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Notes for Gilbert Hicks and Mary Rodman

1758 The will of Joseph Rodman of New Rochelle, dated December 12, 1758 and proved September 1, 1759 in Westchester, New York, named daughters Mary Hicks and Deborah Hicks. Joseph Rodman formerly had land in Flushing. Mary Hicks received property in Pennsylvania. [1]

A biosketch of Gilbert Hicks reported [2]:

"Gilbert Hicks, fourth son [sic] of Isaac and Elizabeth (Moore) Hicks, was born in Queens county, New York, September 19, 1720, and married April 24, 1746, Mary Rodman, born February 17, 1717, a daughter of Joseph Rodman. They were the ancestors of all the Hickses of Bucks county. Both were born at Flushing, Long Island. As a wedding present to the youthful couple, Joseph Rodman conveyed to them six hundred acres of land in Bensalem township, on the Neshaminy creek, twenty miles northeast of Philadelphia, which he had recently purchased. Hither they came in 1747 and made their home in a comfortable log house until they erected a more commodious dwelling, to defray the expense of which he sold off two hundred acres of the land to Lawrence Growdon. They subsequently sold the remaining four hundred acres and purchased one hundred acres, coming to a point at Four-Lanes-End, (now Langhorne) on which he erected in 1763 a commodious brick house which is still standing.

On June 9, 1752, Gilbert Hicks was commissioned by the governor and council one of the justices of the peace for Bucks county, and on May 11, 1761, he was commissioned chief justice of the court of common pleas. On March 29, he and Hugh Hartshorne were commissioned by John Penn, then governor, to hold court for the trial of negroes, whether slave or free. Gilbert Hicks was a man of superior mental abilities, and stood very high in the community, commanding the respect of all. On July 9, 1774, he was chairman of a public meeting held at Newtown, then the county seat of Bucks, in pursuance of previous notice, and in a short address explained the objects of the meeting as being to consider the injury and distress occasioned by the numerous acts of oppression inflicted on the colonies by the English parliament, in which the colonies were not represented, and entirely concurred in the resolutions then adopted, looking toward a congress composed of delegates from the different colonies, "to use every lawful endeavor to obtain relief and to form and promote a plan of union between the parent country and colonies." See Penna. Archives, Second Series, Vol. XV, page 343.

When, however. General Howe issued his proclamation calling on the loyal subjects of George III to lay down their arms and seek peaceful means of redress. Judge Hicks, being greatly impressed with, the power of Enghind and the futility of armed resistance, while he condemned the injustices of the mother country toward the colonies, and being conscientious in regard to the oath he had taken as a justice, read the proclamation from the court house steps at Newtown, and counselled his friends and neighbors to pause before it was too late, and to postpone any over action or resistance until the colonies grew stronger. Excitement ran high at the time, and he was branded as a traitor and forced to flee the country and spend the remainder of his days in Nova Scotia, where he was supported by a pension from the British government, and where he was waylaid and murdered by highwaymen on March 8, 1786, for the quarterly pension he had just drawn. From the nature of the advice he gave to his eldest son Isaac, who visited him while in New York immediately after his flight, there is every reason to believe that if reasoned with calmly he would have realized that matters had progressed too far for peaceful measures to prevail, and would have lived to render to the patriot cause the same eminent service that he gave to his county under royal authority. His extensive property was confiscated, and his family reduced to almost penury. His son Isaac, wdio at the time was clerk of the several courts of Bucks county, was cast under suspicion and removed from office. Mary Rodman Hicks, the wife of Gilbert, died August 17, 1769, years before his flight and disgrace.


[1] William S. Pelletreau, Early Wills of Westchester County, from 1664-1784 (New York: F.P. Harper, 1898), 159-161, item 302, [HathiTrust].

[2] William W. H. Davis, with Warren S. Ely and John W. Jordan, ed., History of Bucks County Pennsylvania, 2nd ed., Vol. III (1905), 111, of 111-12, [GoogleBooks], [HathiTrust].