Both Pat's mother and father were descended from early settlers of the country. On her mother's side, both the Laymans and the Mummas (Moomaws) and their ancestors arrived in Pennsylvania as early as 1731. On her father's paternal side the first Pricketts arrived in New Jersey in the late 17th century; the Jacksons and their forebears were in New England and on Long Island as early as the fifth decade of the 17th century. On his maternal side the McConnells arrived in Pennsylvania about 1750 and the Beaties were in northern Virginia by the same date. Both quickly migrated south to southwest Virginia.
Layman (left) and Duffy (right) houses
: Pat -- or Patty, as she was called by her family--was born seven months before "Black Tuesday," which set off the Great Depression. The poor economy dramatically affected Patty's childhood. When she was a week short of her second birthday, her parents temporarily broke up housekeeping in order to save money and pay off some minor debts. Patty and her mother took the train to Roanoke and moved in with her mother's parents in nearby Troutville, where her grandfather was in poor health. Her mother, Pauline, (or "Polly"as her father called her) took over her father's small retail coal business and helped her mother with the tourist business that her grandparents operated.
Minter and Polly corresponded several times a week and Polly did a great job of describing all the cute (and naughty) things Patty did. Minter came over from Bluefield every other weekend, either by car or train and when he drove, Polly and Patty rode back with him on Sundays as far as Christiansburg. There Polly's sister Dot picked them up for the drive back to Troutville, which Patty loved, because Dot's car had a rumble seat.
A year and a half after the move, Minter decided to move to Troutville. Business had not improved and he found work in Roanoke selling "industrial insurance" at $15 a week (probably a draw against commissions).
Patty went to grade school at Troutville Elementary, where she did well and skipped the last half of third grade and the first half of fourth grade. She entered Troutville High School in September of 1941 and graduated in 1945. Thinking she wanted to become an interior designer, she first attended the School of Arts at the University of Cincinnati (1945-1946), where she was a B student, then transferred to the Richmond Professional Institute of the College of William and Mary (1946-1950). After another year or so in "interior decoration," she knew she wanted something more academic and that she wanted someday to go to graduate school. But RPI (which has since become Virginia Commonwealth University) offered no liberal arts majors at the time so she majored in Elementary Education and Social Science, which meant, she said repeatedly, that she didn't learn anything at all. She managed to make the Dean's List for the first time in the second semester of her senior year, and received a B.S. in Elementary Education and Social Science in 1950. She began her teaching career in Fairfax County as a fourth grade teacher at Annandale Elementary School. Three years later, she moved to Fairfax High School, where she taught eighth grade American History and English.
Another three years and she was off to graduate school, at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville to work on a master of arts degree in American history. A few months later she married and soon resumed her teaching career, this time at Belfield Country Day School (now St. Anne's-Belfield) just outside Charlottesville.
Widowed in 1958, she continued to teach at Belfield and returned to graduate school intent on earning her M.A.. Finally she returned fulltime to graduate school (1960-1961) and received her degree in August 1961. Then she was off to France for a glorious year in Europe. She taught eighth grade in an American Army Dependents' School at Croix Chapeaux, lived "on the economy" in nearby La Rochelle, and bought a brand new white Ford Anglia for a $1000 (actually $1012 because she also got white side-walled tires). With a variety of friends and her aunt Dot she traveled as much as she could on weekends and holidays. She went to Carcasonne by herself at Thanksgiving, to Italy over Christmas with her Aunt Dot, to Spain over Easter (with her French friend, Therese Bonin) and in the summer of 1962 she took in Belgium, the Netherlands, Austria, England, Scotland, and Ireland (with her aunt and a variety of friends). A great year all told.
She had done well in graduate school and in September 1962 she returned to U. Va., on a Dupont Fellowship to begin work on a Ph.D. The following year she received a Thomas Jefferson Fellowship. She completed her course work and passed her orals in February 1964, and began work on her Ph.D. thesis (Antislavery in Virginia, 1831-1861), then taught for two years as an instructor in American History at the New York State University College at Cortland, New York. From Cortland she moved twenty miles south to Ithaca College as an Assistant Professor. In the summers she returned to Charlottesville to work on her thesis, which she completed in time to receive her Ph.D. in American History in May 1968.
In 1970, she was promoted to Associate Professor at Ithaca College and received a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities to revise her thesis for publication. She took a year's leave from Ithaca College and returned to Charlottesville (which she regarded as paradise on earth) to do the work. Within a matter of months, she was offered a position as head of the Historical Publications Branch of the Virginia State Library (now the Library of Virginia) in Richmond. Eager to get away from the cold New York winters, she happily accepted. But she soon found she did not like the state bureaucracy. In November 1973, she received the Ramsdell Award (for the best article in the Journal of Southern History in a two-year period, "Gentle Agitator: Samuel M. Janney and the Antislavery Movement in Virginia"). A few months later, she resigned her position at the library to take a part-time job, rent out a room in her house, and resume work on revising her thesis for publication.
While working at the library, she had written three short articles for the library's popular historical quarterly, Virginia Cavalcade:
"'Seat of Empire! Such Big Stone Gap Will Unquestionably Be Unless an Earthquake Swallows It,'" came out in the Summer 1971 issue.
"The Loss of an Old Friend [Botetourt County Courthouse Fire], by Patricia Hickin" appeared in the Winter 1972 issue.
After she left, "Yankees Come to Fairfax County, 1840-1850," appeared in the Winter of 1977.
