HINXMAN of Nova Scotia
Origin and Overview

This page provides an overview of the Nova Scotia branch of our HINXMAN family.

The HINXMAN surname and its variants are versions of the ancient job title of Henxman - a post in the English Royal Household from c.1345 to 1565 (for more details see under 'The Henxmen' in the menu at the left of this page).  It can therefore be safely assumed that all North American HINXMANs are descended from English HINXMAN forebears. 

On present knowledge, it appears likely that all modern HINXMANs living in North America are related to each other,
sharing a common origin from an early English immigrant who became the founding father of this branch.  However, multiple immigrations cannot be ruled out, until a complete family tree linking all North American HINXMANs has been achieved. 

Founding Father

Currently the earliest known HINXMAN settler in North America - and almost certainly the founding father of the whole branch - is Charles HINXMAN (c.1751-1836). 

In 1783 Charles and his wife Jane DYKEMAN (c.1764->1796) moved to Nova Scotia, where they settled and began raising a family.  They appear to be the ancestors of all North American HINXMANs.

Earliest Locations
The earliest record of Charles HINXMAN is believed to be his baptism on 18 Aug 1751.

This was in the Anglican church of St Mary, in the English village of West Dean.  This quiet and remote agricultural settlement lies among the chalk border hills, between the counties of Hampshire and Wiltshire, in central southern England.

When he was baptised, Charles was just another child of the West Dean
branch, of the HINXMAN family from Hampshire.  But Charles left England to seek his fortune, and by his death had become the grand old man of a new and growing branch of the HINXMAN family, settled in North America. 

Illustration 1.
Bay View, Digby: location of Charles & Jane HINXMAN's homestead.  2017.  For picture details, see footnotes.

New York
The earliest known North American location for the Nova Scotia branch is at Marston's Wharf, New York City, USA.  This was in the vicinity of the present 76th Street, on the East River.  Charles HINXMAN was recorded working there in 1781, for the Commissary General's Department of the British Army.  However, this was clearly not his residential address for the New York area, which remains unknown.

Nova Scotia
The earliest known residential location for this branch is the HINXMAN homestead at Bay View on Digby Gut, just south of the junction between Lighthouse Road and Shore Road, Digby, Nova Scotia.  The Government grant of this plot of land was made to Charles HINXMAN on 29 Jan 1801.

Earliest Records
New York
The earliest known record of Charles HINXMAN in North America is contained in a Muster Roll of Artificers, Labourers, &c Employed in the Commissary General's Department at Haerlem Heights and Marston's Wharf, dated 26 Aug 1781.

This is part of the evidence included in the Proceedings of a Board of General Officers of the British Army appointed by Sir Henry Clinton, August 7, 1781, to consider the expenditure of public money in the different departments established by him when he succeeded to the command of the British Army at New York, recorded by James ROBERTSON (1717-1788), the Governor of New York

This administrative document was transcribed and published in 1916 (see below for full reference details).

Nova Scotia
At the end of the American Revolutionary War in 1783, Charles HINXMAN married Jane DYKEMAN.  Shortly afterwards they moved to Nova Scotia, where they were later granted 67 acres of land.  Here they cleared the forest, built their homestead (probably a log cabin initially), and raised their family: probably the first HINXMANs ever born in North America. 

As Nova Scotia was the location of the earliest known HINXMAN family home in North America, and where the first known HINXMAN children were raised on that continent, this branch of the family is named 'HINXMAN of Nova Scotia'.

The earliest known record of this family in Nova Scotia is a Muster Roll of Disbanded Officers, Discharged and Disbanded Soldiers and Loyalists Mustered at Digby, the 19th Day of May, 1784.  In this, Charles HINXMAN is listed with 1 'Woman' (presumably his wife Jane) and 1 child under 10 (presumably their firstborn Thomas HINXMAN (c.1784-1???)). 

This muster roll was transcribed and published in 1903 (see below for full reference details).

This branch of the HINXMAN family first settled just outside the small town of Digby, in Nova Scotia.  From there they spread into other settlements, particularly in the Annapolis and Digby districts of Nova Scotia.

Soon some of the family reached adjacent states, including Maine, USA - somewhat ironically, considering that the loyalists Charles and Jane HINXMAN had previously fled from the USA at the close of the American Revolutionary War.  From Maine the family grew and spread more quickly, but most remained in the north-eastern states of the USA.

Just as the history of Canada and the USA are interlinked, so are their HINXMAN family histories and family trees - therefore the HINXMANs of Canada and the USA are treated here as one single branch.

Illustration 2.  Admiral Robert DIGBY RN.  Circa 1783.  For picture details, see footnotes.

Branch Size
A brief survey of the Internet in 2017 identified more than 80 people living in Canada and the United States, bearing the HINXMAN surname.  Some people were probably missed, so the actual number is likely to be higher.  A roughly similar number of descendants and their partners through female lines can be expected, making a probable total of up to 200 descendants.

It should incidentally be noted here that a HINXMAN from the Titchfield branch emigrated to the USA with her husband, in about 1959.  She still lives there, and 2 generations of descendants are now established in several states of the USA.  These are not an offshoot of HINXMAN of North America, and (as this is a female line of descent) none of these carry the HINXMAN surname.

Present Distribution
The present distribution of the Nova Scotia branch shows descendants continuing an outward spread from the original settlement.  In 2018 it seems that HINXMANs no longer live in Digby, Nova Scotia, but mementos of the family's past still remain in the local landscape, churches, houses, museums, monumental inscriptions and documentary records.

Indeed, some HINXMAN descendants via female lines still live in the districts surrounding Digby.  But this branch now appears to be primarily focused on the north-east seaboard of the USA, especially in the state of Maine.  There are also notable exceptions who have spread out much further across Canada and the USA.  No emigrants from this branch to other countries have yet been discovered.

