Yes, I hired the genealogical society where Stephen had died (Louisa County, Iowa). Unfortunately, there was no death record for Stephen, who died in 1893, but there was an obituary. The obituary did not list anything regarding Stephen's parents other than he had a stepfather named Nehemiah Blake.
In 1840, Nehemiah Blake was living in Israel Township in Preble County. I believe that Stephen was already Nehemiah Blake's stepson by then, but I have no proof. Through the Preble County District Library, I found that Stephen was witness to a few land purchases in 1845 and 1846. He was not a witness to any purchases by the Van Sickle family there at that time.
In 1830, Nehemiah Blake was living in Hamilton County. There was a Van Sickle family in Hamilton County during that time. They seem to be descended from a man named Gilbert, who was recorded there in 1820, and whom I could not find listed in the 1830 Census. It is possible that Gilbert was Stephen's father, but again, I have no proof. I cannot seem to find any information on Gilbert.
A theory I have is that Gilbert died between 1820 and 1830, and then Nehemiah Blake married Stephen's mother, probably shortly after Gilbert's death. The family then moved to Preble County sometime before 1840. Before 1850, Stephen's mother died (there was no woman of the right age to be Stephen's mother listed with Nehemiah Blake in the 1850, 1860 or the 1870 Census). Both Stephen Van Sickle and Nehemiah Blake moved to Louisa County Iowa by 1850, which is why I feel pretty confident that Stephen was Nehemiah's stepson at least by that date.
Nehemiah was also married before Stephen's mother, to a lady named Elizabeth Pagett. Unfortunately, there is no death date for her that I've been able to find. The only thing I know is that the last known child of Nehemiah Blake and Elizabeth Pagett was born in 1828.
I have so many clues, and if I were to find out just one of them, I could probably piece everthing together. It's just confirming one of these things that has been very difficult to do. If I could find when Nehemiah Blake's first wife died, or a marriage certificate, or a will, I would one very happy person.
If you are interested, you can view my Van Sickle's in the 1856 Iowa State Census here (they are near the bottom of the page):
I just have ran out of ideas, and before I hire someone to research the entire area (including parts of Indiana), I wanted to run off what I knew with some Van Sickle researchers. I do not have much money, and I know that this would be a rather costly search.
Thanks so much for taking an interest in my family. I sure could use any help you can provide! Thanks also for the lookup offers. I also have census access, and the Stephen from Perry County Ohio was not my ancestor.
P.S. Stephen married a lady named Mary Ann Mann in about 1843. She was probably the daughter of John Mann of Preble County. John Mann and Nehemiah Blake were recorded on the same page in the 1840 Census.
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