Abraham Fickeisen and Margaretha Mueller
Bringing in the land records
So the Fickeisen family got to Pleasant Ridge some time after 1857. According to my mom, there was a law, the Homestead Act, in Ohio where if you bought 100 acres of land and cleared it, you could get the first acre for $100, then you could buy $1 an acre to add to your farm. You had to put a cabin house on first acre. This had been the Northwest Territory. Abraham Fickeisen, Eva's father, had 75 acres and 40 acres. He cleared the original 75 acres, bought the 40 acres for Abraham Jr (Eva's brother). It's not clear to me why he singled out this particular son in this way.
My curiosity drove me to the Recorder of Deeds in the Washington County Court House. There I found detailed information that both augments and alters my mother's story. According to these records on April 13, 1857 Abraham Fickerson (sic) of the county of Ohio, state of Virginia agreed to pay John and Anna Block $360 in cash for the "old home place" which is described as follows: "The Northwest quarter of the N.E. quarter of section 30, Town 3, Range 7 of Lawrence Township containing 37.68 acres more or less." The deed goes on to record that on October 1, 1857, the Blocks appeared before a justice of the peace and certified that they were still satisfied with this deal. This property lies surrounding the intersection of Washington Co. Rt. 42 and Lawrence Twp. Rt. T378. On August 30, 1865, Abraham Fickisen purchased another 40 acres for $500 immediately west of the original farm from Henry Weirs and wife.
It thus became clear that Abraham had not bought the land under the Homestead Act, as my mother had remembered. Rather, what probably happened is this. My great grandmother, Eve Fickeisen, was born in March of 1857 in Wheeling. When the weather warmed up a bit early that spring in April, Abraham went to Marietta, Ohio, probably by boat. He had saved money and bought the original "40 acres" from John and Anna Block. Whether he went first by himself, or whether he took his family of five children of ages 7, 6, 4, 2 and my newly born great grandmother along with him we do not know. It certainly is wonderfully exciting to think of the adventurous spirit that took these people down the Ohio River that spring of 1857. I have made a map that shows the location of Abraham's original purchases. The dot at the intersection of 42 and T378 represents both the 1857 and the 1865 acquisition. By the time Abraham bought the second"40 acres," his family had grown to seven or eight (Abraham, Jr. may have been on the way).
Created by Jim Andris, March 19, 2000.