I first learned of my 3rd great-grandfather, William Bickerstaff, while searching census records a few years ago. I was actually searching for Ellis, my 2nd great-grandfather - and found them both.
I don't know much about William yet:
He was born in 1807 in Cross Creek Township, Jefferson County, Ohio
His parents were Augustine and Elizabeth (unknown maiden name) Bickerstaff.
He married Susan Holmes in either 1829 or 1830.
He was the father of 13 children.
On November 18, 1833, he bought "public lands" from the U.S. government - 80 25/100 acres - in Jefferson County, Ohio.
From his obituary at right I learned that
- neighbors called him Uncle Billy.
- that his wife, Susan, was still living when he died.
- he was a Methodist.
- he was Democrat.
Another obituary indicates that he was the last of his birth family to pass away and says, "The deceased lived in Cross Creek township all his life following the occupation of farming.... He was always highly esteemed by his friends and neighbors, and his death breaks another link which bind the present to the early days of this community."
He was born when the state of Ohio was barely 4 years old and primarily forest with few towns or cities. How simple and primitive must have been the conditions in those days.
I wish Grampa William a very happy birthday, and I look forward to hearing his memories about the changes across time from Ohio's early days till the latter days of the 19th century. Happy Birthday!
Obituary shown above is from "The Steubenville Weekly Gazette," Friday, March 24, 1839, p. 12.
Referenced obituary from "The Steubenville (Weekly) Herald," Friday, March 24, 1893, p. 4.
Information about purchased property from BLM-GLO Certificate #3217, dated 18 November 1833.
Copyright © 2010 by Nancy Messier.