John Hicks, the First Husband
|John Hicks, b. ca. 1612 England; d. May 1672 Hempstead Township, Queens County, New York; m1) marriage
allegation dated Mar. 14, 1637 St. Faith’s-Under-Paul’s, London, England to Herodias/Harwood Long, b. 1623-4
England; d. perhaps 1705 S. Kingstown, Rhode Island. John and Herodias separated in Newport, RI in 1644. On Jun. 1,
1655 John obtained a divorce from Herodias in New Netherland (now New York), and soon m2) Florence (?Fordham)
Carman, widow of John Carman; she died 1661; John m3) soon after Jan. 22, 1662 Rachel (?Taylor) Starr, widow of
Thomas Starr (he was b. 1615; d. 1658).
It is often said that John Hicks was bp. on Oct. 12, 1605, or was born on Oct. 25, 1607 at Bermondsey, London, England,
and was the son of Robert Hicks and Elizabeth Morgan of Bermondsey, later of Plymouth and Duxbury, Massachusetts.
Robert is thought to have married 1) Elizabeth Morgan, and 2) Margaret Winslow.
These theories are cast in a very dubious light by Robert C. Anderson’s treatment of Robert Hicks’ family in The Great
Migration Begins. In that account, Anderson states that Robert Hicks was born ca. 1578-80, and died at Plymouth before
May 24, 1647, when his estate was inventoried. He was married by 1603 to Margaret ___, who died before Mar. 6, 1666.
Anderson further states that no marriage record has been found for Hicks, either to Elizabeth Morgan, or to Margaret, whose
surname of Winslow “has very little basis.”
However, between 1604 and 1617, Robert Hicks’ first eight children were indeed baptized at Bermondsey, London,
England, where Robert was a “citizen and leatherseller.” Of these, three died young, and three came with their parents to
New England. Two of those children were Richard (bp. in 1609) and John, who was bp. on Oct. 12, 1605. Anderson says
of those two sons, “no further record.”
The Robert Hicks family came to Plymouth in 1621 on the Fortune, and settled in Plymouth, where they had a son, Ephraim,
born ca. 1625. Robert dated a very detailed will on May 28, 1645, mentioning “my loving wife Margaret,” son Ephraim,
“Samuell my eldest son,” and his Bangs and Watson grandchildren (children of his daughters Lydia and Phoebe, who would
have received part of Robert’s estate in their dowries). Robert also left bequests to his neighbors and acquaintances, but he
did NOT leave anything to John Hicks of Flushing/Hempstead, NY. Similarly, Margaret’s will, dated Jul. 8, 1665, mentioned
Samuell, Lydia, Ephraim, and Phoebe (who was deceased), but she left nothing to John.
There is no evidence that ties John Hicks of Weymouth, Newport, and Flushing to Robert Hicks of Plymouth. Our John
Hicks married Herodias in London, where Robert Hicks had lived 16 years earlier, but 300,000 people lived in London at
that time, and no doubt others were also named Hicks. Both John and Robert Hicks came to New England, but to different
colonies, and John emigrated 16 years after his “father.” The parents of our John Hicks are best said to be unknown.
Complete records regarding John Hicks and Herodias Long in Rhode Island are located on the More Information page.
Mar. 14, 1637: Wch daie, appeared p[er]sonally John Hicke of ye parish of St. Olaves in Southwark Salter and a
batchelour aged about 23 yeares and alledged that he intendeth to marrie with Harwood Long spinster aged about
21 yeares ye daughter of William Long Husbandman who giveth his Consent to this intended marriage And of ye
truth of the pr[e]mises as also that he knows of no Lawfull let or impediment by reason of anie pr[ior] contract
Consanguinity affinitie or otherwise to hinder this intended marriage he made faith and desires license to be married
in ye parish Church of St ffaith London [signed] John Hickes London Marriage Allegations Vol. 19: pg 92
In his marriage allegation, John described himself as a Salter. John A. Brayton's article says that the index of the Worshipful
Company of Salterers, London include a John Hicks who was made free as a Salterer on June 13, 1636 in London. The
complete records burned in 1666, and there is no record of his parents, parish of birth, or apprenticeship.
St. Faith’s was once a separate chapel in the churchyard of St. Paul’s, but when the cathedral was enlarged, the chapel was
demolished. The parishioners were given a separate underchapel within the cathedral.
