c.1751-1783:  Fortune Seeker - & Refugee!
Early Life of Charles HINXMAN (c.1751-1836):  West Dean & New York

This webpage traces the early life of Charles HINXMAN (c.1751-1836), and his part in the great events which shaped his life and those of his descendants.  Most of the data on Charles is widely scattered, and this page aims to bring together everything currently known about his early life.  Here is the first part of Charles's story:

1751:  West Dean
It seems that Charles HINXMAN was born at the latest on 18 Aug 1751, for that is the day he was baptised. 

His parents were Edward HINXMAN I (c.1716-c.1785) then aged 35, and Martha HINXMAN née BEAST or BOASTLEY (c.1755-1797) aged 34.  They had married at West Dean, in Wiltshire, England, on 19 Nov 1743, and they subsequently produced 5 surviving children (with perhaps 3 others stillborn or died in infancy).  Charles was the middle child, preceded by 2 brothers and followed by 2 sisters.

This family lived in the remote, rural village of West Dean, on the border between the counties of Hampshire and Wiltshire, in central southern England.  The nearest towns of any significant size were the ancient cathedral cities of Winchester (in Hampshire) and Salisbury (in Wiltshire).  The county boundaries were occasionally revised and adjusted over time, so West Dean sometimes rather oddly changed from one county to the other - resulting in some of West Dean's records now being preserved in Hampshire, and some in Wiltshire.

These boundary changes were reflected in the history of its churches. 

The old 14th century church of St Mary at West Dean lay in Wiltshire, in the Salisbury Diocese.  It consisted of a simple chancel, nave and porch, built of chalk, flint and sandstone rubble, with a wooden turret in place of a tower.  In 1333 the church was extended when Robert de BORBACH added a chantry was added to the south side of St Mary's.

In the 15th century West Dean comprised two distinct parishes, each with its own church and rector.  St Mary's remained on the Wiltshire side of the county and diocesan border.  But the church of All Saints, on Moody's Hill at the south-west corner of West Dean, was in Hampshire and so part of the Diocese of Winchester. 

In 1473 the two churches became united again, after which all the villagers returned to worshipping at the old church of St Mary.  This is the church in which Charles HINXMAN was baptised in 1751 - but sadly, it no longer exists.

By the 1830s the old church of St Mary was in poor condition, and in the 1860s it was condemned as too dilapidated to repair.  In 1866 a new church of St Mary was built on a site closer to the village, and in 1868 the old St Mary's church was demolished, leaving only the ancient chantry on the old site. 

The Grade I listed, Borbach Chantry became redundant for church use in 1971, but it still survives as a mortuary chapel, now in the care of the Churches Conservation Trust (accessible inside if requested in advance).  This rural 14th. century chapel, set in excellent walking country, contains a striking series of monuments - but unfortunately no memorabilia relating to the HINXMAN family.  

Illustration 1:  Interior of Borbach Chantry, West Dean.  2008.  For picture details, see footnotes.

Nevertheless, the Borbach Chantry and its grounds are of significant family interest, as this is the only remaining part of the old church in which Charles was baptised, and in which his parents and their families used to worship.  It stands beside the old St Mary's churchyard, where many of Charles HINXMAN's relations and ancestors from West Dean are buried - some of their graves still possessing gravestones bearing legible inscriptions.  So this remote and peaceful location is something of a place of pilgrimage, for descendants of the HINXMANs of West Dean.

1751:  Beginnings
After Charles's baptism was completed, a brief line was faintly scrawled
in the Parish Register, under the heading of 'Baptized 1751':

'Aug 18  Charles Son of Edward and Martha Hinxman'

This is the very first record of Charles's existence.  The church was careful to document its religious ritual of baptism, but no equivalent secular record exists of Charles's actual birth: there was no requirement for the civil registration of births in England until 01 Jul 1837.  So we do not know exactly when Charles was born, except that it was probably within a year or so of his baptism.

However, some clues do survive from the further end of his life.  At Charles's death in Sep 1836, a number of newspapers (such as the St John Weekly Chronicle) stated his age as 85:

'd. Digby, 17th ult., Charles HINXMAN, age 85'

Some 85 years after Charles's birth, this statement may well seem unreliable.  But the definite way that his age is stated, suggests his family was very clear about it.  And in Nova Scotia, some 3,000 miles away from West Dean, they can only have known that because Charles himself knew, and told them.  So if we subtract 85 years from 1836, we find the year that Charles himself seems to have thought he was born: 1751.  As an element of uncertainty remains, the date is quoted here as c.1751 - i.e. circa (about) 1751.  But it does look as if he was born sometime between Jan-Aug 1751.

