The Hickoks Leave South Britain

Scene in the Catskills. Caldwell & Co. Chromolithograph, c.1872. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division: 2018756891; 59122.
Scene in the Catskills. Caldwell & Co. Chromolithograph, c.1872. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division: 2018756891; 59122.

From the late 1700s to the early decades of the 1800s, there was a mass exodus of families from Connecticut.

In 1812 my ancestors Asa and Esther Hinman Hickok, their six children (ages ten to twenty-four): Reuben, Sylvia, Louisa, David H. (his wife and son), Hannah, and Justus left Connecticut and settled in what was then Lumberland, New York. (In The Mill on Halfway Brook, I stated it was 1811. But later read that Asa said it was 1812.)

Earlier, around 1790, Asa’s brother Gideon Hickok Sr., his wife Hannah, and their two sons Francis and Gideon Jr. crossed the Hudson River, and settled in an area of the Catskill Mountains, later called Greenville, New York.

Asa’s niece Hannah Hickok, her husband Zephaniah Smith and three young daughters, Hancy Zephina, Cyrinthia Sacretia, and Laurilla Aleroyla Smith, stayed in Connecticut. In 1792 the family moved to Eastbury.

In 1795 The Smiths, with the addition of Julia Evelina resided in Kimberly Mansion, a two-story home on a large property in nearby Glastenbury (now Glastonbury), Connecticut. Two years later Abby Hadassah Smith was born.

The main focus of Abby, Laurilla, and Mary Ann is on Asa’s daughter Hannah Hickok Eldred, and granddaughter Mary Ann; and Asa’s niece Hannah Hickok Smith and her five daughters. Asa’s other children and Gideon’s two sons play a part as they are all first cousins of Hannah Hickok Smith.

In the summer of 1854 Abby Smith and her sister Laurilla Smith visited their mother Hannah Smith’s first cousins Reuben and Louisa Hickok in Pennsylvania; and Justus Hickok, his family, James and Hannah Hickok Eldred, and their daughter Mary Ann Eldred Austin, in the newly created Town of Highland (taken out of Lumberland).

Over the next 15 years, Abby Smith wrote eight letters to her second cousin Mary Ann Eldred Austin and her daughter Emma Austin.

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More Definitions

Elias Olcott House, built around 1763, in Rockingham, Windham County, VT. Historic American Buildings Survey, after 1933. Photographer: Ned Goode. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division: HABS VT-42; 167226.
Elias Olcott House, built around 1763, in Rockingham, Windham County, VT. Historic American Buildings Survey, after 1933. Photographer: Ned Goode. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division: HABS VT-42; 167226.
Inside the Olcutt Home in Vermont. Library of Congress: 167227. Perhaps it was similar to Hannah’s uncle Justus and aunt Amy Hickok’s home in Castleton, Vermont, 54 miles northwest of the Olcotts.
Inside the Olcutt Home in Vermont. Library of Congress: 167227. Perhaps it was similar to Hannah’s uncle Justus and aunt Amy Hickok’s home in Castleton, Vermont, 54 miles northwest of the Olcotts.

Hannah Hickok (Smith) in her 1784–1786 Journals mentioned a trip to Vermont to stay at her uncle’s house and teach. Some of the terms were mentioned when Hannah was in Castleton, Vermont.

Colloquy (colloquies)
Conversation or discussion.

Discourse
To communicate thoughts or ideas in a formal manner. Ex.: to discourse on the properties of the circle.

Disquisition:
A formal inquiry into any subject, using arguments or discussion of the facts that may make the truth clear. It is usually applied to a written treatise.

Fast Days
Fast days had been proclaimed from the start of Puritans settling New England. Hannah indicated Connecticut’s Governor Trumbull still called for fast days.

Flip
Mixture of beer or rum, with sugar or molasses, eggs, and cream.

Garret
A top-floor or attic room.

Impertinent
Rude, intrusive, meddler.

Physic
A medicine that purges; a laxative.

Inimical
Unfriendly, hostile.

