TSGS Cruiser Blog

Sunday, December 28, 2008

"The Daniel Hicks Mystery"

This blog was not created for queries; however, I will review any interesting story or intriguing mystery that anyone wishes to submit. But, be advised that unless I have nothing else to say (which is very rare!), I generally will not publish such material. This one caught my fancy and I thought many of the TSGS "research detectives" might give all of us some ideas to solve this mystery... just click on "COMMENTS" at end of this article (after the time stamp) to make your ideas known. JGW

Mr. West, I am not sure whether the following story would be properly posted to this blog, so I hope you review it before being "officially posted." - CW

I am trying to locate more information on DANIEL HICKS who was the father of my great-grandmother, Nancy Caroline Hicks. All I know about him is the following: Pope County, Illinois Marriage Book A, page 504 -- Daniel Hicks to Martha Ann McCurdy on 9 Feb 1849; shortly after the birth of their daughter Nancy in May of 1850 Daniel disappeared and was never seen again; Martha and Nancy, but not Daniel, were listed in the Pope Co., IL, 1850 U.S. Census in the home of Martha's sister and brother-in-law, James and Nancy King; Martha got a divorce between May 1850 and Sept 1851 in Pope Co., IL. My grandmother (Nancy's daughter, Mary Adella Smith Knauff) told me: "My grandfather Hicks was a mystery, one of those things never solved. He and grandmother was at her father's visiting shortly after the birth of Nancy and decided to move to their neighborhood (William McCurdy lived in Pope County, IL, probably near Wool) and he told her she could stay and he would go back and move their things (where these things were located is not known, probably in Pope Co., IL or in Kentucky where Daniel was from - also unknown). He kissed her goodbye and drove away in the wagon expecting to be back with their furniture and he was never heard of again. They never knew if he met with foul play or what. They knew of no relatives of Daniel." Nancy Caroline Hicks (who married Joseph Smith) gave Kentucky as the birthplace of her father on the 1880 U.S. Census: Franklin Co, IL, Eastern twp, E.D. 15, p. 79, Household #265, Joseph and Nancy C. Smith.

I would be so happy if someone knows of Daniel Hicks' life before or after 1850 and could tell me what happened to him. Carolynn Waldon -- Waldonhaus at aol dot com

The challenge is on, what genealogical sleuth will be first to resolve Carolynn's mysterious disappearance of her great-great-grandfather Daniel Hicks? Send your comments to me or just click "comments" after the time stamp: "Posted by Tri-State Genealogical Society at 6:15 AM 0 comments."


Brenda Joyce Jerome, CG said...

The first thing I would do is get a copy of the divorce record. The reason for the divorce should be given - did he disappear voluntarily or was there evidence of foul play? A very good newspaper was published at Shawneetown, Gallatin County, IL and a search through extant issues might reveal some clues. I believe many of the issues of this newspaper have been published and are available at Willard Library.

John G. West said...

Brenda has a good idea about the divorce record; it may contain info that no one in the family has passed down about their marriage. He may have ran away from his wife & child or met with some sort of ill-fate. However, it is not unusual for a mystery to exist because it is better than the sad, ugly truth!

Fb051507 said...

I had a similiar case with a relative and he turned out to have moved to another county abruptly and got remarried. The marriage record was found in that county. Try that.

Pinkston Gregory III said...

Checked on Ancestry.com for Martha Ann Hicks and again for her dau. Nancy Hicks in the 1860 U.S. Census of Illinois. Could not find them. Carolynn, do you know where they were in 1860? Did Martha remarry after her divorce? If so, who/when?

Peggy Gilkey said...

The Daniel Hicks mystery is very interesting. I have found a similar incident that happened in one of my families. I put Daniel Hicks' name in the search on the Heritage Quest census records
that we have courtesy of Willard Library. In the 1860 census for Kentucky I found a Daniel Hicks born Ky., white, and 39 years old. I don't know how old the mystery Daniel Hicks would have been but this one appeared to be about the right age. Only thing this one is married to a Catherine age 28 with a dau Mary age 9 and dau. Alma age 7 and Elizabeth Coke age 69 is living with them. They were living in Breckenridge Co., Ky. This may not be our "Mystery
Daniel" but with a nine year old daughter born a year after "Mystery Daniel"
left Pope Co., IL. and a younger wife it might be worth more investigation.

Brenda's idea of checking divorce records is great, they may tell where he
was living when she filed for a divorce. It was fun searching for him, if they ever find out the rest of the story, please let us know.

Grandmere said...

First of all, thanks to everyone who took time to search for more information on Daniel Hicks. I appreciate your efforts to help me solve the "mystery." May I ask -- where is the Willard Library located? (I live in California.)
Regarding the 1860 census, Martha had indeed remarried to Orsenith F. White in Sept 1851 in Perry County, Illinois. 1860 U.S. Census for Perry Co IL, household #79, p.12, T4,R1W, Tamaroa: Orsena F. White age 30, Martha age 22(sic), Nancy C. (sic) age 11, William L. age 7, Nathan B. age 5, Exumanna(sic) 10/12; all born in IL. [Note that Martha's age is incorrect. According to the information she gave on the 1900 census, she was born in January 1834.]
Could someone please suggest how I could obtain a copy of Martha and Daniel's divorce record?
Thanks again for your help.
Carolynn Waldon

John G. West said...

Carolynn, Willard Library is located in Evansville, Indiana in the Southwest tip of the state. It is a great genealogical library. Our society meets there on the second Tuesday of each month except for July & August for summer vacation.