Hicks Surname Genealogy

The Normans brought the name Richard to England and
it became popular in the 13th century after the exploits of King
Richard the
Lionheart. Richard contributed English
surnames such as Richards and Richardson.
However, the native English had difficulty
getting around the Norman “R” pronunciation and “D” or “H” would often
come out
of their mouths instead. Pet names such
as Ritch and Rick came out as Hitch and Hick and were eventually spelt
that as well. Other surnames such as
Hitchens and Hitchcock developed as well.
But the most numerous of these surnames has been Hicks.

Hicks Resources on

Hicks Ancestry

England. Who
had the most difficulty with the Norman “R’s”?
It may have been those folks in the west country.

West Country. The earliest recorded
Hicks family in England
was that of Gloucestershire origin.
Traditionally this family was descended from Sir Ellis Hicks
who had been knighted at the Battle of Piotiers in 1356. But no firm pedigree of the
family exists that goes that far back.

The main line began with John Hicks of Tortworth in Gloucestershire who
owned fulling-mills and other property there and died in 1546. William Hicks was rector of Tortworth a century or so
later. Another Hicks line came to London:

  • Robert Hicks, John’s grandson, was a wealthy mercer in
    Cheapside importing rich silks from Italy. His son
    Baptist became
    even more wealthy and established his
    country home at Chipping Campden in Gloucestershire. Sir Baptist Hicks,
    Lord Campden, died in 1629 but left no male heir.
  • the Hicks family through Baptist’s elder brother Sir Michael
    Hicks, an Elizabethan courtier in London, also owned Beverstone castle
    Gloucestershire. A later Michael Hicks died without issue in 1764
    and this estate passed to a distant cousin who adopted the surname of
    Hicks Beach.
  • while James
    Hicks, the son of an earlier Baptist, made his home in Southwark.
    His son
    Robert emigrated to America on the Fortune
    in 1621.

There were more Hicks in Cornwall. John Hicks was
recorded at St. Ives as early as 1400 and the Hicks remained an
important family in the town for the next four hundred years:

“In 1572 Thomas Hicks was chosen as headwarden of St.
Ives. Nathaniel Hicks was elected its mayor in 1784, 1795 and
1803. Overall the Hicks family gave a mayor to St. Ives no fewer
than twelve times, besides at least nine headwardens or porthrieves.”

Thomas Hickes was the mayor of Launceston in 1535. Walter Hicks,
gentleman, died at Luxullion near Truro in 1635. Hicks at
Polperro date from the early 1600’s. There were four generations
of Hicks fishermen recorded at Polperro during the 18th and 19th
centuries. A Hicks family started the St. Austell brewery in 1893
and still runs the brewery today.

Yorkshire. The
North Riding of Yorkshire might have been another
place where the Norman “R” became “H.” Early
surname spellings there were Hyck, Hick, Hickes and Hicks.

The Hickes there may date from an early time. John Hickes was the
lord of the manor of Nunnington in Ryedale in 1580 and he was succeeded
by his son Robert. The Hickes of Newsham Hall
near Thirsk were probably a related family.
Their numbers included George and John Hickes. George was an
Anglican churchman who was appointed
Dean of Worcester in 1683; John a non-conformist rebel who participated
in Monmouth’s
Uprising in 1685 and was executed. Fowler Hicks made his home at Silton Hall.

America. Robert
Hicks from London

arrived at the Massachusetts Bay Colony on the Fortune
in 1621, just one year after the Mayflower. His wife Margaret
and two children followed on the Anne
in 1623 and they made their home in Duxbury.
John Hicks, possibly his son, came from London to Weymouth in
1637; while
Thomas Hicks, possibly a brother (both had been dealers in London in
skins and furs), was in Scituate by 1640

Hicks Quaker Lines. John Hicks
had an unsettled early time in America.
He moved from Weymouth to Rhode Island in 1639 and there, after
unsuccessfully seeking a divorce from his first wife, left her in 1645
departed for Long Island (then under Dutch rule).
was the forebear of the Quaker Hicks in New York and Pennsylvania.