Sweet cicely
Aromatic white-flowered plant of the parsley family, with fern-like leaves.

Sarcenet
Fine, thin woven silk.

Some definitions from Webster’s 1828 Dictionary.

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Rods, Furlongs, Oxgangs

Agriculture, Denis Diderot, Jean Le Rond D' Alembert, and Pierre Mouchon, Between 1751 and 1772, loc: 2006691777.
Agriculture, Denis Diderot, Jean Le Rond D’ Alembert, and Pierre Mouchon, Between 1751 and 1772, loc: 2006691777.

• Acre: 160 square rods. Originally: the amount of land tilled by one man behind one ox in one day; four by forty rods or four rods by one furlong. Acres were long and narrow to provide more river front access, and because it was difficult to turn the plow around.

• Furlong (furrow length): 40 rods or 1/8 mile or 660 feet. Originally the distance a team of oxen could plow without resting.

• Oxgang: 15 acres or the land tilled by one ox in one plowing season.

• Rod: a measurement of five yards, or sixteen feet and a half. A square rod is equal to 160th of an acre.

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Hickok Hotel, February 1785

“At the end of February, towards the even we had sleigh folks here. We made supper for some.” The Sleigh Race. Currier & Ives, ca. 1859. New York: Published by Currier & Ives. Library of Congress: 05012.
“At the end of February, towards the even we had sleigh folks here. We made supper for some.” The Sleigh Race. Currier & Ives, ca. 1859. New York: Published by Currier & Ives. Library of Congress: 05012.

Hannah, in her 1784–1786 Journal calls their home, the Hickok Hotel.

Hickok Hotel, February 1785
Maria is often here. She was with me when we returned from Sam and Grace Prindle’s wedding Thursday evening. There were some lodgers from Stratford here.

Maria and I went to bed at nine. I, not having slept any, rose at about midnight and made some flip* for Maria and I, after which I went to bed.

But I soon rose with Maria. We sat up all night roasting oysters till five this morning. I slept away the forenoon and rose between one and two, Friday afternoon. Mrs. Curtis was here till just before night. Mrs. Gibbs was here also and stayed here all night with her son.

It is cold in this chamber and I have two or three beds to make, so will write no more at present.

We’ve had many lodgers this month of February. I sleep in different rooms depending on how many are sleeping at our Hickok Hotel. When Grace was here we slept in the barroom. When Sallia was visiting, I slept in the kitchen, as I have at other times.

Sam and Grace Prindle are staying here now. Aunt Sarah came home with Momma and stayed here one night.

Mr. Willard and Kevin who lodged here were impertinent. Col. Sherman and Upson lodged here. That latter and I had some discourse. He is a droll man. I went to bed at twelve.

At the end of February, towards the even we had sleigh folks here. We made supper for some.

*Flip: Mixture of beer or rum, with sugar or molasses, eggs, and cream.

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I Am Not Now Happy, April 1784

Eight illustrations depicting a New England farmhouse replica on exhibit at the Centennial Exposition of 1876. Wood engraving: F.S. Church; Illustration: Harper’s Weekly, July 15, 1876, p. 585; Library of Congress: 3c02852.
Eight illustrations depicting a New England farmhouse replica on exhibit at the Centennial Exposition of 1876. Wood engraving: F.S. Church; Illustration: Harper’s Weekly, July 15, 1876, p. 585; Library of Congress: 3c02852.

Hannah Hickok, daughter of David and Abigail Johnson Hickok, was not the usual teenager. A voracious reader, Hannah
(b. 1767) was usually a no-nonsense
person with strong opinions we learn in her 1784–1786 Journal/Diary.

Hannah mentioned her uncle Asa Hickok several times, including borrowing his geography book. Uncle Asa and Aunt Esther’s daughter Hannah Hickok was born in 1789.

April 1784: Indisposed, Discontented, and Ill
Very much indisposed and discontented I was on the first
Saturday in April.

Sunday though indisposed and discontented, I puzzled myself
whether it was best to drink tea,
and concluded it was not.

