Letitia Van Meter

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Letitia Van Meter (Stroud)

Also Known As: "Letty"
Birthdate: (74)
Birthplace: Chester, Pennsylvania, United States
Death: December 25, 1799 (74)
Elizabethtown, Hardin County, Kentucky, United States
Place of Burial: Elizabethtown, Hardin County, Illinois, United States
Immediate Family:

Daughter of James Edward Stroud and Eleanor Stroud
Wife of Jacob Jansen Van Meter
Mother of Eleanor Cline; Abraham Van Meter, Sr.; Rebecca Rawlings (Van Meter); Susannah Gerard; Elizabeth Swan McNeill Vertrees and 12 others
Sister of John Strode; Captain James Strode; Susannah Strode; Edward Strode and Jeremiah Strode

Managed by: Private User
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About Letitia Van Meter


Parents: James Edward Stroud & Eleanor Shepard w/o Jacob Vanmeter Children: Eleanor, Abraham, Rebecca, Susanna, Elizabeth, Rachel, Mary, Isaac, Margaret, Jacob Jr, John, Asley, William & Alcinda Vanmeter.

From her husband's FAG.

Jacob was the fourth and youngest son of Jan or "John" Van Meter and his wife Margaret Miller Mulliner (or Mollenauer). When Jake was still a child, his family left New Jersey and settled for a few years in Prince George's County, Maryland. He was married in Frederick County, Virginia on August 30, 1741 at the age of 18. His bride was Letitia Strode, and over the course of the next 25 years, Letitia Van Meter gave birth to no less than 12 children:

1. Eleanor, born October 1742 2. Abraham, born June 13, 1744 3. Rebecca, born September 1746 4. Susan, born July 2, 1750 5. Elizabeth, born about 1752 6. Rachel, year of birth unknown 7. Mary, born February 11, 1757 8. Isaac, born February 2, 1759 9. Margaret, born December 27, 1759 10. Jacob Jr., born October 4, 1762 11. John, born about 1764 12. Alsey, born about 1766

It is often said that he served in the Virginia militia during the French and Indian War (1756-1763) but no record has yet been found.

In the spring of 1779, he applied for permission to take his family and "pass unmolested to the Falls of the Ohio [River]." It was his intent to settle in Kentucky, a virgin territory that lay just to the west of the Appalachian Mountains. The legendary pioneer Daniel Boone had settled there only four years earlier, after passing through the famed Cumberland Gap. Unlike Boone, Van Meter and his family and friends planned to enter Kentucky from the north, by traveling down the Ohio River. Permission was granted on March 23, 1779.

Unfortunately, the Van Meter party was troubled by more than Indians on their journey to Kentucky. As it turned out, they had inadvertently chosen to travel during a period time of severe wintertime weather that was ever afterward known as "the Hard Winter of 1780." In the spring of 1780 the Van Meter party reached the Severns Valley, in what was then Jefferson, later Hardin County, Kentucky. Jefferson County records reveal that Jake Van Meter, Stephen Rawlings, and Edward Rawlings all bought land from John Severns, for whom the valley was named. To protect themselves from Indians, they immediately built wooden "forts" (probably log blockhouses). Van Meter's fort was located, according to one source, "near the big spring at the power house on Leitchfield road, for a long time the source of the Elizabethtown water supply."

Jake Van Meter quickly became one of Hardin County's most prominent and enterprising citizens. Only a year after his arrival in Kentucky, he helped to organize the Severns Valley Baptist Church, reputed to be the oldest church west of the Allegheny Mountains that is still in existence. He also built a grain mill on Valley Creek and is "said to have raised the first wheat in Hardin County, having brought the seed with him from Virginia." He also had license to keep a still and a tavern license, which permitted him to allow travelers to stay in his home.

Many years later, the remains of both Jacob Van Meter and his wife Leitita were moved from the family graveyard and re-interred in the Elizabethtown City Cemetery.


On August 30, 1741 when Letitia was 16, she married Jacob VANMETER, son of John VANMETER (1683-1745) & Margaret MOLLENAUER (ca1687->1745), in Frederick County, Virginia. Born in March 1723 in Somerset County, New Jersey. Jacob died in Hardin County, Kentucky on November 16, 1798; he was 75.

Letitia Stroud who married Jacob Van Meter was a daughter of James Stroud (Strode) of Frederick County, Virginia. She was born on 30 August 1725 and died on 25 December 1799 in Hardin County, Kentucky. Jacob and Letitia are buried on their farm on Severns Valley Creek, about two miles above the present site of Elizabethtown, where they settled in 1780, the year that this part of Kentucky County became Jefferson County, Virginia. Prior to migrating to Kentucky, Jacob and Letitia moved from Frederick County, Virginia, before 1770 to southwestern Pennsylvania, where they settled near the present community of Carmichaelstown on Muddy Creek, a tributary of the Monongahela River. Jacob and Letitia had twelve children: Eleanor, who married ----- Kline; Abraham, who married Elizabeth Kline; Rebecca, who married (1) Edward Rawlings and (2) Frank McKenzie; Susan, who married the Reverend John Garrard; Elizabeth, who married (1) John Swan, (2) Thomas McNeil and (3) Judge John Vertrees; Rachel, who married Isaac Pritchard; Mary, who married (1) David Hinton and (2) Major William Chenoweth; Isaac, who married (1) Martha Hubbard Hoagland, widow of Captain Henry Hoagland, and (2) Jane Carson; Margaret, who married Samuel Haycraft; Jacob, Jr., who married Elizabeth Rhoads; John, who married Dinah Holtzclaw House, daughter of Henry and Nancy Holtzclaw; and Alsey, who married Jacob Rhoads (Who Was Who in Hardin County, Hardin County Historical Society, Elizabethtown, 1941, photocopy from Barry W. Downs). David Hinton, the husband of Mary Van Meter, drowned in the Ohio River on the trip to Kentucky. Samuel Haycraft and John Garrard (Gerrard) also came to Kentucky with Jacob Van Meter. Haycraft and two others of the expedition, Captain Thomas Helm and Colonel Andrew Hynes, erected blockhouses about a mile apart, in a triangle, where Elizabethtown now stands. Haycraft’s was on the hill above the cave spring, Helm’s was on the site of the later residence of Governor John L. Helm, and Hynes’ completed the triangle. In 1780, these, and Jacob Van Meter’s fort in Severns Valley, were the only settlements between the Falls of the Ohio and the Green River. When Jacob Van Meter died, his son Jacob, Jr. placed a sandstone marker on his grave, upon which was engraved, "Here lies the body of Jacob Vanmatre died in the 76 yare of His age November 16 1798." (History of Kentucky, Lewis Collins, 1847, revised Richard H. Collins, A.M, LL.B., 1874, reprinted Kentucke Imprints, Berea, 1976.)

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Letitia Van Meter's Timeline

August 19, 1725
Chester, Pennsylvania, United States
October 17, 1742
Age 17
Frederick County, Virginia
June 13, 1744
Age 18
probably in Frederick Co., VA
Age 19
Berkeley Co., VA
September 6, 1746
Age 21
Berkeley, Virginia
July 2, 1750
Age 24
Frederick Co., VA
October 25, 1752
Age 27
Frederick, Virginia, United States
Age 26
Virginia, Frederick County, Mercer
Age 28
Frederick County, Virginia, United States