The Vandegrifts of Mower County

Thomas Hart Benton Vandegrift

Major Figures
Early Vandergrift/Vandegrift History
John Miller, His Children, Their Spouses & Children
John Miller Vandegrift
John Miller Vandegrift Jr.
Thomas Hart Benton Vandegrift
Jacob Vandegrift Jr.
Fanny Vandegrift Stevenson
About the Author
Areas Needing Further Work


Abt 1890

Thomas Hart Benton Vandegrift was born on 18 Jul 1840 at Philadelphia to John Miller Vandegrift & Mary Worn. He was named after US Senator Thomas Hart Benton of Missouri, the first senator to serve 5 terms, from 1821 to 1851, a supporter of westward expansion. Tom married Agnes E. Dodge, (born Sep 1844), on 27 Nov 1867 at his father’s home in Red Rock Twp., Mower, Mn. He died 17 Sep 1908 at Egan, Moody, S. D. Agnes was the daughter of Samuel Dodge & his 1st wife. Samuel married 2nd Amanda, Thomas’ sister. Agnes died after 1930.

Their children were:

Effie, born 1872 in Mn. She died in 1890.

Virginia, born Jun 1875 in Mn.

William Carl, born Oct 1887 in Mn. William was the son of Thomas’ brother Charles Henry but was raised from the age of 8 months by Thomas (Thomas, p. 100).


Thomas was the same age as Fannie Vandegrift, his cousin, & they played together (Sanchez, p. 15) during the time Thomas was living in Indianapolis (1850-1856).


Howard VandeGrift wrote the following about Tom’s childhood & experiences during the Civil War.


My Dad had 3 brothers- Tom was the eldest & the right one for war. When he was growing up in Indianapolis he did some street fighting. One time he had a wheelbarrow filled with wood. A bigger boy wanted to wheel it but Tom said, “You will tip it over”. The boy said “No I won’t”. Tom let him try it & he tipped it over right away. Then Tom gave him a good pounding.


He joined the army in Ft. Snelling in St. Paul, Minn. in 1862. He was there a few weeks when a tall Indian gave him a whack on the nose with his forefinger. Tom said, “You do that again & one of us is going down”. Tom’s friend stayed close to him, as he wanted to see what would happen. A week later the Indian came around & did the same thing. In a quick move, Tom knocked him down flat.


Tom’s company got down to Tennessee & one day they were going south when they saw a nice apple orchard in a yard. They stopped to pick apples but the woman who owned the farm said, “When you come back you won’t have time to pick apples”. Tom said she was right as they were on the run then. In 1864 they were on a southern road & when they came to a fork in the road they took the wrong one & were captured.


Tom said that they lined the men up in a row & he was lucky. They started at the other end of the line to take the soldiers valuables. Tom took his $ 40 in paper  & stuck it under his shirt & suspenders. When he was put in Andersonville prison he had cash to buy eats from the guards.


Tom’s military record (US microfilm M546, roll 10):


Code No: 46086

Last Name:  Vandegrift

First Name: Thomas  H.  B.

Rank: Corporal

Company: C

Regiment: 9

State: MN

Branch Of Service : Infantry

Remarks* Sent to Savannah, Georgia, September 30, 1864 and arrived, October 1, 1864. Sent to Camp Lawton, Millen, Georgia, October 14, 1864. Exchanged at Savannah, Georgia, date unknown.  Discharged July 31, 1865

Reference: p 443 [17] ADG RPT: 443, “In and Out of Andersonville Prison”, 1905: 52, 75

Place Captured: Brice’s Cross Roads, Mississippi

Date Captured: 6/10/1864

Status: Survived Andersonville

Muster date:  8/19/1862

Age at Muster: 22

Also held at Cahaba Alabama, Millen Georgia ( camp Lawton ) and Savannah Georgia.


17 = Minnesota in the Civil and Indian Wars, 1861-65; Board of Commissioners, Volume I; State of Minnesota, 1891.


Thomas (p. 99) also states  that John Miller Vandegrift had John Miller’s sword from the Revolutionary War & gave it to Thomas Hart Benton Vandegrift since he was the only family member to serve in the Civil War. He further states that Thomas gave the sword to his adopted son William (the son of Charles H. Vandegrift). Willie is listed as adopted in the 1900 US census. William disappears after the 1920 census.


Following is a census summary for T. H. B. Vandegrift & his family. 


1870 US Census: Windom Twp., Mower, Mn., p. 2, 26 Jul 1870.

Tom H. (30, Pa), Farmer, Real Estate $ 1500, Personal Estate $ 500; Aggie E. (26, N. Y.); Mary Benregar (15, Canada), servant.


1880 US Census: Sioux Falls, Minehaha, Dakota Territory; Roll T9_113; Enumeration Dist. 20, image 620, 1 Jun 1880.

T. H. (39, De), Nurseryman; Agnes (34, N. Y.); Effie (9, Mn), at school; Virginia (6, Mn).


1900 US Census: Egan, Moody, S. D.; Roll T623_1553; p. 18, Enumeration Dist. 270, 1 Jun 1900.

T. H. (Jul 1840, 59, Pa), Grain Buyer, married 30 yrs., owned home free; Agnes (Sep 1844, 55, NY); Willie (Oct 1887, 13, Mn), Adopted son, att. School.


1910 Census: Minneapolis Ward 5, Hennepin, Mn., Roll T624_702, p. 4A, Enumeration Dist. 92, 19 Jun 1910.

Agnes E. (61, NY), 2 children, 1 living, Rents house; William C. (22, Mn), Stenographer; Mary H. Shaw (33), border.


1920 Census: Sioux Falls Ward 5, Minehaha, S. D., Roll T625_1724, p. 3A, Enumeration Dist. 187, 5 Jan 1920.

Henry Hornby (45, USA), Doctor, Cancer Specialist, owned home free; Virginia (40, Mn); Ruth (15, SD); Gertrude (11, SD); Virginia (7, SD); Agnes Vandegrift (68, Wi sic), Mother-in-law, widow.


1920 Census: Lost Spring, Converse, Wy., p. 5B, Enumeration Dist. 37, 22 Jan 1920.

Wm. C. Vandegrift, (33, Mn), single, roomer, Manager of Cooperative Association.


1930 Census: Sioux Falls Ward 5, Minehaha, SD, Roll 2228, p. 14A, Enumeration Dist. 29, 6 Apr 1930.

Henry Hornby (56, IL), cancer specialist, Owned home worth $ 20,000 (clinic), Married at age 32, had a radio; Virginia (56, Mn), married at age 29; Gertrude (21, SD); Virginia (17, SD); Agnes E. Vandegrift (85, NY).




The following is from the 1884 History of Mower County.


Thomas applied for a pension in 1871 as shown below as an invalid (In the 1890 Veteran’s Census he indicated that he was blind in the right eye) & his widow Agnes applied for one in Oct. 1908 (he died in Sept. 1908).



Sioux Falls, S. D. Newspaper, 25 Oct 1908.



Jacob Vandegrift Jr.