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Copyright 2003 by Martha B. Wiley.  All rights reserved.  This information may be used by anyone for private genealogical use only.  Commercial use of this information is strictly prohibited without prior permission.  If copied or used, credit must be given to Martha B. Wiley.


April 4, 2003.  This page will be updated periodically.  If you have additional information, can clarify any of the fuzzy areas or help correct any of the no doubt numerous mistakes in this history, please email me:  Comments are always welcome!

Charles Kendall Hickerson and Martha Frances Burroughs              

Charles Kendall Hickerson (June 11, 1820 – January 14, 1892)[1] was the son of Ransom Hickerson and Mary Mason Kendall.[2]  He was raised in Stafford County, Virginia on one of his parents’ three plantations.[3]  On May 21, 1850, he married Martha Frances Burroughs (November 4, 1825 – July 1, 1897),[4] daughter of Samuel Burroughs and Elizabeth Tackett.[5]


Charles K. Hickerson and Martha lived in the Eastern District of Stafford County at the time of the 1850 US Census.  He was a farmer, age 30, and she age 22.[6]  Charles also was listed on the 1850 Slave Schedule for Stafford County.[7]   


After her father died in 1852, Martha inherited part of Water Dale farm in Fauquier County,[8] about ¼ mile south of Remington south of Tin Pot Run on the neck of land between current Route 651 and the Rappahannock River,[9] and she and Charles built a house there.  The other part of Water Dale farm were inherited by Martha’s brother, John Burroughs, and sister, Louisa Burroughs Payne. In 1854, the Fauquier County Deed Books show that Charles Hickerson owned land along the Rappahannock.[10]


In those days, Remington was called Rappahannock Station, since it was a stop on the Orange and Alexandria Railroad.  The US enthusiastically built railroads during the 1850s.  In the south, they were built primarily to connect agricultural areas to seaports or river ports. The O&A was organized in 1848 to travel between Gordonsville via Orange and Culpeper Court houses to the port at Alexandria, Virginia.  Land at Rappahannock Station was granted to the O&A in 1850 by Joseph Morgan, with the stipulation that the railroad would establish a depot at or near his mill, known as Martin’s Mill, on the Rappahannock River (just north of Tin Pot Run and the Hickerson farm).  The engineers determined that this was where the line should cross the Rappahannock.  The railroad reached Culpeper in 1852, and Gordonsville in 1853.  In 1855, there were five stations:  Warrenton Junction, Bealeton, Rappahannock, Brandy and Culpeper.[11]


Although it is said that the train station at Rappahannock was first located on the south side of the river in Culpeper County, there are records and maps showing the station on the northeast bank in Fauquier County from the time the railroad was first constructed.[12]  The railroad bridge over the Rappahannock was located just north of the Hickerson’s farm.


Rappahannock Station was a thriving small town.  Soon after the depot was first constructed, the town included a feed and lumber store (Albert Stribling), a general merchandise store (S. D. Embrey), a railroad office, and a blacksmith and wheelwright shop.  B. F. Perrow was a leading merchant.[13]  The town also had a brick kiln (George Duey),[14] corn and flour mill (Martin’s Mill),[15] and a school.[16]  Hickerson and Rouse also ran a store about this time (this was not Charles Kendall Hickerson, but could have been H. C. Hickerson as he appears in other records of Rappahannock Station in this general time period).[17]  Rappahannock Station did not have a post office of its own until 1874.[18]


According to Scheel, about 10% of the population of the county in the 1850s lived in towns, including Warrenton, about 12 miles from Remington.  The remaining 90% were farmers like Charles Kendall Hickerson, who, with the significant contribution of slave labor, cultivated corn, wheat, oats and tobacco.  Scheel calculated that the average free family had assets worth about $12,960, making Fauquier County one of the richest in the state.[19]


Warrenton was the largest town in the County, serving as a “rushing, thriving trade center.  Huge wagons and vans came over the mountains from the rich counties, loaded with wheat, corn and oats; the housewife sent her poultry and dried fruit; great herds of cattle wended their way to this town …. the richest town, per capita, in the whole South.”[20]  About 13 or so miles from the Hickersons, Warrenton was the closest large town.


In June 1853, Charles bought planking and rails for a fence,[21] which could have been used to provide a fence around the property his wife inherited from her father about that time. Earlier that year (April), Charles bought a walnut coffin and case for $12.00 from Thomas Harris.[22]  It is not known who the coffin was for.  His father-in-law, Samuel Burroughs, died the year before, and there are no other immediate family members known to have died around that time. 


