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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 mistakes in this history, please email me:  Comments are always welcome!

Ransom M. Hickerson and Mary Mason Kendall

Ransom M. Hickerson was the son of Charles Hickerson, son of Nathaniel Hickerson.[1]  Ransom was probably born about 1794 in Fauquier County.[2]  Margaret Hickerson Emory indicated that Ransom Hickerson served in the Virginia Militia during the War of 1812.  However, considerable research has not uncovered any hint of military service by Ransom Hickerson.  It is possible that Emory found the records of Rawleigh Hickerson, Ransom’s uncle, as Rawleigh was a member of the Virginia Militia starting in 1810.[3]


Ransom married Mary Mason Kendall (born 1799) December 24, 1818 in Fauquier County.[4]  Emory believed  that Mary’s parents were Robert Mason Kendall and Elizabeth Taylor, and they lived in Stafford County, Virginia.[5]  However, Revolutionary War pension files indicate that Mary Kendall’s father was George Kendall.[6]


The 1820 US Census does not include Ransom Hickerson.  However, there is a Raymen Hickerson listed for Fauquier County.  The household included one male age 26 to 45, one male under 10, one female age 15-26, and 8 slaves plus one “free colored.”[7]  This is likely Ransom’s household.  He would have been about 26 years old, and Mary would have been 21.  Their oldest child, Charles Kendall Hickerson, was born June 11, 1820, and would have been only a few months old during the September census.  Research has found no Raymen or Raymond Hickerson in Fauquier or Stafford County during this time and it seems reasonable that the census taker misheard or miswrote the name Ransom as Raymen.


In any case, it is possible that Mary’s family was from Stafford County, because she and Ransom lived there by 1830, when Ransom is listed by the US Census in Stafford as the head of household, with four children, one male 0-5, one male 10-15, one female 0-5, one female 5-10.  Mary was also listed (one female 30-40), Ransom himself (one male 30-40), and two slaves.[8]  The children were Charles Kendall Hickerson (age 10),[9] Sarah Hickerson (age 5), Ann Hickerson (age 3), and Robert Hickerson (age 1).[10]


Through the first few decades of the nineteenth century, Virginia experienced an economic downturn, partly from the loss of many of its citizens to westward expansion (including Ransom’s father, Charles Hickerson, and siblings), partly as a result of the planting of tobacco as a principal crop, and partly as a result of the  political disorganization following the Revolution and disestablishment of the Anglican Church.[11] 


Ransom was a farmer and was said to have operated three plantations.[12] Since he was said to have been well off, he might have made the transition from tobacco to grain crops; Fauquier County was in an area of the state where corn and wheat had replaced tobacco as the primary crops by about 1820, and, while Stafford County still supported some tobacco plantations, corn and wheat were also grown.[13]  During these years, numerous flour and corn mills were constructed in Fauquier County, with more than 80 in operation before 1876.[14]  This is a good indication that grain crops were grown in the vicinity.


According to Galloway, Ransom and Mary’s children never had to learn to cook or do domestic chores; slaves performed these duties.[15]  The slave trade was legally outlawed in 1809, but slavery still continued unabated throughout the south, and in fact expanded dramatically in the deep south in the first half of the nineteenth century with the increase in cotton plantations.[16]  As Virginia’s tobacco economy languished, surplus slaves were sold as field hands to the prospering cotton plantations further south.  For some Virginians, the economic returns from the sale of surplus slaves offset the losses suffered by the drop in revenues from tobacco.[17]  Whether this was the situation with Ransom’s family is not known.


