Select Hickey Miscellany

Here are some Hickey stories and accounts over the years:

Hickey Pre-History

In the genealogical article The O'Hickeys by Lt. Col. J. Hickey, it was stated that the Hickeys were descended from Cormac Colchin, second son of Cathan Fionn 14th King of Munster who was said to have converted to Christianity around 420 AD, having been personally baptized by St. Patrick.

His great grandson Aodh Caomh 17th King of Cashel and Munster was recorded as having built the first Christian church in Ireland, in Killaloe in county Clare.  And the home of the O'Hickeys, before the invasion of the Anglo-Normans at the end of the 12th century, was near Killaloe in Clare.   . 

The O'Hickeys of Drim

From their position as hereditary physicians, the O'Hickeys held clan lands at Drim and other townlands in the vicinity of Quin in county Clare.  These were, however, lost in the Cromwellian confiscations of 1654.  A decade later, many O'Hickeys are shown to have been driven away to other places in Clare or across the Shannon.  Loughlin O'Hickey later made a successful petition to reclaim the lands and a major portion of the property remained with his descendants until 1803.   

Drim House gave refuge to the last friar of Quin Abbey, the Rev. Father Hogan, who died in 1819.  He was buried in the precincts of the Abbey, as were, for many generations, the O'Hickeys of Drim.  The last of the line at Drim was Patrick Hickey who died there in 1909.

The Hickeys by Lough Gur

Thomas and Ellen Hickey and their family lived in a small stone house with a thatched roof by Lough Gur, the Enchanted Lake, in Knockainy parish, Limerick.  Lough Gur is a flat, silvery lake, about four miles in circumference, which has two beautiful islands and the ruins of a castle nearby. 

The lake was called enchanted because it had its own legends.  Gerald the Rhymer, the Earl of Desmond, who disappeared in 1398 is said to sleep beneath its waters.  Every seventh year he emerges to ride the moonlit ripples of the lake, on a horse with silver shoes.  And there were also many local beliefs and superstitions, usually associated with holidays (May-Eve was supposedly a night when the evil powers were at their most powerful). 

This was the tale that Tom Hickey, Thomas and Ellen's son, recounted:

"'Tis not the Good People I'd be in dread of in the dark of night, but to hear the cry of the Ould Kings. There's them that thinks they'll be on the move once more. 

The last time was in 1848.  My father was on the top of Knockfennel tending the Bel-fire with a score of the neighbors when the cry of the Ould Kings struck upon them.  It came rolling like thunder over the mountains from south to north, from east to west it rolled, from sea to sea! 

And the ground heaved and broke; and rising from the clay came the army of the dead.  Ould warriors were there with their ould war-horses; foot soldiers and trumpeteers and drummers and all, waiting for the word of command!  Up the Shannon it came, along the rally and over Lough Gur, loud as Judgement Day, so everyone, living and dead, must hear the cry of the Ould Kings.  Then the army gave an answering shout, clashing their shields and rattling their swords and letting out the ould war-cries of the people."

William Hickey as a Young Boy

William Hickey's powers of observation were with hsm from a young age.  This was his description of a neighbor, Thomas Hudson, at their home in Twickenham:

"His figure was rather grotesque, being uncommonly low in stature with a prodigious belly and constantly wearing a large white bushy periwig.  He was remarkably good tempered and one of my first-rate favorites, notwithstanding that he often told me that I should certainly be hanged."

Hudson's irascibility came about because William would frequently play tricks on him.   One one occasion he kicked the stick away from under him while Hudson was talking to his father.  Down went poor Husdon on his fat paunch.  William took to his heels and only escaped severe punishment because Hudson in his fury had flung a heavy stick at him, missing him narrowly.

Some time later William borrowed a canoe from another neighbor, a Mr. Hindley.  He then simulated drowning from the canoe which caused short-term consternation.

William Hickey was sent away to India by his father at the age of nineteen.

Cornelius Hickey's Family Bible

Cornelius Hickey had moved to Knox county, Tennessee in 1800 and his family Bible was published in Philadelphia in 1814.  These were the early birth records recorded in Cornelius's handwriting:


Cornelius Hickey
 October 15
Judy Hickey
 October 28
Jane Hickey
 May 10
Patsy Hickey
 September 8
George Hickey
 August 23
Sarah Hickey
 1802  September 23
Baker Hickey
 November 20
James Hickey
 November 20
John Hickey
 July 10
Mary Hickey
 May 11
Nancy Hickey
 December 15
Amanda Hickey
 October 13

Michael Hickey's Death in Iowa

Folklore has it that Michael arrived in Iowa driving a mixed team of an oxen and a horse pulling a wagon, possibly through Iowa City.  He died in 1867 and was buried at Great Oak on the banks of the Des Moines, along with two of his grandchildren.

At his death old Michael would have been 79 years old.  There was no priest yet resident in Palo Alto county.  Probably his son James, who was familiar with funeral services, conducted a brief burial service.  His wife Margaret was known to "lay-out the dead" and that honor no doubt went to her.  A simple Irish wake followed in the Hickey log cabin.

A team of horses and wagon provided for the short route to the ancient Indian burial hill, only a couple of hundred feet to the south of the Hickey Great Oak cabin.  Many of the healthy pioneer members of the Irish "patch" attended the simple ceremony.  Margaret, known as "the good woman" by the local itinerant Sioux Indians for her handouts, would have provided a lunch and refreshments in her humble log cabin for the mourners.

James Hickey and Saddam Hussein's Capture

Colonel James Hickey of the US Army had been educated at the Virginia Military Institute and John Hopkins University.  Fluent in Russian, French and German, his cmmunication skills helped him to work with local leaders in Iraq.  His area of control lay within Salah El Din province which included Saddam's ancestral homeland of Tikrit.  During his tour of duty there the provincial governor of Salal El Din gave Hickey an Arabian falcon as a sign of respect.

It was he who led the dramatic raid on the farm near Tikrit which led to Saddam's capture.  Images of him congratulating his troops and celebrating moments after the arrest were broadcast around the world.  He was a reluctant media hero.  But he returned to a "hero's welcome" in his home town of Chicago.

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