Friday, August 1, 2014

#25 -Mary Fry Willis, wife of Isaac Hicks. Middle Name to the Rescue!

Mary Fry Willis (1817-1898), wife of Isaac Hicks.  Happiness is Finding A Middle Name
I love middle names: My brother’s middle name is “Bancroft” it was once a surname (family) name. As a surname, helps in genealogy so middle names can help--if you’re lucky.  I would urge caution, middle names can also muddle things.
Mary Fry Willis - D of John Willis & Mary W Kirby
Mary Fry Willis was named after her ancestor Mary Fry, and was born on 14 January  1817  in Westbury, Long Island, NY (Jericho Meeting).  She was the daughter of John Willis and Mary W Kirby. 
Mary Fry Willis married Isaac Hicks (found in another post) in Westbury, New York. 

Which Willis? Which Mary?
I looked through naming patterns (first names) and then at the Quakers on Long Island who intermarried. I began to despair when rather running into a genealogical brick wall, I was dealing with a profusion of possibilities. 

Mary Fry Willis’ Middle Name To the Rescue

I took advantage of Mary Willis’ middle name “Fry” beginning with the assumption that it was a surname in her family--and Quaker. 
I then was lucky enough to find a letter written by a family member who had grown up in the area, and was acquainted with all the families on LI; a letter written about 1910. 
The writer said Mary Fry Willis was given the name “Mary Fry”  in honor of one of her great grandmothers. 
So now I knew she had a direct ancestor with that name thus narrowing my choices. She was also descended from a Mary Fry, and the Fry family was a Quaker family, likely from Long Island. 
I was hopeful that I'd narrowed the possibilities to Quaker females on Long Island in the pre-Revolutionary War period who named Mary Fry.
Indeed, I found only 1 Mary Fry (or Frey) from the colonial era:
  • Mary Fry Willis’ great-great grandmother was Mary Fry (1712-1800). She married Samuel Willis & MFW's great-great grandfather (1704-1782) Their son was:
  •  Mary Fry Willis’ great grandfather was John Willis (1734-1789). His son was:
  • Mary Fry Willis’ grandfather was Samuel Willis (1759-1838). His son was:
  • Mary Fry Willis’ father was John Willis (1790-1864)
So, Mary Fry Willis was named for her great-great grandmother, Mary Fry who was born in December 1712 in Westbury, NY and died May 28, 1800.
Joining Families: Mary Fry & Samuel Willis to Phebe Willets & Adam Mott
  • Fry/Willis/Willets/Mott 
Quakers were inclined to join families.  
For example, the Fry/Willis/Willets/Mott families became intertwined in one generation when three of Mary Fry & Samuel Willis’ children married three of Phebe Willets (of Post #22 and Post #23) & Adam Mott’s children.

Back to Mary Fry Wills: Her Parents and Grandparents:
 ~Mary Fry Willis’ Mother 
 Her mother was Mary W Kirby, born July 30 1791 and died June 28 1873. 

~Mary Fry Willis' Maternal Grandparents [Mary W Kirby’s parents]: 
  • Her maternal grandfather was Jacob Kirby (11 Aug 1765- 3 Dec 1859/recorded as January 1860) and maternal grandmother was Mary Seaman, b 27 Mar 1774 and died 21 Sep 1854.
 ~Mary Fry Willis’ Father 
Her father was John Willis (some of his line Post # 20), born in Oyster Bay on January 2 1790 and died October 5 1864 in Oyster Bay, Long Island, New York. I have a photo of John Willis, Mary Fry’s Willis’ father which, if it is labeled accurately, must have been shortly before his death in 1864. 
John Willis - H of Mary W Kirby, Farther of Mary Fry Willis c1860

~Mary Fry Willis’ Paternal Grandparents [John Willis’ parents]: 
  • Her paternal grandfather was Samuel Willis, born March 7 1759 and died June 28 1838, (also the son of John Willis & Elizabeth Mott - mentioned in the Willis/Mott Sibling Marriages earlier). And, her paternal grandmother was Rachel Pearsall, born June 14 1765 and died May 31, 1855. She was the daughter Thomas Pearsall (1725-1807) and Ann Williams (1733-1806).
Mary Fry Willis' Family: 
Mary Fry Willis’ Siblings, The children of John Willis & Mary W Kirby:
1-Edward John Willis - 1814-1904
2-Mary Fry Willis - 1817-1898 (Married Isaac Hicks, brother of Samuel Hicks)
3-Rachel Willis - 1820-1905 (Married Samuel Hicks, brother of Isaac Hicks)
4-Lucretia Mott Willis  1837-1838


Marriage & Family:
Mary Fry Willis was 19 when she married the Isaac Hicks (subject of Post #29). They wed March 24, 1836 on probably in Jericho Meeting, Long Island, NY. 

Isaac Hicks was 21 years old when she married him. They lived on Long Island the rest of their lives while Isaac commenced his nursery business (see more in Post #29). 

Mary Fry Willis & Isaac Hicks' children:
  1-Gilbert (1838-1922)
  2- Edward (1840-1915)
* 3-Marianna (1842-1920)
  4-William C. (1845-1846)

*Marianna, my great- great grandmother, married William E Hauxhurst/Hawxhurst.

Residence and Death:
I would imagine that Mary Fry would have been quite busy as Isaac was tending to building up the Hicks Nursery. They lived in Old Westbury on Long Island, NY.

Census records exist for Isaac and Mary Fry Willis for the  years 1850 (33 years old), 1870 (53 years old), 1880 (63 years old). I haven't yet unearthed the state census for the 1890s.
 She died on Long Island at 81 on February 28, 1898 and is buried in Westbury, Nassau County, New York.

Hicks homestead from a Christmas Card c1960

Photos and Miscellaneous Comments
Of the photos I have, they were taken when she was rather old. Her granddaughter, Bertha C Hawxhurst had saved most of the ones I have. 

Bertha, who grew up on Long Island and knew her grandmother, wrote on the back of this one a comment:
“Grandmother Hicks-very precise, neat --and stern!” 

Mary Fry Willis W Isaac Hicks c 1878-1880
Of Mary Fry Willis' siblings listed above, I bolded her sister Rachel Willis to draw attention to the fact that Rachel wed Isaac Hicks' brother, Samuel Hicks.

Below is a garden photo of Hicks & Willis relations. 
I own a (separate) labeled photo of Rachel Willis Hicks, so I'm certain she's the middle-aged woman (wearing glasses) looking at the camera. 
Seated near her is likely (but I'm not sure) Rachel’s husband (and Isaac’s brother), Samuel Hicks. The young lady on the left might be Rachel and Samuel’s unmarried daughter Anna.
Seated on far right is Isaac Hicks and Mary Fry Willis (Hicks).

Hicks/Willis Family Members: in center, Rachel Willis Hicks & maybe Samuel Hicks.                                   Far Right: Isaac Hicks & Mary Fry Willis

The photo below is of the Isaac and Mary Fry Willis (Hicks) when they were quite elderly. It was probably shortly before she died. 
Mary Fry Willis and Isaac Hicks late 1890s

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