Ransom and Mary must have been quite concerned after the Turner uprising in August 1831, when a group of about 60 slaves under the leadership of Nat Turner, a slave in Southampton County in the southeast corner of Virginia, attacked and murdered some 55 whites before being captured and transported or hanged.  Nat Turner “was a reasonably well educated slave who had a kind and indulgent master,”[18] and his rebellion sparked a state of alarm across the south.  “For if so seemingly contented and well-treated a slave as Nat Turner could lead such an uprising, what assurance was there that similar rebellions would not occur at almost any time and almost anywhere?”[19]  In December 1831, the Virginia Assembly passed a series of “black laws” to restrict African Americans from assembling, attending religious services, and carrying firearms.  However, the Turner rebellion did allow the first frank discussion of the evils of the slave system in Virginia since the Revolution.  Nevertheless, Virginia was unwilling to move toward gradual abolition, which according to some writers, could have avoided the Civil War.[20]


In 1833 and 1834, Ransom Hickerson served as an Overseer of Roads for Stafford County.[21]


In 1840, Ransom’s household contained one male age 5-10, one male age 10-15, one male age 20-30, one male age 40-50, one female under age 5, two females age 5-10, one female age 10-15, one female age 15-20 and one female age 30-40.[22]  This was Ransom and Mary, plus Charles Kendall Hickerson (age 20), Sarah (age 15), Ann (age 13), Robert (age 11), James (age 8), Lucy (age 6), Virginia (age 5), and Mary (age 2).[23]  Information concerning slaves was not given in the 1840 census.


Emory says that Ransom died January 8, 1844 at his home in Fauquier County.[24]  However, although the date appears to be correct, the location may not be:  an inventory for his estate was recorded in Stafford County in 1844.[25] 


After his death, Mary reared her children and ran three farms, Auburn (the “home plantation”), Apple Grove and Blossom Hill, with the help of a considerable slave labor force.[26]  Her son, James Hickerson, was said to have lived at Apple Grove.[27] Mary and her daughters were said to have lived at Auburn in Fauquier County,[28] but US Census records in 1850 show Mary’s household in the Eastern District of Stafford County.  Perhaps she resided at Apple Grove or Blossom Hill.


The 1850 Census for Stafford County[29] lists Mary M. Hickerson as the head of household (age 52).  All of the children except Charles Kendall Hickerson were still living at home: Sarah (age 25), Ann (age 22), Robert (age 21), James (age 19), Lucy (age 16), Virginia (age 14) and Mary (age 12).  All were born in Virginia.  The 1850 Slave Schedule shows Mary M. Hickerson as a slave owner.[30] 


In 1850, Charles Kendall Hickerson was head of his own household in Stafford County, having married Martha Frances Burroughs.  His occupation was given as farming.[31] The next year, Charles and Martha moved to Fauquier County when she inherited land from her father.


By 1850, there was a distinct upturn in the general level of farming in Virginia due to the expanded use of fertilizer and crop rotation, and switching to other crops besides tobacco.[32]  


Mary Hickerson and her household must have been anxious as the nation marched inexorably toward civil war.  Pro- and anti-slavery speeches became more strident and conflict was inevitable.  Most Virginians, and it is assumed, the Hickersons, wanted to stay in the Union if it could be done honorably.  But they were alarmed at Lincoln’s “house divided” speech in 1858, when he said, “I believe this government cannot endure permanently half slave and half free … It will become all one thing or all the other.”[33]  Threatened by the abolition of slavery by the federal government, the South Carolina state government met in December 1860, after Lincoln had been elected and before his inauguration, and unanimously seceded.  Six other states followed within a few months.


Virginia, though, tried hard to avert a war.  It called a convention of all the states to meet in Washington in February, 1861, to discuss this crisis, headed by former President and Virginian, John Tyler.  None of the seceding states sent representatives. 


