Henry C. Van Atta. This prominent attorney-a
law and ex-Circuit Court Commissioner of Fenton, was born in Lyons, Wayne County, N. Y., April 25, 1844, and is a son of James
W. Van Atta, who was born in Philadelphia, Pa., September 9, 1808. The latter at the age of fourteen was apprenticed to the
trade of a cabinet-maker and followed his trade in Wayne County, N. Y. About the year 1846 he removed to Mt. Clemens, Macomb
County, Mich., and four years later came to Fenton, where he died in 1880. He had carried on for some years a furniture store
in this place.
James Van Atta, the grandfather, practiced law in Philadelphia
for some years and was a strong Jacksonian Democrat, and held various public offices. The family is of Holland and French
extraction. Ann M. Shaw, who became the wife of James Van Atta and the mother of our subject, was born in New Jersey and died
November 9, 1889, at the age of eighty-five years, leaving two children, Horatio and our subject.
The subject of this sketch was but seven years old when he
came to Fenton and here took his education. He started in the furniture business when he was twenty years old but a year later
sold out and enlisted February 24, 1865, in Company A, Twenty-fourth Michigan Infantry, under Col. Henry A. Morrow. He joined
his regiment in March at Camp Butler, near Springfield, Ill., and there remained until the war closed, being mustered out
July 5, 1865. After the close of the war Mr. Van Atta again entered the furniture business and was in partnership with his
brother until 1872, when he sold out his interest and began to study law. He was admitted to the bar in this county in March,
1874 since which time he has devoted himself to his profession. He has held the office of Circuit Court Commissioner for over
The marriage of Mr. Van Atta and Sarah A. Fox took place
May l, 1871. This lady was born at Lindley Roads, Canada, May 3, 1851. Her eldest child is Edith M., born April 18, 1872,
and now a teacher in the Union schools of Fenton. The three younger ones are William H. and Helen C., who are attending school
and Roy, who died in 1883. When a boy Mr. Van Atta was a Democrat as was also his father and all his friends, but in 1856
he attended a Republican mass meeting and heard a speech by old Gov. Blair and was converted too the doctrines of the Republican
party, since which time he has been active in that field of politics. He has been a delegate to county, district, Senatorial
and State conventions and has done considerable service as a stump speaker.
The Sons of Temperance and the Good Templars both count Mr.
Van Atta as among their representative members and he has been a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church since he was twenty-one
years old, and to this religious body his wife also belongs. He has a pleasant home in Fenton and practices in this
and adjoining counties. He raises some fine Morgan horses in which he takes great interest.
1892 Portrait & Biographical Album of Genesee, Lapeer
& Tuscola Counties, Chapman Bros.