“The Hicks family of Long Island, N.Y., is descended from ancestors who arrived in Massachusetts in the 17th century. Thomas Hicks (b. 1640) removed to Long Island where he married Mary Washburn. Their grandchildren became members of the Society of Friends in the mid-18th century. A descendant, Elias Hicks (1748-1830), was an important New York Quaker minister whose preaching precipitated a separation in the Society of Friends in 1827/1828.”- From Swarthmore CollegeThis quote from Swarthmore College is true, but you don’t get a real sense of what kind of condition the founder of the Long Island Hicks branch was in when he arrived.
John Hicks (my 10th great grandfather) had fled Rhode Island probably for work but also to get away from his wife Herodias (my 10th great grandmother and subject of post #13).
If you want more details on their marriage, read post #13 (the one preceding this one). I’m not sure what emotional state he was in, but both of his children came to Long Island with him.
In John Hicks’ story, there are two topics I’ll focus on:
1) he was often in court--beginning with his 1st wife’s charge of abuse (but for which she never appeared in court) Near the end of his life John finally learned to fight fire with fire.
2) rather ironically--John Hicks settled in a community of English New Englanders who wished to set up one church in their town as the only church to worship in.
John Hicks could never have foreseen that his descendants would be largely comprised of Quakers.
John Hicks went to Long Island, partly to escape the embattled marriage he’d had to my 10th great grandmother (Herodias Long, subject of the post #13) and partly probably to escape also the controversy he’d left behind. After all, Herodias did take up with George Gardner soon after they were separated. I can’t imagine he found it very comfortable.
It started out in London where John Hicks married Herodias Long (she was 14). John and Herodias quickly got passage to Massachusetts after they were wed. They left MA for Rhode Island where they were “warmly received.”
In Newport, RI, John’s land grant was never entered into Newport records, but was referenced in a 1640 grant to Robert Stanton, John’s neighbor. His four-acre lots were south of Newport’s harbor.
At some point after 1640, according to Herodias' later accounts, she said John had abandoned her, going to Long Island, “to the Dutch” and that he had taken what her mother had given her (not specified).
Hicks did indeed go to the Dutch--where he got paid.
Long Island Land
It's recorded that John Hicks was named on Flushing’s patent in summer of 1645, but it is likely that he was already there in December 1644. English were allowed to be there by the Dutch as early as 1641.
In the first official division of land to settlers in 1647 in Hempstead, Long Island given by permission by the Dutch to English to settle, John Hicks is listed as “freeholders” of the town. (Named in the town’s 30 families seeking to settle there from New England in 1641 were John Karman and Robert Fordham-whose last names will appear later.)
John’s son, Thomas (my 9th great grandfather) was born in Newport, Rhode Island and moved to Long Island when the couple got married (his mother was with/married to George Gardner).
Thomas Hicks eventually moved to Flushing, Long Island (close to Gravesend and where, coincidentally, lived a John Tilton--whose descendants moved to New Jersey. John Tilton's descendant Henry Addison Tilton is the subject of post #11).
Divorce, at Long Last
Although John was divorced from Herodias in Rhode Island, he needed a New Netherlands divorce to remarry at all
He finally obtained in 1655 from her in New Netherland, 11 years after his Rhode Island divorce.
"We the councilors of New Netherland having seen and read the request of John Hicks sheriff on Long Island, in which he remonstrates and presents that his wife Hardwood Longh [Heroidas Long] has ran away from him about nine years ago with someone else with whom she has been married and had by him five or six children. His wife having therefore broken the bond of marriage (without him having given any reason thereto) he asks to be qualified and given permission to marry again an honorable young girl or a widow (in accordance with political and ecclesiastical ordinances).”- New York colonial records
REMARRIAGE (Wife #2) June 1, 1655-John Hicks’ divorce from Herodias obtained and soon afterward he married Florence Fordham Carman.
Marriage Again-and Court
Widow Florence Carman (or Karman) was related to two men listed as one of the original freeholders of the town along with John Hicks in 1647. How she’s related to Robert Fordham, I’m not sure, but she was the widow of John Karman/Carman from that original 1647 list.
