Richard Hickson of Middlewich – a success

Middlewich The canal wharf at Middlewich on th...

The canal wharf at Middlewich on the Trent and Mersey Canal. Richard Hickson must have been familiar with this. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My four-greats grandparents include Richard Hickson and his wife, Alice, nee Davies, who were married on 8 July 1815 at St. Michael & All Angels in Middlewich, Cheshire. I had Richard in the 1841 and 1861 censuses – but not the 1851, probably because as a canal-boatman he was missed from that census.

I also knew his date of death (20 July 1862 in Newton, Middlewich) and, from the censuses, that he was born in Newton about 1792. So the next question was – could I find a baptism for him and therefore his parents’ names? If you’re one of his descendants, you may find this post and the next useful.

Search FamilySearch and FindMyPast for Richard Hickson baptisms in Cheshire, within 10 years of 1792, and we find these baptisms:

  • 1786 to William Hickson of Winsford (in the parish of Whitegate) at Over;
  • 1789 to Thomas & Margaret Hickson of Nether Tabley at Great Budworth;
  • 1792 to Richard & Mary Hickson at Middlewich;
  • 1802 to Richard & Elizabeth Higson at Little Leigh, resident Barnton.

Note that FindMyPast doesn’t show Higson as an automatic variant on Hickson, you have to search for it yourself. What happens to these four people? FindMyPast does have the nice feature of being able to search for burials of people who were born at a certain time – though naturally this only works where the age at death has been entered. Search in FindMyPast for Cheshire burials of Richard Hickson born within 10y of 1792:

  • 1866 at Great Budworth, born about 1792 – we can see that he is present at Great Budworth in censuses, which tell us that he is born at Tabley;
  • 1862 at Middlewich, born about 1792 (I knew that was Alice’s husband);
  • 1882 at Barnton, born about 1802 – he can also be seen in censuses, which tell us he is born at Barnton.

So, returning to the fate of the baptised children, clearly the child of Thomas & Margaret of Nether Tabley is buried in 1866 at Great Budworth and the child of Richard & Elizabeth Higson of Barnton is buried in 1882 at Barnton. This leaves these two choices for Alice’s husband:

  • baptised 1786 to William Hickson of Winsford (in the parish of Whitegate) at Over;
  • baptised 1792 to Richard & Mary Hickson at Middlewich;

While my 4G grandfather claims to have been born at Newton near Middlewich, it’s not true that he must be the one baptised there. Sometimes people move at an early age – if he’d moved from Winsford to Middlewich as a baby, he might never have known that he wasn’t born at Middlewich. Can anything else be found out about the Richard who is baptised in 1786 at Over? Can we show, for instance, that he died too early to be my 4G grandfather? And what about siblings – might they give us clues where the Winsford family ended up?

The Winsford family have a William Hickson as a father but we don’t know the mother’s name. There is a couple named William and Sarah Hickson, with children baptised at least 1780-85 at Weaverham, where they are resident. The Over baptism is 22 January 1786 while the last William and Sarah baptism at Weaverham is 14 August 1785 for a child born 8 May. This is too close to the Over baptism in date for this to be the same couple.

It’s much more likely is that the 1786 Over baptism to William is to the same family as William & Mary Hickson, resident at Wharton, who have a child baptised 5 October 1783 at Davenham (parish church for Wharton). Over and Wharton are opposite sides of the Weaver, so, with the closeness of date and residence, I decided that it was pretty much certain that these two were the same family. William & Mary must be married at Davenham in June 1782 as this is the only William Hickson and Mary marriage in Cheshire in 1760-85 and Mary is therefore Mary Cookson before marriage.

Now comes an interesting use of the new Cheshire wills and probate collection on FindMyPast. There is a will there of a William Hickson of Newton (near Middlewich), dated March 1829 (the testator died the same month), which leaves all his property to his grandson, William Hickson, and Thomas Cookson, the son of his former wife. As there is only one William Hickson marriage to a Cookson in the same period, it is clear that this is the couple who have that child baptised 5 October 1783 at Davenham, and we have also decided that this is the couple who have the Richard baptised in 1786 at Over. Since all the father’s estate is split between two sons or stepsons, it is clear that the 1786 Richard did not survive to be mentioned in 1829 as either an inheritor or someone who was to be disinherited. This means he cannot be the Richard who married Alice Davies, as that Richard is alive until 1862.

The only possible choice, therefore, is that the child baptised at Middlewich in 1792 to Richard & Mary is my 4G grandfather, Alice’s husband, and so my five greats grandparents include Richard & Mary Hickson, residents of Middlewich in 1792.


About brucefuimus

Retired IT professional; family historian and mathematician by training.
This entry was posted in Family history, Hickson, Middlewich and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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