In Warrenton, Fauquier County elected moderates with the stated position that secession was a last resort as representatives to the state convention in February.  The Virginia state convention debated for two months, voted 88 to 45 against secession as late as April.  Then Lincoln provoked South Carolina into firing the first shot at Fort Sumter, and the north was finally united.  Even then Virginia hesitated.  Virginia’s most famous military man, Colonel Robert E. Lee, said he was prepared to sacrifice everything but honor to keep the Union undissolved.[34]   But Lincoln forced Virginia to declare one way or the other when he called for volunteers from the state to put down the rebellion in South Carolina, and the Virginia convention, meeting in Richmond, refused to take up arms against a sister state, voting 88 to 55 for secession.  Given the emotional sentiment for secession present in Richmond at the time, it is remarkable that 55 delegates actually voted against it.[35] 


In contrast to earlier wars, the Civil War was fought throughout Fauquier and Stafford Counties and this part of Virginia.  All of the family, including Mary, age 62 in 1861, and her daughters Sarah, Lucy, and Virginia, must have suffered greatly, as there was considerable fighting in both counties.  Virginia seceded in April, 1861, and in May, Richmond became the Confederate capital.  In June, 12,000 soldiers crossed Fauquier County on their way to the first Battle of Bull Run at Manassas. Nearly 80,000 men on both sides fought in that battle and they all had to be fed and housed.  There is no question that Mary and her daughters would have provided food and support for southern soldiers before the battle, and most likely medical care for injured soldiers (of which there were many) after the battle.  By winter, churches, public buildings and homes throughout the county were serving as hospitals.[36]


The war drove up prices for all goods.  Mary and her daughters, living on a farm and able to grow at least some of their food, would have been in a relatively good position.  At first, like the rest of Fauquier County country people, they were able to sell their produce to soldiers for good prices.  But Confederate dollars were worth less than Union bills, and after a while, manufactured goods were either priced out of reach or not available at all. 


In March, 1862, a Union commander in Fauquier County wrote, “There is much forage in our vicinity.  I will send organized parties to collect; certificates will be furnished the owners, specifying they will be paid fair prices for property on presentation of certificates to the proper officer, on condition they take at time of presentation the oath of allegiance to the United States.”[37]  That most likely meant that Union soldiers took what they wanted without payment from county residents, including Mary Hickerson. 


In August 1862, in preparation for the Second Battle of Bull Run at Manassas, 24,000 men marched across Fauquier County.  They had been told to prepare three days rations but some didn’t have the chance.  They were “hungry, thirsty, barefooted and some of them almost naked but bright and buoyant, asking only a mouthful of food and to be led against the enemy.”[38]  The mouthful of food was provided by onlookers, most likely including the Hickersons.


So many soldiers on both sides of the conflict passed through this area, that, by 1862, the area had been stripped of its resources and Union dispatches concluded that “starvation stares the people in the face.”[39]  By October 1863, the New York Times stated that citizens in Fauquier County “bordered on starvation.”[40]


In April 1865, Lee surrendered to Grant at Appomattox, and slowly, the soldiers came home.  Lee told them to see to their crops, and there was time for at least a late spring planting.  But at Mary Hickerson’s, there were only Mary (age 66), Sarah (age 40), Virginia (age 30) and Lucy (age 31).  Lucy married in the fall of that year and left to start a new life with John Garland Taylor.  Mary had to sell the home plantation at Auburn, and received only $1,000 for 200 acres, a solid house and a good barn.  After the sale, she was not successful in collecting the full amount.[41] 


Although Emory says that Mary died in 1871,[42] her will was presented to Stafford County Court for probate sometime between 1852 and 1867.[43]  Galloway says that Mary was alive at least through 1866, because she sold her home plantation at Auburn after the war.[44]  Thus, it is reasonable to assume Mary’s death in 1866 or 1867. 

Charles Kendall Hickerson (June 11, 1820 – January 14, 1892)

See Sketch

Sarah E. Hickerson (about 1825 – after 1891)[45]

Sarah was the daughter of Ransom Hickerson and Mary Mason Kendall,[46] and was born about 1825.[47]  Sarah’s nephew, John Murray Forbes Taylor, son of Lucy C. Hickerson, called Sarah “Big Mumma.”[48]  She never married and lived at Auburn, the home plantation, with her sister Mary, who died in 1860, and her mother[49] until the plantation was sold after the war.  She may have moved to be near her brother Charles Kendall Hickerson, because her signature is found on several of the C. K. Hickerson papers. 


