The origins of the Hicklin family are not clear. It is possible they were Scotch-Irish, meaning the family moved from Scotland to Ireland and stayed there for some time, most likely generations, before they moved on to America. There was a John Hicklin in Chester County, Pennsylvania as early as 1702, but as far as I know no one has definitely been able to tie John to Thomas.
The first that is actually heard of Thomas, however, is in Chester County, Pennsylvania in 1734. He had married Dianna Donaghe, daughter of Hugh Donaghe and Elizabeth, about 1723 but the location is unknown. In 1734, he received a grant for 120 acres in Chester County and was still there ten years later, as evidenced by an advertisement in Benjamin Franklin's Pennsylvania Gazette.
Thomas purchased land on the Bullpasture River in Augusta County, Virginia on January 6, 1756. The family was there earlier as Thomas had been directed to work on a road crew in 1753. Historically, this was just before the outbreak of the French and Indian war, and Hugh was found on the rolls of the Highland Fort in 1757. (The only reference to a fort that I could find for this location and time period was Fort George, and the marker for that says that this fort never came under direct attack. I don't know about the settlers who lived nearby. They would have been fortunate indeed to have survived unscathed.)
By 1766, Thomas was aging. He would have been about 77 by now, and was excused from head tax due to his age. He sold some of his land to son Thomas Hicklin Jr in 1770 and died probably at the end of 1771, as his will was proved January 11, 1772. There is no mention of his wife in the transcription I saw of the will, although it appears she didn't die until later in the year. Perhaps a child was already caring for her. Also, a comment is made that he signed his will with an "X", but not a rough X as the illiterate did. This one had extra garnishes, making it appear that he was possibly using the "X" because he was too weak to sign his whole name, yet making it evident that he had at least some education.
Thomas and Dianna's children known by his will are Hugh, John, Thomas, Rosannah (Johnson), Jane (Laferty), Dinah (Botkin) and Sarah (Black), born from about 1725 to 1740 in Chester County.
This is what is known of Thomas and his family. He is one of the mostly anonymous people who settled this country, raised his family and protected them by arms when needed, and, in death, is known mostly by his will and his children. His heritage is one of hard work and family values, and we could use more of that today.
The line of descent is:
Thomas Hicklin-Dianna Donaghe
Dinah Hicklin-James Botkin
George Botkin-Elizabeth Featheringill
Charity Botkin-Jackson Wise
Mary Wise-William Beeks
John Beeks-Elizabeth Wise
Wilbur Beeks-Cleo Aldridge
Mary Margaret Beeks-Cleveland Harshbarger