Occupations often ran in families, and some still do. 

The founder of this branch, Charles HINXMAN, came from a rural, agricultural background in England.  He is known to have worked as a Labourer for the British Army in New York, so he must have been physically fit.  Later he possibly worked for the Army as a Clerk, so he must have been intelligent and literate too.  Later in Nova Scotia, we find Charles recorded as a Captain of a volunteer militia, which suggests he showed leadership potential.  We have no proof that he was personally involved in clearing his land and farming it, or building his log cabin, but these appear most likely as Charles seems to have been good with his hands.

No analysis of subsequent generations has yet been carried out, but this branch's growing family tree should soon make that possible.  It will be interesting to find which trends and aptitudes emerge.

Many families have their own traditions too: stories about their origin; unusual tales of ancestor's adventures; and special ways of doing things.  No traditions of this branch have been recorded as yet.

Family Tree
No single, fully comprehensive, family tree for HINXMAN of Nova Scotia is known to have existed until now, but work is well in hand to create one on an Ancestry website.

The first stage of creating a detailed genealogy is to collect existing knowledge of the HINXMAN family in North America. 
Some elements of this family tree have already been researched, but some still wait to be discovered.  If you are a descendant, or able to contribute any data, please get in contact - any information will be gratefully received.

Further Research
English-based research on this branch has focused on the link(s) from England, to establish a firm connection.  Efforts to trace Charles HINXMAN's history are continuing via documentary sources.

North American research is focused on creating a complete family tree of all descendants.  A particular interest at present (2018) is to find more details of Charles and Jane's elusive eldest son Thomas HINXMAN (c.1784-1???) and his wife Susan G. HETERICK (?) (1816-1854).

A Family Gathering for descendants of Charles & Jane HINXMAN has been suggested for the future, offering the chance to meet 'new' cousins and discover more of our history.  If you are a descendant and would like to be invited, do let us know.

DNA Tests
DNA tests of modern descendants from this branch should help to confirm Charles's place of origin in England, the inter-relationship of the North American HINXMANs, and links to other branches of the HINXMAN family.  If you are a possible descendant of this branch and interested in taking a DNA test (this involves providing a small sample of saliva), please get in touch.

  • Rev. Allan Massie HILL.  1901.  Some Chapters in the History of Digby County and Its Early Settlers.  McAlpine Publishing.  Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.  Collection of Richard HINXMAN.  
  • Comment:  A skimpy but key source on the settlement of Charles & Jane HINXMAN in Digby, Nova Scotia, and their initial descendants.
  • Lieutenant-General James ROBERTSON.  1781.  Proceedings of a Board of General Officers of the British Army appointed by Sir Henry Clinton, August 7, 1781, to consider the expenditure of public money in the different departments established by him when he succeeded to the command of the British Army at New York.  Includes a return of men, women and children in the British Regiments victualled in New York, in the Civil Department and in Foreign Regiments (.  .  .), and covers Brooklyn and this city; and a comparative View of the expenses in different departments of the Army from December 17, 1775, to December 5, 1781, under Sir William Howe and Sir Henry Clinton. 
  • Found in:  Unattributed.  1916.  Collections of the New-York Historical Society.  Volume XLIX.  New York, USA.  Collection of Richard HINXMAN.  
  • Comment:  This transcription of a series of original documents includes references to States Morris DYCKMAN (page 54); States M. DYCKMAN (page 109); Charles HINXMAN (page 131 - the earliest known North American record of the HINXMAN of Nova Scotia branch); Cornelius DYCKMAN, Peter DYCKMAN & Richard DYCKMAN (Page 140); and George DYCKMAN (page 141).
  • A. W. SAVARY.  1903.  Muster Roll of Disbanded Officers, Discharged and Disbanded Soldiers and Loyalists Mustered at Digby, the 19th Day of May, 1784.  New York Genealogical & Biographical Record.  Volume 34.  Pages 118-123, & 192-197.  
  • Comment:  Charles HINXMAN and his family are listed (although with minimal information) on page 122.  This is the earliest known record of the HINXMAN family on Nova Scotia.
Webpage version 2018.7.  First version 2017.
Webpage copyright © Richard HINXMAN, 2017.

1.  Bay View, Digby, Nova Scotia
This was the location of Charles & Jane HINXMAN's land grant, where they built their homestead and raised their family.  The large building at sea level on the left is the blockhouse at Blockhouse Cove.  The crease in the vegetation running past the houses up the side of the hill to the right is Bay View Shore Road.  The roughly horizontal crease in the vegetation just below the skyline is Lighthouse Road.  The 67 acres of land granted to Charles HINXMAN was a long strip located immediately to the left of where these two roads meet, running from beyond the skyline down to the shore.

Digital colour photograph.  Richard HINXMAN.  31 Jul 2017.
  View of Bay View, Digby, from Victoria Beach across Digby Gut.  Collection of Richard HINXMAN. 
Copyright © Richard HINXMAN 2018.  See Terms of Use.

2.  Admiral DIGBY (1732-1815)
At the time of the surrender of New York in Nov 1783, Admiral DIGBY was the Commander-in-Chief of the Royal Navy's North American Station at Halifax, Nova Scotia.  He arranged a convoy of ships to evacuate some 1,500 Loyalist refugees to the small port of Conway in Nova Scotia - which was later renamed Digby in his honour.  Charles and Jane HINXMAN settled and raised their family there.

Portrait in oils.  Unattributed.  Circa 1783.  Admiral Robert DIGBY RN.  Collection of the Admiral Digby Museum.  Digby, Nova Scotia, Canada.
Source:  https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/f/ff/AdmiralRobertDigby.jpg.  Licence:  Public Domain.