In April 1661 sons of his late widow (John and Caleb) with their married sister Abigail sued John Hicks in order to obtain their (deceased) father and mother’s possessions and lands, etc:
"Petition. John Carman, Caleb Carman and Benjamin Coe, husband of Abigail Carman, that John Hicks, who married their mother, may be obliged to render an account of the estate; copy to be furnished Mr. Hicks.."
Indeed, all property and lands should belong to the grown children of the deceased.
Poor John Hicks lost a wife and any of the property he was counting on getting. He’d made out poorly on this marriage as well.
(But apparently, at some point after this John Hicks came to an agreement with John Karman over some of the land-possibly the use of it?)
REMARRIAGE Wife #3 - John Goes to Court First
The third time's the charm for poor John Hicks; he approached Widow Rachel Starr about marriage. Soon afterwards they both (wisely) decide to enter into a legal contract prior to marriage.
So January 22, 1662, not surprisingly, John Hicks and Widow Rachel Starr signed what amounts to a prenuptial agreement in Flushing, New York to prevent differences betwixt the adult children of Rachel Starr and John Hicks.
Quakers VS Townspeople
Ironically for his descendants-John Hicks sided with the town against the influx of Quakers in the town. Perhaps it was a case of law-fatigue, or if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em?
In 1658, the town which was settled by New Englanders, was becoming unsettled by the proselyting of Quakers in the town of Hempstead--and the results.
The magistrate, the magistrate’s associates which included John Hicks passed a law in town which was strongly worded with severe penalties: about those who have recently “broke”
“the Sabbath and neglecting to join with true worship and Srvice of God as we have formerly they have done; Be it therefore ordered that there noe manner of person or persons whatsoever shall henceforth give any Entertaynament or have Any Commerce with those people who are called by us quakers, or shall lodge them in their houses (except they are permitted for one nights lodging in the parish and soe depart Quietly without dispute or debate the next morning) and this is to bee observed in the town and to the uttermost boundaries thereof.”
Indeed, shortly thereafter two women, Mary Shott and Francis Weeks broke this law and were fined 20 Guilders.
Ironically, a large number of John Hicks’ descendants who remained on Long Island were Quakers, intermarrying with Quakers, including Elias Hicks who changed the face of Quakerism in the 1800s.
John Hicks’ Career (in brief)
John’s time line appears at the end of this post.
Briefly: In 1647 he was an adjuster of Indian claims, and on Nov. 26, 1653 John was the delegate from Newtown to a meeting in New Amsterdam with the governor.
By 1656 he was of Hempstead, where he was a magistrate, delegate and justice of the peace. In 1657 on 4 July, representatives of several Indian groups confirmed that the land of Hempstead, Long Island had been sold in 1643. John Hicks was a witness.
Now and again he worked on negotiations with the Dutch (as well as English) and Indians of Long Island.
He was associate magistrate, Justice of the Peace, a walker of fences. Documented are several occasions when he was a delegate to New Netherlands (New York/Manhattan).
One writer claimed he was “quite wealthy” at the end of his life--but I tend to think that was wealth measured by acreage, mostly.
TIMELINE AND WILL OF JOHN HICKS
• bet. 14 Mar 1636 - 1637- John Hicks married Herodias Long, St. Faith's Underchapel of St. Paul's, London, England
Massachusetts Bay Colony - Weymouth
• 1637 -residence -Weymouth, MA..
• 14 Sep 1639/40- made a freeman of the Massachusetts Bay Colony
Hannah Hicks B 1638
Thomas Hicks B 1639
1642 John Hicks arrives in Long Island to work for “the Dutch” (from Rhode Island, leaving his wife Herodias behind).
In Long Island he was active as an adjuster of Indian claims to land.
1645 Granted a patent at Flushing, Queens Co., LI NY.
On 12 December 1645 John Hicks wrote from Flushing to John Coggeshall at Newport the following:
"Now for parting what way there is seeing she have carried the matter so subtilly as she have I know not, but if there be anyway to bee used to untie the Knott, wch was at first by man tyed that so the world may be satisfied I am willing thereunto, for the Knot of affection on her part have been untied long since, and her whoredome have freed my conscience on the other part, so I leave myself to yor advice being free to condissend to you advice if ther may be such a way used for the final parting for us."
Seversmith states that she obtained a divorce from Hicks in Rhode Island on 2 December 1643.
