Thursday, August 4, 2016

Another case in the family goes to the Tennessee Supreme Court

Last August I wrote about the Cannon family in Tennessee (see Between the Holston and the French Broad and New Finds in Tennessee). At the time I hinted at the family of Thomas D. Hickey and Rachel Cannon, but apparently I did not dive too much into a recap of their family. Between 1850 and 1860, my 5th-great-grandmother Rachel Cannon Hickey fought a court case in Jefferson County that wound its way up to the Tennessee Supreme Court. I found the case on the Tennessee State Library and Archives website, and was able to order a PDF of the case file online. The case provides more information on the family of Rachel Cannon Hickey, and how she took care of her grandson Sheadrick Theodore Hickey (later Henson) during the years of the court action.
Hickey v Henson, Tennessee Supreme Court, 1860.
On 4 June 1850, Martha Hickey, daughter of Thomas D. Hickey and Rachel Cannon Hickey, delivered an illegitimate son named Theodore Hickey. The father was identified as William P. Henson, a married farmer in Jefferson County, Tennessee. The County brought an action for bastardy against Henson on 2 September 1850. Henson appeared in court, and paid the security via a bond with Richard Thornhill and William Ryan (another family connection, father of Jacob Ryan, who married Sarah Jane Thornhill, sister of my 4th-great-grandmother Elizabeth Thornhill Jones). Theodore Hickey was allowed to remain with his mother Martha, who lived with her parents Thomas D. and Rachel Hickey.

Nine years later, William P. Henson brought an action in Jefferson County Court to declare Theodore Hickey his legitimate son and to change his name to Henson. Martha Hickey had recently died, leaving Theodore under the care of his grandmother Rachel Cannon Hickey. By this time, Rachel was nearly 75 years old, and maintaining the remains of her husband's estate and farm in Jefferson County. Rachel had put young Theodore through school, and he had grown up under her household for the first nine years of his life. I'll cover the next part of this case in the following post.

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