And that, for a long time, is all the documentary record has to say about the young Charles HINXMAN, living in the peaceful village of West Dean.

1759-1765:  Conway, Annapolis County
While Charles was growing up, so too was his future home, far across the Atlantic Ocean. 

On 17 Aug 1759 (when Charles was still 8 years old), the growing population of the British province of Nova Scotia became sufficiently large to be divided into separate counties.  

One of these counties in the north-west of the province was given the name of Annapolis County, after its main town of Annapolis Royal which served as its administrative centre.  Annapolis Royal lies at the head of the Annapolis Basin: a large, almost land-locked bay on the north-west coast of Nova Scotia. 

A few years afterwards in 1765 (when Charles was now 14), a small new settlement was founded at the further end of the Annapolis Basin. 

It was on gently rising, forested land, close to the narrow sea entrance to the Annapolis Basin from the great Bay of Fundy.  It possessed a sheltered bay for anchoring ships; a small natural harbour; plentiful game and timber in the forests, good fishing in the sea, and sizeable rivers to supply fresh water. 

This new settlement was given the name of Conway.

Conway was named after Sir Henry Seymour CONWAY (1721-1795): who was then a Lieutenant-General in the British Army, and a Member of Parliament.  At this time the British Government administered its colonies through 2 large Southern and Northern Departments.  And in 1765 Sir Henry CONWAY was the newly appointed Joint Secretary of State for the Southern Department, which included responsibility for all the American colonies. 

CONWAY was a radical politician, and was popular in America for urging moderate, non-confrontational policies - so this is doubtless why the new settlement was named after him.  Two decades later, this little port and village of Conway would come to hold a special meaning for Charles.

Illustration 2:  Sir Henry Seymour CONWAY, MP (1721-1795).  1780.  For picture details, see footnotes.

1775:  War!
Meanwhile, the years rolled on - and in about 1772, Charles turned 21 years old.  This was the age of majority then, when he officially became a man and was free to live as he chose.  It was not long before Charles decided to leave West Dean, the isolated village where he was raised, and to exchange it for a life of travel and adventure. 

He wanted to seek his fortune, but how to begin with few skills and little money?  At first there seemed to be no obvious answer, but international events were about to offer him a golden opportunity.

In 1775 (when Charles was 24), the American Revolutionary War (also known as the American War of Independence) broke out between Britain and the American Patriots in their 13 colonies.  Britain needed extra military resources to bolster her presence in America, and started recruiting extra manpower.  According to the author Reverend HILL, writing in 1901:

'Charles HINXMAN (.  .  .) embarked with his regiment in England and came out to oppose George WASHINGTON in the War of Independence'.

Records show that Charles was not a soldier, so he probably signed up as an indentured labourer, as part of the British Army's civilian support force. 

This would have gained him a free passage to the New World, in exchange for committing to a fixed term of employment - usually 7 years.  After that period, Charles would be free to settle in America if he wished.  The contract may even have included the promise of a land grant there, provided he completed his 7 years satisfactorily.  This would have been a massively tempting prize for Charles, and well worth striving for: a rare opportunity for him to move upwards, in social class and potential wealth.

An indenture is an early form of written contract, incorporating a simple safeguard against fraud.  Duplicate copies for the people involved were written on the same sheets: in its simplest form, 2 copies on 1 large sheet).  The sheet was then divided into its separate copies by cutting between them in a roughly zigzag pattern.  The toothed pattern thus formed is the origin of its name, from the Latin 'dente' and French 'dent', meaning tooth.  Each party then retained one of these toothed copies, which could be proved genuine by its fit against the teeth of the other copies. 

If Charles was an indentured labourer, as seems likely, he would have possessed his own toothed copy of the contract, setting out his obligations and rewards.  Sadly, this indenture - if it existed - now appears to be lost.

Illustration 3:  Example of an Indenture.  1833.  Note the security feature of an indented top edgeFor picture details, see footnotes.

