The Fister Family
Jean Nicolas Fister and Anna Mary Grosser Fister are the roots of 11 Lexington families and over 300 families across the U.S.
The Fister family can trace their roots to the repopulation, due to the 30 years war, of Alsace- Lorrain, France. Free land was given to all comers who would willingly farm the land according to the French government’s standards. Three brothers Ambrose, Martin, and Ottmar Fister, moved from Vandans, Austria, where they had been master masons and settled in Eincheville in the region of Moselle, Lorraine, France.
The family remained in France until 1872. The family story states that Jean Nicolas was serving with the French army, when he was sent to deliver documents to his generals in Paris. When he arrived he found the generals playing cards with the Prussian generals (the enemy) and in disgust left the army and returned home with the intent of moving to America. Jean had planned to move with his friend Jean Decker. Decker was trapped in the 1870-71 siege of Paris, so Jean Nicolas postponed his immigration to wait for his friend.
Fister and Decker sailed from Liverpool, England aboard the S.S. Cuba and arrived in Manhattan, New York, on March 25, 1872.
Anna Grosser was born June 1851 in Hamilton County, Ohio to Bavarian immigrant parents, Margaret Hauptner and John Grosser. Anna moved to Lexington in 1874. It is said that Jean fell in love with her the first time he saw her heft a barrel of potatoes into a farm wagon by herself. Anna and Jean married on February 9, 1875.
It is Anna that is credited with the success of the Fister Farm. She worked hard, driving the market wagon to town every day, sitting up front next to her “colored” hired man, and hefting out potato barrels without assistance. Starting out with just a small truck garden, she became one of the largest land owners in Fayette County. In 1882, Anna purchased from Mr. and Mrs. Joseph M. Downing the home, Plancentia and 84 acres. Jean Nicolas purchased the surrounding acreage that made up the rest of the Fister farm, and transferred the ownership to Anna, so that she was the sole owner of the Fister farm. When Anna died she left her husband only a life interest in the farm, upon his death it was to be split between her children.
Anna and Jean Nicolas had 11 children, 9 of whom survived into adulthood. These included, Fred, Mary Magdalena, Margaret Julia, John Peter, Joseph Nicholas, Rose Marie, William Marion, Charles John, and Julianna. Anna died on November 13, 1902. Jean Nicolas remarried to Clara Rebel and produced one more son, Victor. Jean Nicolas died on August 23, 1919.