Hicks ancestor immigrated from England to Plymouth Colony in 1621

Published 6:52 pm Friday, July 17, 2020

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This writer was fortunate recently to be lent some extensive genealogical data on the Hicks family of Covington County. This included the records of a descendant’s research and a publication entitled The Hicks Family Tree written by Gale Hicks Thompson.  The book has a secondary title of The Magnificent Journey of Our Branch of the Hicks Family Tree, 1455 to 2011 and The Families That Made a Difference by Gale Hicks Thompson and Bob G. Hicks. These sources will allow at least two columns featuring this family.

Gale Thompson conducted extensive research on his Hicks lineage and sought to find documentation for as much of his writing as possible. While there might be a few facts that are drawn from limited records, he has endeavored to present his findings as carefully and authentically as possible.

The Hicks name appears to be of Norman or English origin. It has been described as having been derived from the Norman name of Richard or the shortened form of Dick. Over time there have been many derivations and spellings of the name Hicks. “The Hicks Coat of Arms is on a red field with a wavy horizontal bar between three golden fleurs-de-lis. The Crest is a golden male deer’s head cut neatly at the neck and wearing a wreath of laurel in golden and red colors. The motto generally shown with the Hicks coat of arms is ‘All in good time.’”

The immigrant Hicks ancestors most likely chose to leave England and sail to the New World America since it was most like their homeland. They felt like America offered better employment opportunities, land ownership and prosperity for them and their families.

A Robert Hicks arrived aboard the ship Fortune at Plymouth Plantation in November 1621. Robert was one of 37 passengers aboard the Fortune which was a 55-ton vessel sent with its passengers to “remain and live in ye plantation.” The famous Mayflower ship had arrived earlier and the Pilgrims had established some settlements in the area and were getting along fairly well with the native Indians. This meant Robert was fortunate to find some reasonable living conditions for him to begin his new life.

Robert’s earliest identified Hicks ancestors according to widely published ancestral family trees are as follows. One John Hicks was born in 1455 and lived until his death in 1492 of the County of Gloucester, England. He was the father of a son, Thomas Hicks, who was born circa 1485 in Fortesset, Gloucester, England. Thomas was married in1518 to Margaret Atwood, daughter of James Atwood and Alicia Parne Payne, and he died in 1565. They were the parents of Baptist Hicks, born circa 1524 and died in 1565 in England. He was married circa 1545 to Mary Everard, daughter of James Everard.

Baptist and Mary Hicks were the parents of a son, James Hicks, born in 1550 and died in 1601 in Southwark, Surry, England. He was married circa 1582 to Phebe Allyne, daughter of Rev. Ephraim Allyne and Nancy Evarts. They became the parents of the immigrant ancestor, Robert Hicks described above. Robert was born in 1583 in Southward, England. He was married first in 1600 to Elizabeth Morgan, who was born in 1584 in Southwark and died there in 1609. The next year, 1610, Robert was married to Margaret Winslow who was born in 1584 and died in 1665 in Plymouth, Mass.

When Robert Hicks arrived in Plymouth, Mass., he was listed as a “fellmonger” or a dealer in hides and wool. He was also among the 23 men identified as “strangers,” those who were non-Puritan. Many of these were single which presented a housing problem in the limited facilities as well as the food shortage. He was apparently a man of means and was educated along with being a businessman and merchant. He was a member of the Purchasers group which put together an agreement that purchased the debt owed the Adventurers.

He soon sent for his family, his second wife, Margaret, his son, Samuel, and daughters, Lydia and Phebe. They arrived July 10, 1623, aboard the ship Anna, a 140-ton ship that carried passengers, livestock and cargo for the community. The family settled there and began their new life in America.

Robert and his first wife, Elizabeth, were the parents of five children: Thomas, b. 1603, d. 1604; John, b. 1605, m. Herodias Long; Sarah, b. 1607, d. ca 1617; Stephen, b. 1608, ca 1688; and Richard, b. 1609, d. ca 1623. The two that survived, John and Stephen Hicks, immigrated to America several years after their father and his second family. In 1642, they were residing in Long Island, N.Y. and apparently did not have any association with their father and his later family.

In 1610 when he was a widower with small children, Robert Hicks married Margaret Winslow who was born in 1589 in Southwark, Surry, England. They were the parents of the following children: Samuel, b. 1611, d. 1676, m. Lydia Doane; Lydia, b. 1612, d. 1634, m. Edward Bangs; Phebe, b. 1614, d. 1663, m. 1635 George Watson; and Ephraim, b. 1624, d. 1649, three months after marriage to Elizabeth Howland. Ephraim was named for his maternal grandfather, Rev. Ephraim Allyne. It also appears Robert had named his home Allyne House after his wife’s family. In 1647, Ephraim inherited his father’s house and property in Plymouth and some land in Duxbury under his father’s will.

Robert Hicks was a very ambitious businessman. He seemed to possess keen insight in financial matters and knew how to invest wisely. In his community, he served on numerous committees, served on events of the General Court and was trusted by his fellow citizens to witness and inventory various estates following a death. He was further named in a number of business dealings throughout the coming years. Robert died in 1647 in Plymouth.

Robert’s oldest son, Samuel Hicks (1), by his second wife, Margaret, was born in 1611 in the village of Bermondsey in Surry County, England. He was 12 years of age when he immigrated to the Plymouth Colony with his mother and sisters to join his father who had sailed a few years earlier. Not much is known of his childhood, but he probably helped with farming and building of a house for the family. There is a record of him having a controversy with the Church at Plymouth in 1637. The church referred to him as an “unsettled man” as a result of the various issues he raised. In the end, it seems Samuel became a Quaker. He overcame this conflict enough that he fared well in the community and became financially successful.

In 1645, Samuel Hicks was married to Lydia Doane, daughter of John Doane who had arrived in Plymouth circa 1630 and was one of the church deacons. It appears they may have moved to Nauset, which was later called Eastham, as he was listed as one of the freemen establishing the new town. In 1846, Samuel was named Constable of the new town and held several other offices in the coming years. In 1848-49, he represented the Town of Eastham at the General Court of the Colony, a prestigious position. He and Lydia were back in Plymouth in 1652. He continued to be active in the real estate business, both buying and selling. He was also involved in numerous professional dealings.

By 1962, Samuel and Lydia had moved to Barnstable, Mass. By 1666, he had moved to Dartmouth and was promoting its settlement. In 1670, he was listed as one of only seven on the Dartmouth’s Freeman’s List. He was appointed Selectman in May of that year and again, in June. He died there circa 1676.

Samuel and Lydia Hicks were the parents of the following children: Thomas, b. 1646, d. 1698; Sarah, b. 1648, d. 1688; Samuel (2), b. 1651, d. 1704; Dorcas, b. 1652, d. 1719; Margaret, b. 1654, d. 1686; Elizabeth, b. 1659, d. 1712; and Joseph, b. 1660, d. 1709.

In next week’s column, this family’s lineage will be continued with the family and history of Samuel Hicks (2).

The source for today’s story was the book The Hicks Family Tree; The Magnificent Journey of Our Branch of the Hicks Family Tree, 1455 to 2011, and The Families That Made a Difference, written by Gale Hicks Thompson and Bob G. Hicks.

Anyone who might find an error in the above is requested to contact Curtis Thomasson at 20357 Blake Pruitt Road, Andalusia, AL 36420; 334-804-1442; or Email: cthomasson@centurytel.net.