This record presents two discrepancies in what we know of Herodias Long's life. In her 1665 testimony, she said that she
between was 13 and 14 when she married John Hicks without the knowledge of her family or friends at the church of St.
Faith-Under-Paul’s, London, and she said that her father was already dead when she married. Either she, John Hicks, or
both slanted sworn testimonies to their own ends. This demonstrates that sometimes even contemporary records can not
always be trusted.
1637: Soon after their wedding, John and Herodias (who now used a shortened name, Harwood/ Horred) sailed to
Massachusetts. The newlyweds settled in Weymouth, MA for 2 1/2 years, where Hicks was granted land. John Hicks’ lands
in Weymouth were not entered into the town records, but about 1638 a grant of land was made to James Nash. The deed
mentions Six acres in the same place [the mill field] 3 acres of it first given to Thomas Clap 3 acres of it to John
Hickes. Weymouth town records
Mar. 1, 1639: The Hickses moved to Newport, RI, where John was admitted as an inhabitant after this date.
Rhode Island General Court records
Summer 1639: John Hicks’ land grants in Newport are not found in the town records, but Robert Stanton’s land grants
mention Hicks’ lands. Stanton’s land was granted spring-summer 1640, so Hicks must have come to Newport before then.
John was on a list of men admitted as inhabitants of Newport after Mar. 1, 1638-9, but his position on the list suggests that
he was admitted in the summer of 1639. Rhode Island General Court records
Mar. 1642: John Hicks was a juror in Newport. Rhode Island General Court records
Sep. 14, 1642: John Hicks was made a freeman in Newport. Rhode Island General Court records
Dec. 3, 1643: John Hicks was a juror in Newport. Rhode Island General Court records
Dec. 3, 1643: Harwood Hicks reported that her husband was beating her. It’s not clear whether she complained privately to
the governor, or asked to have her case heard by the General Court (which was meeting at that time) but her complaint was
not acted upon until 1644. Rhode Island General Court records
Mar. 7, 1644: John Hicks appeared before the General Court, and was ordered to pay a ten-pound bond to keep the
peace for beating his wife. The court commanded that he continue under bond until June, when Herod would testify
concerning the matter. However, this was John’s last appearance in the court records: Memo John Hicks of Nuport was
bound to ye pease by ye Govr & Mr Easton in a bond of £10 for beating his wife Harwood Hicks & prsented [at this]
court was ordered to continue in his bond till ye next C[ourt] upon which his wife to come & give evidence
concerning ye case. Rhode Island General Court records
At some point in time, Horod asked Rhode Island’s government for a divorce. Governor Coddington refused, saying that
there was no divorce law in Rhode Island, and fearing that God would punish the colony. However, to prevent further harm
to Horod, Coddington ordered the couple separated. The separation proceedings are found on the Herodias Long
information page. They were entered into Rhode Island's official records in 1655, when George Gardner was accused of
keeping John Hicks’ wife as his own. George was acquitted, since Horod had been officially separated from John.
Dec. 12, : By Herod’s account, Hicks abandoned her, taking with him property left to Horod by her mother, and
going to the Dutch in New Amsterdam. He also took their children. On 12/12/1645 John wrote from the new town of
Flushing, on Long Island, to John Coggeshall, Coddington’s assistant, regarding Herod. The letter was dated December
12th, but the year was not given. John was named on the Flushing patent in summer, 1645, but he could have been there as
early as December 1644.
An extract was entered into the RI court records between June and July, 1647: Taken out of a letter from John Hicks to
Mr Coggeshall dated at Flushin the 12 of decemb: Now for parting what way there is seeing she have carried the
matter so subtilly as she have I know not, but if ther be anyway to bee used to untie that Knott, wch was at the first
by man tyed that so the world may be satisfied I am willing ther unto, for the Knot of affection on her part have been
untied long since, and her whoredome haue freed my conscience on the other part, so I Leave myself to yor advise
beeing free to condissend to yor advice if ther may be such a way used for the finall parting of us.
William Dyre Gen Recordr Rhode Island General Court records
Oct. 19, 1645: A patent was granted by Gov. William Kieft to English immigrants who had settled at Flushing, Long Island.
John Hicks was one of the men named on that patent (similar to a charter).
1647: John served as the Adjuster of Indian land claims, and was on a list of Flushing proprietors.
1650: About that year John was at Far Rockaway. This may not actually represent a physical relocation by Hicks, but a re-
drawing of town lines.
1653: Hannah Hicks is 15, and married William Haviland about this time, most probably in Flushing. Haviland appears to
have been in Newport in 1646, but he does not appear in RI records again until 1653, and he was on the Newport freeman
list in 1655. The couple lived in Newport, Narragansett, and then returned to Flushing by 1667.
Nov. 26, 1653: John Hicks was the English representative from Flushing to a council called by Gov. Stuyvesant in New
Amsterdam. There, with others, he signed a petition.
Jun. 1, 1655: A divorce was granted by Governor Peter Stuyvesant to John Hicks of Flushing, Long Island, from his wife,
Hardwood Long, with the right for Hicks to remarry:
1 Junio ... We the councillors of New Netherland having seen and read the request of John Hicks sheriff on Long
Island, in which he remonstrates and presents that his wife Harwood Longh had ran away from him about 9 years
ago with someone else with whom she has been married and had by him 5 or 6 children. His wife having therefore
broken the bond of marriage (without him having given any reason thereto) he asks to be qualified and given
permission to marry again an honorable young girl or a widow (in accordance with political and ecclesiastical
ordinances). The above mentioned councillors having taken notice of the above request and in addition of the
affidavits and declarations attached thereto made by trustworthy inhabitants of this Province, they find that this
request cannot be refused and that they therefore have given him letters of divorce and free and frank ... widow in
the bond of marriage ... allowed to enter in accordance with political and ecclesiastical ordinances; done and given
in our meeting Ad ut supra. New Netherland and have attached our seal in red wax. Was signed Nicasius De Sille, La
Montagne, Corn: van Tienhoven.
First Settlers of Ye Plantations of Piscataway and Woodsridge Olde East New Jersey ~ part 5, page 778 (from the
Calendar of Historical Manuscripts in the office of the Secretary of State, Albany, N. Y. ~ edited by E. B. O’Callaghan ~
1865 ~ Dutch Manuscripts ~ 1630-1664)
John was soon remarried to Florence (?Fordham) Carman, widow of John Carman, but the couple had no children. After
her death in 1661, John Hicks was sued by John and Caleb Carman, and their brother-in-law Benjamin Coe, on behalf of
their minor brother Joshua Carman, to reclaim the estate of their father, which Hicks obtained through his marriage to the
widow Carman. This land is assumed to be the area known briefly as Fordham’s Neck, then Hicks’ Neck, and became
known as Baldwin Harbor. John Hicks appears to have lost most of that property in the lawsuit.
1656: John was in Newtown, Long Island.
Jul. 2, 1658: John was an assistant at Hempstead. He was appointed to settle property lines with the Indians, acting as
Jan. 22, 1662: John Hicks, having learned his lesson, prepared the following pre-nuptial agreement before marrying his third
wife, Rachel Starr:
Conditions of an agreement betwixt John Hickes of Hempstead of the one party, And Rachell Starre of Oysterbay of
the other Party Jointly and freely agreed upon by both parties before they enter or joyne in Marriage estate, about
the settling of their Estates, and for the preventing of Differences betwixt the Children of the said John Hickes and
Rachell Starres shall bring to the said John Hickes of her owne (being taken upon Inventory) If it please God to take
her away first by Death, that then ye said estate which Shee brought to ye said John Hickes shall return to ye
children of ye sd Rachell Starre. And likewise, the estate of said John Hickes, which is given in by him by Inventory,
the Day and year above written, In ye presence of Mr Richard Gildersleeve, Mr Robert Ashman, & Jonas
Houldsworth, Amounting to the Summe of thirteen thousand three hundred and sixty gilders, and all Debte
Discharged, shall likewise return to his children, in case that the sd John Hickes bee taken away by Death before her
the sd Rachel Starre, (as is before specified to her children). And further it is agreed upon between them, that it it
shall please God that their estate shall or Do increase that then the said increase shall equally bee divided, the one
half to him and his children, the other half to her and her children, at the death of either of them. And further the sd
John Hickes Doth give to the sd Rachel Starre (in case hee Die first) During her widowhood, the house and lands and
Meddowe belonging to it and Six Cows, Foure Oxen, with the instrument of husbandry belonging to them, with so
much of the housald stuff as she shall think meet for her Necessary use and a good horse for her use. In witness
whereoff wee do Mutually hereunto set our hands the day and yeare before specified.
