Biography of Miller M. Van Denberg

Miller M. Van Denberg. One of El Dorado’s oldest business men and citizens is Miller M. Van Denberg, who had lived in that community for thirty-nine years. The name is most prominently associated with the lumber business. In that connection it is known not only in El Dorado but in many other towns of Kansas and Oklahoma. Mr. Van Denberg had owned at different times as many as twenty-three lumber yards in these two states. However, his home had always been at El Dorado. Perhaps the chief fruit of his many years of business effort had been the opportunity presented to follow the voeation of his original choice, farming. Mr. Van Denberg does not follow farming as a fad, but on a fairly practical basis. However, the cultivation of the soil is to him a keen pleasure. He was reared on a farm and throughout his business career had always retained his love for the open spaces made beautiful by the fruition of nature.

Though the better part of his life had been spent in Kansas, Mr. Van Denberg was born in Albany County, New York, September 24, 1852. He is of good old Dutch stock, and the Van Denbergs were settlers in the Province of New York prior to the Revolutionary war. His father, G. P. Van Denberg, was also born in Albany County, New York, and in 1861 removed to Wisconsin and from there came to the State of Kansas in 1871. He was a farmer. The mother, Diana (Miller) Van Denberg, was born in Albany County, New York, and is now deceased.

Miller M. Van Denberg was nine years of age when the family removed to Wisconsin and he received most of his education in the common schools of that state. He had some experience as a farmer in Wisconsin, but at the age of eighteen he began working in a lumber yard at Peabody, Kansas. Several years later he was able to engage in business for himself. His career as a lumberman began in the town of El Dorado in 1878. During these thirty-nine years he had owned and operated many branch lumber yards in Kansas and Oklahoma, but at the present time he is operating only one yard in El Dorado, under the firm name of Putnam and Van Denberg, and another at Bliss, Oklahoma, under the name Van Denberg and Scott. About 1888, a year before the opening of Oklahoma Territory, and about the time the Santa Fe Railroad was constructed through old Indian Territory, Mr. Van Denberg opened a lumber yard at Ardmore. That business is still in operation and is now owned by Mr. Van Denberg’s brother.

As a practical farmer Mr. Van Denberg early realized that one of the chief requirements for success in that line is capital and equipment. It was lack of proper resources that kept him out of farming as a vocation during his youth. He was unable to buy a sufficient tract of land, and to operate it on the scale that he conceived best was beyond all possibility at that time. It was one of the dreams and hopes which he cherished throughout-his strenuous business career that at some time he would have a real farm. In the fullness of time this aspiration was fulfilled, and he had now what is considered the best farm in Butler County. It comprises 230 acres adjoining the City of El Dorado, and nothing could afford him greater pleasure than its operation and management. His principal product is alfalfa, though he keeps good grades of livestock and raises the other staple crops of this section. He bought forty acres of the ground during the El Dorado boom, when the land had been platted as an addition to the city. The great development of oil and gas in the El Dorado country holds out great promise for El Dorado becoming one of the largest industrial centers in Kansas. If this promise is realized time may see important business blocks on many of the Van Denberg acres.

At Peabody, Kansas, March 4, 1883, Mr. Van Denberg married Addie C. Umsted, a native of Ohio. Her father was an early farmer in that state. Mr. and Mrs. Van Denberg have three sons and one daughter: Frank is a graduate of the El Dorado High School and is now assisting his father in the office of the lumber yard; he is a thirty-second degree Mason. Fred, also a graduate of the El Dorado High School, is now express messenger for Wells Fargo & Company, with a run between Hutchinson and Wichita. Karl is engaged in the automobile business in El Dorado. Isabella, the only daughter, graduated from the El Dorado High School and is still at home.

Van Denberg,


Connelley, William E. A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans. Chicago : Lewis, 1918. 5v. Biographies can be accessed from this page: Kansas and Kansans Biographies.

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