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The Abicht Family

Abichts Market.jpg

Earl [Abicht] married Gertrude on April 28, 1919 and started housekeeping at Wade, Ohio, just above Newport.  In April of 1927, they purchased a home at the mouth of Newell’s Run.  Earl was a CPL in the U.S. Army in WWI.  He was a school teacher for nine years and taught at the White School (1916) which was located at what was in later years the Edwin Pritchett property on Newell’s Run.  On Township Road 19 to the left, just before Township Road 23, is Peggs Fork. No. 9 School at the head of Bell’s Run and Seever’s Ridge.  Shoe Fly School located on Township Road 637 Hanna Eddy property.  He taught grades 1-8 at Reas Run School in 1921-1922 in Wade, Ohio.  He served on the Newport Board of Education a as clerk from 1930 for 16 years.  He served as Clerk of Newport Township for ten years.  He was a Notary Public.  Gertrude taught school on Newell’s Run at the Sulfur School across form what is presently George Rodgers’s home. 

            Earl and Gertrude Abicht were farmers and started a small roadside produce market near Route 7 at the mouth of Newell’s Run, located in the field in front of their home around 1936.  They sold produce they raised.   Dean Abicht, their youngest son, lived at home and farmed and worked the orchards.  In 1950, they built the present market building at Newell’s Run. They sold produce and fruit they raised until 1962.  They operated a 30 acre apple orchard on the 126 acre farm at Wade, Ohio, from 1919-1958. (Rea’s Run)

            They operated a peach and an apple orchard on the hill behind their home, 20 acres of the 36 acres at Newell’s Run, from 1950-1958.  They operated a 25 acre peach orchard on the 208 acre farm on Township Road 637, which the family referred to as the Aunt Hannah Eddy Property.  The peach orchard started in 1949 and was in operation until the 1970s.  They had strawberry fields.  Dean recalls selling first grade peaches, graded and brushed, as well as apples for $2.50 a bushel.  No. 2 sold for $1.50 a bushel.  Young men were eager to get to work to buy their school clothes.  Young men were employed from Newport, Lawrence, and Dark, Ohio and St. Mary’s, West Virginia. 

            Pay for picking strawberries was five cents a quart.  Besides the market at Newell’s Run, Dean operated a Cider Mill from 1953-1958.  Cider brought 50 cents a gallon or $10.00 a barrel.  After Dean and Bonnie married, Bonnie delivered cider.  The property where most of the farming was done is located three miles from Newport just below Newell’s Run.  Eight and three quarters acres were purchased in 1939 and were known as the Frank Leonard property which is the location of what is now the Spinning Wheel.  The house directly across was the Frank Leonard House, and located on the river bank was the Leonard boat landing.  The Spinning Wheel originally was the Leonard General Store on the opposite side of State Route 7.  Ben Abicht moved the building across the highway in 1940.

            Most of the plowing was done on the Leonard farm by tractor.  Sometimes Earl Abicht would bring his horse Old Bess around Mud Lane (around Township Road T 19 to Township Road T 443). When he had finished plowing, Rema would ride Bess back home to the mouth of Newell’s Run. 

            In 1932, Earl Abicht became a riverboat lamp lighter; he kept the kerosene lanterns lit to guide the riverboats.  In 1942, Dean Abicht took the duties over and retired as one of the last lamp lighters with 25 years of service.  After electricity, the kerosene lanterns were replaced with light bulbs.  Dean still has the kerosene lanterns.  Dean and his father serviced four river lights.  One at Wade, Ohio, one south of Newport one half  mile below Dana’s Run Bridge, one at Newell’s Run, and one just above Willow Island Dam. 

            As a child, Dean was given a ride on the U.S. Greenbrier Coast Guard Boat, which was the boat that brought the supplies for the lamp lighting.

            On November 25, 1955, Dean married Bonnie Jean Mason Coury (daughter of Nathan Goff and Nellie Belle Rollins Mason).  Bonnie was born at Clarksburg, West Virginia on September 25, 1925.  She had one daughter, Rema, by a previous marriage to Isaac Joseph Coury who died in 1953.  Rema was born ________, at Clarksburg, West Virginia. 

            Dean and Bonnie started housekeeping at the property known as the Leonard.  Dean, Bonnie, and Rema moved to the Leonard house from Vienna, West Virginia, in April of 1956.  Rema recalls the Trail Run Phone System.  Ring to answer was a long and one short ring with more than one on a party line. 

            While living at Lower Newport, to vote we took Township Road 387 to Township Road 637 to the town hall on County Road 22 at Long Run.  The town hall is still used on election days. 

            Dean, Bonnie, and Rema continued to work with Dean’s parents until 1958 when Deal left farming and went to work at the Olin Mathiesen Aluminum (Conalco) plant at Hannibal, Ohio.  Bonnie went to work at Marietta Office Supply.  Dean continued to operate his peach orchard at the Hannah Eddy home place.  In 1960, Dean and Bonnie purchased the Old Greene Hotel property from Lawrence Farr.  The location of the Greene Hotel is the parking lot of the Dean Abicht Market, State Route 7 and County Road 25.

            In 1960, Dean and Bonnie purchased the Fred Kerr Store from Fred Kerr which is now the site of the present Dean Abicht Market building.  Dean and Bonnie sold their peach crop from the Fred Kerr Store for one season.  In 1964, Dean and Bonnie purchased the Fred Kerr house on Greene Street from Winifred Kerr, Fred’s daughter.  They have since renovated the house which is now the lot behind the present market. 

