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Catharine Burnett Van Deusen

Daughter of Henry L. Burnett and Sarah Gibson Lansing Burnett

1st Marriage,   2nd Marriage,   3rd Marriage,   Will,   Obituary

When Catharine Gibson Burnett was four years old, her mother died. At various times, she is shown in census data living with her grandmother or great grandmother in Canandaigua and Buffalo. At the time of her grandmother's death in 1889, Catharine was studying at the Utica Seminary for Women.

On 5 Jan 1896, Catharine married Robert Mercur, and on 11 Jan 1897, their daughter Catharine Gibson Mercur was born. Later that same year, Catharine's grandmother, Catharine Lansing, died. In the 1900 census, however, Catharine and her daughter are living as boarders in Canandaigua, with no sign of Robert.

Catharine moved to Canon City CO in 1902, and in August 1905 she is shown returning from her wedding trip into Mexico with Jack Bell, with no mention of their son Bradley, who puts his birthdate as May 11, 1905. Bradley does lie about his age when he runs away from home to join the army, which might be the source of the confusion.

1880 Census:

1880 Census, Canandaigua
 Name   Relation   Marital Status   Gender   Race   Age   Birthplace   Occupation   Father's Birthplace   Mother's Birthplace 
 Sarah Gibson  Self   W   Female   W  83   NY   Keeps House   NY   NY 
 Catherine Lansing   Dau   M   Female   W   50   NY   At Home   NY   NY 
 Katharine Burnett   GDau   S   Female   W   16   OH   At School   OH   OH 
 Lansing Burnett   GSon   S   Male   W   11   NY   At School   OH   OH 
 Catherine Burnett   GDau   S   Female   W   8   NY   At School   OH   OH 
 Isobel Leask   Other   S   Female   W   26   Canada   Governess   Scotland   SCO 
 Robert Poiser   Other   M   Male   W   56   England   Gardner   ENG   ENG 
 Jane Poiser   Other   M   Female   W   48   England   Cook   ENG   ENG 
 George W. Poiser   Other   S   Male   W   12   NY   At School   ENG   ENG 
 Ellen Clokacy   Other   S   Female   W   50   Ireland   Servant   IRE   IRE 
 Ellen Gillin   Other   S   Female   W   35   Ireland   Servant   IRE   IRE 

1892 Census, Canandaigua
 Name   Relation   Marital Status   Age   Birth   F's Birth   M's Birth 
 Catherine Lansing   Head   Widow   50   NY   NY   NY 
 Lansing Burnett  Grandson   Single  23   NY   Ohio   NY 
 Catherine Lansing   Granddau   Single   19   NY   Ohio   NY 
 Livingston Lansing  Son   Married  51   NY   NY   NY 
 Grace Lansing   Dau-in-law   Married   50   CT   NJ   NY 
 Katherine Lansing  Granddau   Single  14   NY   NY   CT 
 Ernest Lansing   Grandson   Single   9   NY   NY   CT 

Marriage to Robert Mercur
Mrs. Henry L. LANSING, of Canandaigua, will give a reception to-morrow evening in honor of the coming of her granddaughter, Miss Catherine O. G. BURNETT.

Catharine Burnett marries Mercur

Catharine Burnett Mercur

1891 Robert J. Mercur vice-pres Electric Service Co of Buffalo 52 Niagara Square
1892 Robert J. Mercur with Griffin Car Wheel Co 52 Niagara Square
1893 Robert J. Mercur with Griffin Car Wheel Co 52 Niagara Square
1894 Robert J. Mercur with NY Car Wheel Works 62 Niagara
1895 Robert J. Mercur gen agt NY Car Wheel Works 62 Niagara
1895 Robert J. Mercur gen agt NY Car Wheel Works 62 Niagara
1896 - Catharine Olivia Gibson Burnett marries Robert J. Mercur
1897 Robert J. Mercur
h: 115 Park
gen agt NY Car Wheel Works 2 German Ins. bldg
1897 - Catharine Gibson Mercur born in Niagara-on-the-Lake; Catharine Lansing dies
1898 Robert J. Mercur
h: 115 Park
gen agt NY Car Wheel Works 2 German Ins. bldg
Robert J. Mercur no longer in Buffalo