In October, 1887, Sarah E. Hickerson paid $3.80 and again $.40 to the Clerk of Fauquier Circuit Court for a bond with Clopton.[50]  In February 2, 1891, her signature is on a receipt for $24 from Charles Kendall Hickerson, her brother, for interest on the Clopton bond for 1890.  Sarah signed “per H. M. Tolson.”[51]  Sarah’s sister Ann married James Tolson (see Sketch, below); it is not known if James and H. M. Tolson were related.

Ann E. Hickerson (1827 – 1897)

Ann was born in 1827[52] and was the daughter of Ransom Hickerson and Mary Mason Kendall.[53]  She married James Tolson (1795 – 1865) of Stafford County, as his second wife, on December 13, 1854.[54] Ann and James lived at the Tolson’s plantation, Spring Dale, in Stafford County, so named because of numerous springs on the property.  The farm remained in the family until the expansion of Quantico.[55]  Ann’s nephew, John Murray Forbes Taylor, son of Lucy C. Hickerson, always called her “Black Auntie.”[56]  Ann and James had at least one daughter, Amy M. Tolson, who married George Milton Weedon (1841 – 1902), and whose daughter, Marian, married C. B. McDaniel and lived in Fredericksburg, Virginia.[57]

Robert G. Hickerson (1829 - ?)

Robert was born in 1829[58] and was the son of Ransom Hickerson and Mary Mason Kendall.  He served as an Overseer of the Roads for Stafford County in 1855.[59]  He is said to have served in the Confederacy during the Civil War.[60]  There is conflicting opinion as to whether he married:  Emory states that he did marry, in 1872, to Mary E. Combs,[61] while Galloway says he did not.[62] In any case, he apparently had no children. 

James M. Hickerson (1831 – March 1871)[63]

James was the son of Ransom Hickerson and Mary Mason Kendall[64] and, according to the 1850 Virginia Census, was born in 1831.  He married Mary Virginia Massie (born 1833) on June 10, 1856.[65]  Like his brother Robert, James is said to have served in the Confederacy.[66]  James and Mary lived at Apple Grove and had no children.[67] After his death in March, 1871,[68] his widow married S.W. Wamsley on February 6, 1882.[69]

Lucy C. Hickerson (1834 – February 7, 1901)

Lucy was born in 1834, [70] and was the daughter of Ransom Hickerson and Mary Mason Kendall.[71]  On October 18, 1865, Lucy married John Garland Taylor (January 11, 1835 – October 4, 1896).[72]  John Garland, whose father, Joshua Taylor, was from Wales, was a farmer in Prince William County.  John and Lucy’s children were Carrie Taylor, Lena Maria Taylor (1869-1913), Charles Joshua Taylor, J. Arthur Taylor, and John Murray Forbes Taylor.  John Murray Taylor married Margaret Downer, born in Sussex, England.[73] John Garland Taylor is said to have served in the 4th Virginia Cavalry in the Civil War, and is buried in Manassas Cemetery in Prince William County.[74]  Lucy died February 7, 1901.[75]

Virginia E. Hickerson (1835 – 19??)

Virginia E. Hickerson was the daughter of Ransom Hickerson and Mary Mason Kendall and was born in 1835.[76]  In 1872, Virginia married Richard Davis Shacklett (October 13, 1826 – November 9, 1896).[77]  She was his second wife.  According to Galloway,  Richard had three children by his first wife, named Litch, Nelson and Fannie.  Litch was a “rounder,” who married Lilla Moncure, a “belle.” Richard and Virginia had no children.[78]

Mary E. Hickerson (1838 - 1860)[79]

Mary was born in 1838, the daughter of Ransom Hickerson and Mary Mason Kendall.[80]  Never married, Mary lived at Auburn with her sister Sarah and her mother.[81] She died before the Civil War at age 25 of consumption.[82]


Back to Charles Hickerson.

