Capt. Robert Hicks, Indian Trader

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Robert Hicks

Also Known As: "Captain Robert Hicks"
Birthplace: Charles City County, Virginia
Death: circa 1739 (73-89)
of, Surry County, Virginia
Immediate Family:

Husband of Winifred Hicks
Father of George Hicks, of Craven County; James Hicks, of Brunswick County; Daniel Hicks, Sr., of Brunswick County; Tabitha Jacobs; Frances Powell and 7 others

Occupation: Indian Trader
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Capt. Robert Hicks, Indian Trader


The origin of Robert Hicks, Indian trader of colonial Virginia, is not known. He is first identifiable from the Charles City Co. land records where his father-in-law, John Evans, gives Robert and his wife, Winifred Evans, two tracts of land totaling 1375 acres between Appomattox River and Blackwater Creek, one in 1690 and the other in 1694. It is believed that Robert was born in Charles City Co., Va. In the 1650's. If this is true then the Robert Hicks listed as one of 40 persons buying land in Charles City Co., April 8, 1654, as a transportee of Hugh Lee from England, could very possibly be Father of Capt. Robert and the immigrant of this very prolific family. There are , of course, some other possibilities as a study of the immigration records will show. (Future plans include links to these records)

Robert Hicks, nicknamed "Robin", was born circa 1650 (perhaps in Prince George Co.?). He married 1st Winifred Evans, daughter of John and Mary Evans. He married second, a woman named Francis, or Frances, dates unknown, and they lived in Charles City Co., Va., near the present day city of "Hopewell". His land extended along the Blackwater River east of the James. Nothing is definitely known of Robert's origins at this time, other than the fact that upon the death of one of his grandsons, in 1795, Col. George Hicks Jr., a South Carolina newspaper mentioned George's "English Descent" in his eulogy.

Robert's very large family settled throughout southern Virginia. Land records of this time and area indicate that a John, Thomas, and Henry Hicks were contemporaries of Robert's and perhaps were relatives of his. Also settling north of the James River were the Bryants, Ervins, Kings, Hills, Isbells (Asbells), Evans, Masons, Hollemans and Williams, all of whom can be traced through North and South Carolina wherever the Hicks family migrated.

Robert is thought to have fathered these 13 children:

  1. Daniel who married Edith
  2. Robert, Jr. Who married Elizabeth Ervin
  3. George who married Sarah
  4. John who married Obedience
  5. Mary who married a Mr. Irby
  6. Tabitha who married Thomas Jacobs
  7. James who married Martha
  8. William
  9. Francis who married Richard Ransom (Ransone), of Gloucester Co.
  10. Rachael who married Matthias Davis
  11. Charles who died 1745 without heirs
  12. Martha who married a Mr. Beddingfield
  13. Elizabeth who married a Mr. Lanier

In the 1660's and 1670's, Robert developed a lucrative commercial business trading with the Indians throughout Western Virginia, the Carolinas and Georgia. Some of his family married into the Cherokees in the area of Broomstown, (northern) Georgia, by 1730. These descendents became important leaders in the Cherokee Nation. Robert traded with all the Indians of these states, but dealt primarily with the Cherokees and their branch nation known as the "Catawbas". Once, when New York trappers were captured by the Catawbas and held for ransom, the Govenors of New York and Virginia sought Robert's help. He dispatched his two oldest sons, Daniel and Robert Jr., to negotiate the captives' release. Upon their successful return, they were given an award by the Virginia House of Burgesses.

In 1714, the Virginia government built Fort Christiana on the Meherrin River and they appointed Robert as Captain of the Fort's paid militia, known as the "Rangers", and it's 12 indian scouts. Robert subsequently moved most of his family into this area. Governor Spotswood gave the family exclusive trade rights in western Virginia in return for their service. The family residence was known as "Hicks' Ford" and was located where the present day city of "Emporia" is found today, in Greenville Co., Va. In 1728, Capt. Robert was appointed to the large expedition that surveyed the boundary between North Carolina and Virginia.

Robert's success with the indians did not make all of the colonial fathers happy. Many of them wanted this trade for their own states. South Carolina authorities resorted to harassing him and seizing a lot of his goods. In an effort to improve his influence in the area, Robert moved several of relatives into South Carolina. Two sons, George and John, settled in "Old Cheraws" and Colleton Co. Respectively, between 1707 and 1741. They were followed by several other relatives. Captain Robert Hicks died in 1739 (his will was proved Feb. 7, 1739).

