Josiah E. Hickman
He was the first to recognize the importance
of a Hickman family organization.
This picture, taken about 1900 is from Edwin Butterworth,
Brigham Young University: 1,000 Views of 100 Years, p.44
Josiah Edwin Hickman, educator and underwriter, was born at Salem, Utah, Aug. 3, 1862, son of George Washington and Lucy Ann (Haws) Hickman. His father, a physician and farmer, was a native of Missouri and of English ancestry. The son was educated at Brigham Young Academy (later Brigham Young University), Provo, Utah; the University of Michigan, where he was graduated A.B. in 1895, and at Columbia University, where he received an M.A. degree in 1907. For thirty-five years he taught school in Utah and Idaho, starting his teaching career at Provo in 1885. During 1888-92 he was principal of the Millard Stake (Latter-day Saints) Academy at Fillmore, Utah. After leaving the University of Michigan he was professor of education at Brigham Young College at Logan, Utah, for a year and then (1897) became principal of the Oneida L.D.S. Stake Academy at Preston, Idaho, remaining there until 1900, when he was made head of the physics department at Brigham Young University. After six years in this post he resigned in order to enter Columbia University. During 1907-11 he was principal of Murdock Academy at Beaver, Utah, and after another year at Columbia University he became head of the department of education at Brigham Young College at Logan and exchange professor at Utah State Agricultural College. He continued in these positions until 1920. During 1920-33 he was associated with the Pacific National Life Assurance Co. of Salt Lake City, except in 1926-27, when he represented the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as a missionary in California and in 1930-31 when he was engaged in research at Columbia University on the aborigines of America. Hickman was the author of the Romance of the Book of Mormon (1937) and of numerous religious pamphlets and articles and throughout his life lectured on religious and psychological subjects. For four years he was superintendent of the Utah Stake Young Men's Mutual Improvement Association. While in Idaho Hickman was a regent of the University of Idaho. He was married three times: (1) at Logan, Utah, Feb. 18, 1884 to Martha Ellen, daughter of Dr. David Rogers, of Provo; she died in 1900; (2) at El Paso del Norte, Mexico, June 7, 1890, to Martha, daughter of Robert Lawisch, of Salt Lake City; (3) in Salt Lake City, Jan. 21, 1902, to Helen, daughter of Peter Hanson, of Levan, Utah. By the first marriage, he had seven children: Fern, wife of Sheridan McGarry; Edwin Dee; Othello; Josiah Eugene; George Washington; Lavon, and Lorea Hickman, wife of Thomas Edward Brown. By the second marriage he had nine children: Leonidas Marion; Reginald Lawisch; Juanita, wife of Orral Tillison Whitehead; Radino Lawisch; Valko Lawisch; Rienna (died in infancy); Thorval Lawisch; Kyrmel Lawisch, and Marva Hickman, wife of Ellis Schow Hansen. By the third marriage, he had two sons, Felton and Myrthus Hickman (known under the screen name of Gordon Westcott). His death occurred at Logan, Utah, Oct. 5, 1937.
--The National Cyclopaedia of American Biography, Vol. 27, p.486
For members of the LDS Church, he filled the niche that is now occupied by the currently popular Hugh Nibley: he did extensive scholarly research to compare the findings of science with his personal religious beliefs. Three examples of this are provided below; click on the underlined text to read them:
Josiah wrote a book, which unfortunately was not published until after his death. It is described below:
New Volume Attests to Book of Mormon Divinity.
Another outstanding contribution to the literature on the Book of Mormon and its divine authenticity comes off the press in the form of a volume entitled "The Romance of the Book of Mormon" from the pen of the late Prof. Josiah E. Hickman, of the Brigham Young University faculty. The book was printed at the Deseret News Press.
Friends of Professor Hickman regard publication of the book as a benediction to a life of study, devotion to the Church and service to the community upon the part of the author, who died but a short time ago.
The subject matter of the 1937-38 adult and senior class topics for the M.I.A. [Mutual Improvement Association, an LDS Church youth group] was taken from this volume.
A wide and important phase of the Book of Mormon subject is covered in this book. Professor Hickman provides much interesting material upon the character of the witnesses to the Book of Mormon, and to the validity of their testimony, and shows the strength of their published statement they actually saw the plates from which the record was translated.
He discusses the ancient migrations to America before the Christian era, referring both to the Jaredite and Nephite movements. Much original matter comes to light in this book on the Hebrew origin of Indian traditions and beliefs.
He shows, for instance, that the Indians lived the Ten Commandments; that they had their sacred ark, that they had annual feast and sacrifice days similar to those of the Hebrews, that the Indian belief in immortality parallels that of the Hebrews; and he discusses the appearance of traces of both Egyptian and Hebrew languages in the various dialects of the American Indian. With this latter, several pages are devoted to direct comparisons, word for word, between Indian and Hebrew expressions.
Picture pages reproduce characters from Indian inscriptions discovered in various parts of Amercia, and they are put side by side with those taken from Book of Mormon plates to show how they correspond. Aztec codices are reproduced with full explanation, revealing a startling significance to students of the American scriptures. Chapters devoted to the question "Did the Messiah visit the American Continent?" are filled with much stimulating information.
The volume reveals a vast amount of study and research on the part of the author, and reflects the ability he has demonstrated during life as a student and teacher.
Professor Hickman held the principalship at various periods of Millard Stake Academy in Fillmore, the Murdock Academy in Beaver, and the Oneida Academy in Preston, Ida. He was head of the department of education, B.Y. College, Logan; exchange professor at the Utah State Agricultural College, Logan, and head of the physics department, Brigham Young University, Provo.