Back to Martha’s Family History.


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.


[1] Margaret Hickerson Emory, Charles Hickerson descendants, n.d.  This tree showing two generations of descendants of Charles Hickerson was in possession of Elizabeth H. Butterworth in 2001.  The relationship of Ransom, son of Charles and grandson of Nathaniel was also stated in an interview with Martha Louise Hickerson Borum by Elizabeth Butterworth in 1970, which was summarized in an email to the author from Elizabeth Butterworth July 10, 2002.  Jay A. Hickerson indicates that Ransom’s father was John Hickerson, son of Nathaniel, rather than Charles.  Both Emory and Jay Hickerson’s materials contain inaccuracies in some areas.  Nevertheless, although the author has found no recorded evidence to support the conclusion that Charles was Ransom’s father, this relationship is still presented because of the interview between Martha Louise Hickerson Borum and Elizabeth Hickerson Butterworth in the early 1970s.  Martha Louise Hickerson was the great-granddaughter of Ransom Hickerson and remembered her grandfather, Charles Kendall Hickerson, talking about his grandfather, Charles Hickerson.  The author gives this anecdotal evidence greater weight, but would appreciate additional information from other researchers to clarify this relationship.

[2] Jay A. Hickerson, correspondence to Elizabeth H. Butterworth, August 22, 1980.

[3] Joan W. Peters, Military Records, Certificates of Service, Discharge, Heirs and Pension Declarations and Schedules from the Fauquier County, Virginia Court Minute Books, 1784-1840 (Westminster, Maryland:  Willow Bend Books, 1999) p. 42 and 51.

[4] Emory, Ransom Hickerson descendants, n.d.  This handwritten descendant tree that shows two generations of descendants of Ransom Hickerson was in possession of Elizabeth H. Butterworth in 2001.  Note that not all of Emory’s information is accurate; Ransom Hickerson’s children’s birth dates as shown by the 1850 US Census were substantially different from those given by Emory, and there may be other inaccuracies.

[5] Emory, Ransom Hickerson descendants. 

[6] Genealogical Abstracts of Revolutionary War Pension Files, Volume II: F-M, compiled by Virgil D. White (Waynesboro, Tennessee: The National Historical Publishing Company, 1991) p.1920.

[7] US Census, 1820, Virginia, Fauquier County, p.  065.

[8] US Census, 1830, Virginia, Stafford County, p. 59.

[9] Charles Kendall Hickerson’s birth date from gravestone, Burroughs Hickerson cemetery, Fauquier County, field verified by the author September 12, 2001.

[10] The 1850 US Census lists the children still living at home, with their ages.  Extrapolating back to 1830 gives the age of the children at that time.

[11] Virginius Dabney, Virginia, the New Dominion (Garden City, New York:  Doubleday and Co., Inc, 1971), p. 276.

[12] 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 Ransom Hickerson.  Margaret remembers her father telling stories about his grandfather.

[13] The American Heritage Pictorial Atlas of United States History.  Ed. Hilde Heun Kagan (New York:  American Heritage Publishing Co., Inc., 1996) pp. 188-189.

[14] Fauquier County, Virginia, 1759-1959 (Warrenton, Virginia:  Fauquier County Becentennial Committee, 1959), pp. 100-105.

[15] Galloway.

[16] Philip Jenkins, A History of the United States (New York:  St. Martin’s Press, 1997) pp 85-89.

[17] Dabney, p. 190.

[18] Dabney, p. 224.

[19] Dabney, p. 226.

[20] Dabney, pp. 224-244.

[21] Jerrilyn Eby, Men of Mark in Stafford County Virginia, A Listing of County Officials, 1664-1991 (Athens, Georgia:  Iberian Publishing Company, 2001) pp. 138-139.

