William Pickens1

b. circa 1670, d. circa 1735
William Pickens|b. c 1670\nd. c 1735|p6289.htm|Robert (Andre) Pickens|b. c 1644\nd. 1699|p6315.htm|Esther Jane Benoit|b. c 1644|p6316.htm|||||||||||||

5th great-grandfather of William Lemuel Horn Jr.
7th great-grandfather of Laura Jane Munson.
Family Background:
Horn and Allied Families
Appears on charts:
Pedigree for William Lemuel Horn II
     William Pickens was born circa 1670, probably in France.2,3 He was the son of Robert (Andre) Pickens and Esther Jane Benoit.1 He married Margaret, traditionally Margaret Pike, in Northern Ireland.1,4 He died circa 1735 in Bucks County, Pennsylvania.5
     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 protestantize 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. . .6

     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, 1724.6,8

     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.6

Children of William Pickens and Margaret (—?—) (Pickens)


  1. [S674] Terry Pickens McLean, online <http://homepages.rootsweb.com/~tmclean/…>, Terry Pickens McLean (e-mail address), downloaded 2004.
  2. [S675] E.M. Sharp, Pickens Families of the South (Memphis, Tennessee: E.M. Sharp, 1963), 3 (no date).
  3. [S674] Terry Pickens McLean, 2004, citing Waring.
  4. [S675] E.M. Sharp, Pickens Families of the South, 3.
  5. [S674] Terry Pickens McLean, 2004, citing Notes of E.M. Sharp, as found in the Mississippi Dept. of Archives; " The records of Bucks County Penn., show the death of a William Pickens in 1735."
  6. [S674] Terry Pickens McLean, 2004, citing Notes of E.M. Sharp, as found in the Mississippi Dept. of Archives.
  7. [S675] E.M. Sharp, Pickens Families of the South, 2.
  8. [S675] E.M. Sharp, Pickens Families of the South, 2, citing the Genealogical Society of Pennsylvania Publications under, Reformed Church, (Neshaminy) Bensalem, Bucks Co.; No. 5, 1912-1914., 35, 36.
  9. [S675] E.M. Sharp, Pickens Families of the South, 2 (writer's conclusion based on Bensalem church records as given in this book).