1900 Census, Canandaigua
 Name   Relation   Marital Status   Age   Birth   F's Birth   M's Birth   Occupation 
 Catherine B. Mercur   Lodger   Married   28   NY   Ohio   NY   Capitalist 
 Catharine G. Mercur  Lodger   Single   3   NY   NY   NY   NY 

Marriage to Jack Bell
Conquest of the King of the Grizzlies
By Jack Bell

Outdoor Life, 1904
The Best of Outdoor Life
Cowles Creative Publishing, 1998, pp 11-13

CCR Thursday 24 August 1905

Mr. and Mrs. Jack Bell and little daughter, Katherine, returned home last Sunday night after an absence of fourteen months, during which time they traveled by wagon upwards of 4,400 miles along the western slopes of the Rocky mountains.

Leaving here in May, 1904, they drove over to the Gunnison country, thence south through the San Juan valley into Arizona and Old Mexico, where they spent the winter months. Mr. Bell says the rains in Arizona last year were something unparalleled in the history of the country, there having occurred nothing like them in the traditions of the Indians, which extend back many centuries.

Although there were necessarily some hardships in such a trip, it was, on the whole, very enjoyable and Mr. and Mrs. Bell bring back with them the recollections of many interesting experiences.

During the trip Miss Katherine rode a horse more than four thousand miles and, as may be inferred, is an accomplished equestrienne.

Jack Bell
Catharine Burnett

The Times, Canon City, Colorado, Thursday, July 23, 1908
Mrs. Catharine B. Bell, editor of the Canon City Canon, has favored us with a copy of "Hot Shots," a handsome booklet just issued from the Cannon press rooms. Mechanically, the work is in excellent taste and creditable to the establishment producing it. The reading matter consists of a number of the strongest paragraphs that have appeared in the Cannon during the past several months. They are all full of pointer and ginger and are well worth reading and preserving.

The Canon City Times
by The Times publishing Company
Wm. E. Spencer, Editor and Manager
An Advocate of Temperance and Social Progress

Fremont County
The day after the flood, the Canon City Cannon came out "with the most bizarre story of the flood, written by a book-store owner" who freelanced for Cannon owner Mrs. Jack Bell:


Jack and Catherine Bell took over the Clipper and changed the name to:

Canon City Cannon January 2, 1906-1912. Mrs. Bell was publisher. The Cannon slogan was "Fired Once A Week."

Jack Bell did "handy work around the paper," taking an occasional holiday for a good time. On one of those five-day, unchaperoned good times, he arranged with the Canon City telegraph girl to deliver his wife a telegram (numbered one to five) each day he was gone, telling how much he missed her. All five telegrams were delivered as Jack got off the train in Canon City on the sixth day.

Nellie Weston, wife of "a typical western prospector, Eugene Weston" was a Cannon reporter.

Mrs Bell and her wandering husband turned the Cannon over to printer E.C. Shumway about 1910.


Colorado Press reported in February 1914 that Jack Bell, was doing special work for the Denver Times.

gold stock

Divorce: June 11, 1909
County: Fremont County
Names: Catherine B. Bell
John Bell
Jack Bell Invents a Stove
Denver Times 1916


Veteran of Metal Fields Claims Device Will Use Many Fuels and Supply Light as Well as Heat for Cooking.

A camp stove designed to meet his own needs as a prospector in the mountains and on the desert, seems likely to bring a fortune to Jack Bell, well known in Colorado mining circles.

Bell has prospected all over the mining sections of Mexico and the United States, including Alaska. He has won and lost fortunes, and has made a dozen original discoveries which have meant wealth to others, but it the invention growing out of his own necessities as an outdoor man that apparently is going to bring him the real stake at last.

There isn't a Colorado mining district in which Jack Bell is not known. He has been a pioneer in all the big mining camps, and was one of the first in the rare metals fields of the western part of the state when discoveries of vanadium and sarnotite began to attract the attention of the world.