George's (Cheraw's) son, Col. George Jr., served in the Revolutionary War, along with other members of this family. Other family members may have moved into the Onslow Co. Or the Halifax-Bute-North Hampton area of North Carolina. One of these was Lewis Hicks, possibly a grandson of Robert's, who served as an ensign in the colonial navy during the war, sailing out of Wilmington. It is this man who we may be related to. Lewis wrote Gov. Caswell of North Carolina in 1777 resigning his commission due to reoccuring lung/respiratory problems. He stated his regret that he was unable to perform his duties properly and voiced his concern as to whether he would survive the approaching small pox season. He survived, apparently, and became one of Onslow Counties three sheriffs, after the war. He is listed as a land owner in Brunswick Co., Va., in 1772, and a taxpayer for 1800.

Lewis was the son of James Hicks ( born 1700, died 1761), in Brunswick Co., Virginia. Nothing is known of this man other than the fact that he married a Martha (Fathey?) and they had eight children: Lewis, John, Benjamin, Patty, Francis, Mary, Robert and James.

On April 6, 1773, the younger sister of Winifred Hill, Sarah, and a Lewis Hicks were married with Henry Hill, her older brother, and James Seawell (sowell) as witnesses. Soon, Winifred married George King and they eventually moved to Chesterfield District, South Carolina. Some of the Hicks family were married by the Reverend John King, a Baptist minister. He married Lucy and Benjamin Sowell and George Hicks. Rev. John King was married to Sally Hill.

It appears that Lewis died (or disappeared?) circa 1792-1794 at the age of 37-38 (or Lewis and Sarah separated? Divorced?) and (his widow? Ex-wife?) Sarah moved "next door" to Winifred and George King, in South Carolina. Sarah is listed on the 1800 census with a little girl born about the time that Lewis died (left?). In accordance with family tradition, the Rev. John Hicks was orphaned and raised by the (George?) King family (who apparently were his uncle and aunt). Sarah is not found on the 1810 census. Since Lewis was listed on the tax records of Brunswick Co., Va., in 1800, either this is not our ancestor or it is possible that Sarah and Lewis separated/divorced for some reason, leaving our John an "orphan", at least from his known parent. The fact that little is known of Lewis may be due to some defect of character on his part that the family would not have wanted made known. If divorced, I assume that would have been humiliating and never talked about. Sarah appears to have died in 1806 leaving her children to be raised by her sister's family, George and Winifred King. Lewis' will was proved in 1820, if indeed, this is the same person.

This information was taken from:

Virginia Land Records Colonial Records Two letters from Barnabas Hicks dated Dec. 9, 1980 and Sept. 26, 1996 Census records of the states Marriage records of Virginia Family tradition dating from Rev. John Hicks' children and King family descendents

Source for land granted to 40 transportees of Hugh Lee:

Patent to Hugh Lee, dated April 8, 1654, for 2000 acres, named Aberconaway, Charles City County, for transportation of 40 persons, including Richrd, Sparkes, Hen. Neale, Jno. Crew, Andr. Crew, Richd. Dennis, Wm. Marsh, Morris Joyce, Hen. Allaman, Jno. Browne, Wm. Bernard, Tho. Clark, Tomasin Harris, Jno. Browne, Phill. Pledge, Mary Browne, Jno. Cox, Richd. Warren, Tho. Michell, Jno. Drennett, Barbara Petingall, Cha. Bartlett, Wm. Taylor, Jno. Floyd, Tho. Stanley, Joan Liswell, Sara King, Rebecka Love?, Sara Swetland, Jocabus Jonson, Eliz. Cooper, Tho. Woods, Tho. Dance, Jno. Burges, Tho. Ory?, Addam Bradshaw, Robt. Hyme?, Martha Gibbs, Robt. Hicks, Jno. Allen, and Tho. Alford, on South Side Appomattock River, on North side the 3rd branch of the Black Water; nigh Warrick Path. Virginia Patent Book 6, page 510.

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Capt. Robert Hicks, Indian Trader's Timeline

Charles City County, Virginia
Age 37
Brunswick County , Virginia, United States
Age 37
Brunswick, Virginia
September 1700
Age 42
Prince George Co., VA
Age 42
Surry County, Virginia
Age 42
Surry County, Virginia
Age 42
Surry, Virginia
Age 42
Surry County, Virginia