His name may be Ashben, Ashber, Ashbel, Ashbin, or something similar.  Early records show writing that can be interpreted all four ways.  Other researchers have labeled him "Asbury" but without clear reason other than a confusion of this man with another group of a similar name who crossed paths in northern Missouri ca 1850.

His last name can be spelled in so many ways it can be hard to find him and harder to prove a connection. Like others with the last name - even the records of the same area can show great variation from decade to decade. Worse records of the same family can reveal different spellings and variations making searching a headache at times.

Contact with historians and researchers has indicated he was no doubt a very early pioneer in the Michigan and Iowa areas.  It has even been theorized he may have come into the region of Michigan-Wisconsin when it was a combined territory.  

There are people of the name in those regions of Michigan, Wisconsin and Iowa providing some validity, if no clear proof, of such a connection.  Some photographs, however, might indicate familial connection where no proof exists. The resemblance in one Iowa case appears quite strong.

He married in northern Missouri the daughter of a widow also going through Missouri, and Iowa, Sarah Ann Farley.  

He mysteriously dies or disappears in Iowa very late 1859 or early 1860.  I say mysteriously because I suspect there is a story here about his death which has been purposefully hidden for reasons unknown. No grave, no death story, nothing  apparently remains explaining the circumstances which left his children fatherless and his wife pregnant with a last Van Scyoc child. Nothing explains how the wife knew her husband was dead and  her need to remarry in the summer of 1860.

Family line connections have been made based on the residence in Iowa of sisters (cousins?) of the man (census records).  These sisters show a clearer familial connection based on location of marriages and census links. Once links are made to a particular line of enough age in this family name of Van Scyoc, the trail is very straight and well documented back to the early 1600's in New York and New England and further back in the Netherlands.

Names associated: Mustard, Keeler, Oakley
Location: Fremont Co., IA


Missouri is a state where every foot seems to have some busy history. Lamar for instance in the southwest corner of the state

In the Missouri-Kansas Border War (1854-1859) lawless bands ranged the county in the Civil War terror and disorder characterized the region. Quantrill and his guerrilla band raided and burned Lamar, occupied by Union troops in 1862. The town was again burned by raiders in 1864, as were other communities in the region, such as Milford.   Lamar is known as the birthplace of President Harry Truman and for local lawman Wyatt Earp. Both Virgil and Wyatt lived there for a time. Wyatt Earp's first job was as the city's local constable in the 1870's.  

Wyatt Earp's first wife is buried in Howell Cemetery (also known as Owen), just 6 miles north of Lamar.   After his wife Urilla Sutherland Earp and unborn child died in late 1870, he set off into the west perhaps seeking to obliterate the pain of his loss in the danger and wildness of those regions. Some suggest he stole a horse to get away.

In that same cemetery are my family members: Roy and Velma Terry, Carol Priest Fortey, Donald Fortey, Melvin Priest, and Lou Priest.  On my last visit there, I walked to Mrs. Earp's grave and said hello to whatever gentle spirit and memory may linger there where the green grass moves. I wondered if this larger than life but very human character of the old west had stood where I was standing when he said his last goodbyes.

Perhaps, when the days are softly winding down and gentle breezes blow, they all gather round and have a nice visit telling stories and remembering days long gone.  Perhaps.


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