            In 1964, Dean and Bonnie purchased the Leonard Farm from Dean’s father, Earl Thomas Abicht.  Bonnie left Marietta Office Supply to open their new market, D&B, for Dean and Bonnie, on July 10, 1962.  Bonnie operated the market during the day while Dean worked at Olin on shift.  On July 5, 1965, Dean decided to return to the farming and produce business.  They changed the market name from D&B to Dean Abicht Orchards in the 1970s and then to Dean Abicht Market. 

            They started the market as a produce market, operating from April to December.  Bonnie enjoyed harvesting the vegetable crops and worked in the strawberry fields as well as working at the market.  In the early 1960s, they started selling plants, seed, and fertilizer.  In the early 1970s, they added the greenhouse and expanded to groceries and stayed open all year round. 

            Dean graduated from Newport High School in 1944 and served as Democratic Central Committeeman for eight years.  He has served as Notary Public since 1965.

            After graduating from Newport High School in 1962, Rema graduated from Salem College in 1964.  Rema married Wayne Edward Robbins.  Wayne was born at Dart, Ohio, on _______.  His parents were Willard Bruce and Helen Eileen Haught Robbins.  Rema worked at B.F. Goodrich at Oak Grove, Marietta, Ohio.  Wayne worked at Dupont in Washington, West Virginia.  They lived in Marietta.  In 1966, Wayne and Rema decided to return to Newport.  They moved to the Leonard property.  In the early 1970s, Rema decided to join her parents at the market. Along with the market she has served as Newport Area Deputy Registrar for the State of Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles and as a Notary Public has sold hunting and fishing licenses since the early 1970s.  Rema clerked at the Newport Post Office in 1983, and served as Rural Carrier Associate at the Newport Post Office from 1984- 1990.

            In 1990, Rema filled the position as clerk at the New Matamoras Post Office and is presently U.S. Postal Service-in-Charge, since September 25, 1992 at New Matamoras. 

            Wayne is a mechanic at Dupont and will have 30 years of service in June of 1993.  Both Wayne and Rema still help at the family market, remembering how they met.  Wayne was employed as a peach picker for Abicht Orchards.   Dean and Bonnie built their first home on Mitchell Drive in 1960.  They sold and built their present home at 204 Hendricks Street since 1976.  Wayne and Rema built their present home at 200 Gale Avenue since 1973. 

            After many years of long hours and hard work as a family, Dean and Bonnie have been very successful in the community of Newport with many valued customers from Newport and surrounding communities.

            With love for farm and country, Dean, Bonnie, Wayne, and Rema in 1992 purchased the 95.84 acre farm from the Burkhart estate.  The farm originally belonged to the original settler John Greene and is referred to in Williams History of Washington County as the Rufus G. Greene Farm.  This farm has been passed down to the heirs of two families. Abicht and Robbins are the third family to own this land.  The property is located off County Road 25 about one mile from Abicht’s Market in Section 34, town 1 range 6. 

            The farm was previously operated as a dairy farm by Michael, Clyde, and Ruth Burkhart who delivered milk seven days a week to St. Mary’s, West Virginia.  They employed young men from Newport. 

            Dean, Bonnie, Wayne, and Rema are making many improvements and looking forward to many years of enjoyment and relaxation with country living. 

            Rema was a member of the first band and one of the first majorettes at Newport High School in 1958 and a candidate for queen for the first Fire Department Festival.  She received Outstanding Amateur Gardener at the Ohio Association of Garden Club State Convention at Akron for Region II in 1979.  Rema was a member of the Marietta Garden Club.  She participated in the Washington County Fair flower show for several years and received several ribbons with the flowers she raised and the arrangements she entered. 


By Rema Robbins

            January 1957 Greenwoods walked on ice across the Ohio River from Newell’s Run to the Island to feed their hogs.  The families’ participation in several floods, when they had to move their equipment from the market located at Newell’s Run. 

            January 20, 1959 Cakes of ice lay along State Route #7 left from the flood. 

            Wednesday night, January 26, 2977 Mother Nature made her own snowballs as strong winds clocked at 36 knots at the airport turned loose snow into balls and produced snow doughnuts that ran the gamut from tiny to huge cylinder size. 

            The funnel clouds that ripped through the area of Newell’s Run on Ohio State Route 7 at seven p.m. Tuesday July 29, 1981 which brought back memories of family talk of the tornado which struck and destroyed Aunt Hannah Eddy’s barn and trapped her inside in the 1930s.

            The recent blizzard of Saturday, March 13, 1993, 24 inches of snow fall during the day and into the night.  People were told to keep their cars off the highways.  Rural letter carriers were unable to deliver the mail. 

            Dean, Bonnie, Ben and Pearle participated in four parades in 1987 with their horses and surrey. The Newport 4th of July Annual Fireman’s parade on July 4, 1987.  The Marietta Northwest Territory Bicentennial parade on July 11, 1987 during mid Summer Heat Wave.  19th Annual West Virginia Oil and Gas Festival parade on September 17, 1987, received two trophies.  October 3, 1987 Lowel, Ohio Octoberfest. 

            Wayne’s harvest of wild turkey for the last 12 years in a row.  Rema appointment as officer-in-charge of the New Matamoras Post Office during the 1992 reconstruction of the Postal Service. 

            Enjoyment received at the market when customers come in.  I remember coming to Abicht’s Market with my grandparents.  What an impression the large sucker rack display on the front wall had made.

            Dean Abicht Market has many good memories of the different seasons.  Spring with the greenhouse.  Helping people plan their flower and vegetable gardens. Providing good fresh fruit and produce in the summer months.  Apples, Cider, Mums and Pumpkins in the fall.  Christmas trees and fruit baskets in December. 

            Bonnie and Rema planning and planting the flower bed at the market for the community to enjoy.  Bonnie’s delicious home cooked meals and holiday dinners shared with some of the elderly folks in town.