Andrew Bickel, BiographyPorter County biographical sketches . . . .

Transcribed biography of Andrew Bickel

ANDREW BICKEL. The honors of public office have never been more deservedly bestowed than upon Andrew Bickel, who as a county commissioner has served the people of Porter county for the past eight years. Coming to this county at the age of four years with his parents, who were poor but industrious young Germans, he has lived here continuously for some sixty years, took part in the development of the resources of the country, established a home and family, made a record in private life of, honesty and efficiency, and with equal qualities has in recent years performed his duties and responsibilities to the community.

Andrew Bickel was born in the little town of Lancaster, ten miles from Buffalo, in the state of New York, a son of Michael and Margaret E. (Lentz) Bickel. The parents, then unmarried, immigrated from Germany about 1848, crossed on the same boat, being nine weeks on the voyage, and afterwards married and settled near Buffalo. From there, when Andrew was about four years old, and his sister, Elizabeth, a baby, they journeyed west to La Porte county. From La Porte to Washington township, Porter county, they continued their way on foot, carrying the baby, while Andrew sturdily walked the distance of twenty-two miles. Two days were required for this trip, and at the tavern where they spent the night Andrew gained favor with the landlady so that when he left she gave him a little sheep bell, a gift which he so highly prized that the recollection of his delight still remains fresh in his memory. On the second day they arrived at the farm of Mr. Shank on Morgan prairie. This farmer had while in Buffalo engaged Michael Bickel to come west and work for him, and the latter was thus employed for the next two years. Then in order to get a home of his own he bought forty acres, paying a part of the purchase price and his kind employer going security for the remainder. From that time forward the Bickel family has had a recognized position among the thrifty landowners of Porter county. His industry and good management enabled him to buy eighty acres, then one hundred and sixty, and still later one hundred and ten acres. Three more children were born to them after reaching this county, but two of them died in infancy, while Mary became the wife of William Middaugh. The later years of their lives the parents spent in quiet rest at Valparaiso.

Andrew Bickel thus grew up in this county, attending the district schools, and worked on his father's farm until he began making his own home. In 1872 he married Miss Sarah C. Stoner, and they have now spent forty years in happy wedded life. Mrs. Bickel is a native of La Porte county, and her parents, David and Elizabeth (Burhans) Stoner, were natives of Holland and farmers by occupation. Their children, all of whom attended the district schools of La Porte county, were Margaret J., William, Jennie, Laura, John, Lilly, Abram, Lulu, Ada and Sarah Catherine. After their marriage Mr. and Mrs. Bickel bought one hundred and twenty acres in Washington township and prospered from the beginning, afterwards increasing their estate by eighty acres and then by fifty-five. On this they erected one of the best country homes in Porter county, a modern residence heated by furnace with hot and cold water, and lighted by acetylene gas.

Four children were born to them -- Jennie, Elsie, John and Lilly. Jennie died at the age of six years, and the others grew up to useful careers with good home training and were educated in the Luther district school. Elsie as a girl was a fearless horsewoman and skilful in the use of a gun, and was a warm-hearted, generous young woman. She became the wife of Lewis W. Stoddard, and had one son, John. Mrs. Stoddard died in 1904, mourned by a large group of friends. John Bickel, who has become one of the leading farmers of the present generation and is successfully superintending the home farm in Washington township, married Miss Ava Campbell, and their five children are Vera, Ruth, Leola, Walter and John. Lilly Bickel married Jacob Edelman, a contractor of Valparaiso, and they have two children, Catherine and Charles.

In 1904 Mr. Bickel retired from his successful activities as a farmer and has since resided in Valparaiso, having a pleasant home at 601 North Morgan street. In the same year he had received the votes of a majority of the citizens for the office of county commissioner. At the end of his first term his friends insisted that he again be a candidate, and this time his election was by a majority of over eight hundred. The confidence of the voters has been justified during the last eight years. He is an official whose integrity is unquestioned, whose acts are for the welfare and efficient administration of the public work, and whose performance of trust is straightforward and open and needs the oversight of no investigating committee.

In the fall of 1911 Mr. Bickel was elected president of the Porter County Mutual Fire Insurance Company. He is a director and treasurer of the mission fund of the Christian church of Valparaiso, of which church he and his wife are liberal supporters. They are both interested in those movements which advance the moral and general good of their community, and as in early life they succeeded in overcoming the material obstacles to fortune so now they are happy in the pursuits of a quiet prosperity and esteem of friends.

Source: Lewis Publishing Company. 1912. History of Porter County, Indiana: A Narrative Account of its Historical Progress, its People and its Principal Interests. Chicago, Illinois: Lewis Publishing Company. 881 p.
Page(s) in Source: 693-694

This biography has been transcribed exactly as it was originally published in the source. Please note that we do not provide photocopies or digital scans of biographies appearing on this website.

Biography transcribed by Steven R. Shook


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