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Van Cleve or Van Cleave


Author, David A. Bowles, standing on the Van Cleve Tract with Dallas skyline in the background.

wrote about my great great Grandfather Lorenzo Van Cleve in my last

post. I have been asked many times about the different spellings of his

name. Lorenzo was born in upstate New York to Lewis and Chloe

Richmond-Van Cleve. His Grandparents were Captain Benjamin and Mary

Thompson-Van Cleve of Freehold, New Jersey. Benjamin fought in the

American Revolution.

According to, 752 Van Cleves live in the USA. According

to their records 10,273 Van Cleaves spelled with an “a” also live in the USA

which makes 11,035 people who are most likely related. There is a like

number whose surname is not Van Cleve as my Bowles and Brown family

members whose female ancestors born Van Cleve then married changing

their last name. I assume the number with other names than Van

Cleve/Van Cleave would be the same number making approximately

22,070 living in the USA as of 2016. This is just one family line in my tree.

I have interviewed Van Cleves with both spelling. The genealogy trail

always led back to the first Van Cleve to arrive in the New World in 1657.

After 30 years of genealogical research, I have concluded that all Van

Cleves with or without an “a” descend from the same ancestors. However,

there may be some Van Cleves in the USA who migrated later than Jan

Van Cleve in 1657. I have yet to find one.

There is a street in South Dallas named Van Cleave Drive. It runs along the

Cedar Crest Golf Club east of the Dallas Zoo. It is named for my

Grandfather Lorenzo Van Cleve. Who was awarded 1,280 acres south of

the Trinity River by the Republic of Texas for his service during the Texas

Revolution of 1836. In my next post, I will tell you how the street and the

Van Cleave Tract of land in Dallas was mis-spelled.

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