Reported on the Border
Just now Bell is said to be on the border preparatory to opening up a big mining proposition in Mexico when affairs have settled sufficiently to make lives and investments reasonably safe. Meantime, with characteristic energy, he has submitted his plans for a prospector's camp stove to a big Eastern manufacturing firm, which promises to put it on the market in many forms.

Bell's stove is a novelty in that its chief fuel is gasoline. A gallong of "gas" will be sufficient for a two months' trip, according to the inventor. The stove is modeled after the ordinary reflector heater. The flame from the burner passes thru a series of air chambers, the heat circulating around the over and under the plates used for cooking.

Back of the reflecter, and designed to fill the vacancy, between the reflector and stove back, is a tank with a pump for pressure. There is a system of oils and screens, constituting Bell's invention, which requires no superheating to create the gas for the flame.

Many Fuels Possible
Alcohol, gasoline, kerosene, crude oil or natural or artificial gas can be used. Also it is possible to convey the gas from the stove to an ordinary Weisbach or other burner and make an illuminating light of any power.

It is claimed the stove will be a boon to the poor because of its economy in heating, baking and illuminating. But the inventor had chiefly in mind the outdoor man, and believes he has the perfect camp stove, light and easily packed, and selling at not more than $4. The chief problem of thousands of campers in the West has been the camp stove -- and this problem the veteran prospector seems to have solved.

Bell is a typical man of the open -- explorer, prospector, mining engineer and miner. He has done all forms of minng, and has a wonderful knowledge of minerology. For thirty-five years he has followed the lure of the mines and has nearly died of thirst in the desert and from exposure on the high peaks in winter.

Once on Hammond's Staff
He was one of the pioneers of Goldfield and Rawhide. And in Cripple Creek, when on John Hays Hammond's staff, engaged in a thrilling battle with ore thieves in the underground depths of the Independence mine. When the carnotite fields of western Colorado were opened Bell was one of the first on the ground and stood to win a large fortune in the yellow metal when the European war temporarily checked the demand for radium.

Bell has worked as a newspaper man in Denver and other Western cities, and is known as a contributor to various journals on mining subjects. he has also collaborated in magazine articles on outdoor topics growing out of his own varied experiences.

There are hundreds of mining and newspaper men in the West who will join in the wish that Jack Bell's invention turns out to be the equal of a mining bonanza in point of dividends.

Bradley [Evans Bell] Van Deusen
Catharine Burnett and Jack Bell's son, and Henry L. Burnett's grandson
1910 Census, Denver
 Name   Relation   Marital Status   Age   Birth   F's Birth   M's Birth   Occupation 
 Catherine B. Bell   Head   Married   37   NY   NY[OH]   NY   Chief Clerk
State Land Board 
 Catharine G. Bell  Daughter   Single   13   NY   PA   NY   NY 
 Bradley E. Bell  Son   Single    4  NY [CO]   PA   NY   NY 
 Margaret Jeter  Servant   Single   48   FL   GA   FL   Housework 

Marriage to Robert Van Deusen
1910 Census, Steamboat Springs CO
 Name   Relation   Marital Status   Age   Birth   F's Birth   M's Birth   Occupation 
 Robert M. Van Deusen   Head   Married   42   Michigan   NY   NY   Abstracts of Title
Own office 
 Olive S. Van Deusen  Wife   Married   39   Ohio   VT   NY   NY 
 Stuart A. Van Deusen  Son   Single   17   CO   MI   OH   NY 
 Marian F. Van Deusen  Daughter   Single   16   CO   MI   OH   NY 
 Nancy F. Van Deusen  Daughter   Single   12   CO   MI   OH   NY 
 Stuart A. Van Deusen  Father   Widower   71   NY   Holland   NY   Own income 

