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History of the Mohawk Valley: Gateway to the West 1614-1925
Edward Van Vleet

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[This information is from Vol. III, pp. 348-349 of History of the Mohawk Valley: Gateway to the West 1614-1925, edited by Nelson Greene (Chicago: The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1925). It is in the Reference collection of the Schenectady County Public Library at R 974.7 G81h. This online edition includes lists of portraits, maps and illustrations. As noted by Paul Keesler in his article, "The Much Maligned Mr. Greene," some information in this book has been superseded by later research or was provided incorrectly by local sources.]

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Edward Van Vleet, president and manager of the Van Vleet Company, Incorporated, No. 49 Spring street, Gloversville, enjoys the distinction of being one of the pioneer manufacturers of motor gloves in this country. Born in Johnstown, in March, 1868, he has lived in this vicinity all of his life, most of which has been spent in the glove industry. His parents, Henry and Nancy (Parks) Van Vleet, were natives of Fulton county and for years the father operated a farm and ran a sawmill in this county. He is still living in Johnstown, at the advanced age of eighty, but his wife died in 1912.

Edward Van Vleet is of Holland Dutch descent, as his name indicates, his father's people having originally come to this country from the Netherlands. He was reared in Johnstown and educated in the public schools there, but at the age of twelve he put aside his textbooks to help his father on the farm. Later he took up the glovemaker's trade, at which he worked for sixteen years, acquiring a thorough knowledge of the business by actually performing all the operations necessary for the manufacture of a pair of gloves, from the designing down to the last bit of finishing. In 1911 Mr. Van Vleet engaged in the manufacture of gloves, having as his partner in the enterprise Lewis R. Bush, who was killed in an automobile accident in 1920. Edward Shotwell was taken into the firm after Mr. Bush's death, but a year later he, too, was killed, his death being the result of an accident with a tractor in Florida. Meanwhile, on June 21, 1916, the business had been incorporated under its present name, with Mr. Van Vleet as president and manager. The firm makes a specialty of motor gloves, in the production of which Mr. Van Vleet ranks as one of the pioneer manufacturers and today practically all of the goods of this sort on the American market are of his design. Normally about one hundred people are required to supply the demands of the trade, which is carried on through jobbers and extends all over the United States and Canada. In addition to Mr. Van Vleet, the officers of the company are: James P. Chapman, vice president and sales manager; and Charles L. Smith, secretary and treasurer.

Mr. Van Vleet and Miss Bertha A. Young were married in November, 1893, and have become the parents of two sons: Homer Clay Van Vleet and LeRoy W. Van Vleet, both of whom are associated with their father in the business. The older of the two is a foreman in the factory, while the other is a cutter. Mrs. Van Vleet is the daughter of Richard and Mary (Smith) Young, natives of this state, the father born in Montgomery county and the mother in Canajoharie. Mrs. Mary (Smith) Young came from a family that was very prominent in Canajoharie for many years. A leather worker by occupation, Mr. Young was engaged in that line of work in Gloversville throughout his life.

Mr. Van Vleet is prominently identified with the Masonic order, in which he has attained the thirty-second degree and the rank of Noble of the Mystic Shrine, his affiliations being with Cyprus Temple of Albany. He is a trustee of the Gloversville Baptist church and chairman of the music committee; while his social life centers in the Eccentric Club, of which he has long been a member. Politically he ranks as a republican. Mr. Van Vleet is one to whom great credit is due for his success in life, for he has risen to the top in his industry by dint of his own effort. He has made the best of every opportunity to advance his interests in a business way and by so doing has earned his place among the representative citizens and manufacturers of the thriving city of Gloversville.

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