Tuesday, April 22, 2014

#12 - Hicks Family on Long Island, Post 1: Thomas Hicks (not a Quaker)

My 9th great grandfather: Thomas Hicks
The son of John and Herodias (Long) who are subjects of posts (#14 and #13 ).
That Swarthmore College keeps Hicks papers in their archives for research tells you that there are some interesting stories--and likely historical reasons for keeping papers.
This tight-knit agrarian community within an arms’ reach of the most important cities in the colonies/US produced a man who eventually led to one of the Quaker schisms, produced a good many who spoke and wrote for abolition and women’s suffrage, a community which spent a lot of money on adequate schooling and caring for the poor. From them came a famous primitive American artist and something new to me, it had an active "underground railway."
Many Long Island Quakers championed the manumission of slaves, and set the pace in the country for setting their own slaves free. Several of the families and meetings were active in the Underground Railway. One of them was the Hicks family. Several of them were members of the Westbury Friends Meeting (Quakers) and let their enslaved go free after the Revolutionary War. Around 1793 the Hicks family gave land to establish Guinea Town: the first free black community in Old Westbury. Guinea Town became a safe place for many runaways. And by 1830 the community had its own church and school that was built by the Charity Society of the Quakers.*(see source at end of post)

Since there are several stories to be told--and they intermarried, I've devoted the several posts to the Hicks (and related) families (just about all the oldest Long Island families are related to one another in some way).

Never fear, once we get to the early part of the 1800s, I will have more stories and fewer bare facts, However, before delving too deeply into that period in history, this post will trace John Hicks’ descendants who were my direct ancestors.

So what happened to little Thomas, John Hicks’ son, you wonder? He'd moved from Newport, RI to LI with his father, leaving his mother in Rhode Island. Was he a  Quaker? What was his attitude towards them? One researcher [sorry, I lost the citation] wrote:

"...Thomas, [was] a Justice of the Common Pleas Court.
Thomas defended Samuel Bownas, a Quaker in difficulty with the Hempstead churchmen, for attacking their doctrines and ceremonies. This defense, mentioned by [his grandson] Elias with satisfaction in his Journal, introduced the Hicks family to the enthusiastic Quakers then invading Long Island."  You will see their favoring of the Friends warm up in other posts.

As an adult he moved from Hempstead to Flushing (Westbury).

 I've divided the post into his personal history vitals (not included all the children, only his son who was my gr-greandfather), his occupations, his residence, his land disputes (which were quite common) and land sales, and where he is named in other documents (for historians/researchers).

John (and Herodias) Hicks’ son, Thomas Hicks:
 Thomas' vitals:
Birth: Probably at Weymouth, Massachusetts about 1641/42
Death: About 1741/42, Little Neck, Long Island, New York (yes, about 100 yrs old)
Moved to Long Island when he was about 2 years old shortly after John Hicks, his father moved there, separating from Herodias (Harod), Thomas’ mother.

Thomas married twice:
He married 1st, sometime after 1658, a Mary Washburn. Note: I’ve found 3 genealogies which differ: this Mary was a Butler married to Mr. Washburn first in CT, while another says that that Washburn was her uncle and her maiden name was Washburn, a third just has her name was “Mary Cornell Washburn”

1st - Mary Washburn (who died) * My 8th great grandfather Jacob Hicks, was the son of Mary Washburn and John Hicks. 

2nd - Mary Doughty in 1677. On 6 July, Thomas Hicks and Mary Doughty got a marriage license in New York.
In 1666, while in his 20s, he bought a patent of land from Governor Nicholls: about 4,000 acres in the vicinity of Little Neck. He built a good house and lived there for many years.

