Thomas Hickling and our Portugese Relatives

Continuing our look at the colonial forebears of the Lawrence family, we come to Thomas Hickling, the U.S. Vice Consul in the Azores during  the late 18th and very early  19th century.

(Hickling was also William Hickling Prescott’s maternal grandfather, and – obviously – the source of the historian’s middle name. It’s worth  noting that when the young William H. Prescott was recuperating from his eye injury at Harvard, he went on an extended tour of the world, and stopped to see his grandfather, still living, in the Azores. There he would have met his Portuguese cousins.)

The following is from an Ivens family genealogy site, accessed in the mid-1990s, and which sadly is now a dead link. It appears, though, that either the same author, or a family member connected to that author, has continued the site at a new URL.

(The text below has been lightly edited for clarity.)


There is a register of the Hickling family in the first English national census of the population in 1273, but unfortunately it was impossible for us to establish any direct relation (that is believed to exist) between the names in that register and the one of William Hickling (1704-1781 ) born at Sutton Bonington, Nottinghamshire, who emigrated to Boston in North America in 1730 where he worked as a shipwright.

In 1734, he married Sarah Sale (1714-1782), great-great-granddaughter of the Elder Thomas Leverett (1585-1650 ) who emigrated from Boston, Lincolnshire to Boston in North America in 1633, and who is known to have had traced his descent to a man who lived in the reign of King John of England.

William Hickling and Sarah Sale were the parents of the mentioned Thomas Hickling. He [Thomas Hickling–LSL] was born in Boston, Massachusetts on February 21st 1745, and at the age of 19 he got married to Emily Green (1733-1774 ), by whom he had a son, William, who was married to Sarah Bradford (1769-1840), descendant of William The Conqueror, and a daughter, Catherine, who married Judge William Prescott and was the mother of the famous American historian William Hickling Prescott ( 1796-1859 ).

There were some radical ideological differences between William Hickling and his son Thomas. The first was, as was natural in an English gentleman, a stanch loyalist, whilst his son was an admirer of George Washington and a supporter of the revolutionary party. So, his father fearing that Thomas might put all the family in trouble, sent him abroad to Ponta Delgada where he arrived in 1769. He left his wife behind and never returned to America.

In 1778, he [Thomas Hickling–LSL] married Suzanne Sarah Foulder (1760-1849) born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania .

In the Azores, he traded as a merchant, introducing orange growing to the island of St. Michael. He was also the pioneer in the orange trade between the Azores, England and Russia, which flourished during the last quarter of the eighteenth century and the first half of the nineteenth.

The business was so huge that, between 1806 and 1814 at the height of the Napoleonic wars, his profits and losses amounted £ 800,000 and £ 600,000 respectively. He was therefore one of richest men in the Azores and he owned…real estate like the Palace of St. Peter, a Georgian colonial style building started in 1812 .

In 1770, Thomas developed the hot springs at Furnaces, which is 27 miles away from Ponta Delgada, and, in 1795, he built a pavilion which he called Liberty Hall. It is reminiscent of the Petit Trianon at Versailles and it is sometimes referred to as Yankee Hall. In front of this pavilion is now standing his bust, erected by the Furnace municipality to commemorate the second centenary of his development of the hot springs.

In 1795, he was appointed vice consul for the islands of St. Michael and St. Mary, and this post remained in the family for more than 100 years.

Thomas Hickling 001

Thomas Hickling


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