Rounding Out Hicks

Taking a look back at my recent posts, you’d be forgiven for thinking that I have a sudden yen for two-part posts. This isn’t entirely the truth, but as I’ve made corrections to my family tree, I’ve discovered other family that warrant a call out. Hence I am back again with more information on the new, extended Hicks family thanks to Charlotte Hicks.

Its longer coming than I originally hoped for – I’ve been busy working on (read: avoiding completely) the first year of my Masters in Creative Writing – but I thought that I should close off the Hicks family for now …

Firstly, I want to look at the lives of Charlotte’s mother, Sarah, and her half-siblings, before moving on to her aunts and uncles.

Sarah Ann Hick[e]s was baptised on 21 May 1820 in Sopworth, the daughter of a labourer, John Hicks, and his wife, Sarah (nee Ford). The next time Sarah appears in the records is upon her being charged on 17 September 1840, aged 21, a servant “of Sopworth” with two convictions of larceny (that is, the trespassory taking of property from possession of another, with the intent to permanently deprive the owner of that property). She was then put on trial on 20 October 1840 as part of the Gloucester County Sessions, after having been held in Gloucester gaol. She was charged and received two convictions of 6 months imprisonment.

South east view of the Church of St. Mary the Virgin in Sopworth
via https://www.badmintonchurch.org.uk/churches/sopworth/

Sarah first appears in the census of 1841 in Gloucester Gaol, enumerated as “Prisoner – Servant”. As we have seen, her daughter, Charlotte, arrives in 1848. By 1851 Sarah has regained her profession of servant – this time in Tetbury at The Grange, working for Mr and Mrs William Till, farmer. She stayed in Tetbury for the rest of her life. Following her marriage in 1857 to Charles Horton, an agricultural labourer, her home became Harper Street (now West Street). Sadly, she ended her days in Tetbury Union Workhouse in 1903, after having been widowed five years previously.

In my previous post, I stated that I didn’t know how close Charlotte was to her half-siblings – Stephen, Emily and Annie Louisa Horton (a fourth, John Charles, named after Charlotte’s father who had died a few years before, died before the age of two). Charlotte and her husband, Giles, had moved to Mountsorrel, Leicestershire, in 1874/very early 1875 (their daughter – also an Emily – was born in Didmarton in the first quarter of 1874, but baptised in Mountsorrel in February 1875 shortly before her death). As detailed below, it was extremely unlikely that she didn’t know two of the ladies in the town … especially as Giles was also likely employed by – or at last worked in an allied trade – the same industry as one of Charlotte’s brothers-in-law.

Charlotte’s half-sister Emily Horton was living in Mountsorrel by July 1878 as this is when banns were called prior to her marriage in October to William Smith. Emily remained living in Mountsorrel all her life, until her death in 1938.

By 1885, Annie Louisa Horton had also left her home county and travelled even further north. In November, she married Jonathan Hallam in Cockfield, County Durham (the site of another large igneous rock quarry). After the birth of their first two children, the family settled again in Mountsorrel. Jonathan is recorded as a ‘sett maker’ in the 1891 census – that is, he made small square smooth stones out of the local granite that was mined at the local quarry [which remains the largest granite quarry in Europe to this day] to be used as road paving and kerb stones.

Stonemasons’ huts at Mountsorrel Quarry circa 1890s
via Mountsorrel & Rothley Community Heritage Centre

Of their three sons, all initially followed their father into the stone making world. However, their middle son – Joseph Horton Hallam – sailed for Boston, Massachusetts in 1909. The passenger manifest lists his occupation as Paving Setter and his final destination as Marlboro, Massachusetts. However, by 5 June 1917 he is living in Alexandria Bay, New York as this is when he fills out his Draft Registration Card, still listing his occupation as a Paving Cutter. This changed after the war – in 1920 he is recorded as a photographer with his own studio. Although he married twice (his first wife, Ella, died 6 months after the wedding in 1921), he doesn’t seem to have had any children. Following his initial Draft in WWI, he responded to the “Old Man’s Draft” as part of WWII, registering on 27 April 1942. He died before his second wife, Laurena, in 1956. Laurena died in Alexandria Bay in 1993.

Despite joining the Gloucester Militia in February 1874, Charlotte’s only half-brother, Stephen, seemed to have inherited his mother’s light-fingered ways somewhat! On 29 December 1874, he was found guilty of “feloniously stealing one threepenny piece and two jackets from the person of one Frederick Selby his property of Coates on the 24th December 1874” for which he performed one month hard labour. The rest of his days – spent in Tetbury – seem to have been a calmer affair, and he remained living in his parents house at The Green, Tetbury, until his death in the Spring of 1905.

The Green, Tetbury, with snow.
© Copyright Paul Best and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

It also seems that Giles wasn’t above breaking the law a little – in 1871 he was fined and sentenced to two months hard labour for “trespass in seaerch of game”. He is listed as married to Charlotte with two children, and it is noted that he is “otherwise of good character”. Interestingly, under the Distinguishing Features it describes the damage to his hands as a ‘Labourer’ – although the census the same year records him as a ‘Mason’ – which would explain the cuts and scars.

Details from Giles Teagle’s prison record
via Gloucestershire Archives & Ancestry.com

I mentioned previously that I wondered what had driven Charlotte and Giles to leave Gloucestershire for Leicestershire, and it seems that for her and her extended family it was a case of following the work. As a stonemason, Giles would’ve been surrounded by the mostly sedimentary rock that makes up the county (although there are limited igneous rock extrusions). Whilst the exact balance of the push-pull factors behind the family migration northwards can’t be known, the prospect of more work, more money, more opportunity undoubtedly paid a huge part.

As always, this kind of research is essential when putting the lives of our ancestors into a broader context. Some people live quiet lives and seem to leave little immediate footprint in documents, but none of them lived in a vacuum, and even in ‘blended’ families the ties can be strong and follow them around the world.

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