INSIDE THE STEPHENSON HOUSE - September 25, 2002
Hi! Henry the Stephenson House mouse is back again. And,
I am very glad to be back after my near mishap with that big grey cat!
I can relax now 'cause I heard that the big cat found a friend and left
town. Hey friends, be sure and watch the progress at my house these days!
I heard Carol say that E.J. and his crew plan to put the windows in very,
very soon and hang the front shutters. Oh boy, "my" house going
to look fantastic! The big new window above the front door sure looks
Let's talk about Philip Fix, the man who bought Col. Ben's
house from the Birks in 1839. Fix, born in Alsace Lorraine in 1785, was
a Calvary Captain under Napoleon throughout the Russian campaign. Uncle
Thomas told us about the huge sabre that Philip Fix carried during Napoleon's
siege and burning of Moscow in 1812. He said Philip had the really BIG
sabre in his house on S. Buchanan and it sure looked like it could really
hurt somebody! Suzanne from the Madison County Museum said the engraved
sabre with leather and metal case were donated to the Museum by Philip's
grandson, Adolphus Wolf, and we should come take a look. I am going up
there next Sunday to see if that saber is as big as Uncle Thomas said!
Fix came to the United Stated with his wife Henrietta
and daughter Caroline in 1837.
When he arrived in Belleville he had over $6,000 in cash mostly earned
while he was in the Army. The family moved to Edwardsville in 1839 when
he bought Col. Ben's house. His daughter Caroline had married Frederick
A. Wolf in Belleville in 1838 and they also came to Edwardsville. Now,
in 1845 Philip Fix deeded his property to his daughter Caroline and husband
Frederick. Carol said she read the deed and it refers to Caroline and
Frederick A. Wolf as "now of the City of Philadelphia and the Commonwealth
of Pennsylvania". Henry here thinks Philip probably knew he could
get his daughter and grandchildren back to Illinois by giving them a big
house and land!!
Henry here knows there are two reservations in the deed
when Philip deeded the property to Caroline for "natural love and
affection" and $1.00. The reservations were that Fix had the sole
right and privilege to use and occupy the second floor of the Brick dwelling
house as well as the garden attached to the house for and during his natural
life. Philip Fix lived for another 23 years!
The researchers could not find an occupation for Fix and
then they checked the census records. He is not shown in 1840, but the
1850 the census shows him as a vintner, like in wine, and when Philip
was 75 years old the 1860 census shows his occupation as "nothing".
Guess retirement was not a real word at that time!
Frederick A. Wolf met Caroline when he was working in
the "Lateiner" settlement in Shiloh. This was a Latin farming
community and Frederick soon saw that this was not exactly profitable
farming. He and Caroline came to Edwardsville where he engaged in farming,
fruit growing and distilling. His vineyards were reported to be the most
extensive and productive ones in the county. Uncle Thomas used to tell
stories about Frederick and his father-in-law Fix burning many candles
as they talked into the night about their vineyards.
The Wolf family added the "ell" addition to
Col. Ben's house around 1845. They removed the original kitchen on the
west side of the house and built the two story addition which extended
out on the west side of the house, as it does today. Now there was ample
room for the five Wolf children. Remember, Grandpa Philip Fix occupied
the second floor of Col. Ben's house so they did need additional room!
Frederick Wolf and his sons purchased and farmed a lot
of adjacent land over the years. Caroline Fix Wolf died in 1877 and two
years later Frederick sold his home and all property to his sons Adolphus
P. and Frederick W. Wolf for $18,460.00. In 1880 they organized the Wolf
Coal Mining Company which they sold to the Madison Coal Company ten years
later. After the sale the brothers went back to farming.
Philip and Henrietta Fix are buried in the Wolf family
plot at Woodlawn cemetery. Henrietta was the first burial in the Wolf
plot when she died in 1846. Philip Fix died in 1868 at the age of eighty-three
and is buried next to his wife. Caroline Fix Wolf, fifty-eight years old
when she died in 1877, and her husband Frederick, who died in 1898 at
age eighty-five are buried side by side in the Wolf plot. The Wolf family
burial plot began in 1846 with the death of Henrietta. This plot was later
sold and became Woodlawn Cemetery.
Around the time the brothers sold the coal company Adolphus
sold his share of the house and property to his brother Frederick W. Wolf.
Frederick, his wife Anna Caroline and their daughter Elsa, lived in Col.
Ben's house until 1909. Frederick W. died in 1902 and in 1909 his widow
Anna sold the property to J. Francis Dickmann and his wife Karolina. The
Dickmann family raised eight children in Col. Ben's house. Henry will
talk about this family next time.
Henry here just heard about some new information about
the Stephenson's who went to Columbia, Missouri. I am going to hitch a
ride down that way, find Cousin Elzey and see if there really is new information.
Ole' Henry will not stay away long because Wilma Jene
and some great chefs are going to be cooking Kentucky Burgoo (that's an
old time stew) in a copper kettle over an open fire at "my"
house on October 19. I heard Mary and Sally talking about a yarn dyer,
a lady with a spinning wheel and maybe a loom lady being here. And, Sid
will be churning butter! The Burgoo is a fund raiser for the Friends of
the Stephenson House. Sure hope you all come by to eat Burgoo and at the
same time see the artisans and Take-A-Peek at Col. Ben's house. Hey, I
will be back for that Burgoo for sure!!
See ya later,