Monday I was in a better humor. I went to Uncle Hickok’s. Bella came here. Mama went to Southbury. I washed floors. Mama returned about six. I felt too lonesome to stay below. I am not now happy.

I have read Samuel Richardson’s, The History of Sir Charles Grandison, for several days—perhaps too much. The only advantage I have in reading Richardson’s style is it gives me patience to write, which otherwise I should not have.

The History of Sir Charles Grandison in a Series of Letters, London, 1753–54
Author Samuel Richardson created his leading male character Charles Grandison to be a morally better hero than Tom Jones in Henry Fielding’s, The History of Tom Jones.

Sir Charles Grandison rescued Harriet Byron when she was kidnapped by Sir Pollexfen after he was rejected by her. Pollexfen wanted to duel with Grandison. Mr. G. refused, saying that dueling was harmful to society. Pollexfen then apologized to Harriet and asked her to marry him.

But Harriet was in love with Grandison. However, long ago Grandison had promised to marry Clementina, who lived in Italy. Clementina had demanded Grandison, an Anglican Protestant, become a Catholic. Grandison would not, so there was no marriage.

Clementina’s parents asked Grandison to return and marry Clementina. Clementina said she would never marry a “heretic.” So Grandison returned to England and married Harriet.

English author Jane Austen (1775–1817), a strong admirer of Richardson, is said to have patterned Darcy in Pride and Prejudice, after Grandison. Hannah Hickok didn’t seem to have the same appreciation for Richardson.

Abby, Laurilla, and Mary Ann, pp. 67, 68.

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Chocolate

Baker’s chocolate advertisement in Harper’s Bazaar, Thanksgiving number, 1895. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division: 42194; 3b24042.
Baker’s chocolate advertisement in Harper’s Bazaar, Thanksgiving number, 1895. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division: 42194; 3b24042.

Hannah Hickok, daughter of David and Abigail Hickok, loved chocolate. Hannah was a teenager when she wrote her 1784–1786 Journal. She often mentioned eating chocolate for breakfast, which was not unusual at that time.

Central and South America were the original home to cacao trees, the source of chocolate.

Each cacao pod (the fruit) contains some forty cacao or cocoa beans, which are dried, roasted, and processed into the wonderful goodness called
chocolate.

Spain set up the first cacao plantations in the New World. As with sugar and other plantations, Slaves did the slow, demanding work of processing the beans.

By the 1650s English chocolate houses sold the expensive drink, mainly bought by the wealthy. In 1670 Dorothy Jones and Jane Barnard served coffee and chocolate at their public house in Boston. By 1680 Jamaica exported cocoa to Boston.

In 1705 cocoa and chocolate were advertised in a Boston newspaper. Cocoa beans weren’t taxed the same as tea. The beans were shipped directly to the South, Philadelphia, New York, and Boston from Central and South America, and the West Indies.

In 1739 Benjamin Franklin sold local “very good chocolate” along with Bibles, other books, pencils, ink, and writing paper from his Philadelphia print shop.

Since chocolate came in solid blocks and didn’t spoil, it made a good ration for the troops in the French and Indian War.

The British troops munched on chocolate while they built His Majesty’s Fort at Crown Point.

In 1765 Hannon’s Best Chocolate was produced in Dorchester, Massachusetts, from West Indies’ cocoa beans. Continue reading

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Hannah’s Study, 1783

“They went sleighing, but I would not go.”—Hannah Hickok, December 1783. Chromolithograph by F.M. Lamb. Published by L. Prang & Co., c1894. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division: cph 3g06417.
“They went sleighing, but I would not go.”—Hannah Hickok, December 1783. Chromolithograph by F.M. Lamb. Published by L. Prang & Co., c1894. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division: cph 3g06417.

Hannah Hickok, daughter of David and Abigail Johnson Hickok, was eight years old when her uncle Asa Hickok first enlisted in 1775. Scattered throughout Hannah’s 1840s Journals, are her memories from 1783. Hannah’s Father David had a few entries in 1783, also.