--Deseret News, Oct 30 1937.
If you're a Richardson, you may be interested to learn Josiah spoke at the funeral of his nephew, Shadrach Milton Richardson, my grandfather. Here is his diary entry describing the events of that day:
Nov. 9, 1927, Logan, Ut
It is a pleasant fall weather with rains and sun shine. It is most favorable to the farmers with their [sugar] beets.
I taught the H. Priest's quorum Mon. night. That evening I got a phone from Laura saying Milton Richardson, my sister Eunice's boy, was dead. He has been sick 2 yrs. With miner's consumption. He has been much afflicted for many years since he was kicked in the head & face by a horse. Yesterday morning (Tues.) at 7 A.M. I left for Spanish Fork to attend the funeral. I got there 15 min. before the funeral. On arriving I was asked to be one of the speakers. I was blessed in my address. I dwelt upon the eternity of existence of our lives. I pointed out that we existed eternities before we came and that we worked, strove, for intelligence, power & to prepare for this life and the lives to come. Then I showed what this life meant to us and the reality of the life to come. I also stated that we could not gain here all the intelligence we had there nor that we will ever know in this life how great we were there. We can with earnestness, ask our Father to give us the knowledge we had before we were born as Christ prayed before his crucifixion. I said that death gave the deepest meaning to life and that when our loved ones die we saw them grander than before, etc.
I went back to Provo and staid all night with Josephine & her family. . . .
I returned home this afternoon. I am going to the temple this evening. Later: I went to the temple with Martha tonight. We each did the work for one person.
--Josiah Edwin Hickman's Diary, Journal L, pp. 138-142
Josiah's son Edwin Dee Hickman served an LDS mission to Samoa in 1910. Edwin's granddaughter Karen Bush has created a website to share some of the postcards and letters he wrote home. If you would like to see them, click here. To read Josiah's obituary, click here. To read his autobiography, click here. Or a biography by his son Edwin Dee: click here. To read Josiah's testimony before a US Senate Committee in 1904, click here. To read Hickman family references in Josiah's journals, click here. To view Karen Bush's illustrated Hickman family site, click here. To learn more about Eunice Lettie Hickman, click here. To return to the Hickman Family Index page, click here.
Death Claims Prominent Utah Educator
Josiah E. Hickman Succumbs at Logan Residence
Tribune Intermountain Service
LOGAN---Josiah E. Hickman, 75, Utah and Idaho educator and business man, died at his home, 54 South Third West Street, early Wednesday, after a lingering illness.
He was born at Salem, August 3, 1862, a son of Dr. George W. and Lucy Ann Haws Hickman. For 35 years Mr. Hickman taught school in Utah and Idaho, starting his teaching career in Provo. From 1888 to 1894 he was principal of Millard L.D.S. stake academy, and for the next three years attended the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, where he received an A.B. degree in education. When he returned to Utah, he was appointed professor of education at Brigham Young college in Logan.
In 1898 he was principal of the Oneida L.D.S. stake academy at Preston, Idaho, where he remained for four years. He was made head of the physics department at Brigham Young university in 1902 and remained there for six years, leaving to attend Columbia university, where he received his master's degree in psychology and education. Returning again to Utah, he was made principal of Murdock academy at Beaver, remaining there until 1912, when he again entered Columbia university.
He returned to Logan and was head of the department of education at Brigham Young college here and exchange professor at Utah State Agricultural college. He taught at these two institutions until 1920, when he entered the insurance business, remaining until 1933, when his health broke, forcing him to retire.
Mr. Hickman wrote a book, "Romance of the Book of Mormon," which will be published this month. It has been accepted by the L.D.S. church Mutual Improvement association as the foundation of the 1937-38 adult manual. He was also a noted lecturer and writer.
He was married three times, first to Martha Ellen Rogers, who died in 1900; Helen Benedict, from whom he was separated, and Martha Lawisch Hickman, who survives him.
Besides his widow, he is survived by 15 sons and daughters: Mrs. Fern McGarry and J.E. Hickman Jr., Salt Lake City; Dee and Felton Hickman, Nevada; George W. Reginaid and K.L. Hickman and Mrs. Juanita Whitehead, California; Othello Hickman, Logan; Valko L. Hickman, Provo; Mrs. Marva Hansen, Paradise; Mrs. Lorea Brown, Wanship; Radino L. Hickman, Ogden; Thorval L. Hickman, Washington, D.C.; six brothers and sisters: Mrs. Annie Daniels, Logan; F.L. Hickman, Idaho; Mrs. Josephine Finlayson, G.F. and Laura Hickman, Salt Lake City; Mrs. Eunice Richardson, Benjamin; 51 grandchildren, and 11 great-grandchildren.
Funeral services will be conducted Saturday at 11 a.m., the place to be announced later. Interment will be in the family plot in Provo Burial park, under direction of Lindquist & Sons' mortuary.
--Salt Lake Tribune, Thu Oct 7 1937 p.8
Bishop Conducts Hickman Rites
LOGAN---Last rites for J.E. Hickman, civic and religious leader of Logan, were conducted Saturday in the First L.D.S. ward chapel.
Bishop D.J. Sutton was in charge of the services. Speakers were Melvin J. Ballard, member of the L.D.S. council of twelve apostles; William Worley, Cache county commissioner; Anthon E. Anderson, Logan L.D.S. stake president, and Nephi L. Morris.
Interment was in Provo city cemetery.
--Salt Lake Tribune, Sun Oct 10 1937 p.4-13
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