Children of Adren Merle Vin Zant and Philemena Pearl Helferich:

  • Raymond Phillip Vin Zant, Sr  b. 14 Jan 1932, Omaha, Douglas County, Nebraska.
  • Sallyanne Maxine Vin Zant  b. 31 Jul 1934, Omaha, Douglas County, Nebraska; d. 04 Sep 1995, Soldotna, Alaska.
  • Adren Merle Vin Zant II  b. 16 Jun 1936, Omaha, Douglas County, Nebraska.


Adren enlisted in the U.S Army Nov 7, 1927 in Omaha, Nebraska at the age of 19. Private Frist class, infantry grade. He trained at Fort Omaha, Nebraska. - 17th infantry and later he was stationed in Company; K Fort Leavenworth, Kansas as bugler and boiler maintenance man. His commanding officer was Captain Wickham. Adren had excellent behavior record. While he saw no battles he did receive a wound when a gun exploded to his left while on the rifle range. Adren took a 30 day leave, "A dependency discharge purchase” when his son Raymond was born while he was stationed at Fort Leavenworth. Adren was discharged form the Army at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas on April 3, 1933. Peace time service- 5 years, 3 months and 27 days.


Adren Merle Vin Zant I (April 3, 1908 – July 15, 1984)


  Adren was born April 3, 1908 in Maxwell, Lincoln County, Nebraska, and died July 15, 1984 in California. Adren was born in a three room sod house outside of Maxwell, Nebraska. Adren Merle Vin Zant Sr. lived with both his mother in Omaha and his father in Kansas City. He was in Boys Town when it first opened up. He played the drums. He was a musician that went out and played around different little towns. Father Flanagan took the boys out to sell brick's to raise money to build Boys Town. He stayed in Boys Town for about a year. He was 7 or 8 years old. His parents were separated or divorced and his mother could not cope with him. He was rebellious to her demands.


Vin Zant's in North America


  Many early settlers of German origin left Europe to seek their fortunes in the New World, in order to escape from poverty or religious persecution. This flow of migration across the Atlantic began after the 1650, and continued well into the 20th century, as wars and the rise of Communist power caused many to seek the relative prosperity and freedom of North America. Primarily these German settlers found themselves in Pennsylvania, Ohio and New York. Then as far west as Illinois, Texas, and California while in Canada they settled in Ontario and the Prairie provinces. Settlers bearing the surname Zant include Heinrich Zander who came to Carolina or Texas with his wife and three children in 1738: Charles Zandt arrived in Philadelphia in 1829 and Bartholomaus Zant arrived in Georgia between 1734 and 1741.

  The above statment is a broad description of the first setters with the name Zant and it's variations in North America.


  From this point forward I will be telling the story of my family line starting with Elisha Vinzant down his lineage to my family. Elisha is the oldest documented member of my family line.



Elisha Vinzant (Birth unknown - Death 1844)


Elisha was born in Tennessee and was believed to be a Minister. He married Ellender Lee who was the first cousin of a Robert E. Lee. It is unknown if he was the "General Robert E. Lee." As both Robert and Lee where common names at that time. Ellender was born in 1810 and died February 17, 1884 at the age of 73.


Elisha and Ellender had three children:

  • Ellen Vinzant (b:d unknown)
  • David Marion Vinzant  (b. 1837 d. 1892)
  • William Edward Vinzant  (b. 1844 d. 1935)



Elisha fought in the Mexican War and indeed was killed in Mexico. His body was sent home to Tennessee. After Elisha's death Ellender Lee married Simeon May they had at least three children, George Washington May, and his twin brother, Marion Francis May and sister Missouri Elizabeth May. {Note: that David's half brother, Marion Francis May's first name, is the same as David's middle name.}


Ellen Vinzant (age unknown)


Ellen Vinzant ran away from home during the Civil War and Married a Brown who forbid her from visiting her parents. The family lost all trace of her.


North American

William Edward Vinzant. (1844-1935)


William Served in the Civil War form November 1861(at the age of 17) until January 1865 he was in Co. D 150th Indiana Infantry Volunteers. He married Sarah East whom may have been the cousin of David's wife Sarah May. Most of the East's and May's intermarried. William never knew his father Elisha, because he died before William was born.



  After the town of Pickering, Missouri became incorporated David Vinzant was credited with constructing the very first residence in the town. He had been a farmer and then became a carpenter.