“The Revolutionary War did not end till I was near sixteen (August 1783). During those years of war we thought every old nail and every old piece of iron was of consequence, as indeed we did every other thing, for there was none to be bought.”*

Cider, Reading, Trading
In October Hannah’s father David cut and carted wood, gathered corn, took apples to be made into cider, and mended his fence, as usual.

In November David paid his town rate. He took out Hopkin’s Enquiry and Bellamy’s Vindication from the South Britain library and borrowed a French Bible in Newtown. Items David traded (bought) that month included: 16 coat buttons, 1-1/2 yards ribbon, a pound of tea, 1-1/2 yards of green gingham, and a gallon of brandy. (November 25 was the last day for the British to leave.)

End of 1783, Hannah’s Study
On a “very cold and blustering” December day, with “middle leg deep and much drifted” snow, David brought his sheep home from the Ichabod Lot.

Then David completed a study for Hannah. He put in a twelve-pane glass window on the south side, hung the shutter, and put a lock upon the door. And said he had done “nothing about the house.”

Hannah was elated with Thanksgiving** in December. Her cousins Bellaria Hinman and Sally Johnson came to see her and stayed all night.

At the end of December Aunt Amy had a quilting at Hannah’s house. Hannah loved her study and preferred to be by herself: “Bella and Susanna Tuttle came and stayed all night. They went sleighing, but I would not go.”

Hannah Hickok Smith Looks Back at Life in 1783
I am writing in my study as I was 63 years ago; not the same, but about the same dimensions…The sun is going down. I have been about the house looking at things which in my youth would have amazed me. How times are changed.—December 20, 1846.

Sixty-four years ago (1783) I wrote in the evening, “Not having any inclination to spend any time with ‘company’ I have thought fit to betake myself to my study.” And I have thought very much so ever since, I would rather be in my study than anywhere.—December 5, 1847.
Abby, Laurilla, and Mary Ann, pp. 63–65.

* Hannah Hickok Smith, December 24, 1847.
** Thanksgiving was in December in the year 1783.

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No Honours of War for Cornwallis

The Surrender of Lord Cornwallis at Yorktown, October 19, 1781. The larger oil on canvas by John Trumbull hangs in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda. The smaller painting (completed around 1828) shown here: University Art Gallery, Trumbull Collection 1832.4; 79. Public Domain; www.aoc.gov.
The Surrender of Lord Cornwallis at Yorktown, October 19, 1781. The larger oil on canvas by John Trumbull hangs in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda. The smaller painting (completed around 1828) shown here: University Art Gallery, Trumbull Collection 1832.4; 79. Public Domain; www.aoc.gov.

Above painting: The defeated British army marches between the Americans on the right, led by General George Washington, and the French on the left, led by General Jean-Baptiste Rochambeau. At the center, on horseback, Major General Benjamin Lincoln, Washington’s second-in-command, accepts the official surrender from General Lord Cornwallis’s deputy, General Charles O’Hara.

Honours of War
Honours of War was a symbolic recognition of a valiant defense, which gave the surrendering Army permission to march out with drums beating, bayonets fixed, and flags flying. Or their band could play a tune of its own choice.

On October 19, 1781 British General Charles E. Cornwallis formally surrendered. Cornwallis claimed to be ill and sent General Charles O’Hara to offer his sword to General George Washington.

General Washington would not permit the British Troops the Honours of War or accept the sword from General O’Hara.

Instead, General Washington sent Major-General Benjamin Lincoln to accept the sword. This helped to undo the indignity the British had caused Benjamin Lincoln when they rejected his request for a surrender with Honours of War after the Siege of Charleston, in 1780.

