Tradition tells us, that early in the 17th century, about the time of the first
English settlements at Jamestown, Virginia, there were some French fisherman
shipwrecked off the coast of Cornwall, England. Among the crew was a Biddick,
who decided to stay in Cornwall. Mr. Biddick became a tenant on a farm called
Trewince, in the parish of St. Issey. Succesive generations continued to live
there until 1850, when high rents and other restrictions, forced the liberty
loving and ambitious Biddick family to brave the hardships and uncertainties of
a long voyage to America. America - where stalwart colonists had, only years
before, freed themselves from the tyranny of the old world rulers.
The years the Biddicks lived on the Trewince farm were turbulent times in England. Civil and religious rights were often in open conflict and only the rich had any educational privileges to speak of. About the only book available was the Bible; and at times it was a serious offense to be caught reading it.
Besides the annual farm rental and general taxes, the tenant was required to pay tithes, a tax of one tenth, payable in kind for the support of the clergy and the Church of England. In addition to the above, the owner of the Trewince farm decided to replace the old dwelling with a new home. According to the terms of the lease, the renter would be required to pay an additional five percent on the cost of the new building. This being impossible the entire family decided to seek homes in America.
Little is known of the earliest Biddicks. However, the Biddick family started to appear in the local parish registries in 1781, when Matthew Biddick I married Sarah Edwards. To this union were born: Nicholas, Mariah, Peter, George, Mary, and Matthew II. The next tenant family on the farm belonged to Matthew Biddick II. He was the second son, and in 1816 married Mary Tonkin, of the parish of St. Breoch. Mary was the daughter of John and Ann Tonkin.
Matthew and Mary were the parents of nine children, all born on Trewince. Their names were: Matthew III, Mary E., Peter, George, Richard, Kezia, Hannah, John, and Elizabeth. Matthew and Mary and their family are the generations that sought refuge in the new world.
(Grindell, Marcia Rundell, Ruth Sue Allen, George Wm. Phillips, The Rundell-Biddick Picnic Association History, Salt Lake City : Filmed by the Genealogical Society of Utah, 1989 , Page #: 190, Family History Library (FHL), 35 North West Temple, Salt Lake City, UT 84150, USA, Film #: 1421941 Item #: 3. Compiled by Marcia Rundell Grindell and Ruth Sue Allen. Edited and researched by George Wm. Phillips. Privately published Platteville, Wisconsin: The Rundell Biddick Endowment, 1983.)
Addendum and corrections:
A line-by-line search of the St. Issey parish register has revealed much of the earlier lineage of the Biddick family.
In the direct line the earliest entry concerning a member of the Biddick family appears in 1669 when Christopher Biddick married Avis Eard.
Although Matthew Biddick I is the first known member of the family to have lived on the Trewince farm, it is quite probable that Christopher and Avis Biddick and the succeeding Biddick families down through Matthew I lived there also. This premise is based on the fact that farm leases of this period usually passed from father to son.
It is also quite possible that Christopher was the fisherman of French origin spoken of in the family lore. This assumption is based on the fact that the Biddick surname appears nowhere else in the British Isles and is confined mainly to St. Issey parish.
To Chistopher and Avis were born four children that we know of, namely, Nicholas, William, Anstice and John.
The second direct line generation concerns John Biddick. John married Anstice Warne of St. Columb Major parish, the daughter of Thomas and Elizabeth Warne. They had three children, namely, William, John and Thomas.
The third direct line generation of the Biddick family concerns John Biddick. John married Mary (surname unknown) and they had nine children. These were George, John, Peter, William, George, Hugh, Luke, Katurn Ann and Matthew (Mark) I.
There was some difficulty in finding the correct birth record for Matthew I. Since Matthew's marriage record to Sarah Edwards in Little Petherick parish showed that he was from St. Issey parish it was decided to search St. Issey for further information. A search for his birth record, however, did not reveal a child by that name born to any of the Biddick families. A further search for his death record showed that he was buried on 26 April 1814 in the St. Issey Parish Cemetery and that he had died, aged 56, making the year of his birth 1757. A line by line search of the registry revealed that there was only one Biddick child born in 1757. This was Mark Biddick, the son of John and Mary Biddick. Since there was no further record of Mark (neither marriage nor death) and he was the only Biddick child born in 1757, it has been concluded that Mark is indeed Matthew I, and that after his christening he subsequently became known in the local records as Matthew.
The search of the Cornwall parish registries also turned up several corrections to the information included in the above article. These corrections are listed below:
(1) There was one previously unknown child born to Matthew Biddick I and Sarah Edwards. This was Philippa Biddick, who was christened 4 May 1788 and who subsequently died in Aug 1790 and was buried 26 Aug of the same year.
(2) Mary Tonkin was not the daughter of John and Ann Tonkin as previously assumed. A search of the St. Breock parish registry, which was previously unavailable, revealed that she was the daughter of Richard Tonkin and Anne Pearce. She was christened in St. Breock parish on 17 Apr 1796.---(GWP - 13 Jun 2001)
(George Wm. Phillips, Ancestry and Family History of Mary Anne Iverson, Family History Group, 2001 - 2003, GWP Archives and Databases. Based on personal research of the author commencing in 1980. Published on the internet, beginning 2001. Source Media Type: Electronic Data. )