HANDEL VANCE, a prosperous general agriculturist, highly respected citizen, and native resident of Clay County, Mo., was born about five miles distant from his present home, in township 52, range 32, November 2, 1837. Our subject is the son of Willis L. and Lovicia D. (Wilkerson) Vance, natives of Woodford County, Ky., where the father was born in 1816, and the mother in 1812. The father was reared upon a Kentucky farm until 1824, when he came with his parents to Missouri, where his father entered from the Government the farm upon which Handel Vance was born. Willis L. Vance, reared in the pioneer days of the State, enjoyed few educational advantages, his schooling being limited to brief instruction in the log schoolhouse of the primitive days. He married at twenty years of age, and at first worked four years on shares, but his father then dying, he received from the estate one hundred and sixty acres of land, to which he attended with careful thrift and industry until he had accumulated at the time of his death about six hundred acres, which he mostly devoted to farming and stock-raising.
The father of our subject was a Whig before the Civil War, but a firm Democrat afterward. His wife passed away in 1882, and Willis Vance died in 1884, both deeply lamented as upright and useful citizens. They were the parents of seven children, two of whom died young. Our subject, Handel, was the eldest; then followed Mary F., wife of J. L. Sechrest, of Kansas; John M., a resident of Platte County, Mo.; Lucy A., wife of J. C. Wilkerson; and William J. The paternal grandfather, Handel Vance, in whose honor our subject was named, was a farmer by occupation, but a stone-mason by trade. He was twice married, his wives being sisters, named Collins; the second partner of his joys and sorrows was Mary, the youngest of the family. The paternal great-grandfather was a native of Germany, and never learned to speak the English language. Our subject remained with his parents until he attained his majority. He enjoyed the advantages of instruction in the district schools of Clay County, and assisted upon his father’s farm. At twenty-one years of age he went on a prospecting tour to Pike’s Peak, Colo. He never realized any pecuniary advantage from his journey, but experienced many phases of life novel and exciting, and in about ten months re-crossed the plains in company with many others, also anxious to reach home again.
In 1861, Mr. Vance entered the Confederate army, serving under Capt. Dougherty, of Liberty, and participated in the battles of Lexington, Pea Ridge, and the second battle of Corinth, and numerous skirmishes. Our subject was never wounded in any of the engagements in which he took so active a part, but was captured near Jefferson City, and remained in prison for six months. At the expiration of this length of time Mr. Vance returned home. In January, 1965, he was united in marriage with Miss Ruth A. Scott, daughter of W. W. and Ruth (Duncan) Scott. Two children blessed with their presence the pleasant home of Mr. and Mrs. Vance, but the little daughter died in infancy, Willis L., the only son, surviving to cheer his father’s later years. The first wife of Mr. Vance having passed away, he again married, his present wife having been Miss Lizzie J. Anderson, a daughter of Horace P. and Louan (Warder) Anderson. The great-grandfather of Mrs. Vance was Elias Anderson, native of Scotland, who, emigrating to America, made his home in New Jersey, where George A. Anderson, the paternal grandfather was born, but early leaving the State of his nativity, settled permanently in Kentucky, where he resided until his death. The father and mother of Mrs. Vance were both natives of Kentucky, and came to Missouri in 1835, their daughter Lizzie being born in Clay County in 1839.
Mrs. Lizzie Vance has been the mother of seven children, four of whom died in early years. Louan, Horace and Lovicia are the surviving son and daughters. Mr. Vance is a valued member of the Baptist Church, and both he and his excellent wife are foremost in the promotion of good works. Our subject is politically a Democrat, and a firm adherent of the party. In beginning life for himself, Mr. Vance first rented land located in Clinton County, but after a time bought the fine farm of two hundred acres where he now resides, and has brought the fertile soil up to a high state of cultivation. An able, energetic and industrious citizen of undoubted integrity of character, our subject worthily enjoys the confidence and esteem of the entire community among whom his busy life is passed.
(Source: PORTRAIT AND BIOGRAPHICAL RECORD of Clay, Ray, Carroll, Chariton and Linn Counties, Missouri. Transcribed by a Friend of Genealogy Trails)