Gillam Thomas Hicks’s family thrives in Covington County, Ala.

Published 6:25 pm Friday, August 14, 2020

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Today’s story will conclude the series of five columns devoted to the Gillam Thomas Hicks family. His early ancestry, immigration to America landing at the Plymouth Colony of Massachusetts and the later migration of his descendants through the Southern states all the way to Covington County, Ala., was outlined in the earlier narratives. Today’s writing features Gillam Hicks’s family with his second wife, Samantha America Stewart.

Gillam Thomas Hicks’s oldest son by his second wife was John Fletcher Hicks. John Fletcher was born in 1869 in Heard County, Ga., where his Hicks family resided for around 50 years. He grew up there and was married circa 1890 to his first wife, Maggie E. Langston (1866-1897 or 1899). She died at a fairly young age, but after having given birth to three children: Epsie, b. 1892, d. 1894; Esther Fletcher, b. 1894, d. 1957, m. William Paul Brown; and John E. “Little John,” b.&d. 1897. The daughter, Esther Fletcher, was the only surviving child of this couple, and she was called Fletcher.

John Fletcher Hicks along with his five-year old daughter, Fletcher, migrated with his widowed mother; his two brothers, Alonza and Joseph Henry; and two sisters, Anna and Cora, to Covington County, Ala., sometime during the year 1900. They had all barely arrived and settled there when the 1900 federal census was enumerated.

 In 1910, Samantha’s son, John Fletcher, and his daughter, Esther Fletcher, and Samantha’s daughter Anna, were living with her in Andalusia Town, Ala. John Fletcher as the oldest male was listed as head of household, and he also owned the house in which the family resided. He was working as a mail carrier for the U.S. Postal Service in Andalusia at the time. In 1920, Samantha was still living with John Fletcher’s family, but they had moved back to the Straughn School House community where John rented a house. This was most likely the house which his sister, Alice, and her husband, Charles Langston, had just vacated upon moving into their new bungalow-styled one. Their community was called Langstonville at the time in honor of the Langston family.

John Fletcher Hicks had married again, but he had already lost his second wife, Arra “Arry” Johns (1873-1908), by 1920. He had remarried to his third wife, Beatrice Ellen Allen (1885-1966), and according to some records, they had two young children: Edward E., b. 1911, d. 1994; and John D., b. 1912. Other records show they had a son named Robert Allen, b. 1911, d. 1994. It is this writer’s thinking that Edward E. might have been Egbert Allen Hicks who was born and died in those years and resided his entire life in Andalusia. If this is Egbert Hicks, he was married first to Catha Corenne Stokes, daughter of Wright Absalom Stokes and Minnie Lee Berta Rabren, and the second wife, Evelyn Jackson, was a teacher in the Andalusia City Schools. Egbert and Corenne Hicks were the parents of two children: Gary, m. Alice ?; and Sharon, m. Richard Martin.

Gillam’s daughter, Alice Hicks, was born in 1871 in Heard County, Ga. In 1891 when she was 20 years of age, Alice was married to Charles Ferrell Langston (1868-1925) who was also born in Heard County. His father’s name has not been identified, but his mother was Amanda Langston. Charles was the younger brother of John Fletcher Hicks’s first wife, Maggie Langston, which created close ties between the Hicks and Langston families. Both moved from Heard County, Ga. to Covington County, Ala., and it appears the Langstons moved a few years earlier than the Hicks, maybe between 1895 and 1900.

Alice (Hicks) and Charles Ferrell Langston were the parents of two children: Guy Thomas, b. ca 1893; and Mattie Fay, b. ca 1894. Charles died in 1925, and Alice, in 1935. They were both buried near their many relatives in the Mt. Zion Methodist Church Cemetery in the Straughn community.

Gillam’s daughter, Anna Hicks, was born circa 1877 in Heard County, Ga. When she was 33 years old, soon after 1910, she married a next-door neighbor, Albert Harris Ponder, son of John H. Ponder (1819-1903) and Mary A. Black. Albert was a widower and needed help with his young children. He had also been married to Margaret McCraney (1867-1899) and Mellie Phelps Ponder (1878-1910). It appears that Margaret was the mother of his first four children: Mary Edith, b. 1888, d. 1973; Eula Addie, b. 1889, d. 1981; Albert Russell, b. 1893, d. 1969; and Norman Ellis, b. 1894, d. 1958. He and Mellie were the parents of a daughter, Mellie Mavis, b.&d. 1910.

Gillam’s son, Alonzar Hicks, was born in 1878 in Heard County. He is the son who came to Covington County to help build houses in the Straughn district and afterwards convinced his mother and siblings they should move to the area. They did just that and arrived to their new destination circa 1900. Alonzar would have been a grown man and most helpful on the family’s travel to Alabama by mules and wagons. How tragic for the family that he died about five years later and was the first burial in the new Mt. Zion Methodist Church Cemetery. 

Gillam’s next son, Joseph Henry Hicks, was born in 1880 in Heard County. He was married to Eula Bell Radford (1886-1967), daughter of Benjamin Rush Radford (1859-1928) and Mary M. ? (1862-1916). Joseph Henry owned and operated his farm in the Straughn community. His father-in-law had given Eula Bell 40 acres at the time of their marriage. He and Eula Bell were the parents of the following children: : Verbie Carl, b.&d. 1904; Myrtice Beatrice, b. 1906, d. 1978, m. Harless Almer McDaniel (1906-1992); Lois, b. 1909, d. 1977, m. I.D. “Jack” Barton (1906-1995); Clementine Grace, b. 1912, d. 1987, m. Leemon Colonel Kelley (1906-1966); Joseph B. “J.B.,” b. 1916, d. 1990; Sibyl, b. 1919, d. 2010, m. John K. Blackwell (1910-1984); Tera Bell, b. 1922, d. 1988; and Raymond Donald, b. 1924, d. 2009, m. Elizabeth “Speaky” Hixon.

Gillam’s daughter, Cora Vesta Hicks, was born in 1882 in Heard County. In 1900, she moved with her mother and family to the Straughn School House Precinct of Covington County, Ala. She was 17 years old and single at the time. She later met and was married to Dorman Johns (1880-1961), son of Elsberry Newton “Newt” Johns (1847-1938) and Sarah Etta Jones (1847-1925). No children were found for this couple. At their deaths, they were buried in the Mt. Zion Methodist Church Cemetery.

Many of the later generations continued to reside in the area and excelled in various careers. Needless to say, they had a rich heritage upon which to build their own lives and maintain the family’s strength.

The descendants of this Hicks family are most fortunate that members of the family have thoroughly researched their ancestry and compiled complete records of the various families. It is most helpful for families to conduct such research and compile their family’s history for future generations. Appreciation is expressed to those of the Hicks family who have done this and shared it for this column.

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 and other Hicks descendant’s records.

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: