Joseph Hickman House

Hickman -> Davison -> Howell 

I discovered today that The Canadan Register of Historic Places lists some very interesting details on the “Joseph Hickman House” and on the history of our Hickman family from New Brunswick, Canada.   We have fond memories from the Hickman Family reunion held here in August 2005.

The text below from the Historic Places listing…(links added)

The Joseph Hickman House was designated for its association with the Hickman family, for its association with the ship building industry, for its association in the lumber industry, for its association with farming and for its architecture.

The Joseph Hickman House is recognized for its association with the Hickman family. This large white house was home to five generations of Hickman’s. The house was built by Joseph Hickman (1821-1889) who married Ruth Caroline Wells in 1845. It was occupied by his son, John Howard (1859-1921), by his grandsons, William Marshall (1894-1952) and Robert Wells (1912-1975), and by his great-grandson Robert Stuart (1949- ) and his family.

The Joseph Hickman House is also recognized for its association with the ship building industry. The Hickmans of Dorchester were merchants and businessmen, involved in politics and community organizations; however it is as shipbuilders that they acclaimed a world-renown reputation. In 1878, and for a few years thereafter, Canada could claim the fourth largest merchant marine in the world. Several coastal communities in New Brunswick, especially in the Bay of Fundy, had shipbuilding industries in 19th century. It is reported that approximately 30 shipbuilders have built over 80 vessels in Dorchester in the 19th century. William Hickman is reported to have built up to 25 vessels at Dorchester Island and four in Hillsborough. William Hickman was one of the most innovative and prolific ship builders in Atlantic Canada.

Vessels built at the Hickman yard on Dorchester Island had reputation for being safe, sturdily-built craft made from the finest building materials and with quality workmanship. The Joseph Hickman House is recognized for its association with the lumber industry. Joseph Hickman and most of the Hickman descendants were farmers and tradesman and had share in several ships. They also contributed to shipbuilding by supplying timber and hardware. As early as 1840, Joseph Hickman operated a general store. It provided supplies for lumber camps and shipyards. In 1876, Joseph built a new hardware and specialty store. The Hickman’s also owned sawmills in Dorchester and in Port Elgin.

The Joseph Hickman House is recognized for its association with farming. The Hickman family had a large farm and was recognized as a model or “experimental” farm. In a document prepared at the time of his death in 1889, it is mentioned that Joseph Hickman’s estate was worth $31,893 at the time. The Joseph Hickman House is recognized for its architecture. Built circa 1840, it is a good example of two-storey Neo-Classical residential architecture, exhibiting a depth of two rooms and using a strict symmetry arrangement of elements. The paneled front door is framed by a transom window with sidelights. Multi-pane windows are arranged symmetrically five across. The interior is lavishly finished with elaborate door and window moulding, intricate staircases, plaster crown moulding and rosettes, a plaster arch in the hallway and numerous fireplaces, including a rare cast iron fireplace made in Sackville.


The article also contains architectural details on the house and some photos.

New Brunswick Hickmans

Daniel F. Johnson’s database of New Brunswick “vital statistics” (mainly announcements of births, marriages and deaths) newspaper articles is now available in full, and online from the Provincial archives web site.

These were the records that helped me uncover the details of the Hickman family several years ago when I was looking for Nellie Davison’s mother. There are many articles relevant to the family.

Take a look here

The Hickman Family Reunion!

Hickman -> Davison -> Howell
(click above to see relationships)

As mentioned in the April 28th entry – the Hickman Family reunion (download invitation) was something we were looking forward to with great anticipation.

Marlene Tingley Hickman and Judy Hickman Morison make a great team and they put a huge effort into making this a great and memorable event for all. A huge thank-you is in order!

It was perfect.

The reunion was held in Dorchester, New Brunswick, Canada at the “Joseph Hickman House” – 2x-4x Great Grandparent of the Howell’s living today. The current occupants of the now two-unit house are descendants of Joseph Hickman – brother and sister Judy and Bob Hickman, and their spouses Cole Morison and Marlene Tingley. The house, located just minutes from one of the very northernmost tips of the Bay of Fundy, has remained in the Hickman family continuously – many of the beautiful furnishings are the original pieces from the 1830’s – no doubt some imported from England on Hickman-built sailing barques.

Judy Hickman Morison and her brother Bob Hickman welcome the crowd
 Our researcher – Marlene Tingley Hickman and local author & historian Helen M. Petchey who wrote The Hickmans in Dorchester’s Heyday!

There was so much ‘new’ (to me) family history information made available from Marlene’s resarch that it will take months to digest it all. Not only researched, but photocopied and placed in binders to take home! Marlene gave the group a bus tour of the area showing the locations of the various historical points which ended at the Dorchester graveyard where many of the Hickmans are buried, including our own Alma.

After dinner Judy provided a PowerPoint slide show of old photographs of the various Hickman owned businesses and properties in and around Dorchester. Brief introductory comments were made by several present. Joe Hickman noted for us all that a hallmark theme of the Hickman family has always been it’s hospitality – clearly in full-force on this occasion.

 Some of the many items on display at the Hickman House

aCharlie Hickman is another very active Hickman researcher with whom I correspond, and it was great to meet him and his family in person. He and his father are both avid sailors. Charlie and Marlene have gathered much on the ships that were built, owned and operated by the Hickmans.

Alma Minora Hickman Davison – is Dad’s 2x Great Grandmother, and is our first link with the Hickmans as we go back generation by generation.

Alma Minora Hickman Davison (1855-1884)

Among the many family artifacts and photos on display were this large framed drawing (above), and the photo (below) of Alma Hickman – very exciting to us Howells as these are the first images of Alma we have seen!

Apparently because Alma died at the age of 29 when her daughter Nellie Davison was 4 years old there is very little information about her. The discovery of who Alma was, is a relatively new thing to the Howell family – in fact I noted that we had located her gravestone in an entry here Nov 18, 2003. A few months prior to that I didn’t even know her name and had never heard it mentioned in the family. We have come a long way with the discovery of these images.

“Alma Hickman”
From a photo album in the Keillor Museum on loan for the reunion.
(image approx. 3″ x 5″)

Now we have a starting point to look through the Davison family photos in Nova Scotia, and see if we can find a match!

Trinity Anglican Church, Dorchester, NB (est. 1836)
July 31, 2005
A final highlight of the reunion for us was attending the special service at the Trinity Anglican Church in Dorchester. Only a few steps from the Joseph Hickman House, the Hickman families have attendend and suppoted this small church since the early 1800’s. Marriages, funerals, baptisms – you could almost hear the echoes.

And a most fitting end to our visit – as we went back to the very place where our family association with the Hickmans began 125 years ago when Alma Hickman and E. D. Davison, Jr. were married.

(Update: August 13, 2005 – Just learned that the Sackville Tribune-Post ran a nice article on the reunion. Complete with photo! Click here to view the archived copy.)

The Sacrifice of the Shannon by W. Albert Hickman

Hickman -> Davison -> Howell
Click above to see our family relationship

The Sacrifice of the Shannon
By W. Albert Hickman
2nd Edition, 1903
Frederick A. Stokes Company
New York, Publishers

On our latest tour of the Maritimes of Canada, my reading list included William Albert Hickman’s The Sacrifice of the Shannon published 1903. The Hickman Family reunion in Dorchester, New Brunswick was drawing near, and I wanted to read the book to get a feel for the man, and the the places we were to see. My curiosity further piqued since William Albert Hickman and Nellie Davison were first cousins – two years apart in age – so they most surely knew each other.

Rarely am I so positively surprised! The book is a little gem and I recommend it to you without reservation.

“Another reason I want to tell you the story is that the girl is a wonder, a living wonder, and I know you’ll be interested in her, though some women have expressed their interest in queer ways which were not always intended to be complementary. If you analyzed them you usually found that they were complementary if they were anything, no matter what they were intended to be. I’ve called the girl a wonder, because though if you take the average girl as your criterion she is far away from it, still, from a cool, unbiased, critical point of view, she is normal, – thoroughly normal. Kindly remember that “normal” is not “average.” She’s got a circulation that swings a crimson flush in under her sun-tanned cheeks. She walks like a tiger, and looks at a thing or a person, not for the effect of her eyes, but to see. Incidentally she gets the effect a thousand times better than if she tried for it.”

Discovery of Nellie Howell’s letters!

Hickman -> Davison -> Howell

Marlene Hickman wrote to say she found some letters in her files that were written over one hundred years ago by Nellie DAVISON Howell! Marlene transcribed the letters and they appear below.

Ellen M. “Nellie” DAVISON Howell

The “Uncle John” to whom these letters are addressed, is most likely John Howard Hickman, b. 1858 who married Theresa Hay in 1893. John Howard Hickman is the youngest child of Joseph Hickman and the 3 years younger sibling of Nellie’s mother Alma. (see chart)

September 9, 1900
Lowndes Building, Room 610
Atlanta, GAMy dear Uncle John:

Your letter with the Express Orders for Fifty-six dollars was received on Friday. I thank you very much for sending it and I am glad you did not give it to me before. I am sure I would not have thought of spending in such a nice way – buying shares – as I witness doing now. We have moved into Atlanta for the winter and have four rooms in a very pretty building. They are on the 6th floor so we have a beautiful view and at present a lovely breeze which is a very important feature of this climate. We expect to be just as warm this winter – In the rooms are heaters with hot water.

Thank you very much for your invitation to stay with you in Dorchester. It will be lovely to go back again and I want to go north next summer if possible. Mr. Howell asks me to thank you to for him. Much love to Aunt Teresa.

I am yours affectionately,
Nellie Davison Howell

November 20, 1901
3 Crescent Avenue
Atlanta, GA

Dear Uncle John:

Many thanks for the $3000 which arrived safely. My husband wrote you at my request explaining why we telegraphed. I have not been at all well lately and am going tomorrow to Marietta for a weeks rest. You remember perhaps I was there the first summer after I was married. I will take Alma and the nurse and Mr Howell is coming up to spend Sunday. I include the receipt you sent me to sign. Give my love to Aunt Teresa. Hoping to see you next summer.

I remain, yours affectionately,
Nellie Davison Howell

See Joseph Hickman’s will – the $3,000 referenced in the above letter is probably the $3,000 left to Nellie by her grandfather Joseph Hickman in his will -to be given to her on her 21st birthday. Nellie was 21 on 9 Nov 1901.

There are many “firsts” – to me at least, that come from Marlene’s discovery. Among them:

1) The first correspondence I have seen from Nellie.

2) Confirmation from Nellie that she was married to Henry Howell and that her grandparents were Joseph & Ruth Hickman. (Remember the first connection discovered to Hickman was mentioned in the Nov 2003 entry in this Genealogue – in connection with the discovery of Nellie’s mother’s gravestone – it’s nice to have some confirmation!)

3) Evidence that Nellie’s daughter Alma was born before the letter dated 20 Nov, 1901 (I had no date for Alma’s birth)

3a) Which gives evidence to support that Alma (Atze) was older than her brother John Edward Howell b. 1903. (we actually thought she was younger)

4) Confirmation from Nellie that she lived in Marietta, GA. (the first evidence I found of this is the 1900 census, Cobb County, GA, Ellen Howell, boarder, white, female, born Nov 1880, age 19, married for “0” years, mother of 1 child, “0” children living, born Canada (Eng), parents born Canada (Eng), reads, writes and speaks enlish).

4a) Evidence that she and Henry were married cir 1900 – 1901 “I have not been at all well lately and am going tomorrow to Marietta for a weeks rest. You remember perhaps I was there the first summer after I was married.”

5) Confirmation from Nellie that she lived in Atlanta after Marietta, GA

6) Evidence that Nellie received a considerable inheritance from her grandfather Joseph Hickman ($3,000 in those days would have purchased a nice home from the looks of the other items on the will) – up until this, we were under the impression that Nellie’ financial needs were provided mainly by her father and then after his death in 1902 by her younger half brothers.

We owe a debt of thanks to Marlene Hickman for locating, transcribing and sending these wonderful letters along!

Alma Hickman – Pianist

Hickman -> Howell

I learned today that Alma M. Hickman was one of the first to graduate from the Mount Allison Ladies’ College, Sackville, New Brunswick, Canada, in 1874 with a certificate in music – piano – she was 19. No doubt she was playing Beethoven’s piano sonatas composed a mere 55 years before she was born. And we already know, Alma’s daughter and only child, Ellen “Nellie” Davison married her piano teacher – Henry Howell.

Planning a visit to The Maritimes

As part of an extended tour of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, we are most looking forward to saying hello to our cousins attending the Hickman family reunion this summer in lovely Dorchester, New Brunswick, Canada!

The reunion will take place at the original Joseph Hickman House, a home that has continuously remained in the Hickman family since Joseph built it in 1834.

Cousin Judy Hickman Morison writes:

“….an old photo of the house taken by Albert Hickman and was accessed through the archives in Fredericton. There are no barns on the property now – in it’s heyday it was said to be an experimental farm. It was build by my great great grandfather Joseph Hickman (1821-1889) and run following his death by John Howard Hickman…”

Joseph Hickman is our Ellen M. “Nellie” (Davison) Howell’s grandfather. Our Hickman cousins, some living in the home today, and with whom I am now regularly corresponding, all descend from Nellie’s mother’s (Alma Minora (Hickman) Davison’s) younger brother by 3 years, John Howard Hickman (1858 – 1921).

To visualize click here

It is particularly interesting to be re-connected with the Hickman branch of the family. The lack of contact and knowledge from our end was likely due to a series of events that started with the untimely death of Nellies mother, Alma Hickman, at age 29, when Nellie was only 4 years old and living in Bridgewater, NS – 180 miles from her relatives in New Brunswick.

Plans for our trip “up north” are now underway!

Hickman – “Fleets Known On The Seven Seas”

Howell -> Davison ->Hickman

In the last few weeks some new information surfaced on the Hickman branch of the Howell line that has it’s North American origins in New Brunswick, Canada. (click on the link above to see the relationships between Hickman and Howell)

Our previously mentioned Edward Doran Davison, Jr. of saw mill and lumbering fame in Bridgewater, Nova Scotia married Alma “Annie” M. Hickman of New Brunswick.

Annie’s grandfather, John Hickman was born in Londonderry, Ireland and came to New Brunswick on a sailing ship in 1817. The ship arrived in Halifax, NS and he settled in Dorchester, Westmorland County, New Brunswick, which borders western Nova Scotia at the northern tip of the Bay of Fundy.

Annies father, Joseph Hickman, also lived in Dorchester and was a shipbuilder. Apparently several members of this Hickman family were involved in shipbuilding and also owned ships. The Keillor house museum web says: ” At one point, fleets owned by the Chapman, Hickman, and Palmer families were known on the seven seas.”

So…if I were to make a guess (and this is purely a guess!!) the connection between the Hickman family and the Davison family may have started as a business relationship between Edward Doran Davison Sr. (1819-1894) and Joseph Hickman (1821-1889). The Nova Scotia lumberman who shipped all over the world, and his New Brunswick neighbor who built wooden ships that plied the seven seas.

New Brunswick Vital Statistics

Hickman -> Davison -> Howell

The latest “SAE service” search results on “Hickman” arrived yesterday from Dan Johnson, highly regarded compiler of the “Vital Statistics from New Brunswick Newspapers” There is probably a connection to our tree; especially #2176 below, but not conclusive for now.

(Here is the latest list of all the Hickman ‘s in our database.)

“Vital Statistics From New Brunswick (Canada) Newspapers” Vol. 93

2863 Dorchester (West. Co.) Sept. 4 – There was excitement in our town when it became known that Rev. J. Roy Campbell was to perform a marriage ceremony between Fred FERGUSON of Kingston, Richibucto (Kent Co.) and Florence PECK d/o late J.B. PECK, clerk of the county court and granddaughter of John HICKMAN, ex-collector of customs. Charles S. HICKMAN acted as groomsman and Miss Peck’s sister as bridesmaid. Trinity church was crowded. 5 September 1894 D.T.

“Vital Statistics From New Brunswick (Canada) Newspapers” Vol. 94

2168 Dorchester items announce the marriage of Miss Florence PECK d/o late J.B. PECK, Q.C. to Mrs. Fred FERGUSON. The ceremony was performed in Trnity Church by Rev. J. Roy Campbell at 6 o’clock Tuesday eve. The bride entered the church leaning on the arm of her grandfather John HICKMAN, Esq. Mrs. W.H. BUCK of Truro, sister of the bride, acted as bridemaid and the groom was supported by C.S. HICKMAN, Dorchester. 6 September 1894 POST2176 Born – Dorchester (West. Co.) 25th inst., to the wife of John HICKMAN, a son. 6 September 1894 POST