valley; Warren of Spring Vally; Norman of Springfield; Mrs. Emily Ekis, 132 Elliot avenue, Springfield; and Mrs. Edward Barcroft, of Strode, Illinois. He is also survived by one brother who resides in Nickerson, Kansas.
Mr. VanNattan was born in Fleming county, Ky., and came to Sangamon county with his parents when nine years of age, and from that time with the exception of three years' residence in Texas, had lived in this community continuously. He followed farming for a livlihood up to about 15 years ago at which time he retired from active business life. He was a member of the noted "preachers regiment" that served in the civil war.
Joseph VanNattan, Sr., was united in marriage April 7, 1842 with Currency Stanley of Sangamon county. Three years ago Mr. VanNattan moved with his wife to Springfield and about 2 weeks ago moved back to Athens. Mr. VanNattan was well known in this and Sangamon county. He was strictly honest and upright in all his dealings with his fellowmen and was held in highest esteem by all his acquaintances. For more than seventy-five years, he was a faithful and consistent member of the M.E. church and Free Methodist church joining the latter in 1882. He was never so happy as when conversing on the scriptures of reading the Bible he loved so well. During the last years of his life he read the Bible through seven times.
His death is mourned by the entire community. The funeral took place at 2 p.m. from the M.E. church Tuesday, the Rev. C.F. McKown officiating. Interment at Hall cemetery.
Submitted by: Matthew