Thomas Jefferson Hickman

   A son of Edwin Temple and Elizabeth Adams Hickman,  he was born in Randolph County Missouri 26 May 1832.  On 12 November 1850 he married Margaret Allen in Adair County, Missouri, and moved to Macon County, Missouri.  In 1857 he started a trip with his brother George to California, but was captured by Federal troops, and spent a number of weeks carrying messages between Mormon leader Brigham Young and U.S. Army officials.  After the war he returned to Missouri, then in 1859 with five brothers, Easom, Martin, Warren, and two of the following: James, Josiah, or William--he joined the Pike's Peak gold rush to Colorado.  He doesn't seem to have been inclined to stay in one place for long, as can be observed as you read the following summary of his life, published in 1881.  Additional clues are to be found in the birthplaces of his children.

  "Thomas J. Hickman came to Bent County, Colo., in 1873.  He was born in Randolph County, Mo., in May, 1832, where he lived the first eighteen years of his life.  Then he moved with his father to Macon County.  He received his education from the ungraded common schools prevalent in that part of that country.  After locating in Macon County, he divided his time between the farm and store which his father owned until 1856.  In 1857, having spent a few months in Adair County, he went to Salt Lake, where he resided but a short time.  After a trip back to Macon County, he again made a journey across the plains, and became one of Denver's "fifty-niners."  But even Denver had not sufficient attractions to hold him, and Missouri became once more his stamping-ground.  After serving in the Confederate army from 1861 to 1864, he went to Plattsmouth, Neb., but remained there only a year.  Atchison, Kan., claimed him for a citizen from 1865 to 1869, when he commenced selling goods for himself in Platte City, Mo., remaining there until 1873.  Leaving Platte City, he came immediately to Las Animas, and received the appointment of Sheriff for Bent County from the County Commissioners, to fill an unexpired term of Sheriff Spiers, who had resigned.  Having given entire satisfaction in the performance of his official duties, he has since been twice elected to the office at general elections.  March 11, 1881, he received a severe injury in a railroad accident on the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe road, which will necessitate his resigning the office of Sheriff.  Mr. Hickman enjoys the respect and confidence of his fellow-citizens."

--O.L. Baskin & Co., History of the Arkansas Valley, Colorado, 1881, p.866.
Click here to see the book.

  In the 1880s Hubert Howe Bancroft had scores of his employees scouring the west to collect information for use in his landmark series of books of Western history.  One of them collected the following statement; to my knowledge none of it was used in the histories, but it was preserved for us in the Bancroft Collections at Berkeley:

Dictation taken from Hon. T.J. Hickman
West Las Animas,
August 19th 1886.

  Born in Randolph County, Missouri,  May 26th 1832.

  Left in 1857, went to Salt Lake and then to Denver in 1859.  In 1861 he went back to his native state and being the son of a wealthy planter and slave holder he naturally took sides with the South and entered the Rebel army.  For valient service Mr. Hickman was promoted to Captain and served faithfully during that great struggle.  He is of the Democratic faith although some of his very warmest friends are of the other party.  Being a man of positive convictions he naturally wins all who admire an honest, honorable course independent of political trickery.  He is nearly always a delegate to State Conventions and has repeatedly cast the entire vote of the county, thus showing the conficence the people have in him.  His Grandfather's brother, General Hickman was on Washington's Staff, an event of which Mr. Hickman feels some pride.  He says there is no North or South now except by points of compass.  We are one people, ready to go and lick Old Mexico at a moment's warning.

  Object in coming to Colorado was for health and to engage in cattle business.  After the war he went to Platte City, Nebraska and engaged in merchantizing, the confinement of which brought <p.2> on disease which made it necessary to go to some other climate.  His health has fully recovered.

  In 1877 he was serving as Under Sheriff, and Mr. Spiers, then Sheriff, resigning, he was appointed by the County Commissioners to fill the vacancy.  Afterwards he was twice elected to that office.  At that time there was not a town incorporated in the county and Mr. Hickman was virtually police, marshal and Sheriff for the county.  There was a terribly rough element in the county at that time, and there was great danger to an officer.

  A number of men were killed by desperadoes and their capture was effected with great danger of losing life.  He was very successful however, and always got his man without much difficulty.

  Mr. Hickman is very enthusiastic on the subject of irrigation, regarding it a perfect success in every particular.  He thinks this entire country will eventually become a perfect network of ditches.  The country is one of the most fertile he ever saw, producing in abundance everything that can be raised anywhere.  He expects to see the day when the entire portion of irrigable land will be found by an intelligent class of farmers and with greater success than in any other <p.3> country he ever saw.

Government System [Homesteading?].
  He is strongly in favor of such a system, and says he has studied that subject a great deal and knows that the land made salable by such a system will doubly pay for putting the ditches through.  He is willing to take the land and put all the ditches through [as] necessary.  Alfalfa is the great product of this country, because it makes such an abundance of feed.  Many pieces yielding from 6 to ten tons per acre.  This feed to cattle will yield from $60 to $100 per acre.