1644/45 - June 1, Divorce granted in Rhode Island to John Hicks, "of Flushing, L.I., from his wife, Harwood Long, on the grounds of her adultery, with leave to Hicks to remarry.
" the Court at New Amsterdam by Governor Peter Stuyvesant. He was a now about 35 years old.
Oct. 19, 1645 Named on the Dutch patent for Flushing, New Netherland [now New York] , the first patent for Flushing granted by Governor Keift to English emigrants included John Hicks..
1647 Adjuster of Indian claims. John is about 38 years old.
1650 Residence Hempstead, LI, NY Occupation: Magistrate. John is about 41 years old
1652 John Hicks and two others, unrecorded, were magistrates of Flushing, Long Island.
1653 Military service, Capt. at Fort Neck NY.
1653 He is an elected representative from Newtown (Flushing) to Convention called by Governor Stuyvesant in New Amsterdam "to express an opinion as to how "robberies can be stopped".
1655 - On June 1, 1655 John obtains divorce from Herodias in New Amsterdam, New Netherland, by Gov. Peter Stuyvesant. She had already divorced him in Rhode Island in December 1643.
1655/56 Marries Florence Fordham Karman.
John Hicks remarried Florence (Fordham), a widow of John Carman. She was brn abt 1611.
Florence dies shortly thereafter (in 1655/1656). It’s seven more years before he gets remarried.
March 12 1656 John Hicks was a witness to articles of agreement between the Indian Sachem Tackapousha and the Governor.
On July 4 1657 the confirmation by the Indians of the 1643 sale of Hempstead. That is, representatives of several Indian groups confirmed that the land of Hempstead, Long Island had been sold in 1643, John Hicks as a witness.
1658 Assistant Magistrate and appointed to settle lines with the Indians in Hempstead.
1658 Although a resident of Hempstead, he still held land in Newtown, NY. as he was involved in a land dispute there with Hendrick Janszen in 1658.
March 14, 1659 he served with a horse and team on a survey party at Hempstead, and in 1659 he was a fence-viewer with John Ellison.
May 13, 1661 he was appointed magistrate at Hempstead, and he served in that capacity for a considerable number of years. By this time he was rated at 13,360 guilders.
The Carman (Karman) children of his late wife Florence, sue John for all possessions and lands. The children win.
[ April 7: Petition. John Carman, Caleb Carman and Benjamin Coe, husband of Abigail Carman, that John Hicks, who married their mother, may be obliged to render an account of the estate; copy to be furnished Mr. Hicks].
1661 John and widow Rachel Starr draw up a pre-nuptial agreement in which all properties of his go to his children upon his death, and all of her property goes to her children upon her death.
1662 Property granted to John Hicks land “on the west side of Herricks by the town..”
22 Jan 1662 John marries Widow Rachel Starr (widow of Thomas Starr with whom she had 10 children). John is 53.
1663 John Hicks is dispatched as a delegate to Hartford from Hempstead to obtain aid from the CT Gen Court against the Dutch.
The Council was called by Governor Nicoll of New York "to make additions and alterations to existing laws."
Bet. 1664 - 1665 John Hicks is a representative of Hempstead to the NY Assembly that enacted the "Duke's Laws".
1666 he was the Justice of the Peace, holding that post until his death.
April 25 1671 His last service to the town was to "warn the Indians at Rockaway to leave".
1672 John Hicks dies, about 63 years old.
WILL OF JOHN HICKS
June 14, 1672 Proved at Court of Sessions in Jamaica
"Being weak in body but sound in understanding," makes son Thomas Hicks his executor, and "he is to pay to my wife Rachel, 100 Pounds in cattle, according to wheat at 5 shillings a bushell."
Leaves to wife household utensils, "besides her own wearing clothes, and what goods my said wife brought with her to me."
I leave to each one of my daughter Havilands's children, a colt "
Leave to daughter Hannah 100 Pounds, one-third in horses and two-thirds in cattle." Legacies to "children of my son Thomas," and to "my son-in-law Josyas Starr."
The will is also signed by his wife Rachel, "in token of her satisfaction."
Witnesses, Jonah Fordham, Richard Valentine.
Proved at Court of Sessions, held in Jamaica, June 14, 1672. Anthony Waters, Clerk.
Letters of Administration granted to Thomas Hicks, June 17, 1672