Sarah, his wife, was the first recorded death in Pickering (dying while in childbirth of a girl child Ellen, who also died) in 1871.

His son Elbert Marion VinZant was the first birth in Pickering.

David was the First patient of Dr. Crowson. Dr. Miles Wallace had Dr. Crowson accompany him on a visit to David's home just prior to Dr. Wallace’s departure from Pickering.

The Methodist Church tolled the bells all day on the day David died. He had been a Methodist Sexton. (Quote from Mildred Morehouse: "Bill Alexandra used to talk to me about how straight, Grandfather David walked.") David fought in the Civil War on the side of the north. He's grave has a Civil War plaque installed to show his participation. Cause of death: Deterioration of the spine caused by malnutrition & exposure during the Civil War.


  After the death of his first wife Sara David married Susan Weaver a maiden lady. Elbert was only 1year old. His daughter Mary Ann Rebecah went to live with her mother’s parents her grandparents John and Sarah May. Becky was only 9years old and lived with the Burch's till she was 16. Then she moved back to Pickering and went to work for her Aunt Louise Wallis at the Pickering hotel where she met Frank Green. Susan raised Lee, Will and Elbert. David died in 1892 and Susan Weaver then married Abe Linebaugh and she helped him raise his two mother-less girls. Her three boys Lee, Will and Elbert visited her before she died. She was very feeble. She just looked up at them and said. "My boys My boys., " Susan Weaver is buried in Memory Cemetery, New Market, Iowa. Lee worked on the Railroad, and plastered with his brother Will and Tom Kiphart. Then Lee and Will went to worked in the coal mines in and near New Market and Clarendia Indiana. Later Will started his apprenticeship to be a Blacksmith, under Jackie Awalt. Eventually he founded his own shop. He also carpentered, and continued to help Lee and Tom Kiphart at plastering.



  The Elbert Marion Vin Zant family resided in Pickering, Missouri. Elbert started a harness shop there in Pickering. The family also lived in Maxwell, Nebraska about 3 years. Elbert worked any kind of job he could get. He started a shop in Maxwell when they first moved there. They lived south of the Platte River. They then moved from Maxwell to Omaha, Nebraska. There Elbert began working for the Burlington Railroad as a brakeman. He did not have to travel out of town for his job. (“Grandpa had a wandering foot. He was always wandering someplace else.” Quoted Irene, about her father.) March 13, 1913, Elbert was building a house in south Omaha, Nebraska for a set of twins, who incidentally had married twins when a tornado moved the house. His daughter Beulah was working in north Omaha, NE at the time. Elbert walked from south Omaha to north Omaha to bring her home safely.



Elbert Marion Vin Zant was the first in my family to record his last name with a capital "Z". It is thought that he may have found out that this was the right way to write the name.

 Quote from Earline Weasser Granddaughter of Elbert: “As far as I have been able to ascertain, the VIN (space) ZANT originated with our grandfather Elbert Marion Vin Zant. His father David Marion Vinzant spelled the name as one word, no space in between. Did Elbert ever see his father's written signature? Was Elbert's small z and capital Z similar in appearance? Did one of his school teachers possibly spell it with a space and that is how he learned to spell it. His mother died in childbirth when he was 1, possibly the step- mother taught him to spell it with the space. Possibly our grandmother told him to separate the name or maybe she could not decipher her husband's handwriting and taught her children to spell it with the space in between. Again, we will never know."



Elbert Marion Vin Zant : Burial services were held at Brailey - Dorrance - Korisko Mortuary, Omaha, Nebraska. Burial was June 24, 1926 at West Lawn Cemetery, Omaha, NE. From the files of Brailey-Dorrance-Korisko Mortuary, Omaha, Nebraska: Elbert M. VinZant, 524 N. 20th Street, Male, White, Divorced, Date of Death June 21, 1926, University Hospital, Omaha, Nebraska. Cause of death - Lobar pneumonia, buried June 24, 1926 in West Lawn Cemetery, Chapel service 4 p.m., Reverend D. J. Gallagher. Physicians signing certificate were Dr. George E. Robertson and Dr. Delaney. Date of birth July 1, 1870, Pickering, Mo. Age at death: 55 years, 11 months, 20 days. Father: Dave VinZant, born in Kentucky; Mother: Sarah May, born in Indiana. Occupation: carpenter. Survivors: Ex-wife Martha A Silvers, 518 (588) N. 19th Street, Omaha, Nebr., 1 son (Andrew) VinZant, Omaha, 2 daughters Mrs. Josephine Chester, Mrs. Guss(ie) Stevens. (note: The mortuary listed his son as Andrew should have been Adren)


David Marion Vinzant (1837-1892)


  David was born in 1837 in Hamilton County, Ohio. David Married Sarah Matilda May on December 27, 1860 in Monroe County, Indiana. Sarah is the daughter of John May and Sarah Burch.


