Van Lieu Minor was born in July 1880, the son of D. William (born in 1860), a farmer, and his wife, F. Marie Minor (born in 1859). Van Lieu was the eldest of five children. His siblings were: G. Eva, (born in 1883), L. Inez (born in 1885), E. Bert (born in 1888), and I. Vorrhies C. (born in 1895). The family lived in Battle Creek, Michigan, in 1900, according to the census. They apparently favored the use of an initial followed by a first name. The origination or significance, if any, of the name “Van Lieu” is unknown. It is possible that Van Lieu was a related family surname.
By the age of thirty, Van Lieu had married Ettie M. [surname unknown] (February 5, 1879-April 15, 1972). Together, Van Lieu and Ettie had two daughters, Doris E., (born in 1907) and Frances (born in 1912).
In 1910, Van Lieu, Ettie, and Doris lived in Louisville, Kentucky, where he taught public school. Between 1910 and 1922 he taught at University High School in Chicago, Illinois, while he attended graduate level classes at the University of Chicago.
In 1920, Van Lieu also attended classes at the University of Michigan, where he earned both an A.B. and an A.M. His wife and children are not recorded in the 1920 census as living with him. Also during the early 1920s, Van Lieu taught a variety of history, civics, and government classes at Kalamazoo Central High School in Kalamazoo, Michigan.
Central State Teachers College, later Central Michigan University (CMU), hired Van Lieu as a professor in the History Department by 1924. There, he taught a wide variety of history, civics, government, economics, and “teaching history” courses for student teachers. He was a CMU professor from 1924 through 1939. When Professor Claude S. Larzelere retired as Head of the Departments of History and Social Sciences in 1939, Professor Minor was promoted to fill the position. He then served as Head of the departments until at least 1946.
The Minor family lived at 906 South Main Street in Mount Pleasant from the 1920s through the 1940s. In 1934, both Frances and Doris were listed in the local phone directories as teachers. They both graduated from CMU with a B.A., Doris in 1927 and Frances in 1934. The girls probably lived with their parents until they married. Professor and Mrs. Minor are listed in the Mount Pleasant directories for the last time in 1945/1946.
Mrs. Minor died on April 15, 1972 in Yavapai [Prescott], Arizona. Frances Minor, later Mrs. Donald Street, also lived in Prescott after she retired from teaching. Ettie probably lived with Frances there after Professor Minor died. [This information is from the 1993 CMU Alumni Director.] There is no obituary on Professor Minor, but it appears that he may have died during or shortly after 1946. (This information is from the collection, CMU yearbooks, Mount Pleasant city directories, and AncestryPlus.)