Judging from his actions, Charles was a fit and able young man, and prepared to work hard to better himself.  The contract with the British Army offered him a chance to move from underling to boss: from being a labourer on someone else's land, to becoming a freeholding landowner in his own right.  He can have felt little doubt, that a chance of such betterment was worth the risk and long-term effort involved.  He signed the indenture, and set out on the journey towards his dream.

If the Reverend HILL (quoted above) is correct, Charles probably voyaged to New York sometime early in the war, departing in 1775 or 1776.  The details are not known, but Charles probably travelled with many other recruits aboard an armed transport ship, in a convoy escorted by a Royal Navy warship.  The voyage, from the Royal Navy base at Portsmouth to New York, would have taken about 6-8 weeks, or possibly longer, depending on the weather and the ports of call. 

Charles was doubtless put to work soon after his arrival in 1775-76, enhancing the facilities for Government supplies and handling the vastly increased flow of resources required for the war.  He was going to be very busy, but the hard work would make him fitter and stronger: better prepared to meet the challenges that the future would bring to him.

1781:  New York
Then, about 6 years later on 17 Oct 1781, the unthinkable happened: the British forces at Yorktown found themselves in an impossible position, and were forced to surrender to the American Patriots.  Major fighting ceased, but not (technically) the war: the British still had 30,000 troops in garrisons across America.  A strangely quiet interlude then followed, for discussions, negotiations, and the drafting of treaties between the two sides.

General Sir Henry CLINTON KB MP (1730-1795), the British Commander-in-Chief in North America, used the cessation of hostilities to take stock.  He appointed a Board of General Officers to consider the expenditure of public money in different departments in the Army at New York,
including Muster Rolls of those men, women and children who were supplied with victuals (food). 

CLINTON asked the Governor of New York, James ROBERTSON (1717-1788), to record the work of the Board.  Among these Proceedings, on pages 128-131, Charles HINXMAN is listed at Marston's Wharf.  This was in the vicinity of the present 76th Street in New York City, on the East River:

Muster Roll of Artificers, Labourers, &c Employed in
the Commissary General's Department at Haerlem Heights and Marston's Wharf.

Labourers  8  (Marston's Wharf):

(.  .  .)
Charles HINXMAN.
(.  .  .)

26th day of August 1781.
Jos GARDNER, Qur. Mr. 17th Dragoons.  Acting as Commy of Musters.

This is the earliest known record of Charles HINXMAN's presence in New York.  At this time he was employed as 1 of 22 Labourers (8 based at Marston's Wharf), who worked in the Commissary General's Department.  This was the section of the Army responsible for logistics and the movement of supplies, to support the troops. 

Illustration 4:  General Sir Henry CLINTON (1730-1795).  Circa 1762-65.  For picture details, see footnotes.

Of additional interest to us later, is that 5 members of the DYCKMAN family were also recorded amongst Charles's colleagues, including the following person (first mentioned on pages 54-57):

Return of Clerks, Storekeepers, Waggon Masters, Conductors & Labourers employed
in the Qr. Mast. General's Department in the District of New York Commencing the 1st July 1781.


(.  .  .)
States Morris DYKMAN
(.  .  .)

On 26 Aug 1781 the unusually named States Morris DYCKMAN is recorded again (pages 108-111):

Return of Waggon Masters, Conductors, Clerks, Storekeepers, Carpenters, Blacksmiths, Harness Makers and Labourers
in the Quartr. Master General's Department in the District of New York 26th August 1781.


(.  .  .)
(.  .  .)

J. WELCH, Qur. Mr. 17th Dragoons.  Acting as Commy. of Muster.

Meanwhile on the same date (pages 140-142), 4 other DYCKMANs are employed elsewhere as Labourers and Cartmen:

Muster Roll of the Artificers, Labourers, Horses, Waggons and Carts employed in His Majesty's Service
in the Barrack Master General's Department in New York, taken 26th August 1781


(. . .)
Cornelius DYCKMAN
(. . .)

J. WELCH, Qur. Mr. 17th Dragoons.  Acting as Commy. of Muster.

The officers responsible for mustering and recording these various groups of workers were 2 Quartermasters from the 17th Regiment of Dragoons.  But these officers signed off muster rolls for at least 4 different Army departments, so it appears theirs was an over-arching role: their presence does not imply that these workers were themselves attached to the 17th Regiment of Dragoons.