Progressive Men of Western Colorado, 1905.
Robert Meade Van Deusen was educated in the common and high schools at Bay City, and at a grammar school in New York city and Buchtel College in Akron, Ohio. He assisted his father in his hotel and mining business, and in addition devoted some time to assaying. In 1895 he moved to Routt county and located at Steamboat Springs. Here he has given attention principally to ranching and the real estate business, acquiring his ranch of one hundred and twenty acres on Elk creek by purchase. The tract is substantially all tillable and on it hay and cattle are raised with great success. In 1901 Judge J.T. Shumate appointed him clerk of the district court for Routt county, and he is still filling the position with satisfaction to all concerned. He is an ardent Democrat in politics and a blue lodge and chapter Freemason fraternally. Since 1903, in connection with his official duties, he has devoted his energies principally to the real estate business as a member of the firm of Van Deusen & Myler, the most reliable and energetic firm in this line in the neighborhood of Steamboat Springs. Both members are prominent and successful men in other lines, and they have put into this enterprise all the energy and high character for which they are distinguished elsewhere, and are winning a success commensurate with their merits, which are of a high order. On one occasion Mr. Van Deusen was connected with the Huntoon Land & Investment Company, and was employed by it to examine the mineral springs at Mt. Constance in the Olympic mountains, in the state of Washington. They made the trip to the place of employment by a route from Hood's canal they were the first white men ever to take.

Mr. Van Deusen was married on April 29, 1891 to Miss Olive Slade, a native of Columbus, Ohio. They have four children, Stewart A., Marion, Nancy M. and Alice; the latter died at the age of one year.

Marriage: November 5, 1911  
County: Denver County
Names: Catherine B. Bell
Robert M. Van Deusen

With Catharine as Chief Clerk of the Land Office, and Robert as working with titles and appraisals, they obviously met through their work.

Van Deusen family

Denver, Feb. 13 --

Mrs. Katherine Van Deusen has been elected secretary of the municipal board of Charities and Corrections. Mrs. Van Deusen has a remarkable career in settlement work in New York. In Buffalo she perfected the diet kitchens and won national fame for herself through her work.

Mrs. Van Deusen was the first probation officer of Fremont county and special representative of the board of county commissioners in destitution cases. She was also humane officer in the same county, and president for the long and short term of the board of county vistors. Mrs. Van Deusen, as Miss Katherine Bell, was editor of the Canon City Cannon, the only newspaper in the state at that time edited by a woman. She was also clerk of the state land office under Registrar B.L. Jefferson.

Mrs. Van Deusen will assume the duties of her office this morning. Her office will be in the Euclid building. The other offices elected are james H. Pershing, C.F. Reed and Mrs. Alma Lafferty.

1920 Census, Denver
 Name   Relation   Marital Status   Age   Birth   F's Birth   M's Birth   Occupation 
 Robert M. Van Deusen  Head   Married   52   NY   NY   NY   Tax Appraiser
State House 
 Catherine B. Van Deusen   Wife   Married   47   NY   OH   NY   NY 
 Bradley E. Bell  Son   Single   14   CO   PA   NY   NY 

Living at 4826 Tennyson. Catharine's daughter Catharine had married Charles Edward "Ted" Seymour abt 1917.

Robert's first wife Olive is living with their unmarried daughter Nancy as a boarder in Steamboat Springs.

1930 Census, Grand Lake CO

1930 census

The 1930 census shows Catherine B. Van Deusen as 56 and divorced, and owning the ranch on which they live. Daughter Catherine M. Seymour is 33 and divorced. And Seymore's daughter, Catherine B. Seymour, is 11 years old. The eldest Catherine and the youngest have no professions. Catherine M. Seymour's occupation is farm manager, and George W. Grant lives on the ranch and works as a laborer. The Van Deusen Ranch on which they lived was eventually submerged beneath the Grand Lake when the dam was built.

Son Bradley is a soldier at Fort Jay in Manhattan. His age is given as 27, rather than 25, because he ran away and lied about his age to join the army.

Catharine's third husband Robert is living with HIS third wife Nellie in Jefferson County. His home is shown being worth $10,000.

Van Deusen ranch

I, Catharine Burnett Van Deusen, of the County of Grand County and State of Colorado, and being of sound and disposing mind and memory, do make ordain, publish and declare this to be my last Will and Testament, and I hereby expressly revoke all former wills or testamentary dispositions by me made.