Offices Filled.
  Deputy Sheriff for 2 years, Sheriff for 5 1/2  years and County Treasurer for 5 years and still serving in that capacity.  Office pays about $5500 per year.

  Hon. T.J. Hickman stands very high in this county.  He is the recognized political leader of this county, and is never behind in all enterprises which tend toward the public good.  He has been closely identified with the interests of this county for several years and has gained the full confidence and esteem of the entire community.  He is absolutely reliable and his dictation is worthy of acceptation.

Yours Truly,
J.R.C., Sec.

--University of Utah, Marriott Library Special Collections,
Ms. 584, Hope Hilton Papers, Box 2 Folder 3.

This is a copy from a manuscript Hope A. Hilton found at the
Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley, California.

Thomas and Margaret were the parents of ten children whose names and birthdates follow:

  1  James M., b. 15 Oct 1851
  2  Alexander C., b. 13 May 1854, Adair County, Missouri, d. 1926 , Rochester, Minn. (Mayo Clinic)
  3  John T., b. 24 Feb 1856
  4  Martha Belle, b. 16 Sep 1858
5  Susan Davis, b. 26 Jan 1862;
  6  Lucy B., b. 4 Apr 1864, Missouri
  7  Mary E., b. 12 Apr 1866, Kansas
8  Edwin (twin), b. 18 Nov 1868
  9  Benjamin (twin), b. 18 Nov 1868
10  Sharp Frost, b. 1871, Missouri

Further information on the descendants of their second child, Alexander, may be viewed by clicking here.  The 1885 USA Census for Las Anamus is the last record we have on him.  At that time he was living with wife Maggie [Margaret Allen] and one son and one daughter.  We have no record of his later life and death.  If anyone has any further information, we'd be pleased to add it.  Please contact me.

Adapted from Hope Hilton, Edwin and Elender Webber Hickman, 3rd Ed. 1978, p. 85B
Additional information provided by Angela Hickman,  15 Apr 2002


We don't yet know if the Thomas Hickman mentioned in the following article is the same person:

Bold Burglary and Robbery in S.L. City

  On Saturday night a room in Mrs. Lee's Boarding House, occupied by Thomas Hickman, John Hill and others, recently from the mines, was entered or at least robbed of a large sum of money.  Hickman and Hill lately arrived here, having been engaged in teaming between the City and Reese river.  Their room was on the ground floor and the window was not fastened.  Immediately under the window the unfortunates left their pants lying on a trunk.  In the morning they found the window partly opened and their clothing rifled of its contents.  Hickman lost $266, and Hill $35.  As this was about all the money these men had it is a peculiarly hard case, but we learn that the officers are on the track of the vagabond who stole the money, and there is little doubt will be able to make him refund, and we hope punish him for his villainy.
    --Daily Union Vedette, Tues Jan 26 1864


  In her biography of William A. Hickman, "Wild Bill" Hickman and the Mormon Frontier, Hope Hilton claims that

  "In 1879, Hickman's nephew, Warren E. Hickman, published a thinly fictionalized account of his uncle's career, which claimed that Hickman led a large gang whose activities spread from "Utah to eastern Colorado, with links to central Kansas gangs."  He describes Hickman as "a hard, reckless, daring spirit, who at 18 years of age crossed the plains with Brigham Young . . . and became the famous 'Danite Chief,' the military leader of the Mormon Church."  (In reality, Hickman had joined the Mormon church at age twenty-one and was thirty four when he crossed the plains.)
  "No other source hints that Hickman's activities extended into central Colorado and Kansas.  But he may have traveled there when U.S. Marshals were pursuing him.  He was evidently absent from Taylorsville from September 1859 until Christmas.  According to Warren's book, the Hickman brothers were at the Colorado gold diggings when their youngest brother, Martin, was killed by a claim-jumper.  The next day, the story continues, two of the brothers found the guilty man and "did him in the same."  Warren claims that the brothers "all took a leading part in the development of Colorado, with one brother still living in Bent County, in 1879."  Thomas Jefferson Hickman moved to Bent County after leaving Utah in 1869.  In 1877 he was appointed county sheriff, his earlier wild days mostly forgotten.

  How many Hickmans were present at the Pike's Peak gold rush in 1859, or contributed significantly to the development of Colorado, is unknown.  Warren Hickman's story shows them to be rough, short-tempered trigger-happy fortune hunters.  wherever Bill Hickman was in 1859, he was back in Salt Lake City by Christmas, when he was shot by Lott Huntington and almost killed.

--Hope Hilton, "Wild Bill" Hickman and the Mormon Frontier, pp.87-88.

