LETTERS

COMMONWEALTH OF MASSACHUSETTS, EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENT,

BOSTON, Aug. 18, 1880.

 THOMAS W. BICKNELL, ESQ., 16 Hawley Street, Boston:

DEAR SIR :— I am very much obliged for your kind invitation to attend the re-union of the Bicknell family, to be held at Weymouth on the twenty-second of September next. It comes at the same time with the agricultural fairs, one of which I have already engaged myself to attend, so that I shall be unable to join you. I cannot; however, let the occasion pass without sending my congratulations and best wishes for the occasion. In my native town of Buckfield, Maine, and in the adjoining towns, the name of Bicknell was one of the most frequent and estimable. Those who bore it were men of character and influence. One of them, my old friend Mr. William Bicknell, of Hartford, who I presume will be with you, has distinguished himself there by his pen, and his son, a merchant of Boston, has occupied public positions with credit There are many others, some of whom still remain in their native State, while the rest, with the push and enterprise characteristic of the family, are now busy in every walk of life in other States.

Please convey to my friends and acquaintances who will be present my kind regards, and my respect for the name they bear, and believe me,


HISTORIC GENEALOGICAL SOCIETY.
SOCIETY’S HOUSE, 18 SOMERSET STREET,

BOSTON, MASS., Sept. 9, 1880.

MY DEAR SIR :—Your kind invitation to attend the Bicknell Family Association meeting on the 22d is in hand. Gladly would I accept it, did circumstances permit. There is, in addition to physical inability, the fact that I shall on that day attain to my eighty-second year of life, and cannot leave home.

I beg, however, to assure you that I feel a lively interest in everything that pertains to the treasuring up and perpetuation of the history and genealogy of our New England families. In nothing is the Divine benevolence more fully illustrated than by those ties of fraternal love which bind the family circle together. It is, therefore, a sacred duty ‘to preserve the genealogy of the Bicknell family, and in this effort I bid you God speed. I know of no more pleasant duty to any one who has any regard for his ancestry, than to record the incidents and history of their lives and their relatives. Next to the training of the spirit for the Life Eternal, there can be no more noble service than to treasure up and perpetuate a record of the principles and deeds of our fathers, who have transmitted to us the rich inheritance which we now enjoy.

HON. THOS. W. BICKNELL,

President of the Bicknell Family Association.


STATE OF RHODE ISLAND, EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENT,

 PAWTUCKET, Aug. 16, 1880.

HON. THOS. W. BICKNELL,

MY DEAR SIR :—I have your kind note of the 12th inst. It would give me pleasure to join you in your re-union at the time and place named. I shall endeavor to do so. If I am not present it will be on account of other engagements already made for that week, or press of business. Can tell later. Thanking you for the invitation,


MUNROE, ADAMS Co., IND., Sept. 14, 1880.

 TO THE SECRETARY OF THE BICKNELL FAMILY GATHERING:

DEAR BROTHER AND RELATIVES :— I received the invitation to attend your gathering too late to get ready in time. But the main trouble is, I am a poor Methodist preacher, and have a wife and five beautiful, sweet and intelligent young Bicknells to support, and it takes about all my salary to support them. I am truly glad to know that I have so many illustrious connection. I should like so much to be with you at your gathering. I am the youngest child of thirteen. My father and mother were born and raised in North Cnrolina, and remained there after they were married until they had nine children; they then moved to Indiana in the year 1838, where we have since lived. My father died in the city of Indianapolis in 1876. He never had a spell of sickness in his life, except the sickness at his death, which was only twelve hours before he died. My mother is still living; she is seventy-eight years old. Five of our family are dead. I have a brother, Rev. L. W. Bicknell, a Baptist minister. Quite a number of our connection are in Vincennes and Sullivan, Ind., Bicknell’s Point, Ill., and in the South. I never heard of a Bicknell being arrested, put in jail or prison in my life. I never knew a Bicknell that was an infidel, and I hope I never may.

Although my grandfather owned a distillery in North Carolina, and my father was raised in a still-house, almost; yet I never heard of, nor saw a Bicknell that was a drunkard. Samuel Bicknell was my grandfather’s name. He owned a large plantation in North Carolina and a large number of slaves. Both of my grandfathers were in the Revolutionary war. My father’s name was Lewis T. I have an uncle in the South somewhere, by the name of Larkin Bicknell. The Bicknells of our branch are a prolific people. All that I ever knew had large families. Well, I don’t know but what the Lord might just as well people this world with Bicknells as anybody else. Oh! I should like to be with you so much. It would do me good every way; but I am one of your poor connections and am not able to come. But I hope that we may all meet in that beautiful city, in that better country, where we shall join in one grand and glorious re-union that shall never end.


STANWIX, ONEIDA COUNTY, N. Y., Sept 15, 1880.

ALFRED BICKNELL, ESQ., CORRESPONDING SECRETARY, ETC.:

DEAR SIR :— My brother James, the elder, requests me to inform you that your favor of September 10, kindly inviting him to write a letter to be read at the Bicknell family re-union, is received. He says he should be very happy to grant the request, but in consequence of a trembling of the hand, it is quite difficult for him to write, therefore he wishes to be excused; he would be highly gratified to meet with you in your re-union, but age and infirmity are in the way; his good will and prayers are for the success of your gathering.