Charles and Martha had four children:  Martha Lee (Lula) Hickerson (born 1853), twins Florence Virginia and Ella C. Hickerson (born 1854), and John Burroughs Hickerson (born 1856) (see Sketches). Ella died in infancy.[23]


Unrest prior to the Civil War began in Fauquier County in 1856 with rumors of a slave revolt which was to occur at Christmas.  Although the Town of Warrenton hired a police patrol, the rumors came to nothing, and the next three years were uneventful in the County.[24]


Charles K. Hickerson is shown in the 1860 Census for Fauquier County, Mill View Post Office, as well as the 1860 Slave Schedule, Southwest Revenue District.  Mill View was the name for the area around Martin’s Mill and the old Norman’s Ford Road (said to be the northern boundary of the farm Martha Burroughs inherited from her father).[25]


Starting in the fall of 1859, Fauquier County again experienced unsettling rumors, this time related to John Brown’s raid on Harpers Ferry.  John Brown’s stated plan was to free the slaves, organize them into military units to fight their masters, and establish a Negro republic is western Virginia.  On October 16, he and his group of 22 white and black men seized the Federal armory at Harpers Ferry, killed the mayor and barricaded themselves in the armory.  He and his band were killed or captured and John Brown was put to trial in November.  His trial and subsequent hanging elevated him to abolitionist martyrdom.


Charles and Martha must have been extremely concerned.  As Virginia moved toward secession in 1860 and 1861, they must have recognized that their position in the northern part of Virginia, within only 50 miles from the US capital in Washington, was seriously dangerous, particularly with the O&A bridge over the Rappahannock nearly at the edge of their farm.  This proved to be correct.  Fauquier County was one of the major pathways for troops from both sides, and soldiers were continuously present in the county during the duration of the war.[26]


About 2,400 men in Fauquier County were eligible for military service (between the ages of 18 and 45).[27]  Although many Fauquier County men enlisted in various regiments of the Confederacy, Charles Hickerson had problems with his lungs, possibly asthma, and did not serve.[28]  Charles’ brothers, James M. Hickerson and Robert G. Hickerson, and Martha’s brother, John B. Burroughs, were said to have served.[29]


In June 1861, the first large group of soldiers crossed the northern part of the county from Ashby Gap heading toward Manassas:  4,300 soldiers under the command of Brigadier General Jackson (not yet Stonewall).  After the battle at Manassas, the southern part of the county saw the result:  thousands of wounded soldiers transported on the O&A railroad headed for the hospital at Culpeper.  After the hospital filled, public buildings, churches and homes all over the county were opened for the care of injured soldiers. 


All during the fall and winter of 1861 and into the spring of 1862, Fauquier County saw soldiers marching through on their way to battles elsewhere.  Prices for goods began to rise as trade routes were blocked, soldiers required provisions and men were occupied on the battlefield.  Charles and Martha probably began to see some deprivation, although they would have been better placed than many others since they lived on a farm and Charles was still at home.


In March, 1862, Union soldiers entered the southern part of the county and followed the O&A tracks right past the Hickersons farm, across the Rappahannock and on to Culpeper.  Once they crossed the bridge, at that time, a covered wooden bridge,[30] they wired the bridge with explosives and blew it up.  This must have been when the family left the farm for the duration of the war.  The children, aged six, eight and nine, walked from home down to their uncle John Burroughs’ house, while Charles took Martha in a carriage.  Charles went back and was drawing water from the well when a cannon ball went through the top of the house.[31] The Hickersons spent the night at the house Wellington, and the next morning they went on about two miles further to the northeast to Grass Dale, the home of the Cloptons, who had left for Richmond to avoid the fighting.  The Hickersons stayed at Grass Dale until the end of the war.[32] 


There was considerable fighting associated with the railroad bridge over the Rappahannock throughout the war.  Scheel states that fighting was nearly continuous in the vicinity of this bridge from March 28 to April 16, 1862,[33] and that soldiers again fought at the river within one mile of the Hickersons’ farm in August  and November of that year.[34]  The bridge was destroyed and rebuilt several times during the course of the war, sometimes by Union soldiers, sometimes by the Confederate side. 


