John and Nancy Whitaker Rickman

by Bruce Whitaker

John Rickman Sr. was born in Rowan (now Davidson) County, NC, on June 9, 1795. He was the son of Jesse Rickman Sr. (1770–1860) and Mary Trantham (1771–1837). Rickman’s parents moved to Fairview around 1803. He married Nancy Whitaker on January 4, 1816. Nancy was also born in Rowan County, on October 27, 1796. She was the second of six daughters born to Joshua Whitaker Jr. (1769–1856) and Nancy Childers (1769–1841). Rickman’s parents and all his brothers and sisters, except for Michael, moved to Mills River in what is now Henderson County around 1820.

John and Nancy built a house on what is now Miller Road, which runs from Old Fort Road to Charlotte Highway. The home was between the two bridges on Miller Road on the east side of the road. John’s brother Michael (1797–1850) married Susannah Whitaker (1802–1874). She was the sister of Nancy, wife of John Rickman. Michael and Susannah, who moved to Missouri in the mid-1830s, had seventeen children.

In 1841, John Rickman went up on Mill Ridge, behind his house, to locate and check on his hogs. It was common practice then for people to let their hogs run loose on the mountain and get fat on chestnuts. These hogs were called out hogs. After Christmas, people would bring their hogs down out of the mountains and sell or butcher many of them to supply their family with meat.

But John never came back, and his wife became worried. A search party was sent out, and they found him lying dead beside a tree. He had apparently died of a heart attack on January 8. 1841. He left a widow and nine children.

Nancy never remarried. She stayed on the Rickman farm and raised her children, outliving her husband by 37 years. She died at her Fairview home on August 10, 1878. She and her husband were buried at Cane Creek Cemetery. Two of their children were unmarried at the time of their mother’s death; Rhoda and Elizabeth Rickman remained at the home place.

Later, Rhoda married her first cousin, James Trantham (1830–1921) on September 19, 1889. She was the third of Trantham’s four wives. Elizabeth Rickman married a widower, Benjamin F. Spivey, on October 24, 1891.

John Coston and Margaret Whitaker Mitchell bought the old Rickman home place and tore it down. They built their home on that site, and it was considered a mansion at the time it was built. After their death, the home went to their daughter Hester Mae Mitchell (1884–1964) and her husband Jason “Koon” Reed (1884–1969). They did not keep the house up, and it was torn down several years ago.

John and Nancy Rickman’s 11 children, all born in Fairview:
1. Jesse Rickman was born in October 1816. He married Nancy Pearson in 1828 and moved to Newman, Jasper County, Iowa. He died there on November 21, 1872.
2. Mary Rickman was born on September 24, 1818. She married Alexander Merrill (1817–1869). They moved to Edneyville, NC. They are buried in Liberty Church Cemetery.
3. Nancy Rickman was born in August 1820 and died on December 3, 1836.
4. Joshua Rickman was born on February 10, 1823. He married Naomi Reed on June 24, 1850. Born in Fairview on June 10, 1830, she was the daughter of Eldad Reed III and Elizabeth Gallimore. Joshua and Naomi moved to Indiana in 1850 and then to Iowa in 1854. They moved back to Fairview in 1857 but then back to Iowa in 1858. By 1861 they were living in Missouri. Joshua was a farmer, carpenter and bridge builder. Naomi died in Missouri on September 20, 1870. Joshua moved to Blackburn, Arkansas, where he died on October 3, 1903.
5. John Rickman Jr. was born on November 24, 1824. He married Malinda E. Redmon (1823–1888). He died on August 18, 1897. Malinda died on December 16, 1888. Both are buried in Old Salem Cemetery in Fletcher.
6. Elizabeth Rickman was born on December 30, 1826. She was the second wife of Benjamin Spivey. She died in 1904 or 1905.
7. An infant daughter was born in 1827 and died on June 12, 1828.
8. William Rickman was born on May 18, 1829. He married Margaret Trantham (1829–1893) and then Dovie Starnes. He died in 1898 and is buried at the Rickman Cemetery in Mills River.
9. Miles Rickman was born on August 31, 1834 and died in 1861.
10. Naomi Rickman was born on May 24, 1836. She married her first cousin, William Calloway Rickman, who was the son of Merritt and Sarah Sitton Rickman. She died in September 1898.
11. Rhoda Rickman was born on October 4, 1838. She married her first cousin, James Trantham (1830–1921). She died in September 1898.

Local historian Bruce Whitaker documents Fairview area genealogy. To get in touch with him, contact the Crier at copy@ or 828-771-6983 (call/text).

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