MOSES W. BICKNELL.

 OUR AGES.— I was eighty-three the second of this month, September. Brother James, if he lives to see the twenty-third of October next, will be eighty-five. M. W. B.


ROWE, MASS., Sept. 13 1880.

 

TO THE HONORABLE RACE OF BICKNELLS:

DEAR KINSMEN :— I have been invited to be with you in your gathering upon the ancestral grounds of Weymouth. Am sorry not to be able to meet you there, but previous arrangements prevent.

It is gratifying to me that the interest in our numerous family has made this move. If the American Republic understands itself it will henceforth give full recognition to this branch of its constituency. As to our corporate and individual standing, I believe the B’s are an industrious and respectable race; outside of jails and poor-houses, at this present writing, I hear of no drones—no one held in durance vile. I think you will find yourselves when assembled upon our very great-grandfather Zach’s estate, a very creditable swarm of B’s; and so no doubt do our uncles, our aunts, sisters and cousins, all feel the same.

Are we not proud of our ancestry who were, I hear, Norwegian pirates? While everybody in the early times of European sojourn committed depredations upon his neighbor, other people’s forefathers skulking behind trees and ignobly never losing sight of land, our progenitors launched boldly and manfully out upon the broad ocean. But why need I say this? Your our historian, Quincy Bicknell, and our poet, Mrs. Bicknell Ames, will speak and sing what praises are in all modesty our due.

The writer of this would at any time be glad to see any of our tribe at his home in Western Massachusetts get off at Zoar on the Hoosac Tunnel Railroad, inquire for Rowe. This place is one of the Switzerlands of America,— scenery very fine in summer.

I hope Rev. K. A. Wyman, Ph. D., will be present to speak for our branch of the family.


BRICK CHURCH, E. ORANGE, N. J., Sept. 1, 1880.

MR. T. W. BICKNELL:

MY DEAR SIR :—Yesterday I received your circular giving notice of the proposed Bicknell Re-union, at Weymouth, Mass.

I am not certain that I can lay claim to a place in your Association, as I am not a direct descendant of Zachary, but most certainly I am from one branch of the Bicknell family, and am quite convinced that we are from the same respectable old stock.

I well remember, when a boy, hearing my grandfather (Wm. Bicknell) tell of a visit he had made to Taunton, Somersetshire, for the purpose of tracing the pedigree of the family. After his death in 1825, I saw and read the account in his own handwriting.
* * * * *
He found by searching the Parish Church records, that a branch of the family (probably Zachary Bicknell) had emigrated to America soon after its first settlement.
* * * * *
My great-grandfather, John Bicknell, was a native of Taunton, but settled in London early in life.
* * * * *
You are at liberty to make what use you please of the account herewith.

You will please present my affectionate regards to every member of our numerous family, and believe me,

DAVID BICKNELL.


BRICK CHURCH, E. ORANGE, N. J., Sept. 7, 1880.

MR. T. W. BICKNELL:

 

MY DEAR SIR :—Many thanks for your prompt and very kind acknowledgment of my letter, addressed to the Secretary of your Association, A. Bicknell, Esq.

As I expect to start in a new business this month in New York, I may not be able to attend the Re-union and in the event of my not being there I will forward to your address, by the 15th inst., the picture of my dear, old grandfather (Wm. Bicknell) and his two sons, my father (W. J.) and my uncle (Elhanan). The latter was an opulent oil merchant of London. I copy the following from "Cooper’s Biographical Dictionary":

BICKNELL, ELHANAN,

A great patron of Art, died at his residence on Herne Hill, Cumberwell, Nov. 27, 1861. He was engaged in commercial pursuit, and the personal property left at his decease was sworn at Doctors Commons as under 350,000. The wealth which he acquired was liberally, judiciously, and unostentatiously spent, not upon himself alone (for even the beautiful specimens of Art which enriched his mansion were freely open to others besides his personal friends), but in doing good to those who stood in need of help.

There is another fact connected with my family which I omitted in my last letter. My grandfather, after being at Mr. Wesley’s School at Kingswood, was removed to St. Savior’s grammar school, founded by Queen Elizabeth. At that school he met a boy bearing his name, William Bicknell, and they became great friends, but could never trace any relationship. When my grandfather sold out his business in Blackman street, Southwark, it was to his old schoolmate, William Bicknell, second.

I think the Bicknells can show a good record for respectability.

DAVID BICKNELL.


HARTFORD, ME ., Sept. 16, 1880

COUSIN ALFRED BICKNELL :—The following is at your disposal.

If the oldest living great-grandson (by the name of Bicknell) of Nathaniel Bicknell and the oldest grandson of Col. Luke Bicknell (by the name of Bicknell) and the oldest son of William Bicknell entitle me Patriarch of this branch of the Bicknell family, then I accept the title, and when an invitation from you, to be present at a Bicknell meeting at Weymouth in September, my heart was filled with joy, for I had long seen, by a prophetic eye, that the Bicknell blood, coursing in the veins of live Bicknells, would have such a meeting. But the mature judgment of seventy-seven years, and the counsel of her, whom I have lived with in married life fifty-two years this month, said, "You must let well enough alone," eclipses all my long cherished anticipations of being present in body. If the mind be strong, it cannot carry the lame tenement to the long wished for Association. Shall I give a brief statement of my three named ancestors, including their wives?

