Isaac Hicks of Hicks Nurseries
If he had any notoriety, he began the "Hicks Nurseries" of Westbury, NY, the oldest family-owned business on Long Island.
|From the banner Hicks Nurseries website|
“Isaac, son of John D Hicks and Mary/Sarah Rushmore Hicks (grandson of Isaac and Sarah Hicks), founded the Hicks Nursery in 1853. Active in the Westbury (Friends) Monthly Meeting and other Quaker organizations.”
Isaac’s wife and my 3rd great grandmother was Mary Fry Willis (who will/is in Post #30).
Issac Hicks' Vitals:
Birth & Parents
Isaac Hicks (as was most of his family) was born, raised and died on Long Island, New York.
~He was born March 7, 1815 and he died March 13, 1900. **Hinshaw says he was born August 8, 1815 and died in 1898. I'm pretty confident Hinshaw's DOD is incorrect--read on.)
~His paternal grandfather was Isaac Hicks
~His parents were John Doughty Hicks [Sr] (1791-1829) and
Sarah R. Rushmore (1790-1893).
More about Sarah Rushmore in post #30.
~In 1836 Isaac Hicks married Mary Fry Willis (1817-1898), the daughter of John Willis & Mary W Kirby (more on Mary Fry Willis in post #30)
Their Children - Isaac and Mary Fry Willis had
~Gilbert Hicks 1838 – 1922
~Edward Hicks 1840 – 1920
~Marianna Hicks 27 Sep 1842-13 Aug 1915 m William E Hauxhurst/Hawxhurst
(Marianna Hicks & William E Hawxhurst are my 2nd great grandparents)
~William C Hicks 1845 – 1846
Earning a Livelihood - Hicks Nurseries
Isaac began as a farmer but founded what became "Hicks Nurseries." It's been said that he was entered fruit trees in the Queens County Fair and won a $10 prize and certificate for having the best twenty varieties of apples. I'm not sure if that's what led him to the business, but he obviously had a passion for trees.
The business was located on Jericho Turnpike, west of Post Avenue.
|Hicks Nurseries across from Old Westbury and the Hawxhurst Estate|
"Hicks and Son" grew quickly: the Hicks family worked hard, and it helped that the surrounding population of Westbury swelled greatly. That there were many wealthy estates on Long Island gave them the opportunity to capitalize on their market.
Their son Edward enhanced the business when he struck on a method of moving and replanting large trees by the end of the 1800s. Since then the family continued in the nursery business. Some of the estates serviced by Hicks Nurseries include: the Morgan, the Vanderbilit, the Whitney and the Phipps (now Old Westbury Gardens) as well as planting trees on John D Rockefellers estate in Pocantico Hills. And, it is the oldest family-owned business on Long Island, but it is also one of the oldest family-owned businesses in the US, but it is the oldest one on Long Island.
When my aunt Margaret (Mardy) was researching Long Island family, she took her mother --my grandmother--Elizabeth Tilton (Bertha Hawxhurst's daughter) to Hicks Nurseries. On her maternal side, all of Elizabeth's genealogical roots go back to Long Island to the 1600s.
Well, Elizabeth was tickled pink because she was treated her like a queen--after all, she was the founder's great granddaughter! Apparently the "family" part of "family-owned" business was still important. I'm glad she had that experience.
|Hicks Ad c1960s "The Hicks Homestead Westbury, LI, Built by Isaac Hicks 1838"|
It wasn't merely a business, I think Isaac Hicks was a devotee of trees. He wrote:
How does memory carry me back to those houses of Friends (Quakers), nestled near a piece of woods, showing a love of the beautiful and useful combined; and those noble trees that were of the primeval forest, when the country was settled…In Isaac’s poetic phrase the woods were “the beautiful and useful combined’ tells me he was a businessman who did it for love of the product!
There is something venerable and so conservative in these old trees around the meeting house that no lofty spire and no adornment of architecture can give. But all are not such.
Too many meeting houses stand out in bold relief, with no sheltering tree to beautify the lawn…But these trees, young men... will you not plant trees around your house of worship, and confer a lasting benefit to yourselves, meeting and the country?
....the time may come when you may enjoy their beauty and comfort of shade, and future generations bless the hands that planted the shade trees around your meeting house.
And Later, a "Weekend" Artist
I'm led to believe Isaac loved the outdoors. Collectors in my family had saved a few colored paintings of birds he made. Then someone scanned them-- and I have digital copies , The scanner scanned on the backs-"Red and White Warbler" is dated & initialed by Isaac, and the oriole painting is dated.
Isaac dabbled with painting when he was elderly and unoccupied with work. (Could this be where the artistic streak in my mother comes from?)
|"Warblers" by Isaac Hicks c. 1899|
|"Red & White Warbers 1900 I. H."|
|Isaac Hick photo from Hicks Nurseries website|