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John Trumbull, Artist

Declaration of Independence drafting committee: John Adams, Roger Sherman, Robert Livingston, Thomas Jefferson, and Benjamin Franklin presenting their work to the Continental Congress, July 2, 1776. John Trumbull, artist. Oil on canvas, 1819. Yale University Art Gallery: Trumbull Collection: 1832.3.
Declaration of Independence drafting committee: John Adams, Roger Sherman, Robert Livingston, Thomas Jefferson, and Benjamin Franklin presenting their work to the Continental Congress, July 2, 1776. John Trumbull, artist. Oil on canvas, 1819. Yale University Art Gallery: Trumbull Collection: 1832.3.
Gen. George Washington at Trenton. The January 2, 1777 battle at Assunpink Creek, NJ, in the background. John Trumbull, oil on canvas, 1792. Gift of the Society of the Cincinnati in Connecticut. Yale University Art Gallery. 1806.1.
Gen. George Washington at Trenton. The January 2, 1777 battle at Assunpink Creek, NJ, in the background. John Trumbull, oil on canvas, 1792. Gift of the Society of the Cincinnati in Connecticut. Yale University Art Gallery. 1806.1.

John Trumbull, an artist, was the second personal assistant (aide-de-camp) to Washington during the Revolutionary War. After the war was over, Mr. Trumbull painted a series on American history.

In 1817 the U.S. Congress commissioned Mr. Trumbull to paint the signers of the Declaration of Independence. Thomas Jefferson and John Adams recommended that all the delegates be included—whether they were present or not and whether they signed or not.

Though Thomas Jefferson was the main author, Trumbull’s painting shows John Adams, Roger Sherman, Robert Livingston, and Benjamin Franklin (who had worked on the draft) presenting the document to John Hancock, president of the Second Continental Congress, on June 28, 1776.

John Trumbull worked on the Declaration painting for more than thirty years. Only forty-two of the fifty-six Declaration signers are represented, as Mr. Trumbull did not have likenesses for everyone.

In at least two cases, Trumbull painted sons who resembled their fathers. The 12-by-18-foot painting has hung in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda, since 1826.
—artgallery.yale.edu; wikipedia.org; Abby, Laurilla, and Mary Ann, pp. 60, 61.

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1777: Mary Katherine Goddard and the Declaration of Independence

Declaration of Independence printed in Baltimore, Maryland, by Mary Katharine Goddard, January 18, 1777. United States and Continental Congress Broadside Collection: Library of Congress: 90898037.
Declaration of Independence printed in Baltimore, Maryland, by Mary Katharine Goddard, January 18, 1777. United States and Continental Congress Broadside Collection: Library of Congress: 90898037.

…We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

On July 2, 1776 the Second Continental Congress officially declared its freedom from Great Britain. On July 4 the Congress approved the Declaration of Independence and sent it to John Dunlap to be printed.

Thomas Jefferson, the main author, had input from John Adams, Roger Sherman, Robert Livingston, and Benjamin Franklin. On August 2 many members began to sign the Declaration.

The Declaration of Independence stated that the King was a tyrant, “unfit to be the ruler of a free people.” It was not only the right of the colonies, but “their duty, to throw off such Government.”

Under Indictment, the Declaration listed a “long train of abuses” and “repeated injuries” of the King of Great Britain, which included: imposing taxes without their consent; often depriving them of the benefit of Trial by Jury; taking “away their Charters; abolishing their most valuable Laws; and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments.”

At every stage the colonies had humbly petitioned to correct the situation but the other side had “been deaf to the voice of justice…We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.”

Mary Katherine Goddard
Mary Katherine Goddard, at the request of the Continental Congress, printed the second authentic copy of the Declaration of Independence on January 18, 1777. Though Mary Katherine’s was the second printing, it was the first printing to include (all but one of) the typeset names of the signers. Mary took a risk in printing the document, as the British would consider it treason.

Mary, Baltimore’s first Postmaster (appointed by Benjamin Franklin), also published (initially with her brother) Baltimore’s first weekly newspaper, the Maryland Journal and Baltimore Advertiser. Mary continued to print the Maryland paper throughout the War, sometimes paying post-riders with her own money.

There is much more to Mary’s story. An amazing woman, Mary (and her mother) deserve their own book.—constitutioncenter.org, “On This Day,” Scott Bomboy, August 2, 2019; guides.loc.gov; prologue.blogs.archives.gov, Samantha Payne, “Changing the Boundaries,” January 29, 2015.

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