According to the Reverend HILL
, Charles
also gained a promotion around this time.  HILL does not make clear whether he is quoting the lost HINXMAN Family Bible here, or an old member of the HINXMAN family as a source, but he refers to 'Charles HINXMAN, a clerk in the British army'

If this is true, Charles must have been upgraded to a Clerk in about 1782, matching his former colleague States M. DYCKMAN - and maybe it was States who encouraged Charles to apply for this post.  The fact that Charles appears to have been a colleague of other members of the DYCKMAN family lends support to this theory.

But we need to treat HILL's unsubstantiated claim with some caution.  Oral traditions are a valuable indicator of where to search for evidence, as they nearly always contain some truth.  But they have often become distorted over countless re-tellings, so the reality you find may differ from the family legend.  The passage of time, faulty memories, or a tendency to embroider the facts can all lead to stories changing. 

Illustration 5:  View of New York harbour.  Circa 1770.  For picture details, see footnotes.

HILL's account is a secondary source (and therefore less reliable), and is known to conflict with primary sources about Charles's life on at least 2 other counts.  So here is an alternative explanation. 

A couple of years later, Charles was to marry a member of the DYCKMAN family.  So the family tradition of an British Army Clerk could refer to States Morris DYCKMAN, just as well as to Charles HINXMAN.  Both of them worked for the Army Commissariat, at the same time, so it would be easy for their stories to become confused in the recounting to generations of their descendants.  So far, no primary source has been found showing Charles as a Clerk: HILL's statement is the only (rather dubious) evidence we have.  So for now the jury remains out.

In the same year of 1781, another event occurred which would later impact on Charles HINXMAN: the capable British Admiral Robert DIGBY RN (1732-1815) was promoted to Admiral of the Red, and appointed as the new Commander-in-Chief of the Royal Navy's North American Station, based at Halifax, in Nova Scotia.  The colony of Nova Scotia had remained loyal to the British Crown, and the great deep-water harbour at Halifax provided a secure base for British naval operations throughout the east coast of America.  Admiral DIGBY was being given a crucial role.

1783:  Evacuation Begins

By 1783 it was clear that the British needed a plan to extricate their supporters from the 13 colonies.  There were large numbers of British troops (and workers like Charles) spread across the colonies, and even greater numbers of United Empire Loyalists, or Loyalists.  The latter were local people who sided with the British, and who were therefore at risk of reprisals if overrun by the Patriot forces. 

The British needed to protect these citizens and allies, so on 05 May 1783 a meeting was convened in New York to address the problem. 

James ROBERTSON (the Governor of New York, and now a Lieutenant-General), met with General Sir Guy CARLETON KB (1724-1808), the new Commander-in-Chief of British Forces in North America, General Sir Henry CLINTON KB MP, the outgoing Commander-in-Chief, and Admiral Robert DIGBY (Commander of the Royal Navy's North American Station), to plan for the evacuation of New York City. 

Decisions taken at this high-level meeting would soon affect the lives of many thousands of people, including Charles HINXMAN and his descendants.  At about the same time, in the spring of 1783, Admiral DIGBY reviewed Nova Scotia's defences against potential attacks. 

The Patriot colonies on the east coast of America all had a strong tradition of seagoing trade.  This had enabled the Patriots to commission many successful privateers during the American Revolutionary War, and these remained a potential threat.  Nova Scotia's Annapolis Basin, a sheltered and almost land-locked bay measuring 24km (15mi) by 6km (3.7mi), offered the potential for enemy troops to land and march on Halifax from the rear.  This left Nova Scotia's Loyalist colony, and the Royal Navy's key base at Halifax, open to a surprise assault. 

Concerned by this vulnerability to enemy attack, in May Admiral DIGBY dispatched HMS Atalanta (1775-1802), probably under Commander Thomas FOLEY (1757-1833), to evacuate some 1,500 Loyalist refugees from New York City, and bring them to reinforce Conway: the small settlement and port just inside the entrance to the Annapolis Basin.

Illustration 6:  Admiral Robert DIGBY RN (1732-1815).  Circa 1783.  1781-1787.  For picture details, see footnotes.