 On 23 November, governor E Andros declared that heretofore, in the time of governor Richard Nicolls, the Neck called Cornbury, or Little Madnans Neck where Captain Thomas Hicks doth reside was adjudged to be in Flushing, since which [time] it hath been found that the part of the land on the said Neck, belonging to Capt. Thomas Hicks is within the bounds of Hempstead, where he hath a considerable interest and is now justice of the peace for that town and Riding.
On 20 October, Thomas Hicks and others were commissioned as justices of the peace for Queens County, Long Island, New York.
 On 20 October, Thomas Hicks was commissioned as sheriff for Queens County, Long Island, New York.
 On 18 October, "Description of a survey of 100 acres of land, lying at Cow Neck, upon Long Island, laid out for Thomas Hicks, senr., by Leonard Beckwith, [with draught,]"
On 5 April, Thomas Hicks posted a list of the inhabitants of Hempstead who could take up 50 acres of land, as did the original proprietors.
 On 16 April, Thomas Hicks posted notice that the major portion of inhabitants of Madnans Neck agreed that no new vacant land would be improved and no more trees would be cut down in the area.
On 25 August, Sr Edmund Andross appointed "as our justice to keep our peace in our county called Queens" Thomas Hicks (and others). Also appointed Thomas Hicks as "Judge of our inferior court of pleas".
A letter from Mr. Van Cortland to Sir Edmund Andros [governor of New York] stated: "It is now nere 17 weekes that I have been forced out off my house, by the violence of Capt'n Laysler," ... so is Mr Hix [in prison] "for not delivering up his Commission as Justice off Peace"
Thomas Hicks was appointed judge in Queens County for a term of 8 years.
On 20 April, Thomas Hicks [Hix] was the judge for the court of common pleas in Queens county, Long Island, New York.
Thomas Hicks was a representative for Queens County to the 8th Colonial Assembly. The Assembly was dissolved May 3, 1702.
Thomas Hicks and others were chosen by vote of freeholders at a town meeting in Hempstead to "run all the lines of our towns bounds".
By vote of the majority of freeholders of Hempstead, the four trustees; William Nicoll, Coll John Jackson, Judge Hicks, and Justice John Tredwell; were to agree with John Keeble for a parcel at Rockaway for the whale men to cut fire wood for "the use of the whalling design".

On 1 January, 1666/67,
governor Richard Nicholls wrote to the constable and overseers of Flushing, Long Island that he was tired of the hearing about the issue of Thomas Hicks and wanted the town to resolve the issue. What had happened: Thomas Hicks and two others had settled on the Neck, which the court of Hempstead had decided to be in Flushing, but Flushing had not laid out accommodations for the men, even though they agreed to pay the charges.
On 14 April "We underwritten Tachapowsha (and other named) Indyans" ... "freely and absolutely sold" to "Elias Doughty, ... Thomas Hicks, Richard Cornell, ... the agents of the freeholders of said Towne, ... the inhabitants of Flushing in general."
Justice Thomas [Hicks] Hukes and Mrs. Mary, his wife, lived with sons Isaac, Benjamin, Charles, William, Stephen, Charet, and daughter Mary in Flushing, Long Island, New York, nine persons besides six servants.
Land Disputes: 
 On 10 June, the council minutes for Long Island affairs reported the [election] returns for constable of Hempstead with 39 votes for Robert Jackson and 34 votes for Simon Seryou. Objection was made by Mr John Hicks [named as Thomas Hicks on the next page] and James Pine, on behalf of others, that many of the votes for Mr. Jackson were from great Neck or Madnans Neck, with only small, divided, parcels of land unrelated to the town of Hempstead, and questioned whether they should be counted equally with ye ancient inhabitants. The council determined that all the inhabitants were freeholders and their votes would count, although a proposal would be considered for them to be in a separate town with officers of their own.
On 19 January, William Haviland wrote to governor Edmund Andros as follows: "May it please your Honour: Whereas it hapens a difference or dispute between Mr. Hicks & Mr. Cornell with myself concerning a tract of land formerly belonging to Mr. Dowtie [Doughty] a full & equal third whereof I have bought of the said Dowtie as by the transport and patent may appear part of which my said purchase or equal third is by the said Mr. Cornell & Mr. Hicks demanded or claimed though it be my right & property, I therefore humbly pray for a fair decision of the said controversy that your honour would be pleased to appoint fit & indifferent persons to measure or survey the whole that each may quietly have & enjoy his right which is the desire of your humble servant.
The 19th of January 79-80.
Will'm Haviland. To his Excellence Sr Edmund Andros, K'nt Seigneur of Sausmaurez, Lieutenant and Governor Gen'l under his Royall Highness of all his Territories in America."

