#52Ancestors in 52 Weeks: Character

I’m about 95% sure that Wade Warren Silcox is my 3x Great Grandfather, and if he is not, then he is my 3x Great Grandfather’s brother. He most definitely had an interesting life.

Wade’s story actually begins with his father, of course, John Silcox or Silcock. He is said to have served as a loyalist in the American Revolution. He received a Spanish Land Grant in 1792 providing him with 300 acres “three miles from the head of the River Nassau in the County of Duval” (near modern day Jacksonville). A document associated with that grant says he worked the land until he left to serve in the War of 1812.

The land granted to the Silcox Family by the Spanish may now be part of the Thomas Creek Wildlife Management Area. (Photo: VisitJacksonville)

A legal document related to that land grant also says “that Wade Silcock did in the year 1820 settle on, improve, and cultivate a certain piece of public land situated in the head of Thomas’ Swamp near the line of Nassau and Duval Counties and that the said Wade Silcock had remained in possession of and cultivated the said place ever since, further that the said Wade Silcock was at that time over 21 years of age and the head of a family, had a wife and child and claimed no land either under British or Spanish Grants.”

That last was signed by John Silcock on October 26, 1828. Those pages from the Spanish Land Grant file at FloridaMemory support the general belief that Wade Warren Silcox was born in Spanish East Florida in or around 1797.

This is the sort of view the Silcox family might have seen on a regular basis, living near the Nassau River. (Photo: FilmJax)

The Silcox settlers had a rough time. They were settling in a still largely undeveloped area, although what is now Port Jacksonville had been used for trade since 1565, according to Wikipedia. Documents from the time list several times that Native Americans stole cattle and horses from them. After the transition of power, John and his sons, including Wade, were among early Florida residents who petitioned the U.S. president in 1826 for remuneration of their losses.

It’s said Wade was shot three times during the Florida Indian Wars, but whether that was in service as a soldier or as a landowner, I’m not entirely clear. He did later enlist to fight in the Mexican War. His widow Sarah later applied for a pension and was denied. Her request said he passed due to sickness contracted during his service. A transcript of the application (available as a Memory attached to Wade’s FamilySearch profile) includes a doctor’s note that says Wade should never have been allowed to enlist due to his previous injuries.

From Sarah Silcox’s application for a widow’s pension.

Wade was fairly young when he died on January 8, 1848. He may have contracted a disease in Mexico. He may also have been infected with something before he left Florida. He lived near a swamp, and I’m sure the air was thick with mosquitoes. Perhaps he never fully recovered from his earlier gunshot wounds, or he had some internal condition, like cancer.

While researching this side of my family, I came across another interesting character. While looking for family names in the index of of a Duval County history book, I noticed a listing for Charles Merian Cooper. I instantly thought of Merian C. Cooper, the Hollywood filmmaker who came up with the idea for “King Kong” and “Mighty Joe Young.” I have Coopers in my family tree, so I looked Merian C. Cooper up on FamilySearch and used the “View My Relationship” tool, and I was thrilled to see that he’s my 9th cousin once removed. Not through the Cooper line, though, apparently. It’s a Silcox connection, sort of.

I previously mentioned Wade’s father, John Silcox. His wife, Wade’s mother, was Amelia Ann Cordery. Her 3x Great Grandparents Obedience Robins and Grace Neale are, according to the FamilySearch family tree, our common ancestors with Merian C. Cooper.

These characters that we find in our family trees may be famous or largely forgotten. The stories and the human connections across the generations are part of what make genealogy such a fascinating hobby.

About Taminar

When I grow up, I want to make movies and write books. Now in my 50s, I wonder if I'll ever really accomplish the dreams of my youth. I have made two short films, one for a college film-making class, the other for an MTV-sponsored contest. I have written short plays that have been produced, and a few short stories and reviews that have been published. I also perform and direct for community theatre. My working life has included stints in local TV news, public relations, retail management and cashier, and for a couple of years, I made the rides go at Walt Disney World. I have two cats and a husband.
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2 Responses to #52Ancestors in 52 Weeks: Character

  1. Barb LaFara says:

    Your post got me wondering about Am Rev loyalists. Did they move to Spanish Florida after the Am Rev to avoid persecution in their communities? They did not want to, or could not, go to England? Were they in GA or SC during the Am Rev, so going to FL seemed practical? I suppose we won’t know, but now I am wondering…

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