Life in the county became increasingly desperate.  By 1862, Fauquier County had been stripped of its resources and “starvation stares the people in the face.”[35]  By October 1863, the New York Times stated that Fauquier citizens “bordered on starvation.”[36]


In 1863, Union troops, possibly the 50th New York Engineers,[37] camped all along the north bank of the river, including the Hickerson’s farm.  Union soldiers set up camp at the family graveyard (Burroughs – Hickerson cemetery) at the southern boundary of the property and used the gravestones and bricks from the house for paving between the tents.  They cut down cedar trees and set them out along the walks in the camp.  They destroyed the house and took everything the Hickersons had, hogs, sheep, cows, horses, furniture, lumber, and bricks.  General Lee called this one of the worst examples of destruction by Union soldiers that he observed during the course of the war.[38] Union soldiers were unable to capture one wild colt; Gore said it stayed out wild all during the war.  Afterwards, Charles had a hard time taming it, but it made a fine horse.[39] 


Fearful for the safety of her family from looting soldiers of both sides, Martha went to the Union camp and requested a guard for Grass Dale.  One day several Union soldiers arrived, took a door off its hinges and were carrying it away when the guard fired a shot through the door.  Another night, Charles heard a knock at the door; it was a Confederate soldier.  The guard was asleep in another room.  Charles let the soldier stay all night, but next morning he woke him before it was light so he could get away before the guard found out.[40] 


Once the Federals took John Clopton and Charles Hickerson captive in a boxcar to Catlett.  Jackson surprised them, there was a cannonade, the Union troops ran off and the two men escaped from the boxcar. [41]


After the war, Charles and Martha went back to the property to try to rebuild. Their farm was in one of the most devastated areas of the county.  For three years, tens of thousands of Union troops had camped in this part of the county, and there were no fences, no outbuildings, and no stands of trees left for miles.[42]  When Charles opened the well, he found skeletons of horses, cows and other livestock, and assorted equipment, which made the well unusable. [43] Partly for this reason, when an uncle in Kentucky left Charles $800, he determined to rebuild on another site, about a quarter mile southeast of his former house, and further away from the railroad bridge.[44]


Life after the war eventually returned to normal.  A former slave helped to identify the graves in the cemetery, and the grave markers were replaced.[45]  Rappahannock Station and the bridge over the river were built again and the railroad began to function regularly. The rich soil meant that prosperous years were not far off.[46]  However, as late as 1956, breastworks from the war were still visible on the Hickerson’s farm.[47]


Sometime after the war, Martha set down her recipe for Egg Liniment, an ointment for rubbing into the skin for muscle soreness:

Break in the big end of an egg just enough to let the egg out into a wide mouth bottle.  Fill the shell with strong vinegar and pour on the egg.  The same quantity of hartshorn, spirits of turpentine, camphor and laudanum. Rub well.[48]


This recipe is somewhat frightening, given what we know today about some of these ingredients.  According to the People’s Cyclopedia of Universal Knowledge, published in 1900,[49] laudanum, for example, was also known as Tincture of Opium and is made by macerating opium in alcohol and then filtering.  Although it was commonly used for pain relief and as a sleep aid, we now know that opium, related to heroin, is highly addictive.  Hartshorn was the name given in pharmacy to elk antlers (Cervus elaphus), and the products of its distillation (oil of hartshorn, spirits of hartshorn, etc.) had, even in 1900, been replaced with ammonia. Camphor was for many years the main active ingredient for moth balls, since it was toxic to insects, and is now considered a hazardous material.  It comes from the Camphor Laurel and was used frequently in medicine, but was known in 1900 to be toxic in large doses.  Turpentine, produced from the resin of pine trees, was frequently used in medicine, but was known, even then, to result in “certain bad effects which occasionally follow its use.” Spirits of turpentine refer to the turpentine resin dissolved in strong wine. Today turpentine is classified as an aromatic hydrocarbon and is considered a hazardous material. The effect of the combination of these ingredients can only be imagined.  Was it effective?  Martha Burroughs Hickerson thought so.


In spite of contemporary medical treatment, life went on, and Charles and Martha continued farming.  Charles paid his property taxes: $4.33 in 1873 on 229 acres, which was valued at $2519.[50]  In 1884, Charles paid $10 on his account with T. Jones.[51]  In 1886, he paid $10 on his account to Hugh Hamilton.[52] In 1887, Charles sold sand to James M. Daniel,[53] and paid $3 for leasing a horse from H. C. Day.[54]


Just before 1890, Remington was incorporated as a town.  According to Scheel, one reason incorporation was proposed was to allow the Town Council to prohibit the sale of liquor within the town and for a radius of one mile outside the boundaries.[55]  Leading merchants of the town headed the effort and served as the first mayor (George Duey) and councilmen (S. D. Embry, James Caske, A. P. Stribling, B. F. Perrow, and H. C. Hickerson,[56] among others).[57] 


In April, 1891, Charles purchased household and farm goods from B. F. Perrow, including coffee, tea, a shovel, three boxes of matches, three pounds of nails, a curry comb and a pair of shoes.  The total bill came to $6.59, and Charles asked Mr. Perrow to carry his purchases on account.  Mr. Perrow submitted a statement to Charles in July, asking him to settle the account by early part of the next week.  The account is marked Paid in August, 1891.[58]  In November of that year, Charles paid $1.80 for calf pasture.[59]


Just a few months later, January 14, 1892, Charles died of pneumonia.  Perhaps this was a result of or complicated by his former lung trouble noted at the time of the Civil War. His son, John B. Hickerson, reported the death.[60] In April of that year, John Hickerson paid a doctor bill of $2.32.[61]  This could have been for medical care during his father’s terminal illness.


