Biography - A. R. VAN SKIVER
A progressive, public-spirited citizen of Streator is he whose name heads this sketch. His influence, which is not slight, is always to be found upon the side of good government, the enforcement of the law, progress and improvement along all lines, better educational facilities and high-class teachers for the rising generation, and everything which will be of permanent benefit to the public of this community.
A native of Preble county, Ohio, Mr. Van Skiver was born in the vicinity of the town of Camden, September 20, 1856, his parents being Joseph G. and Rebecca B. Van Skiver. After receiving a liberal education in the public schools, the young man engaged in teaching, and enjoyed the dignity of conducting a school before he was twenty years of age. Feeling the need of a better education in the higher branches, he pursued a scientific course of study in the National Normal University, at Lebanon, Ohio, being graduated in that well-known institution in 1879. He continued to devote his time and energy to teaching and self-improvement until 1884, when he came to Streator. Here he purchased a half interest in the Free Press, becoming a member of the firm of Van Skiver & Fornof. His partner, J. W. Fornof, is the present postmaster of Streator, and thus the major share of the business of managing the paper falls upon our subject.
The Free Press is a wide-awake, representative journal, devoted to the interests of the citizens of Streator and locality. It aims to give a clear, concise account of the events which are occupying the attention of the busy world, and at the same time gives items of especial interest to the people of this section. It is Republican in political creed, and is a fearless champion of the right. The well-grounded opinions of its editors are frequently reflected upon its pages, and without doubt the paper is growing in popularity constantly.
Mr. Van Skiver has a very pleasant and attractive home, which is presided over by the lady whom he made his wife in 1881. She was then Miss Fannie Beall, a daughter of F. A. Beall, of Preble county, Ohio.
Extracted by Norma Hass from Biographical and Genealogical Record of LaSalle County, Illinois published in 1900, volume 1, pages 262-263.