Dust jacket of Fairfax County, a history, published in 1978
She was also asked to write a section of a new book on the history of Fairfax County, which was planned for the celebration of the Bicentennial of American independence. She enjoyed her research on the history of mid-nineteenth century Fairfax (she particularly enjoyed reading old issues of the excellent Alexandria Gazette and its comments on the depressed condition of the county ("a squirrel could travel from Alexandria to Leesburg without ever having to come out of a tree") and then driving up to the county to see its high rises, flourishing suburbs, and the like. The new book came out in the fall of 1978.
Upon leaving the library, she was offered three part-time jobs and, unable to decide which she wanted, she accepted all three. About this time, her father, whose health had deteriorated, entered the hospital for the last time. He died in February 1975, three months short of his 80th birthday. Over the next months she worked on the Fairfax history, quit two of her part-time jobs and accepted another, and -- in response to an ad in the paper -- began work as a "researcher in state records" for an out-of-state firm. At first it was an extra $50 a month, but when she sold the business eleven years later she had eight employees including herself. Paid for the next three wonderful years "not to compete," she returned to graduate school (this time at VCU) and traveled to Europe for seven weeks in the summer of 1987.
She had taken two especially interesting courses at VCU: "Van Gogh and God" and "D.H. Lawrence: the artist in his own time." Struck by the similarities between the two men, she wrote a paper comparing the two. A childhood friend went with her that summer to Europe. They flew to Luxembourg, rented a car and drove through eastern France and southern Germany on their way to Yugoslavia for 3 weeks (with a week-end trip to Istanbul, and a half-day taxi trip into Bursa in Asia). On their return from Yugoslavia, they drove through northern Italy to the French Mediterranean. Over the next few weeks, they toured places where Van Gogh and/or D.H. Lawrence had lived (in France, Belgium, and Holland), then Pat went to England for ten days to scout around places where Lawrence had lived or visited. This took her to the English Midlands, to Wales, and to Cornwall. She thoroughly enjoyed the entire trip and returned to the U.S. on July 4th.
By this time she had long since lost interest in the Virginia antislavery movement and she spent the next few years working in temporary jobs, doing volunteer work (primarily at Richmond Hill, an ecumenical retreat center) and enjoying life in general. In 1984 she sold her first house, which she had bought soon after moving to Richmond, and bought a second; nine years later she sold it and bought a condo. (In 1984 she was also tentatively diagnosed with what proved to be a mild case of multiple sclerosis.) In 1988 her mother moved to Richmond to live with her, and after several years to move into a nursing facility there. She died in 1996 at the age of 97 in Windsor Hall in Richmond, and in Jan 2001 Pat moved to Winchester to Shenandoah Valley Westminster Canterbury, a "continuing care retirement community." This is proving to be a most happy choice.
Pat has spent much of the last twenty or so years doing genealogical research, largely online, and has learned a host of intriguing things about her forebears--some of which you can learn about on this website.
Pat's DNA heritage.
I find some of these results rather surprising. The Rancs, who married into the Moomaw/Mumma family are supposed to have been from France, and I appear to have no French ancestry. Otherwise (except for William G. Rieley, who was Irish, my maternal ancestors are supposed to have been from Germany, many from the Palatinate, which is in the western part of the country, and my DNA shows no ancestors from western Germany. My father's people were all English and Scots-Irish, so those results seem OK.
Doing genealogy is so much fun. I was especially pleased when I found out about this ancestor, who was quite a gal-- Elizabeth Fones Winthrop Feake Hallett! The niece and daughter-in-law of Gov. John Winthrop of Massachusetts Bay Colony, she has had an excellent historical romance written abut her, The Winthrop Woman, by Anya Seton. The picture of her shown here, by the way, is purely imaginary.
For a larger, more readable version of the chart below, click here]
Chart showing line of descent from Adam Winthrop, father of Gov. John Winthrop, to Patricia Prickett Hickin
My father's maternal grandmother, who was a Beatie, was quite a character, and also a lover of the good Victorian novelists. As she aged, her eyesight grew dim and my father as a boy read to her for hours at a time. Consequently he developed a great love for Anthony Trollope, et al, and I'm intrigued by her and her family.
My mother's ancestors were all in Botetourt or Bedford county by 1800; my father's maternal line were all Scots-Irish in SW Virginia before the Revolution. My father's paternal line were English via New Jersey and on the Monongahela before the Revolution.
My father's paternal ancestors were real sure enough pioneers in the Monongaela country & there's a Prickett's Fort State Park not far from Morgantown.
Patricia Hickin's DNA has been tested for genealogical purposes. It may be possible to confirm family relationships by comparing test results with Patricia or other carriers of her ancestors' mitochondrial DNA.
Mitochondrial DNA test-takers in the direct maternal line:
Patricia (Prickett) Hickin:
Mitochondrial DNA Test HVR1 and HVR2, Mitosearch U2GUP
It is likely that these autosomal DNA test-takers will share DNA with Patricia:
Hi Patricia, I'm just checking if you are planning to be part of the Sandringham Strollers team for the Clean-a-Thon, or are you already set up with a different team for this challenge? Let me know if you haven't arranged another a team yet. We'd love to have you!
I’m Susie the new leader of the England Project. We are contacting all existing members of the project to find out how you are currently involved, and how you would like to be involved moving forward. Please have a look at the England Project page for more information, and then contact either myself or Gillian to let us know what you’d like to do, or if you have any questions. We can then list your interests, help you join the team in the Google group forum for England, and give you any help you might need to get going. If we don’t hear back from you we’ll assume you no longer want to be a part of the England Project at this time.
Many thanks and I look forward to hearing from you,
Patricia is 18 degrees from Charles Darwin, 17 degrees from Amelia Earhart, 20 degrees from Queen Elizabeth II Windsor and 22 degrees from Gilly Wood on our single family tree. Login to find your connection.