Just a few months later, Martha paid two cows and a calf valued at $40 in partial payment for a note that her husband had had with S. D. Embry.[62]  She paid $25 for a debt from Charles’ estate in January 1895.[63]


Martha died July 1, 1897.[64]  Charles and Martha are buried in the Burroughs Hickerson family cemetery on the southern boundary of their farm.[65] 

Children of Charles Kendall Hickerson and Martha Frances Burroughs


Copyright 2003 by Martha B. Wiley.  All rights reserved.  This information may be used by anyone for private genealogical use only.  Commercial use of this information is strictly prohibited without prior permission.  If copied or used, credit must be given to Martha B. Wiley.


Back to Ransom Hickerson and Mary Mason Kendall.

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[1] Gravestone of Charles K. Hickerson, Burroughs Hickerson Cemetery, Remington, Fauquier County, Virginia.  Investigated in the field by the author, September, 2001.

[2] Margaret Hickerson Emory, Ransom Hickerson descendants, n.d.  This tree showing two generations of descendants of Ransom Hickerson was in possession of Elizabeth H. Butterworth in 2001.

[3] Margaret Galloway, interview with the author, Richmond, Virginia, September 15, 2001.  Margaret’s father, John Murray Forbes Taylor, was the son of Lucy Hickerson and the grandson of Ransome Hickerson.  Margaret remembers her father telling stories about his grandfather, aunts and uncles.

[4] Gravestone of Martha F. Hickerson, Burroughs Hickerson Cemetery.  Investigated in the field by the author, September, 2001.

[5] Will of Samuel Burroughs, Fauquier County, Virginia, Book 23, page 427, December 8, 1852, recorded March 22, 1852.

[6] US Census, 1850, Virginia, Stafford County, Eastern District, p. 015.

[7] 1850 Slave Schedule, Stafford County.

[8] M. D. Gore, “Water Dale, ” Old Homes and Families of Fauquier County, Virginia, Writer’s Program of the Works Projects Administration in conjunction with the Virginia Conservation Commission (Berryville, Virginia:  Virginia Book Company, 1978), Book VI, p. 21.

[9] Will of Samuel Burroughs.

[10] Abstracts of Fauquier County, Virginia, Deed Books 53-59, 1853-1866.  Abstracted and compiled by Dee Ann Buck.  p. 153.

[11] “Rappahannock Station,” On the Shores of the Rappahannock, A History of Remington, Virginia and Vicinity.  Ed. Margaret M. Pierce.  (Remington, Virginia:  the Freshman and Sophomore English Classes of Remington High School, 1952) n. p. Original document was in the possession of Elizabeth Butterworth in 2001. 

[12] “Rappahannock Station.”

[13] “Rappahannock Station.”

[14] “Brick Kilns,” On the Shores of the Rappahannock.

[15] “Mills,” On the Shores of the Rappahannock.

[16] “School,” On the Shores of the Rappahannock.

[17] H. C. Hickerson was Hubert Clifton Hickerson, son of Henry Chrisman Hickerson, grandson of John Mason Hickerson and great-grandson of John Hickerson, brother of Charles Hickerson.  H. C. Hickerson married Nannie Burroughs, daughter of John B. Burroughs and granddaughter of Samuel Burroughs.

[18] Eugene M. Scheel,  The Guide to Fauquier, A Survey of the Architecture and History of a Virginia County (Warrenton, Virginia:  Fauquier County Bicentennial Commission and the Fauquier County Board of Supervisors, 1976) p. 42.

[19] Scheel, The Civil War in Fauquier County, Virginia (Warrenton, Virginia: The Fauquier Bank, 2000) p. 1-9. 

[20] Alexander Hunter, The Women of the Debatable Land, Washington, Corden, 1912, quoted in Scheel, The Civil War in Fauquier County, Virginia, p. 6.

