Thursday, May 28, 2009

Searching for Wicker Roots, Part One

Wes Wicker and Vennie Watson Wicker, 1920's
My mother grew up with two young parents who didn't know much about their family history. Vennie's father died when she was very young and Wes's died before he was born---both from horse-back riding accidents. So, my bicentennial birthday gift for my mother Louise Wicker Long was some information about her family.

First, I wrote letters to family members to try to get some information (double click to read Peck's notes, then use the back arrow to return).

Then, we took our young daughter Rebecca to Mom's house for a few days, told her we were going on our "second honeymoon" but didn't really tell Mom where we were going---to Hornersville, Mo, Obion County, Tennessee and Hickman County, Kentucky to find her roots.

In Hornersville, we interviewed Peck Wicker (of Bar-B-Q Fame, above)and then headed to the courthouse in Obion County. Peck had told us his father was one of three brothers: Con (Hugh Cornelius), Johnny B.(John Bedford), and Walker (Marion Walker) Wicker who were born in Missouri. I later found out they had a sister, too. Click here for more photos and information about them.

Hugh Cornelius, Marion Walker, Francis, Jasper and John Bedford were all the children of John W. Wicker and Virginia Sampson. Click here for a blog and photos. Obion County, Tennessee had two Wicker families: John and Naomi Wicker who didn't live too far from Hugh M. and Sarah Wicker. The hard part was their children often had the same or similar names. (Two with the names John W., Sarah, William, Mary) The two deeds above are for J.W.Wicker. I'm sure the second one is our family because it mentions his siblings and their spouses' names, but I don't know about the first one. Below shows the marriages of the Wicker children in Obion County. As you can tell by the page numbers, they were all within about 20 years.
I spent hours trying to figure out who was who. I finally concluded with the help of the census that we belonged to Hugh and Sarah Wicker's family. After Hugh Wicker's death all of his children moved to Missouri and that helped me separate the two families. Click here for the blog about this. So, I had the Wicker family traced back to Hugh M. Wicker, but there I was stuck. The 1860 Census was the source of a lot of confusion. The census taker had poor handwriting and only used initials. My notes indicate that he was born in NORTH Carolina. But, the 1850 census is the one which has caused the most headaches. In that Lincoln County Tennessee census, the census taker wrote that Hugh M. Wicker was born in SOUTH Carolina which in Wicker World is a big deal. I felt pretty sure the two Wicker families in Lincoln County and Obion County Tennessee were brothers because the names of their children were so similar and they lived close to each other, but I couldn't prove it.
This began 10 years of letter writing to Wickers everywhere. I learned that there were two Wicker families---some from North Carolina and some from South Carolina.
I learned that a book was being written about the Wickers but R. Fenton Wicker believed we were Newberry Wickers because of that ONE census. I bought a "rough draft" of the book for $10, tried to convince Fenton that we belonged there, but with no real proof. .. . When he didn't include us in the final copy, I didn't buy the book.
Note on the family tree above, I have a dotted line for Hugh where I thought he should be. Also, note the name Ambrose. I was so convinced that we belonged there that when we went to England in 1987, we visited where the North Carolina Wicker's ancestors were from.

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