[22] US Census, 1840, Virginia, Stafford County, p. 201.

[23] US Census, 1840, Stafford County.  Children are listed on the 1850 census with ages; ages in 1840 are extrapolated.

[24] Emory, Ransom Hickerson descendants.

[25] Pippenger,  Stafford County Deed Book NN (1842-1845), p. 338.

[26] Galloway.

[27] Galloway.

[28] Galloway.

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

[30] Stafford County, Virginia, 1800-1850, compiled by A. Maxim Coppage and James William Tackett (Concord, California: 1982) p. 141,

[31] US Census, 1850, Stafford County.

[32] Dabney, p. 279.

[33] Dabney, p. 291.

[34] Dabney, p. 293.

[35] Dabney, p. 294.

[36] Eugene M. Scheel, The Civil War in Fauquier County, Virginia (Warrenton, Virginia: The Fauquier Bank, 2000), pp. 22-23.

[37] Edwin Voss Sumner, Union correspondence, March 19, 1862, quoted in Scheel, p. 28.

[38] Diary of Edward Carter Turner, quoted in Scheel, p. 37.

[39] Lt. Col. Joseph Karge, US Army dispatch, September 29, 1862, quoted in Scheel, p. 40.

[40] Scheel, p. 64-66.

[41] Galloway.

[42] Emory, Ransom Hickerson descendants.

[43] Wesley E. Pippenger, Index to Virginia Estates 1800-1865, Vol. 1 (Richmond, Virginia: Virginia Genealogical Society, 2001).  Mary M. Hickerson’s will was listed in the Minute Book for 1852-1867, in an unpaged index pp. 1-33 and 191-389.  A number of entries, including Mary M. Hickerson, that appear in the index cannot now be located. 

[44] Galloway.

[45] US Census, 1850, Stafford County.

[46] Emory, Ransom Hickerson descendents.

[47] US Census, 1840, Stafford County.

[48] Galloway.

[49] Galloway.

[50] Hickerson papers, receipt from Fauquier County Court for Sarah E. Hickerson, October 1887.  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.

[51] Hickerson papers, receipt from Charles K. Hickerson to Sarah E. Hickerson per H. M. Tolson, Feb. 2, 1891.

[52] US Census, 1840, Stafford County.

[53] Emory, Ransom Hickerson descendants.

[54] Galloway.

[55] Jerrilynn Eby, “Spring Dale,” They Called Stafford Home, The Development of Stafford County, Virginia from 1600 to 1865 (Bowie, Maryland:  Heritage Books, Inc., 1999).

[56] Galloway.

[57] Emory, Ransom Hickerson descendants.

[58] US Census, 1850, Stafford County.

[59] Eby, Men of Mark, p. 146.

[60] Elizabeth H. Butterworth, interview with Martha Wiley, Richmond, Virginia, September, 2001.  Elizabeth is the great-granddaughter of Charles Kendall Hickerson.

[61] Emory, Ransom Hickerson descendants.

[62] Galloway.

[63] Emory, Ransom Hickerson descendants.

[64] Emory, Ransom Hickerson descendants.

[65] Emory, Ransom Hickerson descendents.

[66] Butterworth.

[67] Galloway.

[68] Galloway.

[69] Emory, Ransom Hickerson descendants.

[70] US Census, 1850, Stafford County.

[71] Emory, Ransom Hickerson descendents.

[72] Galloway.

[73] Galloway.

[74] Galloway.

[75] Galloway.

[76] US Census, 1850, Stafford County.

[77] Emory.

[78] Galloway.

[79] Emory.

[80] US Census, 1850, Stafford County.

[81] Galloway.

[82] Fauquier County, Virginia, Death Register, 1853-1896, compiled by Patricia B. Duncan (Westminster, Maryland: Willow Bend Books, 1998) p. 57.


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