FIRST: I hereby constitute and appoint my daughter, Catharine Gibson Seymour, to be the sole executrix of this my last will and Testament, she to act without bond, directing my said executrix to pay my just debts as soon after my death as can conveniently be done.

SECOND: I give and bequeath to Janet Greenleaf Slater, of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, the god-mother of my daughter, my blue mosaic bracelet.

THIRD: I give and bequeath to my grand-daughter, Catharine Burnett Seymour, my solitaire diamond ring which has been bequeathed from daughter to daughter for six generations the same to become her property when she shall have reached the age of twenty-one years.

FOURTH: I give and devise to my daughter, Catharine Gibson Seymour, all my jewelry except as herein otherwise bequeathed; all my fans, shawks, laces, clothing, my personal belongings, the Steinway piano, and one half of all bric-a-brac, one half of all books not now belonging to her or her daughter or my son, one half of all linen and one half of all furniture and pictures, and one half of all silverware not herein otherwise bequeathed.

FIFTH: I give and devise to my son, Bradley Evans Bell, known as Bradley Ten Eyck Van Deusen, the cluster diamond ring which belonged to his great-great-grandfather Henry B. Gibson, my heaviest gold watch chain, the silver punch bowl and ladle presented to Henry B. Gibson, and one half of all linens, silverware, furniture, pictures, rugs, bric-a-brac, and one half of all books not now belonging to him or to my daughter or granddaughter.

SIXTH: I give, devise and bequeath all the rest, residue and remainder of my estate, real and personal, to my two children, Catharine Gibson Seymour and Bradley Evans Bell, to be divided equally between them, half and half. Should either of my children die, leaving a child or children, his or her share shall descend to such child or children.

SEVENTH: I hereby nominate, constitute and appoint my daughter Catharine Gibson Seymour, executrix of this will, and, in case of the death of the said Catharine Gibson Seymour, that the American Bank and Trust Company of Denver, Colorado, shall act as executor in her stead; and I likewise direct that neither of the said executrix nor executor shall be required to give bond as executrix or executor.

IN WITNESS HEREOF I have hereunto subscribed my name this 7th day of November A.D.1927, of this my last Will and Testament consisting of two pages.

(Signed) Catharine Burnett Van Deusen


Denver Times, 1934

The following tribute was sent to The Times by a close friend of Mrs. Catherine Van Dusen of Grand Lake, who died in a Denver hospital about two weeks ago:

Mrs. Catherine Van Dusen, writer and former state employee, died from an illness which began several years ago when her hip was broken in a fall on icy pavement.

Through her illness was shown the unconquerable spirit inherited from forebearers who were friends and comrades of George Washington, Lafayette, and other early American patriots and builders.

Daughter of Henry L. and Sarah Lansing Burnett, she was born in Canandaigua, N.Y., May 2, 1873, and came to Colorado in 1902. She settled in Canon City, where she was married to Jack Bell, mining man, and became editor of the local newspaper and author of a volume of epigrams and short stories which attracted the attention of literary critics.

Coming to Denver in 1910, she became chief clerk of the state land board. Following her divorce from Bell, she was married to Robert Van Dusen.

In 1921 she purchased the ranch property in Grand county belonging to James Cairns, and this was her home up to the time of her death, although she was employed at the state capitol since last fall.

Funeral services were conducted at St. John's cathedral, with Bishop Johnson and Canon Watts in charge. Pallbearers were Governor Johnson, Gen. John T. Barnet(?), Gen. Neil Kimball, General Danks, Judge Frank McLaughlin and Robert De Vano.

She is survived by a daughter, Mrs. Catherine Gibson Seymour of Grand Lake, a son, Bradley Evans Bell [Bradley T. Van Deusen] of the U.S. Army, and a granddaughter, Catherine Burnett Seymour.

*   (Note: Catharine and Van Deusen are both misspelled)

Son Bradley dies alone in San Antonio TX in 1955.

Daughter Catharine's daughter Catharine married Otto Cross, and dies in the fall of 1980, still living with her mother, and probably divorced. Her mother dies a month later.

General Burnett
General Burnett

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