An Abstract View

Lots 10 & 11 - Richmond’s First Addition to the Village of Fisher - My childhood home
by Donna Schrock Birkey

After my father’s death in 2002 and Mom’s eventual leaving the home for assisted living, the original 1850 abstract for their property was removed from the safe deposit box. It was time to sell the two lots, and the description below was used by the real estate agent when the property was put on the market in 2008.

The Schrock house on the South Half of Lots Ten (10) and Eleven (11), in Block One (1) of J. W. Richmond’s First Addition to the Village of Fisher, Illinois has been owned by Orval and Mae Schrock for 73 years, since 1936. It was occupied by them (only Mae after 2002) until January 2008.

Through the years of Schrock ownership several additions, changes and updates were made. The house was raised and a basement added; the family room and breezeway were added later and the kitchen enlarged. Today it is a solid house with seven large rooms including two bedrooms and one bath.

History of the property goes back to 1850-51 when the United States conveyed land to the State of Illinois. The next year the Government Land Office (GLO) conveyed a portion to the Illinois Central Railroad (ICRR). Later, in 1863-65 Benjamin F. Thrasher purchased 300 acres from ICRR. The land changed hands several more times until in 1936 Orval and Mae Schrock purchased the lot and house from Nannie M. Lester. Original construction date of the house is unknown at this time.

A more detailed listing of the history reveals various owners over the years, interspersed with Illinois history to provide context. I am not an attorney, nor a legal expert, so cannot guarantee I have understood correctly all that is written, but it is fairly close to what happened to the two lots over the 158 years. I have omitted the inter-family wrangling and lawsuits happening during the years!


1818 After the Revolution, Illinois became a territory of the United States and became the 21st state

1850 United States to the State of Illinois – Grant approved Sept. 20th, 1850 – Grants to aid in the construction of a railroad from Chicago to Mobile
1851 State of Illinois (Augustas French, Governor) deeded to Illinois Central Railroad (ICRR) for said lands for the purpose of raising funds for the said construction and conveying said lands.

1853 First state fair held at Springfield. General Assembly enacts legislation to prevent free blacks from settling in the state

1854 A map and list of lands taken by ICR for the railroad were filed. The transfer of two million acres was recorded and 17 million dollars in construction bonds were granted

1856 ICRR is completed between Chicago, Galena, and Cairo
1858 Abraham Lincoln and Stephen A. Douglas hold seven debates

1863-65 ICRR To Benjamin F. Thrasher, 300 acres in central Illinois

1865 Lincoln assassinated
1866 Grand Army of the Republic established in Decatur
1871 Chicago Fire destroys 18,000 buildings, losses estimated at $200 million

1872 Benjamin dies without a will. Mrs. Sarah (Clarissa?) Thrasher dies, the 300 acres are conveyed to heirs
1872 Land owned by Clarissa Thrasher (husband Benjamin had died) – Nov 2 Warranty Deed to John W. Warrenburg
1878 Awarded to Daughter Sabrina Thrasher Warrenburg, who sold to Robert Fisher

1878 Bell Telephone Company of Illinois begins service in Chicago

1876 Robert Fisher sold to Moses Burwell
1877 Moses Burwell sold to James Elder
1887 Richmond’s First Addition to the Town (Village) of Fisher established

1889 Dwight L. Moody founds the Chicago Bible Institute

1891 John W. Richmond and wife sold to Christopher Ragan and wife—then to Virgil C. Lenox

1893 World’s Columbian Exposition is held in Chicago
1906 Chicago White Sox defeat Chicago Cubs in World Series
1913 General Assembly grants women the right to vote for presidents

1914 J. R. Harmon and wife to Harry C.Alexander
1918 Harry C. Alexander to Lulu M. Cornell
1918 Margaret Zerbe to George McKenzie

1918 Influenza epidemic causes thirty-two thousand deaths in the state

1919 George McKenzie and Ada McKenzie his wife, to William H. Camden in 1920, who sold in 1935 to Nannie M. Lester, daughter of Velma Beasley.

1925 Worst tornado in US history hit parts of Illinois, 695 deaths
1929 St. Valentine’s Day Massacre (Capone)
1931 Jane Addams wins Nobel Peace Prize
1933 Century of Progress International Exposition in Chicago

1936-2005 Orval and Mae Schrock purchased the two lots and lived there for 70-plus years.

The original house, no date.
408 S. Second, when purchased in 1936.
The improved, updated house, sometime after sale.
Deed for Transfer of land from State of Illinois to Illinois Central Railroad Company – 1851, 1910
Map of Richmond’s First Addition to the Town of Fisher, Filed 1887
Previous Abstract of Title William H. Camden – 1920
Abstract of Title to Orval and Laura Mae Schrock – 1949
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