Mathew Alexander Bickett, who resides about two miles east of Xenia, was born in Xenia township, January 19, 1831, and is a son of William R. and Isabella (Alexander) Bickett. His father was born in the Coaquilla Valley, Pennsylvania, about 1796 and was a son of Adam and Elizabeth (Reed) Bickett. The grandfather was born in the northern part of Ireland where he spent the most of his life and where all but two of his children were born. On coming to America the family settled m Pennsylvania, where he spent his remaining days, his death occurring a few years later. In the year 1818 William R. Bickett started with the remainder of the family, of whom he was the youngest, for Ohio. They made the trip with a six-horse team and passed the first winter with Robert Hamell, a brother-in-law, who had come to Ohio the previous year as a teacher. In the spring of 1819 the Bickett family purchased one hundred and fifty acres of timber land and in connection with his brother John, the father of our subject built a log cabin, which was the family home for many years, the sons living with their mother. It was a productive district in which they located, the work of progress and civilization being scarcely begun. Wild game of all kind was plentiful, including deer, as well as turkeys and other smaller game. Mr. Bickett bore all the hardships and trials incident to pioneer life, but was at length enabled to overcome all obstacles and secure for himself a comfortable home. In 1827 he was united in marriage to Isabella Alexander, and unto them were born six children: Adam R., a resident of this county; Mathew A.; Mary Jane, who became the wife of Solomon Foust, who died a few months later, leaving her with a son, Edward: Elizabeth Isabella; Lydia Ann, who died at the age of twenty years; and W. Harvey. The father of this family passed away in 1865 and the mother died in April, 1885, at the age of eighty-three years, their remains being interred in Xenia, Ohio. They were the members of the Second United Presbyterian church and people of the highest respectability. Mr. Bickett bore an important part in clearing and developing the land and thus largely promoted the progress of the county.
In the common schools near his home Mathew A. Bickett pursued his education and to the development of the home farm he contributed his share of labor until about the time of his father's death. On the 30th of May, 1865, he married Miss Caroline E. Kendall, who was born in Xenia township, a daughter of William and Eleanor (Jackson) Kendall. Her father was a native of Kentuckv and a son of Robert Kendall, while her mother was born in this state and was married in Xenia township. The Kendall family is of Scotch-Irish lineage and unto the parents of Mrs. Bickett were born six children, of whom four are living: Robert, a resident of Xenia: Henry, of Xenia township; Eliza, the widow of Wilson Dallas, who resides near Dayton; and Mrs. Bickett. The deceased were: Mary Ann, the wife of James Galloway; and Rev. Clark Kendall, a minister of the United Presbyterian church, who died at Xenia. The father was a soldier of the war of 1812 and both he and his wife were consistent Christian people, who held membership in the United Presbyterian church. The marriage of our subject and his wife has been blessed with seven children. Clark K., of Xenia township, married Margaret Turnbull and has two children, Mary Eleanor and Joseph Turnbull. Charles A. is at home. William Albert married Margaret Harper and resides in Xenia township. Annie M. and Eleanor L are with their parents. John W. Is a minister of the United Presbyterian church, located at Greenfield, Ohio. David Cameron, at home, completes the family.
The family home is an attractive one, noted for its hospitality. All the buildings upon the farm have been erected by Mr. Bickett and stand as monuments to his enterprise and thrift. He has a large barn, forty by sixty feet, and a corn crib, forty by nineteen feet. He makes a specialty of the raising of shorthorn cattle and finds this a profitable source of income. His efforts return to him golden harvests and the farm is neat and thrifty in appearance, indicating his careful supervision. Beginning life without means he has added to his possessions till he owns about two hundred acres at present. He is a Republican in politics, but not an aspirant for ofiice.
Both Mr. and Mrs. Bickett are members of the Second United Presbyterian church and are worthy representatives of honored pioneer families. Their own records reflect credit upon the untarnished family names and they have a large circle of friends and acquaintances in the community who esteem them for their genuine worth, genial manner and kindliness. As a business man Mr. Bickett sustains an unassailable reputation for reliability and trustworthiness.
From History of Greene County, Ohio, by George F. Robinson (S. J. Clarke Publishing Co, 1902)
MATHEW A. BICKETT, one of the representative farmers of Xenia Township, owns and operates a fine farm lying some two and one-half miles from Xenia Court House. He is a native of Greene County, Ohio, where he was born January 19, 1831, in a house which is only about a quarter of a mile from his present home. His father, William R. BICKETT, was one of the pioneers of the county having made choice of it for a dwelling place in the year 1818, while it was yet a wilderness. The region which had recently been the home of the Indian, shortly began to wear the aspect of civilization, as the advent of the white man caused the original forest to disappear, and its place to be taken by fields of waving corn and golden grain.
William BICKETT was a native of Coaquilla Valley, Pa., where he was born in the year 1796 or 1798, the date is uncertain, and which was his home until he arrived at the age of about twenty-one when he started for the “far West” in company with his mother, sister, and one brother. The party reached Greene County, in the year 1818, having made the trip with a six-horse team. The first winter was passed in the house of Robert HAMMELL, a brother-in-law of Mr. BICKETT. In the following spring he bought about one hundred and fifty acres of woodland upon which he and his John erected a log cabin that was the home of their mother for a number of years. As rapidly as possible they cleared and improved the farm, and provided for the wants of the mother and sister who were dependent upon their exertions. Deer, wild turkey and other game abounded, and they could always procure plenty for the table by simply using their trusty muskets.
In 1827 William R. BICKETT and Miss Isabella ALEXANDER were united in marriage, and took up their residence on the old home farm. The fruit of this union was six children, three boys, and three girls. The boys are all married and living within one-half mile of the old homestead. Mr. BICKETT died in 1865. Mrs. BICKETT survived him some twenty years, departing for the better land in April, 1885.
The subject of this sketch was educated in the commons schools, and assisted on the farm in the intervals. When school life was over, he continued to work on the home place until about the time of his father’s death. May 30, 1865, our subject and Miss Caroline E. KENDALL were united in marriage. He then purchased his present place of one hundred and eighty-one acres of land, and began business for himself as a general farmer and stock-raiser. His stock consists for the most part of graded Short-horns in cattle, and a fine strain of hogs. Mr. BICKETT has no political aspirations, but exercises his rights as a citizen in favor of the Republican party. He is a highly esteemed member of the society, and a devoted adherent of the church of his fathers, the United Presbyterian, and is a regular attendant upon the services of that body in the town of Xenia.
Mrs. BICKETT was born in Greene County in 1838, about two miles from her present home, and is an intelligent and amiable lady well fitted to make a happy home for her husband and children. Mr. and Mrs. BICKETT are the parents of seven children whose names are: Clark K., Charles A.; William Albert; Annie M.; John W.; Elinor I.; and David Cameron, all at home, and all except the eldest attending school. Their parents are determined they shall have the best educational advantages that can be obtained, before permitting them to start out for themselves in the world.
Mr. BICKETT is a first-class practical farmer, and not only provides a comfortable and commodious home for his family, but also considers the wants of his stock. He has one of the finest barns in the township, it being 40x60 feet with shed and corn crib of 19 feet additional. Most of the shrubbery, and all the improvements upon the farm are the result of his own labor, and reflects great credit upon his ability and taste in the selection of the ornamental features of his beautiful home. He derives great enjoyment from the society of congenial friends, and is deservedly popular with all classes, but finds his great pleasure in the bosom of his affectionate and happy family.
Portrait and Biographical Album of Clark and Greene Counties, Chapman Bros., Chicago, published 1890