Michael M Van Ness was born into a military family. Raised in Washington DC and educated at the Landon School for Boys, Yale College and the University of Virginia School of Medicine, he joined the Navy, severed aboard USS Sylvania out of Norfolk and was on staff at Bethesda Naval Hospital for eight years before founding a successful gastroenterology practice in Canton, Ohio. He has co-authored two medical texts and many medical articles.
He always knew his grandfather’s story but never its true importance. Interviews with his grandfather’s hometown newspaper, the Parkersburg Iowa Eclipse News-Review, and his own Canton Repository helped clarify its significance.