The Herricks In America since the early 1600's

Who was the first Herrick? Sir William?

For more than 160 years, many Herrick descendants have claimed that Henry Herrick — who emigrated to the Massachusetts Bay Colony in about 1629 and married Editha Laskin — was the fifth son of Sir William Herrick of England. There are, however, some who disagree with that. There are many websites which discuss this controversy, but much of my information comes a website operated by a Herrick descendant: Peter Blood. This is the link if it still works.

To discuss the Herricks, one must first deal with this controversy. Based on current evidence, unfortunately, we do not yet know for sure who Henry Herrick’s father was.

Where the Uncertainty Lies

A man named Jedediah Herrick published the Herrick Genealogical Register in 1846. His research had revealed two Henry Herricks — one living in Salem and another living in Virginia — with different spellings for their surnames. Jedediah Herrick concluded that the Henry Herrick living in Salem was the 5th son of Sir William Herrick. More importantly, he believed that there were not two men, but only one. After living in Virginia, Jedediah concluded, the Henry Herrick who had lived there had returned to England and then returned to live in Salem. One man, not two, according to Jedediah.

When the book was revised by Lucius Carooll Herrick in 1885, the same conclusion was drawn: two names, but one man, just living in two places at different times in his life. This one book, the Herrick Genealogical Register, continued to be used, read, and cited by Herrick descendants. By 1897 Henry’s descent from early Danish Kings had been cited as well.

But even Jedediah and Lucuis Weren’t Sure

Ironically, both men had their doubts about their own research — and said so. Jedediah wrote, “There is not sufficient certainty of his identity.” And Lucuis wrote, “I think Henry of Salem must have been the son of Sir William Herrick, and yet the evidence as we now have it does not satisfy my mind.”

But — as often happens once something is in print — few people who read the Herrick Genealogical Register noticed the doubts. It could be that most Herrick descendants were simply in love with the idea that Sir William was their ancestor. He was, after all, an interesting person — a knight, a moneylender, a goldsmith to the King, a Member of Parliament, and an ambassador. He was quite wealthy, and owned land and homes in numerous counties.

Richard Lion Herrick sets the Record Straight

In 2000, another Herrick — this time, Richard Leon Herrick — decided to find out the truth, if possible. Working with genealogists in London, Salem, and Virginia, he concluded that Henry of Salem could not be the 5th son of Sir William Herrick. He concluded, instead, that there were actually two men, not one — a Henry Herrick of Salem and a Henry Herrick who lived in Virginia as early as 1642 and as late as 1653. The dilemma for Herrick descendants is: Which one is “their” Henry Herrick? And, even if they know, is either of them descended from Sir William? It’s quite likely that neither was.

Who were these two men?

Here are some facts that Richard Herrick dug up which provides proof that there were two separate men with similar names:

One could also add that Henry of Salem was simply too poor to be Sir William’s son (though there is one family theory that Sir William had disinherited Henry).

What do we know about Henry Herrick of Salem?

It would appear that Henry Herrick (1598-1659) immigrated in Aug 1629 to Salem, Massachusetts Bay Colony. One source says that Henry left from Bristol in May 1629. It arrived in August. (Unlike the Plymouth Colony, whose passengers are throughly documented by The Society of Mayflower Descendants, no original complete passenger list survives which names the ships sent to America by the Massachusetts Bay Company from 1628 to 1630.) It is believed that Henry was among the early settlers of Salem, Massachusetts with the Rev. Francis Higginson.

Henry was most likely a Puritan, one of many who came to avoid religious persecution. Only half of them survived to raise families, but they were certainly an influential group — one of the most influential to arrive in North America. Many of their principles and goals formed the core of the American constitution.

It is believed that Henry Herrick was born about 1598 in England, which is based upon the date of his release from training. According to genealogist Meredith Colket, “[Henry Herrick’s life] was [that] of a New England Yeoman. Not until the age of 19th century American genealogy did [the theory arise that he was] the fifth son of Sir William Herrick of Beau Manor, Leicestershire, Ambassador of Queen Elizabeth to Turkey.”

Henry married Editha Laskin (1614-1659) shortly after his arrival in the Massachusetts Bay Colony, and they had at least nine children. Henry and Editha both died before the Salem Witch Trials of 1692, but several of their children and their grandchildren were directly affected by it.

Ephraim Herrick, son of Henry and Editha, Remains in Massachusetts

Ephraim Herrick (1638-1693) son of Henry and Editha, was born in Salem; he married Mary Cross (1640-1670) and they had at least eight children. They remained in Beverly, Massachusetts, all of their lives. Ephraim was not involved in the Salem Witch Trials, but several of his siblings were.

The Salem Witch Trials Touch the Lives of Herricks

John Herrick (1662-1729) the oldest son of Ephraim and Mary, was born in 1662. He married Bethia Solart (1666-1729) in 1684 and they had two children. Bethia’s sister, Sarah Solart Poole Good, would be one of the first three women accused of witchcraft in Salem. They would see Sarah arrested, tried, convicted, and hanged, and several of John’s uncles would be involved in the trials — one as a juror, one as the sheriff, another as a witness. It must have been a terrible time for both of them, and shortly after the trials and hangings ended, they moved to Connecticut. (For more about the Solart family, see The Solarts.)

The Herricks leave Massachusetts for Good

John and Bethia’s only son, John Herrick (1699-1745) married a woman named Susanna and they lived in Connecticut their entire lives. As well, the next two generations — Eleazer Herrick (1734-1790) and his wife Mary Rea (1734-Aft 1778), Rufus Herrick (1765-1820) and his wife Jerusha Pierce (1770-1827) — remained in Connecticut. After the Salem Witch Trials, it would seem that this particular branch of the Herricks had no wish to return to Salem.

Moving Further West: to New York State

Pierce Herrick (1804-1887) and his wife Ann Miller (1806-1872) are the first of the Herricks to settle in Caton, New York in the mid-1800’s. Their son, Augustus Charles Herrick (1836-1912) chose to live his life quietly in little Caton, New York, with his wife, Josephine Niver (1834-1910, and their five children.

By contrast, Augustus and Josephine’s son, Bert Herrick (1874-1945), revealed a bit of wanderlust, though he settled down once he married Grace Mae Brand (1879-1966).

And Further West Still: New Mexico

Bert and Grace’s daughter, Hazel Herrick (1914-2010), first met Robert Mosher Ingraham (1911-1995) when she was attending high school. Born and raised in Caton, New York, Hazel married Robert Mosher Ingraham on October 8, 1935. With their two children, they eventually moved to Silver City, New Mexico, and set down roots far from where the Herricks began their lives in the New World. Thus the Herrick and Ingraham families were united.

This page written and researched by Susan Overturf Ingraham, wife of Robert Philip Ingraham, a descendant of the Herricks. Page last updated on December 29, 2011.

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