Richard Gildersleave John Hickes
Robert Ashman Rachell Starre
Records of the Towns of North and South Hempstead, Long Island
1663: John was a delegate from Long Island to a council at Hartford, Connecticut, whose aim was to secure aid from the
CT General Court against the Dutch. He was a magistrate in the same year.
1664: John Hicks was of Hempstead when he was a representative and a justice under commission from Connecticut.
1665: John Hicks was delegate from Hempstead to a council called by Governor Nicholls to make changes to existing laws.
Feb. 20, 1666: Richard Nicholls, Governor General under His Royal Highness James, of York and Albany, &c, of all his
territory in America, confirmed and ratified John Hicks’ purchase of 500 acres of land at Madnan’s Neck, Hempstead, to
manure, plant and settle upon. This tract was then divided into equal thirds, between himself, Richard Cornell and Elias
Doughty. Twelve years later, William Haviland, in 1679-80, having bought from Elias Doughty his third part, complained to
the Governor General that he was encroached upon by Richard Cornell and John Hicks, who had settled their sons-in-law
John Lawrence and John Doughty upon his land.
Mar. 6, 1666: John Hicks was the grantee of Patents of land in Hempstead. He was a Justice of the Peace at Hempstead in
that year, and held that office until his death.
Apr. 29, 1672: John Hicks made his will on this date, and died soon thereafter:
John Hicks of Hempstead, Being weak in body but sound in understanding, made his son Thomas executor, he is to pay
to my wife Rachel, £100 in neat cattle, according to wheat at 5 shillings a bushell. John left to Rachel the household
utensils, the bed and bedding she usually lyeth upon with all its furniture, one brass kettle and ye lesser iron pot, besides
her own wearing clothes, and what goods my said wife brought with her to me … I leave to each one of my daughter
Haviland’s children, a colt. He left to daughter Hannah £100, one third in horse kind and two thirds in neat cattle. To the
children of my son Thomas, each of them a yearling colt and a two year heifer. To my son-in-law Josyas Starr one mare,
come two year old, and one heifer, come three year old. The will was dated April 29, 1672, and was also signed by John’s
wife Rachel, in token of her satisfaction. Witnesses, Jonah Fordham and Richard Valentine. It was proved at the Court of
Sessions, held in Jamaica on June 14, 1672. Anthony Waters, Clerk.
Letter of Administration granted to Thomas Hicks, June 17, 1672 ~ Abstracts of New York Wills ~ Vol. 25, New York
Historical Society ~ NYHSW001:0023.
Nov. 17, 1705: Benoni Gardner, his brothers, and their sister’s husband John Watson, sold 410 acres on Point Judith Pond
to John Potter for £150; the money to be paid to Thomas Hicks of Flushing. Rhode Island Land Evidence
Herodias and John Hicks had:
Hannah b. ca. 1638; d. Mar. 1712; m. ca. 1653-4 William Haviland, b. 1618-25; d. 1697. They lived at Newport and
Narragansett, RI and Flushing, NY
Elizabeth b. ca. 1640; d. 1691; m. by Apr. 1672 Josiah/Josias Starr, son of Thomas and Rachel Starr. It is not certain
that Josiah Starr's wife Elizabeth was actually John and Herodias Hicks' daughter. John Hicks called Josiah "son-in-law" in
his will, but the term as used could also have meant that Josiah was John Hicks' step-son.
Thomas b. ca. 1642; will dated May 15, 1727; will proved Jan. 28, 1742 Little Neck, Queens, NY; m1) between Oct. 30,
1658 and 1660 Mary (Butler) Washburn, d. pre. 1677, widow of John Washburn, daughter of Richard Butler of
Stratford, CT; m2) license dated Jul. 1677 Mary Doughty, b. ca. 1658; d. 1713, dau. of Elias and Sarah Doughty of
Flushing. I have seen the surname of Thomas’ first wife as Cornell, but Torrey and other sources give Butler.