  David and Sarah had five Children;

  • MaryAnn Rebecah Vinzant (Becky)b. December 9, 1861 in Stanford, Indiana; d. January 3, 1931 in Pickering, Missouri.
  • Bradford Lee Vinzant (Lee)b. May 17, 1863, Bloomington, Indiana; b. May 17, 1863, Bloomington, Indiana; d. June 18, 1939
  • William Sutherland Vinzant (Will)b. September 18, 1865, Quincy, Illinois; d,June 21,1926, Omaha, Nebraska.
  • Elbert Marion Vin Zantb. July 1.1870, Pickering, Missouri; d. June 21, 1926, Omaha, Nebraska.
  • Ellen Vinzantb. 1871; d. 1871 in Pickering, Missouri.

Elbert Marion Vin Zant (July 1, 1870 – June 21, 1926)


  Elbert was born July 1, 1870 in Pickering, Nodaway County, Missouri, and died June 21, 1926 in Omaha, Douglas County, Nebraska.

Elbert married Ceila Martha Ann Journey on August 15, 1895 in Clarinda, Page County, Iowa, daughter of William Journey and Elizabeth Hamm . She was born 13 Feb 1874 in Shambaugh, Page County, Iowa, and died 27 May 1951 in Paso Robles, San Luis Obispo County, California. They eventually were divorced.


Children of Elbert Vin Zant and Celia Journey:

  • Beulah Vin Zant (Bessie)  b. September 02, 1897, Pickering, Missouri
  • Gussye Viola Vin Zant  b. December 21, 1901, Pickering, Missouri
  • Irene Florence Vin Zant (Josephine)  b. September 23, 1904, Pickering, Missouri
  • Adren Merle Vin Zant I (Bud)  b. April 03, 1909, Maxwell, Nebraska d. July 15, 1984, Los Angeles, California
  • Helen Grace Ruby Vin Zant  b. August 10, 1910, Maxwell, Nebraska d. December 28, 1915.


Celia often went by her middle name Martha.) While living in Omaha Nebraska Martha baked bread. She went to the butcher's shop to purchase brown paper to wrap the bread in. The butcher inquired why she needed so much paper. When she had explained, he said that he would like to have fresh bread so she brought him back a loaf. A lady was in the store at that time and said she would be willing purchase fresh bread if Martha would bake it. Martha then went into the bread baking business to earn money for the family. One time she purchased a large amount of stripped red and blue colored material which she used to sew dresses for Beulah, Gussye and Irene. She then sewed a shirt for Adren. She wanted to sew a shirt for Elbert from the same material. He told her he did not think that there would be enough material left to make him, so he never received his red and blue shirt. Martha lived off and on for several years with her daughter Gussye Viola (Vin Zant) in the same house or nearby. She didn't seem to like to be separated from Gussye for any length of time. (Celia's daughter Irene Florence (Vin Zant) McNeal once said that "Gussye was always her favorite child"


About Helen; Elbert & Martha had taken Helen to a Christmas party. It was very cold and she contacted pneumonia. Helen died three days later on December 28, 1915. Irene Florence Vin Zant was known only by the name Josephine or Jo by her children during their growing up years. She was also referred to as Jo by her mother, her sister Gussye and brother Adren (Buddy) Vin Zant. In a conversation in Sept. 1997 about memories of her life she stated that her father did not like the name Irene. He was the one that started calling her Jo and so she went by that name. {Note. her name was written as Josephine Vin Sant on her marriage certificate, that could have been the pastors writing. The correct spelling should have been "Vin Zant". She was using Josephine as her name at the time of the wedding.}