Nathaniel died at Abington, Mass., at the age of seventy-nine, in 1804, the year I made my first appearance at Hanover street, Boston, in a select party consisting -of my mother and her assistants — mother at the age of twenty years. Luke died on the farm on which he was born in 1814, at — the age of sixty-five, while holding the office of clerk of Abington. I, a child of ten years, knew him but to love grandfather, one whom the town and church delighted to honor. William died at Turner, Me., 1841, aged sixty years, after filling offices of trust in Turner and Hartford. I stood, as a father, beside his death-bed, and heard him say, " William, I shall pass to that immortal shore where all is blessed, where all will sing redeemed by Love."

I knew my great-grandmother, Elizabeth Lincoln Bicknell; she died at Abington, 1822, aged ninety-four years: I was long acquainted with my grandmother, Olive Gurney Bicknell, "truly a mother in Israel." She died at Hartford, Me., a pensioner in 1845, at the age of ninety-five years. She and her husband, worthy members of Center Church, Abington, near where they reared a family of eight to manhood. My mother, Martha Bosson, married my father in 1808, at Boston, died at her youngest daughter’s, Mrs. Joseph F. Paul, Boston, February, 1879, at the age of ninety-five, expressing a desire to depart from earth-life to that immortal state where the goodbye is never known. I bid mother goodbye in 1878, believing we should never meet again in earth-life. I received a farewell blessing at the age of nearly seventy-six from a mother who was twenty years my senior in age.

From my residence in Hartford, Me., her remains, accompanied by my sister Mrs. Paul, her son George, at the age of twenty, an infant when his grandmother made his home her home, were interred at Turner, Me., beside my father, her first husband, after an address by Rev. Mr. French, of that town. I saw, on that day I left mother at J. F. Paul’s, at the same time, on a flight of stairs leading to the dining-room, four generations, mother, oldest son, grandson and great-grandchild,— a rare sight for a son to see at seventy five years. I was well acquainted with my father’s brothers and sisters, their wives and husbands and children. Captain Nathaniel, grandfather of Rev. G. W. Bicknell, died 1872, aged ninety-five years; married Elizabeth Ramsdell; of eight children, only one living. Noah died 1872, aged eighty-nine years; married Nancy Brown; of eight children, James, Alfred and Deborah, Mrs. H. W. Noyes, are living. Luke died 1870, aged eighty-three years; married Deborah Corbett; of five children I knew, Luke and Angeline are living. James died 1862; aged seventy-two years; married Rebecca Bates, Siesta Howard, Sophia Willey; of two sons by the first wife, Henry is living. Elizabeth died 1853, aged seventy-seven years; married Robert Bates of Weymouth; children are living Capt. James H., aged eighty years, one of the best boot makers ever in Weymouth on face stitch work; Robert, aged seventy-eight years. Rebecca died 1847, aged fifty-five years; married Josiah Cushman; of four children William is living. Robert Bates, Henry Bicknell and William Cushman voted in the same ballot box on the 13th that my son Henry A. and I did.

I would not forget my family of five children, four are living. William E., our first born, must speak for himself. Julia C. married Melvander G. Forbes, died at Buckfield, Me., 1870, married 1854, leaving two daughters who were sophomores at Bates College, both teaching the second terms in Hartford this season, youngest will soon return to college. Henry Augustus married Miss Abbie M. Mason, of Buckfield, Me., whom we live with on the old homestead. Hattie Augusta, twin mate of Henry A., married William L. Morrill of Buckfield. Both were married 1874 by Rev. Mr. Munson. Rachel died 1853, aged seventy-three years; married Capt. John Noyes; of children, John, Luke, Nathaniel and Holland W. are living.

I received a card on the evening of the 15th from Hon. T. W. Bicknell, saying he would be pleased to receive a letter from me in prose or verse. I send an article, "What is Life?" If it is worthy of the occasion and not egotism in me I should like to have it read by my grandson, Edward Bicknell.

My limited time to comply with your request must be an excuse for errors.

WILLIAM BICKNELL.


TO THE BICKNELL FAMILY ASSOCIATION: GREETING:

Members of our family wishing to be represented at the great family gathering, request me to send this brief communication.

Otis, the sixth from Zachary, with Molly Stoddard his wife, removed from Abington about the year 1791, to Dalton, Berkshire County, Mass. They raised nine children. The five boys early imbibed radical temperance and anti-slavery principles. The oldest, James Bicknell, my father, believes he raised the first barn in Berkshire County, that was raised without rum. He is still living, active and sprightly, though past his fourscore; still interested in politics and in religion, for he has always linked the two together. His life has been a very useful one. He wishes to be remembered at your great feast and we all regret our inability to be present. -

With great respect for the family name and all who honor it, I remain,