  Though some of the facts in Warren's book were wrong, in reality only the names were fictionalized.  And the Hickmans (Staffords) in Warren's story were not the bandits, they were chasing the bandits.  Thomas Jefferson Hickman had a son named Edwin Hickman, born in 1868, but the book quoted below was written by a son of his brother Easom Sharp Hickman, Warren Edwin Hickman, born in 1861.  Now you can begin to see how tricky Hickman family history can get.

  There is a mention of this book in Josiah Edwin Hickman's diary:

May 31, 1925... I have recd. two replies to my letters in trying to get contact with some of the Hickmans whose names I found. Warren Edwin Hickman is at Wiley, Colo. He is a Dr. He has written a Bk on "an Echo from the Past." It is founded on his experience & that of the Hickmans in that section of the country. The main characters are Jeff Hickman (my uncle) & his family.

  The Special Collections Division of the Brigham Young University Library has a copy of An Echo From the Past, which has 179 pages.  On 4 May 2002 we made a trip to Provo to look at it.  The book is in very good condition, but is a paperback, and bound similar to modern paperback books so that photocopying would probably cause breaking of the spine and pages to come loose.  The first few pages were copied out by hand, and then typed below. I believe this is an accurate retelling of actual historical events, but to make things interesting for us Hickmans, he's changed the names.  When you encounter "Edward Stafford", you should substitute the name of the book's author, Warren Hickman; his uncle "John Stafford" is of course our Thomas Jefferson Hickman.  Apart from the name problems, the rest of Warren's family history seems to have been carried over intact, and should be studied carefully.  Few living Hickmans can rattle off the history of their family off the top of their head the way Edwin does here.

An Echo From the Past:
A Firsthand Narration of Events of the Early
History of the Arkansas Valley of Colorado.

by Dr. Warren Edwin Hickman

Denver:  The Western Newspaper Union, 1914.


Preface by the Author

  This is a story of a young student, who, having overworked himself in one of the eastern colleges, came west in the spring of 1879 and spent one year among the cattlemen of eastern Colorado.  This was in the days when the bandit flourished, the cattle rustler plied his trade and the horse thief was in his glory, and it chanced to be the very year in which the cattlemen organized for the purpose of exterminating these three classes of marauders.  Many of the thrilling incidents which transpired during that eventful year will be remembered by old-timers of that locality, for this story is in the greater part a true one.  Its characters are all real characters and can be readily recognized by people familiar with those times, though their real names are not used.  The nicknames used are real, and familiar titles.  "Iola," the Cheyenne princess; "Peg Leg," the notorious bandit chief; "Comanche Ike" and "Little Bill" were real characters and more widely and familiarly known than any others upon the plains in those days.  A more correct picture of life upon the plains in an early day could not be drawn than you will find depicted here.

Chapter 1

  On a bright sunny morning in May, 1879 a young man stepped from a train in Las Animas, a county seat town in eastern Colorado.  He was apparently about 21 years of age.  He was of medium height, and possessed a well-built, erect frame, which carried but little flesh, and his pale, thin face showed the effect of long weeks and months of indoor work.  As he stepped from the train he was greatly pleased with the beauty of the scene around him.  Not a cloud was in the sky, and so far as the eye could reach on every side was one grand billowy plain, while in every direction could be seen herds of grazing cattle and horses; and over all the golden morning sun was casting its glittering sheen of glory, while the pale green and brown of the earth beneath seemed to reflect their beauty to the azure blue above.

  Though beautiful the scene around him, he had time for only a glance, there were other things in store for him.  Walking to the end of the platform he saw that the town in which he had alighted was not large, and was built around a vacant square.  It required only a glance to detect that something unusual was transpiring in the town this morning, for within this vacant square around which the town<p.8> was built, were collected some forty or fifty horsemen, dressed in cattlemen's garb, all apparently making preparations for a journey, and judging from the nature of the preparations, it was not to be a peaceful journey.  A Winchester was swung to every saddle, a pair of six-shooters carefully loaded and pushed into the belt, and the belt filled with cartridges, while extra boxes of cartridges were placed within the holsters, and a sack containing a little grain and some provisions was tied behind each saddle.

