In the commercial circles of Jackson County Miss., is Robert Adrian Van Cleave, of Ocean Springs, who was born in Hinds County, Miss., June 9, 1840, and is a son of Jonathan & Elizabeth (Rowland) Van Cleave. The father was a native of Maury County Tennessee, born April 1, 1800. The mother, a sister of Dr. David Rowland, of Louisville, Ky., was born in Kentucky in 1805. They were married in Hinds County, Miss., in 1837, having settled there in 1825. Their families are of English, French and Scotch-Irish descent. Jonathan Van Cleave was a grand-nephew of Daniel Boone.
He was a very prosperous planter, and was well known among the merchants and farmers of the county. He died in 1886. By his first marriage he had a large family, all of whom are deceased. Four children were born of the second marriage, two of whom are living: Mellison R., and R. A., the subject of this sketch.
He spent his early youth in Hinds county, where he attended the common schools. He finished his education in Yazoo City, whither his father had removed. He remained under the parental roof until he had reached his majority, and then, in 1861, he enlisted in the Confederate service under General Price. He afterward joined the First Mississippi light artillery, and was taken prisoner at the fall of Vicksburg. He was soon paroled and spent three years in active service. In 1867 he removed to Ocean Springs, and engaged in the mercantile trade. In 1872 he was appointed postmaster and held the office nearly ten years. This position was petitioned for by the citizens without his own personal solicitation. In 1885 he was appointed by President Cleveland special agent of the general land office of the United States, and assigned to duty in Mississippi, with headquarters at Ocean Springs. The duties of this office were to protect the public timber lands. He held this office until 1889 when he was removed by President Harrison, and the office was filled by a republican. Mr. Van Cleave is one of the oldest merchants at Ocean Springs, having carried on the business there for twenty-four years. He now has two sons, George A. and Robert A. Jr., associated in business with him. He established a postoffice at Van Cleave in 1868; this place was named in his honor, and is located twelve miles north-east of Ocean Springs. He was married in 1865 to Miss Eliza R., a daughter of William Sheppard, a pioneer merchant of Yazoo City, Miss.
Mr. & Mrs. Van Cleave are the parents of seven living children:Fannie, the wife of Walter H. Covington; George A.; Robert A. Jr.; William S.; Richard S.; Sarah and June P.
They have a beautiful residence, and are surrounded with all the comforts of life. Mr. Van Cleave has a cousin in Chicago, James R. B. Van Cleave, who is a prominent man throughout the state of Illinois; he is the present city clerk.
Pages 941 & 942 of Biographical and Historical Memoirs of Mississippi - Vol. II published 1891 by Goodspeed Publishing - Chicago.
NOTE: There are errors in the above biography. Jonathan Van Cleave was NOT a grand nephew of Daniel Boone. His grandfather's only sister married Daniel's brother Squire Jr. I have found no evidence that all the children of Jonathan's first marriage were deceased by the time this book was published. At least one other brother of Robert Adrian was still living - Nathaniel Moore Van Cleave was living in Cavanaugh, Sebastian County, Arkansas. I have not found any information on the youngest son of Jonathan Van Cleave, Daniel Boone Van Cleave, b. 1844, after his service in the Civil War. Think he may have changed his name and perhaps left Mississippi.