Land Sales:
While in his 20s, he bought a patent of land from Governor Nicholls: about 4,000 acres in the vicinity of Little Neck. He built a good house and lived there for many years.
On 15 January, Thomas Hicks sold to John Treadwell, land called "faire feld hollow" on the southwest side of the town.
On 10 April, Indian deed. Opson son and heyre to Sacpousha, to Richard Cornell Senior and Thomas Hicks Senior, land on Cow Neck. Bounded on the north with land of John West. 1685 April, John Juians of New York, merchant, and Mary his wife, to Gerrardus Beakman of Flatbush, chirurgeon, and Hendrick Ryke of Flatbush, blacksmith, land on Madnan's Neck in Hempstead, No 35, which was laid out to John Hicks. 130 acres.
On 5 November, Thomas Hicks of Cornbury and Mary, his wife, to Edward Stevenson of Newtown. Land on Cow Neck, 100 acres. Bounded as by pattent of Coll. Thomas Dungan November 25 1686.
On 12 December. Deed:28 acres in Merrick
To all Christian People to whom these presence Shall Come Greeting. Know ye yt we thomas & mary hickes of Cornbery necke in ye Jurisdiction of Flushing in Queens County upon Long Island have granted bargained alienated and Sold and do by these presence grant bargain alienate make over Confirm and Sell from us our heirs executors administrators to and assigns unto Jonathan Smith of the towne of hempstead in ye afore sd County and Island his haires executors administrators to and asignes for Ever a Sartaine Lott of meddow containing twenty Eight aceors more or Les as it was Laid out situatte & Lying one Merrick buted and bounded as followeth westerly by Richard Gildersleeve north w'th Little Smith Est by ye Cold Spring River South by the Bay yt Runs betwixt ye meddoe and ye beech with all ye Salt meddoe that Lys on ye west side of ye Cold Springe neck as far as any Salt grese grows with all ye Rightes proffite and Previledges there unto beLonging by vertue of any towne order or other wise for and in Consideration of full Satisfaction to me in hand paid for ye which I ye afore sd thomas hickes doe fuly exonerate aquit ...

Thomas Hicks senior of Cornbery, Long Island, sold to John Tredwell land called "Mr Hickes Neck" that was previously owned by Thomas Hicks's father John Hicks, who owned it by agreement with John Carman senior. 

 On 27 November, Richard Cornell, gent of Cornwell Hall in Queens county sold land in Huntingtowne, Suffolk County, to Thomas Hickes of Hempstead.

His appearance in other documents: 
Thomas Hicks was listed among "persons that are to fense and Inclose Rockoway w'th ye Nomb'r of their gates donn at A full town-meeting the 17th of Aprill 1659."
On 19 October, Robert Ashman of Hempstead sold several tracts to Richard Ellison, including a meadow on the Neck commonly called "Mr Washbornes Neck", bounded on the east by Thomas Hicks.
On 23 March, Thomas Hicks witnessed and recorded a deed between Simon Seren and Thomas Fessee in Hempstead.
On 12 March, Thomas Hicks, clerk, witnessed a deed between Richard Lattin of Huntintowne and John Carman of Hempstead for a lot formerly owned by Thomas forlers [Fowler?].
 In testimony recorded in the Hempstead town records of 1688, Thomas Hicks recalled that as town clerk in 1666, he had heard an agreement made between William Thickstone and William Seadin. 1694
Lieutenant-Colonel Thomas Hicks was an overseer for the will of Richard Cornell.
Thomas Hicks was an overseer of the will of Jerwin Rootes.
On 30 December, Thomas Hicks and four others signed "in behalf of ourselves and upwards of two thirds of the freeholders and inhabitants of Queens County on Nassau Island" a letter from New York to the King William III, expressing "lively and gratefull sense, that our Religion and Liberties are in the greatest safety under your auspicious Reign".
Thomas Hicks, perhaps this one or his son, witnessed the will of William Urquehart.
The will of Elizabeth Regnier stated "To Regnier Rushmore, nephew of Thomas Hicks, of Long Island."
On 9 May, a deed by Thomas Hicks of Flushing refers to "my late son Charles Hicks deceased" and "the homestead that the said Charles lately lived upon" and "whereas my said son Charles Hicks" died leaving "one son called Edward an infant of the age of eight years".

 * Additional information sourced: thanks to: The Underground Railroad on Long Island, Friends in Freedom by Kathleen G. Velsor, History Press, 2013


  1. I am looking for more info on my mother's family. Her Mother was Edna B Hicks, born 1893 in NY. I do not know much else but once attended a reunion where papers show she was related to Elias Hicks. DO you have any more info on them?

  2. Hi, Lysa,
    No, I do not. Do you know her date of birth and location of birth? There are a lot of Hicks.

  3. Know any Hicks from Glen Cove? We are legion. I'm one.

  4. EDNA BLANCHE HICKS was born March 16. 1893 maybe Oyster Bay, NY? Her parents were Mathilda and Herbert Hicks. That's all I know.

  5. My great grandfather was from Hempstead. His name was William Walter Hicks. He was a carpenter and a carriage maker. He ended up in Milton MA. I am a descendant of Thomas Hicks.

  6. Thank you for the information, my line come from Eliza Hicks-1800-1840 (gg granddaughter of Thomas )and George Rhoads.
    Eliza's parents were Thomas Hicks and Sarah Sweet.


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