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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 1719. 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 third decade of the 17th century. On his maternal side the McConnells and the Beaties arrived in Pennsylvania in the first half of the eighteenth century and quickly migrated south to Virginia.
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 University of Cincinnati (1945-1946), 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 received a B.S. in Elementary Education and Social Science in 1950 and 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 Dependants' School at Croix Chapeaux, lived "on the economy" in nearby La Rochelle, bought a brand new white Ford Anglia for a $1000. With a variety of friends and an aunt she traveled as much as she could on weekends and holidays. She went to Carcasonne at Thanksgiving, to Italy over Christmas, Spain over Easter and in the summer of 1962 she took in Belgium, the Netherlands, Austria, England, Scotland, and Ireland. 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 in Richmond. Eager to get away from the cold New York winters, she happily accepted. But the soon found she did not like state bureaucracy. In November 1974, 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 (now the Library of Virginia), 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:
|Dust jacket of |
Fairfax County, a history,
published in 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 11 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). On their return, 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. 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 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, 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
Have you taken a DNA test for genealogy? If so, login to add it. If not, see our friends at Family Tree DNA.
On 8 Aug 2017 at 16:07 GMT Eowyn Langholf wrote:
|Patricia (Prickett) Hickin is a Wonderful WikiTreer.|
On 10 Jul 2017 at 21:48 GMT Abby (Brown) Glann wrote:
On 5 Jul 2017 at 13:18 GMT Robert Fallis Jr wrote:
On 25 Jun 2017 at 00:54 GMT Keith Hathaway wrote:
I'd like to invite you to join in the "Weekend Chat" on G2G Today!
Share personal successes, stories about ancestors, tips, projects you are working on, or anything else you wish.
New members stop in and say Hello, introduce yourself, share your story, or ask for help.
Pilots, Mentors, and Leaders of all kinds please add something... your advice is always greatly appreciated.
Hope to see you there!
On 14 Jun 2017 at 01:24 GMT Mary Richardson wrote:
On 13 Jun 2017 at 21:35 GMT Paula J wrote:
On 13 Jun 2017 at 21:34 GMT Paula J wrote:
On 3 May 2017 at 07:18 GMT Paula J wrote:
On 1 May 2017 at 02:37 GMT Liz (Noland) Shifflett wrote:
P.S. Please add virginia to your list of followed tags - you might also want to add us_history & southern_colonies.
On 25 Apr 2017 at 04:44 GMT Mel (Gilbert) Lambert wrote:
Just wanted to say thank you for the cleaning you during the Spring Clean-a-Thon. Virginia Spring Cleaners are the best. I hope you have a joy filled week