[21] Hickerson papers, receipt, June, 1853.  The papers, ranging in date from 1853 to 1895, are a collection of handwritten notes and receipts which were folded and stuffed into a leather wallet.  The wallet was preserved by Elizabeth H. Butterworth.  In 2002, the papers were in the possession of the author.

[22] Hickerson papers, account for Mr. Charles Hickerson from Thomas Harris, 1853.

[23] Gravestone of Ella Hickerson, Burroughs Hickerson cemetery, investigated in the field by the author, September 2001.

[24] Scheel, The Civil War in Fauquier County, p. 1-9.

[25] “Mill View,” On the Shores of the Rappahannock.

[26] Augustus diZerega, Mrs. Augustus diZerega, and Suzie A. Smith, “The Rosters,” The Years of Anguish, Fauquier County, Virginia, 1861-1865, Ed. Emily G. Ramey and John K. Gott (Warrenton, Virginia: The Fauquier Democrat, 1965) p. i.

[27] Scheel, The Civil War in Fauquier County, p. 17.

[28] Gore, “Water Dale,” p. 21.

[29] Emory, Ransom Hickerson descendants.

[30] “Civil War,” On the Shores of the Rappahannock.

[31] Gore, “Water Dale,” p. 21.

[32] Gore, “Water Dale,” p. 21.

[33] Scheel, The Civil War in Fauquier County,  p. 26 and 27.

[34] Scheel, The Civil War in Fauquier County,  p. 32 and 33, and “Civil War,” On the Shores of the Rappahannock.

[35] Karge, quoted in Scheel, The Civil War in Fauquier County, p. 40.

[36] Scheel, The Civil War in Fauquier County, p. 51 and 67.

[37] Timothy O’Sullivan, photographs, March 1864, contained in Scheel, The Civil War in Fauquier County, opposite p. 71.

[38] “Civil War,” On the Shores of the Rappahannock.

[39] Gore, “Water Dale, p. 22.

[40] Gore, “Water Dale,” p. 22.

[41] Gore, “Water Dale,” p. 22.

[42] Scheel, The Civil War in Fauquier County, p. 88.

[43] On the Shores of the Rappahannock, n. p.

[44] Gore, “Water Dale,” p. 22.

[45] Gore, “Water Dale,” p. 22.  It is not known what happened to the pre-Civil War era gravestones. In 2001, the author found no gravestones earlier than 1865 in the cemetery.

[46] Scheel, The Civil War in Fauquier County, p. 89.

[47] “Civil War,” On the Shores of the Rappahannock.

[48] Hickerson papers, Egg Liniment.

[49] People’s Cyclopedia of Universal Knowledge, edited by W. H. de Puy (Chicago: The National Newspapers’ Company, 1900).  Articles on Laudanum, Hartshorn, Camphor, Turpentine and Liniment.

[50] Hickerson paper, receipt from Rappahannock Township, Fauquier County, for Mr. Chas K. Hickerson, 1873.

[51] Hickerson papers, receipt from T. T. Jones for payment from C. K. Hickerson, 1884.

[52] Hickerson papers, receipt from Hugh Hamilton to C. K. Hickerson, May 13, 1886.

[53] Hickerson papers, correspondence to C. K. Hickerson from James M Daniel and Bro, September 29, 1887.

[54] Hickerson papers, receipt from H. C. Day from C. K. Hickerson, September 10, 1887.

[55] Scheel, Guide to Fauquier, p. 43.

[56] H. C. Hickerson was Hubert Clifton Hickerson, son of Henry Chrisman Hickerson, grandson of John Mason Hickerson and great-grandson of John Hickerson, brother of Charles Hickerson.  H. C. Hickerson married Nannie Burroughs, daughter of John B. Burroughs and granddaughter of Samuel Burroughs.

[57] “Remington Incorporated,” On the Shores of the Rappahannock.

[58] Hickerson papers, Monthly Statement from Perrow and Wilkes to Mr. C. K. Hickerson, Rappahannock, Virginia, July 18, 1891.

[59] Hickerson papers, receipt from Mr. C. K. Hickerson, November 27, 1891.

[60] Fauquier County, Virginia, Death Register, 1853-1896.  p. 57.

[61] Hickerson papers, receipt from John Hickerson to J. M. Caskie, April 26, 1892.

[62] Hickerson papers, receipt from Mrs. Martha Hickerson to S. D. Embry, May 14, 1892.

[63] Hickerson papers, receipt from M. L. Hickerson, January 2, 1895.

[64] Gravestone of Martha F. Hickerson, Burroughs Hickerson cemetery.

[65] Gravestones of Charles Kendall Hickerson and Martha F. Hickerson, Burroughs Hickerson cemetery.


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