  As Edward gazed upon this throng he felt his bosom heave and a longing take possession of him to be one of their number.  He felt that he had suddenly awakened to find himself in his own element, Stafford, fresh from college in the east, where his own zeal and ambition to be at his head of the classes had caused him to leave school six weeks before his efforts would have been crowned with graduation.  And why should this not cause Edward Stafford to swell with pride and long to be one of their number?  'Tis true that this was his first trip to the West, but his people for generations back, though an educated people, had always crowded right upon the heels of the Indian, and had always lived far out upon the border, and in many instances they had helped to hustle the Indian toward the setting sun.  His great grandfather had settled in Kentucky while that state was yet a territory, helping to organize the state, one of the counties and the county seat receiving his name.  His grandfather had emigrated to Missouri in 1810 and settled on a claim adjoining that of Daniel Boone.  His own father, while teaching school in Mississippi, married the daughter of an aristocratic Southern planter and moved to Iowa while that state was yet in its infancy.  His father's oldest brother, a hardy, reckless, daring spirit, then but 18 years of age, crossed the plains with Brigham Young at the time the Mormons left Nauvoo, and became the famous Danite Chief, the military leader of the Mormon church.  In the year 1859, when the gold excitement around Pike's Peak was thrilling the country, his father, with five brothers, crossed the plains with an ox team and took a leading part in the development of that country, one of those brothers now sleeping on the sunny slope of Pike's Peak as a result of a battle with claim-jumpers, while another one of those brothers, his uncle John Stafford,<p.9> was now living in the town in which he had just alighted.  This uncle had for years filled the office of sheriff in this, the largest and roughest county in the state (for Bent county at that time included the four counties now surrounding it), but having become too old to fill that office properly, he was now filling the office of treasurer.  So with this line of ancestry back of him, was it any wonder that Edward Stafford felt that he had just been cast among his own.  In fact, his father had begotten him when he was fresh from just such scenes, and how could he help imparting to the child the love of such a life.

  With a sound constitution and hardihood inherited from his father, the aristocratic bearing of his mother and a liberal college education, Edward Stafford was fitted to fill any position.  All he lacked was the flesh and tone that outdoor life would give.  He was a thorough horseman, a good shot and a lover of sport.

  But, before we pass to scenes of action, we had better make the reader acquainted with the family of his uncle John Stafford, who is now coming across the street to meet him.  John Stafford had four children, two boys and two girls, all of whom had left him except his baby girl, Kate, and she being a fine-looking buxom young lady of 18, Edward is looking forward with pleasure to many pleasant days spent in her company.  His oldest boy, Jack, is the black sheep of the family.  A bright, intelligent fellow, almost a Samson in strength, but a reckless, daring "hail fellow, well met."  He travels from town to town, putting in his time drinking, gambling and carousing, and like the trained bulldog, is always ready for a fight.  The second boy, Joe, is married and living in La Junta, a town in the west side of the county, where he runs a saloon in the basement of the one pretentious building in the town.  Unlike his brother Jack, he is a sober, quiet, thoughtful man, always attending strictly to his own business, but those who know him best classed him as one of the most dangerous men of their acquaintance.  Quiet and peaceable and never hunting trouble, but always ready to resent the slightest insult in the most deadly way, Jo. Stafford is a man to be feared.  The other daughter is married to a man by the name of Ben Adams, the owner of a large horse ranch a few miles south of the county seat.  Ben was also deputy sheriff, and he, in connection with the present <p.10> sheriff, Watson (or "Wat," as he was familiarly termed), were organizing the posse that was now forming in the vacant square. . . .

The adventure begins, but I had to stop copying here.  Too bad.  We'll have to wait until later to learn about his adventures with both the bandits and the buxom cousin.


To learn of Thomas' adventures during the Utah War of 1857-58, click here.
To see his family listed on the 1880 Bent County, Colorado US Census, click here.
For a detailed history of Bent County, Colorado (with biographies), click here.
To see a map of modern Las Animas, Colorado, click here.
To contact Angela Hickman, a descendant of Thomas, click here.
To learn more about Hope Hilton, click here.
To return to the Hickman Family index page, click here.

The family of Alexander C. Hickman:

  2.  Alexander C., b. 13 May 1854, Adair County, Missouri, d. 1926 , Rochester, Minn. (Mayo Clinic)
           Married Nellie Vaughn, about 1878 in Colorado
                    1 Margaret, b. ? Feb 1879
                    2 Susan Brownie, b. 4 Jan 1881
                    3 Nellie Estel, b. 17 Mar 1887
                    4 Edward Raymond, b. 27 Apr 1895
                    5 Mace, b. ? Sep 1898

The family of Edward Raymond Hickman:

                    2.4 Edward Raymond, b. 27 Apr 1895
                                Married Marcellina Shaner 17 Apr 1922, Los Angeles, California
                                         1  Edward Alexander b. 2 Feb 1923
                                         2  Wesley, b. 21 Jan 1925
                                         3  Margie Wondera, b, 14 Oct 1927

The family of Wesley Hickman:

                                                     2.4.2  Wesley, b. 21 Jan 1925, killed in a logging accident at age 33.
                                                                   Married  Marion St. Clair 23 Apr 1944, Eugene, Oregon
                                                                            1  Sharon Fay b. 18 Nov 1946
                                                                            2  Margaret Ann b. 22 Jul 1948
                                                                            3  Rian Lance . 23  ???  1952
                                                                            4  Kevin Avery b. 22 Mar 1956

To return to the top of this page, click here.