When Irene’s family lived in Maxwell, Nebraska a preacher would visit her home on Sunday for dinner. Her mother would fry chicken and give the best part of the bird to the visitor. The children got the wings and tail to eat. Irene decided one Sunday to play a practical joke. She placed a rope under the outside table and benches in the grass. They ate outside as their house was not large enough to have the table and benches inside. During the meal she exclaimed, “Look a snake!" The preacher, who was afraid of snakes fainted dead away. He did not attend Sunday dinners at their home after that. Irene Florence Vin Zant moved to Kansas City to live with her father off and on while her parents were separated. Her mother Martha remained in Omaha where she worked in a hotel laundry to earn money. When Irene stayed with her mother she would work in the same laundry after school removing buttons from soldier’s uniforms and then sewing the buttons back on once the garment had been cleaned. Gussye was staying with her father at this time. Gussye and Irene later moved to California. Martha and Gussye wanted to move to California. They had gone to California a couple of times earlier just to see it then they finally went back and stayed


Before Adren got married he worked for the Telegraph Company delivering telegrams. (American Telephone and Telegraph Company possibly) He borrowed the neighbor girl’s bike to ride. He had to save money and gave the mother of the girl whose bike he was riding so much money a week. She kept it back and when they had enough he and the girl’s mother went and bought him a bike. Adren's mother practically had a fit because she wanted all of the money for herself.



Adren married Philemena Pearl Helferich on March 31, 1931 in Palillion, Nebraska, daughter of Phillip Helferich and Charlotte Butenbach. Philemena Pearl went by her middle name Pearl. She was born Aug. 3, 1915 in Des Monies, IA,


    Boys Town


    After Adren and Pearl got married in Palillion. He began working as a streetcar conductor in Omaha, Nebraska.


    World War II started while they lived there In Salinas California. The Railroads were hiring in Los Angeles so the family moved again to Los Angeles. Adren went to work for the Pacific Electric R. R. Co. They lived on 52, 2nd St. Los Angeles California just off Main St. It was a bad neighborhood. So they moved to a walk-up on Sunset close to the canyon which is now the home of the Dodgers. It was a two story on a hill about 3/4 mile from the kid's School. They then moved to another apartment and the kids went to Alessandro elementary. From there they moved to Newell St. They stayed there until about 1945/46 Ray was through the seventh grade. From Newell St. they moved to Sunland California. This was in the foothill of Los Angeles. They venture to Washington State. Adren wanted to trade the property in Sunland for property in Washington, but he could not find work in Washington. So back to LA they moved. They moved into an apartment that Ray’s Grandmother Eaton owned on 92nd St. the school the kids went to was Bret Harte School named after the author and writer. The family stayed there about 1 year. Then it was off to Blodgett Ave. in Downey, Ca.



    Raymond Philip Vin Zant Sr. (January 14, 1932)


    Ray married Violet May Cornelius on March 26, 1951 in Downey, Los Angeles County, California. Violet is the daughter of Patrick Cornelius and Ethel Albert. She was born May 2, 1933 in Hemet, California.

    {Source of Information from; Raymond P. Vin Zant Sr.}

    The year was 1940 Adren & Pearl Vin Zant and their three children, Raymond, Sallyanne and Adren Jr. left Omaha, Nebraska and moved to California in a Model A Ford. They got as far as the top of Donner Pass and threw a rod. Adren called his sisters in San Francisco. They come and picked us up in a big car don’t remember the make. Ray recalled. Aunt Gussye picked them up and drove to San Francisco, to their Walk-Up” apartment. {Note: A walk up is the same as town houses that are owned by the different residents.} Ray started school there at a Catholic Boys school that was run by Brothers.


    Adren Sr. went to work on the Greyhound Bus Company in Salinas California. The rest of the family stayed In San Francisco and then shortly joined him In Salinas.



    Adren retired as a Locomotive Engineer for The Southern Pacific Railroad Company in Southern California. They lived on Blodgett Ave. until 1972.


    Sometime after his wife Pearl died he remarried to Margaret Elizabeth Moffett Alphin. Adren then sold the Bodgett property.


    Note: Philemena Pearl Helferich died July 19, 1972 and was buried by Paramount Mortuary in Old Downey Cemetery, Downey, California. Section 2, Lot 43, Grave 1E} {Note: Adren Merle Vin Zant I, died July 15, 1984 and was cremated his ashes were scattered in the Pacific Ocean.}


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