John W. VanCleve 1749-1791
A Thumbnail Biography by David C. Procuniar
Copyright 1997-1998-1999-2000-2001
All Rights Reserved Last updated: 31 Aug 2001 

John W. VanCleve;   son of Benjamin VanCleve & Rachel Covenhoven; John W was born 16 May 1749 in New Brunswick, N.J.; died 01 Jun 1791 in Cincinnati, Ohio (killed by Indians while clearing brush on his lot); married 01 Sep 1771 to Catharine Benham (Catharine born 11 Oct 1756 in Freehold, NJ; died 06 Aug 1837 in Dayton Montgomery County, Ohio).

John a farmer was a Captain in New Jersey Militia during the Revolutionary War.   John Van Cleve was also a blacksmith by trade.  He and his wife Catherine Benham Van Cleve lived with their children in Monmouth New Jersey when on June 18, 1778 the British and American soldiers met in the Battle of Monmouth.  During the battle the Van Cleve home was burned to the ground with only the blackened chimney standing.  The only tools found from John's blacksmith shop was one anvil.  They then moved in with some relatives in Freehold New Jersey until November 1785 when they packed up and with relatives moved westward. They spent the next four years on a little farm near Washington Pennsylvania, then in 1789 traveling by boat, they left for Ohio, arriving in Cincinnati the day after General St. Clair changed the towns name from Losantiville to Cincinnati. They settled on land owned by a Mr Leech who offered 100 acres of unimproved land to each settler who cleared 10 acres for Mr Leech.  Catharine Benham gave birth to ten (10) children.

Reference:  A sketch of the History of Dayton, Ohio by M. E. Curen "Odell's Dayton Directory & Business Advertiser 1850" page 3.  Here is where I first found that John Van Cleve's middle initial was "W".

After John's death, Catherine Benham Van Cleve married a family friend Samuel Thompson circa 1793.  Together Catherine and Samuel Thompson had four children; Sarah, Mathew, Catharine & Jane.  In 1796 the Van Cleves; Newcoms, Connors and others by boat migrated to the shores of the Great Miami River settling in Dayton, Ohio. John Van Cleve & Catharine Benham Van Cleve's daughter Mary Van Cleve was the first white woman (actually young girl) to set foot on Dayton, Ohio soil when their boat landed on the river.                                                     David Procuniar  2001

Six Children: by John W VanCleve & Catharine Benham VanCleve
Benjamin VanCleve  1773-1821
Ann VanCleve 1775-1858
William VanCleve 1777-1826
Margaret (Peggy) VanCleve 1778-1858  married George Reeder 1767-1845
                             Children:  Catharine Reeder 1800-1866 married Dan Wright 1790-1861
                                     ChildrenMilton (Bishop) Wright 1828-1917  married Susan Catherine Koerner 1831-1889
                                              Children:  Orville & Wilbur Wright
Mary VanCleve 1787-1883  married 1st John McClain (eight children); 2nd Robert Swaynie (no children)
                            ChildrenCatharine McClain married Thomas Ryan 
                                    Children:  Margaret Jane Ryan married Andrew McMaster
                                              Children:  Mary Catharine McMaster married Jacob Procuniar
                                                        ChildrenJohn Henry Procuniar married Elsia Leona King
                                                                 Children:  John Thomas Procuniar, SR married Elizabeth Dawn Voight
                                                                          Children:  David Charles Procuniar married Susan Ann Hall 
            Note! Mary Van Cleve is David C. Procuniar's 4th great grandmother  (David is the creator of this website)
Amy VanCleve 1789-1830

Four Children by Samuel Thompson & Catharine Benham VanCleve Thompson
Sarah Thompson
Mathew Thompson
Catharine Thompson
Jane Thompson

David C Procuniar 3598 Harry Truman Drive, Beavercreek, Ohio 45432  (John W VanCleve is my 5th great grandfather)
The Andrews, Clapp, Stokkes, Wright, Van Cleve Genealogy Wright State University Archives

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© Copyright  2001 David C. Procuniar … Reprinted with permission …