His son Thomas had moved to Long Island after he had married Mary
Washburn. Their grandchildren became Quakers in the mid-18th
century. Among the notable Quakers here were:

  • Elias
    Hicks, born on Long
    Island in 1748, who was a famous Quaker preacher of his day. In his ministry he promoted doctrines that
    embroiled him and his followers in controversies which caused the first
    schism within the Quaker community. He
    was the founder of a branch that is known to this day as Hicksites.
  • his
    cousin Isaac Hicks who was a successful New
    York Quaker merchant and who traveled extensively with Elias in his
    ministry. His grandson John was one of the
    founders of
    Swarthmore College. Another grandson
    Isaac was a horticulturalist who started Hicks Nursery on Long Island
    in 1853.
  • and
    another more distant cousin Edward Hicks who
    was a Quaker preacher from Langhorne in Bucks county, Pennsylvania. His grandfather Gilbert had moved there in
    1747 and built Hicks House where Edward had been born.
    Edward became a Quaker icon because of his folk
    paintings. He painted more than sixty Peaceable
    illustrating the vision of the prophet Isaiah.

Hicks in the South.
The early spelling in Virginia was either Hix or Hicks:

  • Samuel
    Hix arrived in Virginia in 1637 and many Hix and Hicks in Virginia and
    North Carolina were descended from him.
  • Captain
    Robert Hicks
    of Hicks’ Ford in Brunswick county was an
    Indian trader of much renown in the late 1600’s and early 1700’s.
    William Byrd saw him in 1728 when Hicks was seventy years old and
    described him as follows: “Beauty never appeared better in old age,
    with a ruddy complexion and hair as white as snow.”
  • while Hicks in Spotsylvania county date from
    the 1720’s.

Hicks came to Maryland from Cumberland in England
around the
year 1680. A descendant was Thomas H. Hicks, Dorchester county
farmer and Maryland Governor during the Civil War.
He managed to keep Maryland on the Union side during that conflict.

William Hicks was in
Baltimore, Maryland by 1690. He may
have come from Long Island (although family tradition has him coming
from English
immigrants). His grandson Shadrach and
Elizabeth were among the first settlers in Sullivan county, Tennessee
in 1776. Their grandson Shadrach (better
known as Shade) moved onto
Monroe county in 1805. His son Isaac
fought on the Confederate side in the Civil War.

Hicks line from New York headed south after the Revolutionary War. Amos Hicks was a pioneer settler in Hancock
county, Georgia
in the early 1800’s. His son Arrice
migrated first to Alabama and then in the 1850’s to Pontotoc county,
Mississippi. Some Hicks have remained in
the area, others moved onto Texas

Canada. One Quaker Hicks line in Rhode Island led to
Canada. John Hicks left with other Rhode Island settlers for Nova
Scotia in 1760. He made his home in Annapolis township.
Josiah Hicks was an early settler in the 1770’s in Sackville, New

Australia and New Zealand. Richard
Hicks, convicted in Kent in
1797, had to wait four years before embarking on the Canada
to transport him to Australia. His son
James Hicks settled in
the Northern Illawarra dtstrict of NSW and prospered there.
son Henry T. Hicks was elected an alderman
in 1887 and two of Henry’s sons fought with the Australian Imperial
Force in World War One.

John Hicks from Cornwall was an early arrival in New Zealand, coming
there in 1841 on the William Bryan.
He married Margaret Old, also from Cornwall, in New Plymouth, Taranaki
two years later. There is no record of a divorce. But John
returned to Cornwall in the 1870’s and married again. Margaret
and their ten children remained in New Zealand.

Hicks Miscellany

If you would like to read more, click on the miscellany page for
further stories and accounts:

Hicks Names

Ellis Hicks distinguished himself at
the Battle of Poitiers in 1356 and was afterwards knighted by the King.   Elias Hicks was a famous
Quaker preacher in America in the early 1800’s who through his
preachings caused a split within the Quaker community.
John Hicks was an eminent
British economist of the 20th century, a follower and explainer of

Select Hicks Today

  • 22,000 in the UK (most numerous
    in London)
  • 54,000 in America (most numerous in Texas)
  • 31,000 elsewhere (most numerous in Canada)





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