Pearls In Our Past - Hartford MI A Pictorial History of Hartford Michigan





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A Hartford Legend

William "Billy" Vann, Jr.

b 4-24-1934        d 3-1-2008
Kalamazoo MI        Hartford MI

Professional Musician who played on WKZO-radio and WKZO-TV with Rem Wall and the (original) Green Valley Boys.
The group organized during the 1940s.  Billy Vann joined in 1955 and played with the band for 25 years.

During the past 20 years, Billy played
alongside friend and fellow musician,
Jeff Kosobucki, forming the duo of

Jeff and Bill. 

Bill performed several times with the
Hartford Alumni Band at the Concerts in the Park and at the popular hometown informal jam sessions at Cross's Corners.

In 2000, famous for his mastery of the steel and electric guitar, Billy was inducted into the Michigan Steel Guitar Hall of Fame.


Bill Vann
US Navy
Musician - 3rd Class

In service
12-1955 to 8-1957

Stationed at Kodiak, Alaska


Another talent Billy Vann developed was mastering a unicycle.  In his younger days, he rode it in the parades and that was a delight for little kids (and the big ones too!). He was photographed here during at the Lawrence Ox Roast in 1966.


This photograph of Billy on his unicycle was recently
discovered amongst a box of treasures from the
Hartford Day Spring donated by the Sinclair family.





From Hartford High School
Class of 1952

Resided in Hartford Michigan
since 1950

Son of William Curly
and Hyla (Sinkler) Vann.

Second generation owner of
Motor Machine and Parts
located in Hartford.




He is shown here during a performance at the 2007 Hartford Strawberry festival.  The day was proclaimed
Billy Vann Day to
honor our home-town boy for his accomplishments through the years.





1973     Bill, Judi, and Keith Vann unicycling 1973

Unicycling Family:  Bill  Vann of 14 Prospect Street, Hartford, and his children, Judi, 12, and Keith, 8, display their unicycling skill.  Vann, 38, says he began riding the one-wheelers when he was 10 years old.  The children learned this year, and Van and Judi already have made a nine mile trip from Hartford to Paw Paw Lake.  Van is employed at Motor Machine and Parts company, Hartford.  He also is lead guitarist on Green Valley Jamboree, a weekly show on WKZO television, Kalamazoo.  (Adolph Hann photo)

The Unicycling Family photo and newspaper article submitted by Pat Bachman Empson from her book of "Hartford treasures". Presumed to be from the Hartford Day Spring.


Information for this web site was gathered from personal interviews, newspaper articles, scrapbooks, personal photo albums, and other documented materials - many available to the public at the Hartford Public Library or Van Buren County Historical Museum.  Please report any typographical errors, updated information, or incorrectly stated information to the webmaster for correction.  Reprinting for personal and instructional purposes is permitted, however, unauthorized commercial reprinting of this information or unauthorized linking to photos-pictures on this site is strictly prohibited without written permission from the webmaster. 

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A Pictorial History of Hartford, Michigan
Emma Thornburg Sefcik,
Competent Secretarial Service
Copyright 2000 - All rights reserved.

Revised: March 20, 2014