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William Pickens, 8th Great-Grandfather

September 5, 2015 1 Comment

parish church in LaRachelle Normandy

parish church in LaRachelle Normandy

My 8th great-grandfather was born in Normandy, France circa 1670, and died circa 1735 in Pennsylvania.  His parents fled after the Edict of Nantes to escape  religious persecution.  Many Scots-Irish, including these, immigrated to Pennsylvania and joined Dutch Reform churches.  My branch of the Pickens family continued on to South Carolina where they formed a Presbyterian congregation.

William Pickens (1670 – 1735)
is my 8th great grandfather
Anne Pickens (1680 – 1750)
daughter of William Pickens
Nancy Ann Davis (1705 – 1763)
daughter of Anne Pickens
Jean PICKENS (1738 – 1824)
daughter of Nancy Ann Davis
Margaret Miller (1771 – 1853)
daughter of Jean PICKENS
Philip Oscar Hughes (1798 – 1845)
son of Margaret Miller
Sarah E Hughes (1829 – 1911)
daughter of Philip Oscar Hughes
Lucinda Jane Armer (1847 – 1939)
daughter of Sarah E Hughes
George Harvey Taylor (1884 – 1941)
son of Lucinda Jane Armer
Ruby Lee Taylor (1922 – 2008)
daughter of George Harvey Taylor
Pamela Morse
I am the daughter of Ruby Lee Taylor

William Pickens was the son of Robert (Andre) Pickens and Esther Jane Benoit. He married Margaret, traditionally Margaret Pike, in Northern Ireland. He died circa 1735 in Bucks County, Pennsylvania.

Traditionally it is said that William Pickens was born in France and was taken to Scotland, then to Northern Ireland, by his parents when the Huguenots fled following the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes in 1685. His mother was French; his father was, according to various theories, either Scot or French. But regardless of his actual ancestry, it is fair to say that William was Scots-Irish.

When James I of England ascended to the throne in 1603, among his main objectives was to Protestantism Northern Ireland. To that end he began an extensive colonization plan that encouraged Protestants from England, Scotland, and even France and Germany, to emigrate to the Ulster Plantation (Northern Ireland). The vast majority of Protestants who settled there during the 17th century were lowland Scots, but those we now call Scots-Irish were not exclusively Scot. What they were, were Presbyterian; what they were not, were Irish.

Well, the Irish Catholics hated the Presbyterians, the Presbyterians hated the Irish Catholics; and the English crown hated both. Over the next 100 years or so, the Scots-Irish Presbyterians had to deal with the Irish who wanted them out of the country, English landlords who charged ever-higher rents, and Anglican ministers who made most of their income by imposing tithes. There was a constant struggle for religious tolerance, civil liberties and political rights. For example, the Scots-Irish could not hold office and were denied representation in government. The “Great Migration” of the Scots-Irish to America began in 1717 and occurred in waves over the next 58 years. With them, the emigrants brought a deep-seated resentment toward the English that would lead to the Revolutionary War and Independence.

It is thought that William and Margaret Pickens arrived in America with their children about 1719. Although the majority of Scots-Irish immigrants to Pennsylvania arrived at the Port of Philadelphia, a significant number came through New Castle, Delaware. It is probably safe to say that William and family arrived at one or the other. Apparently, they settled first in Bensalem, Bucks County, where William Pickens and his wife, and Israel and Margaret Pickens are found in the records of the Low Dutch Reformed Church. On a list of “Newcomers from Earlandt” who joined the church are found.

1719 – Willem Pecken and his wife, by certificate.
1720 – Iserell Pecken by profession.
1722 – Margaret Picken by Profession.6,7

And under “New Church Members from Ireland, Nov. 4, 1724. . .”

The new members from Ireland have been received on letter of attestation and have now become chosen Elders – William Pickens
and his wife.

Also. . .

Israel Pickens by profession of faith.
Margaret Pickens, communicant, June 6, 1724.

The Low Dutch Reformed Church at “Bensalem & Shammenji” was established on 20 May 1710 as a Dutch speaking Reformed congregation under Presbyterian authority. (The Low Dutch should not be confused with “Pennsylvania Dutch” who were German, not Dutch). The early Scots-Irish immigrants to Pennsylvania, having no churches of their own, joined Dutch Reformed churches. In the years that followed they came to outnumber the Dutch at Bensalem. Fearing the loss of their identity, the Dutch congregants withdrew to form a new Dutch Reformed congregation, and by 1730, the Bensalem church was clearly a Scots-Irish Presbyterian Church.

According to Sharp, William’s death in 1735 is recorded in Bucks County and his estate was administered there.

Race Riots

March 11, 2013

Tulsa race riot 1921

Tulsa race riot 1921

Race riot Tulsa 1921

Race riot Tulsa 1921

My father, Richard Arden Morse, was a bit of a racist, but did not have any idea of his own pedigree. His great-grandfather came to New York from Ireland during the potato famine with his O’Byrne parents and siblings, who dropped the O’ to assimilate. When asked, my father would say he was Scots Irish.  This American term refers to the Ulster Scots, who have all those Orange issues in Northern Ireland.  A little flash of orange ribbon drives these people, and their neighbors, completely batty.  You would need to be born in Ulster to understand this, I think. The troubles are a completely local phenomena, although both sides have supporters elsewhere.

Richard Arden was born in Independence, Kansas on Feb 18, 1920.  In December of 1920 armed violence broke out between white and black citizens of that town.  It was a very small town, and this had to be a big impact on the area.  In 1921 the city of Tulsa, where I was born, was host to one of the most violent of race wars of all time. The Tulsa racial violence of 2 June, 1921 was distinctly ignored by Oklahoma official history until very recently.  I only lived in Tulsa for about 4 years, and my dad also left Independence with his family to live near Ponca City, Oklahoma during his school years.

He was for sure Irish, and when Mr. Scott married Ms Byrne, he was trending Scot again.  However, I do not think he knew what any of this meant. I believe that my father’s racial prejudice was a karmic and cultural affliction.  He did not openly dislike anyone because of race, but his actions betrayed his deeper ethics.   To his credit, he and my mom made an effort not to pass the racist culture on to my brother and me.

Bridget OByrne (1808 – 1880)
is my 3rd great grandmother
James Oscar Byrne (1840 – 1879)
son of Bridget OByrne
Sarah Helena Byrne (1878 – 1962)
daughter of James Oscar Byrne
Olga Fern Scott (1897 – 1968)
daughter of Sarah Helena Byrne
Richard Arden Morse (1920 – 2004)
son of Olga Fern Scott
Pamela Morse
I am the daughter of Richard Arden Morse

Bridget O’Byrne was typical, but lucky.  She survived the passage to New York, and most of her kids did also. She had a home in upstate New York.  Sarah Helena, her daughter in law, wrote the notes I used to start my tree.  The O’Byrnes of Wilna, Jefferson, NY gave their estate to a Catholic church there, and left the records of their family history with that church. A treasure hunt awaits me in upstate New York that may reveal all the Irish information I can handle, including Bridget’s family name. The Catholics of Wilna have my bingo card, and I am grateful.

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