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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 great!

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,
Henry


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