From Adams’s Beaver Hat to Dylan’s Coffee Table

Khleber Miller Van Zandt was born in Tennessee on November 7, 1836. He would become a Civil War major, banker, and one of Fort Worth’s most influential early civic leaders.

But first he was a boy, the son of Isaac Van Zandt (right photo), for whom that county is named. Isaac was a diplomat for the Republic of Texas. In 1842 President Sam Houston appointed Isaac to be charge d’affairs to the United States. So, Isaac moved his family from Marshall, Texas, to Washington. During his tenure in Washington, the elder Van Zandt worked for the annexation of Texas to the Union.

yoostabe van zandt annexation 1844This article about Isaac Van Zandt is from the Houston Telegraph of 1844—one year before annexation.

While the Van Zandts lived in Washington, their next-door neighbor was John Quincy Adams (1767-1848), then a congressman from Massachusetts. Khleber was six years old at the time; Adams was seventy-five. Many years later Khleber recalled Adams as “a very austere man, and when he came walking down the street, the children would scamper out of his way. Perhaps we were frightened by his large, white beaver hat and the gold-headed walking cane he always carried.”

Consider the time span of Khleber Miller Van Zandt: Because he lived to 1930, people of my parents’ generation, some of them still alive today, knew a man who had known a man who had been the sixth president of the United States and who had been the son of the second president—an old man who had been a young boy during the American Revolution and had known the founding fathers.

van zandt house 800 penn

Khleber Miller Van Zandt died on March 19, 1930 at his home on Quality Hill.

van-zandt-obit-stUntil a few weeks before his death he was still going in to his office at Fort Worth National Bank each workday. He was survived by four generations of descendants.

Major Khleber Miller Van Zandt is buried in Oakwood Cemetery.

More posts about Van Zandt:
Blue and Gray: “Best of Friends . . . As If We Had Fought Side by Side”
Making a Withdrawal at the Trinity River Bank
Hotel Block: From “Sad and Gloomy” to the Golden Goddess
Bank Assets: 2 Million Dollars and 1 Confederate General (Deceased)
And, yes, according to A Deeper Blue: The Life and Music of Townes Van Zandt by Robert Earl Hardy, Khleber Miller Van Zandt was the great-granduncle of singer-songwriter John Townes Van Zandt (1944-1997).
Said singer-songwriter Steve Earle: “Townes Van Zandt is the best songwriter in the whole world, and I’ll stand on Bob Dylan’s coffee table in my cowboy boots and say that.”
Townes Van Zandt:

This entry was posted in Cities of the Dead, Heads Above the Crowd, Life in the Past Lane. Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to From Adams’s Beaver Hat to Dylan’s Coffee Table

  1. Van Williams played football at Arlington Heights High School – went on to TCU and then
    to Hollywood to play in ‘The Green Hornet’,
    bit parts in movies and TV Commercials.
    The last word I got – is that he was the Sheriff of Malibu, California.

    • hometown says:

      Thanks, Gerry. Now I’ll always think of Van Williams when I watch the “Stay out of Malibu, Lebowski” scene.

    • Larry Brown says:

      Van Williams was one of my favorite actors that, also, appeared on Bourbon Street Beat, then Surfside Six on ABC.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *