Saturday, July 26, 2014

#24 - Isaac Hicks of Hicks Nurseries And His Hobbies

 Isaac Hicks of Hicks Nurseries
Isaac Hicks, the grandson of the more famous Isaac Hicks from a previous post. For the Hicks lineage leading to him, see another post. Isaac was my maternal great grandmother’s grandfather, or, my 3rd great grandfather.

If he had any notoriety, he began the "Hicks Nurseries" of Westbury, NY, the oldest family-owned business on Long Island.
From the banner Hicks Nurseries website
Isaac Hicks
The Swarthmore College Friends Collection on the Hicks’ has this to say:
“Isaac, son of John D Hicks and Mary/Sarah Rushmore Hicks (grandson of Isaac and Sarah Hicks), founded the Hicks Nursery in 1853. Active in the Westbury (Friends) Monthly Meeting and other Quaker organizations.”

Isaac’s wife and my 3rd great grandmother was Mary Fry Willis (who will/is in Post #30).
Issac Hicks' Vitals:

Birth & Parents
Isaac Hicks (as was most of his family) was born, raised and died on Long Island, New York. 

~He was born March 7, 1815 and he died March 13, 1900. **Hinshaw says he was born August 8, 1815 and died in 1898. I'm pretty confident Hinshaw's date of death is incorrect.)

~His paternal grandfather was Isaac Hicks
~His parents were John Doughty Hicks [Sr] (1791-1829) and
Sarah R. Rushmore (1790-1893).

More about Sarah Rushmore in post #30

~In 1836 Isaac Hicks married Mary Fry Willis (1817-1898), the daughter of John WillisMary W Kirby (more on Mary Fry Willis in post #30)

Isaac and Mary Fry Willis had
~Gilbert Hicks  1838 – 1922
~Edward Hicks  1840 – 1920
~Marianna Hicks 27 Sep 1842-13 Aug 1915 m William E Hauxhurst/Hawxhurst

   (Marianna Hicks & William E Hawxhurst are my 2nd great grandparents)
~William C Hicks  1845 – 1846

Earning a Livelihood - Hicks Nurseries

Isaac began as a farmer but founded what became "Hicks Nurseries."  It's been said that he was entered fruit trees in the Queens County Fair and won a $10 prize and certificate for having the best twenty varieties of apples. I'm not sure if that's what led him to the business, but he obviously had a passion for trees.

The business was on Jericho Turnpike, west of Post Avenue. 

Hicks Nurseries across from Old Westbury and the Hawxhurst Estate

"Hicks and Son" grew quickly: the Hicks family worked hard, and it helped that the surrounding population of Westbury swelled greatly. That there were many wealthy estates on Long Island gave them the opportunity to capitalize on their market.

Their son Edward enhanced the business when he struck on a method of moving and replanting large trees by the end of the 1800s.  Since then the family continued in the nursery business.  Some of the estates serviced by Hicks Nurseries include: the Morgan, the Vanderbilit, the Whitney and the Phipps (now Old Westbury Gardens) as well as planting trees on John D Rockefellers estate in Pocantico Hills. And, it is the oldest family-owned business on Long Island, but it is also one of the oldest family-owned businesses in the US, but it is the oldest one on Long Island.

When my aunt Margaret was researching Long Island family, she took her mother --my grandmother--Elizabeth Tilton (Bertha Hawxhurst's daughter) to Hicks Nurseries. On her maternal side, all of Elizabeth's  genealogical roots go back to Long Island to the 1600s.
Well, Elizabeth was tickled pink because she was treated her like a queen. As the founder's great granddaughter, the "family" part of "family-owned" business was still important.

Hicks Ad c1960s "The Hicks Homestead Westbury, LI, Built by Isaac Hicks 1838"
Isaac Hicks
More than a Livelihood--a Passion
It wasn't merely a business, I think Isaac Hicks was a devotee of trees. He wrote:

How does memory carry me back to those houses of Friends (Quakers), nestled near a piece of woods, showing a love of the beautiful and useful combined; and those noble trees that were of the primeval forest, when the country was settled…
There is something venerable and so conservative in these old trees around the meeting house that no lofty spire and no adornment of architecture can give. But all are not such.
Too many meeting houses stand out in bold relief, with no sheltering tree to beautify the lawn…But these trees, young men... will you not plant trees around your house of worship, and confer a lasting benefit to yourselves, meeting and the country?
....the time may come when you may enjoy their beauty and comfort of shade, and future generations bless the hands that planted the shade trees around your meeting house.
In Isaac’s poetic phrase the woods were “the beautiful and useful combined’ tells me he was  a businessman who did it for love of the product!

And Later, a "Weekend" Artist
I'm led to believe Isaac loved the outdoors. Collectors in my family had saved a few colored paintings of birds he made. Then someone scanned them-- and I have digital copies , The scanner scanned on the backs-"Red and White Warbler" is dated & initialed by Isaac, and the oriole painting is dated. 

Isaac dabbled with painting when he was elderly and unoccupied with work. (Could this be where the artistic streak in my mother comes from?)
"Warblers" by Isaac Hicks c. 1899
"Red & White Warbers 1900 I. H."
The color has faded in the warblers--but less so in the oriole below:  *note the date from the back*

Isaac Hick photo from Hicks Nurseries website

Now and then, I find a write-up on the Westbury area, such as this one-Click "Read More" to see it:

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

#23- Charles and Elizabeth (Tyson) Tilton & family - Memories of the 1930s and 1940s by Guest Blogger-daughter

Guest Blogger - Ann Tilton Higgins
A Snapshot of the Tiltons 1930s-1940s (sans brother?)

My children don't recall my grandfather (he died in 1986). However, they might recall my grandmother Elizabeth Tyson from her visits to her daughter's house late in life. Babies and old people nap a lot. So, my children probably recall her napping:
Elizabeth & cat. Napping, abt 1988, Sundown, NY
By then she'd raised her children-and grandchildren, I'd say deserved a good rest! 

A few years ago, my mother (& her daughter) shared a few memories from her youth in the Tilton family. Ann's memories form this post. Read below for the Guest Blogger's memories:

My mother, Elizabeth Charity Tyson, was born in August 23, 1904, and her husband Charles Bancroft Tilton was born October 12, 1902. 

When I was young, my mother worked for a while at the Kraeger Furniture Company in Jenkintown, PA. My father Charles worked for a small landscaping firm where he was the designer/salesman. This was a similar job to the one he had prior in Tarrytown, NY, after they were first wed.  For a time both Pat Moore and Flora (Bancroft Tilton), Charles' mother and stepfather, lived with my family (Pat died in the early 1930s, Flora in 1949). 
Pat Moore & Flora (Bancroft) Tilton Moore abt 1929

[My father's field of study at State College (Pennsylvania) was in dairy (animal husbandry). He liked landscape design, but chose dairy as a major. He wanted to go to college out of his home area of Butler/Pittsburgh, and State College offered him a scholarship if he chose this as a major. He didn’t mind it, as he said it offered him the most latitude with regards to choice of courses: he could select more "academic" courses (such as literature) while finishing his major field.]

After Pat Moore died,  my grandmother,"Nana," continued living with us until she died in the late 1940s. I think they had lived with my parents most of their married life. Pat Moore had lost his business in the 1920s before the Crash of 1929.

The living room set of furniture that my mother took to Naples, Italy (during Charles' time with Air Force/NATO in the post-war reconstruction of Europe) was the same furniture she eventually  gave to my sister Margaret (“Mardy” Tilton Walmer). The living room set was from Kraegers where she had worked.

It was rumored to have cost $10,000 and that was in the 1930s, but it may not be true.

Elizabeth, Mardy and Ann
Our family moved from the double house at 102 Walnut Street, Philadelphia (where we rarely talked to the people in the other side, is it possible they thought the two Tilton girls were too noisy?) to a Dutch Colonial style house on 427 Hillside Rd in Philadelphia, on the other side of town.  I loved that house. It was on a nice corner lot.

Mardy (Margaret)
During  World War 2 one of my mother's brothers, Alan Tyson, planted a Victory Garden in back, (but without beets which he hated).  
Alan Tyson - Elizabeth's brother

Alan and (another brother) Norman lived with Tiltons at different  times. I recall that Alan  lived in the basement, rather roughing it. He was pretty messy but we didn't mind.
Norman Tyson - another brother of Elizabeth
Norm and a car
We also took in roomers or boarders, but one at a time since there was only one spare room.
Mardy was friends with a girl named English, who was a wild daughter of divorced and wealthy parents. She did very exacting micro-work in a defense plant. 

The Tilton girls had adventures with her. She got Mardy to go with her to a bar and go in (or look in) in order to see if this girl’s boyfriend was there.  And, she took me to her family's estate where we swam in the in-ground pool on the spacious grounds. 
Our b
rother Bill was born when we were older -- about 10 years old.
Bill with Grandmother "Nana" Flora (Bancroft)

Ann, Charles, Bill, Elizabeth, Mardy
Infant Bill, parents kiss, kids playing
With World War 2, there were no young men who could do the landscape work and the clients, wealthy families on the Main Line of Philadelphia, weren't putting money into landscaping. 

The firm could no longer employ my father. And, the other work was in sales, which wasn’t his forte. He realized he needed a different job--and more money. 

He went to a going away party for a friend in Gettysburg, and later saw an ad for the Air Corps. Later the name was changed to the US Air Force.

He enlisted and after batteries of tests, and because of his past profession (in landscaping), he was given a job in intelligence. 

He had been ROTC at Penn State (State College) and so was automatically a 2nd Lt. His specialty was photo intelligence as it required the ability to look at and interpret arial photos. He first went to Florida for training and lived in the Roney Plaza. He was also in Idaho and other places for training.  He was sent to England during the war and worked on intelligence there, mostly on bombing.

Charles B Tilton in uniform

CB Tilton (front row, to left) & others- US Air Force

From Charles' calendar
During that time, our family stuck around the Jenkintown/Philadelphia area and carried on for awhile, but it was getting tough and so my mother picked up stakes and moved back to her home area in Adams County, PA. Whenever my father came through Pennsylvania (if he was in transit), we'd try to meet up with him if he couldn't get home-leave.
Bill, Charles, Mardy and Flora -mid to late 1940s

The family (mother, me, Mardy, Nana and Bill) first lived above Ditzler's Restaurant in Biglerville, on the top floor.  Nana--Flora Bancroft--(Charles' twice-widowed mother) lived with the Tiltons and would flush dead rats and mice down the toilet. 

Elizabeth, "a War Widow", plays ball with Billy at house in Flora Dale, PA.

Eventually, the Hill House (ancestral Tyson home) in Flora Dale, PA (across from Menallen Meeting House) became home till Mardy and I left for college.
Hill House today

Mardy & Ann, circled; Mapleton, 1994