HMS Atalanta was a 300-ton, 14-gun ship sloop of the Swan class, with 125 crew - typical of the small British warships employed in the American Revolutionary War.  Given HMS Atlanta's size, she could never accommodate anything like 1,500 additional passengers.  She appears instead to have acted as an armed escort, for a group of 6 merchant ships actually bearing the refugees.  The perilous nature of this voyage, with Patriot privateers on the prowl, is illustrated by HMS Atlanta's own previous history.  Only 2 years earlier on 28 May 1781, she had been captured off Nova Scotia by the much larger 40-gun American rebel frigate Alliance.  However, she had soon returned to British hands, being retaken in Boston Bay by HMS Assurance, Charleston & Amphitrite, on 07 Jul 1781. 

Admiral DIGBY is sometimes wrongly referred to as the captain of HMS Atalanta, on this first historic voyage of Loyalists to bolster Nova Scotia's defences. 

DIGBY was indeed in overall command, but as Admiral he was not necessarily present in person.  However, it is possible that he came aboard for this voyage from New York to Conway, to ensure that the precious convoy reached its destination and that all arrangements went smoothly.  If so, HMS Atalanta would have been his flagship for that journey: i.e. displaying DIGBY's flag of authority as the Admiral in charge.  This would have publicly emphasised Admiral DIGBY's personal involvement, and drawn the Loyalist passengers' attention to his guiding presence.  The strength of the exiled Loyalists' subsequent gratitude towards DIGBY seems to suggest this interpretation, although no contemporary evidence has yet been discovered of DIGBY's presence on the voyage.

On 01 Jun 1783, HMS Atlanta and her convoy passed through the 'Gut' (a narrow channel) into the Annapolis Basin, and arrived safely at their destination of Conway.  This was the first major evacuation of New York residents towards the close of the war.  But Charles HINXMAN was not a passenger on this particular convoy, as other evidence places him still in New York much later that year. 

Following Admiral DIGBY's instructions, the Loyalists
formally surveyed and settled the port of Conway -
quickly transforming the little village (its population had been only 100 persons in 1771) into a busy town. 

The Admiral's plan proved to be a distinct success: it gave the exiles a home, helped to deter enemy landings, and provided the Royal Navy base at Halifax with an early warning system for any overland assault from there.  These were to be the first of many refugees arriving on Nova Scotia. 

In Aug 1783 General Sir Guy CARLETON, Commander-in-Chief of British Forces in North America, received orders from London to plan the evacuation of New York City. The reason soon became clear: on 03 Sep 1783 the British Government signed the Treaty of Paris, formally recognising the independence of the United States. The signing of the treaty confirmed the forthcoming surrender of New York, heightening a sense of vulnerability.

Admiral DIGBY and his Commander-in-Chief General CARLETON were concerned about the fate of the Loyalists. In CARLETON's own words:

'I should show an indifference to the feelings of humanity as well as to the honour and interest of the nation I serve, if I were to leave any of the Loyalists who are desirous to quit the country, a prey to violence they conceive they have so much cause to apprehend.'

These two senior officers wrote to General George WASHINGTON, Commander-in-Chief of the Patriots, demanding that he should honour his promise to allow the Loyalists to leave New York 'honourably and without molestation'.

The pair bluntly informed WASHINGTON that if his promises were not kept, they would resume hostilities without any further warning.  They also stated (somewhat exceeding their official powers) that they would not wait for formal permission from London before proceeding.
  This action by the British commanders undoubtedly saved thousands of Loyalists from a life of miserable persecution, and possible death. 

WASHINGTON seems to have taken the commanders seriously, and the evacuation was allowed to proceed unmolested. A massive exodus of about
33,000 Loyalists left New York in 1783 for various destinations in Nova Scotia, thereby doubling its population in 1 year.

These people included American colonists loyal to Britain; freedmen (i.e. former slaves - much to the annoyance of Patriot slave-owners such as General WASHINGTON); troops discharged from the remnants of the defeated British Army; and British nationals such as Charles HINXMAN. Nova Scotia, already loyal to the Crown, became a hotbed of Loyalist sentiment, with many of the new arrivals harbouring strong grudges against the Patriots for so disrupting their lives.

Illustration 7: General Sir Guy CARLETON (1724-1808). Date unknown. For picture details, see footnotes.

Nov 1783: Marriage
Fate was now closing in rapidly on New York, and upon Charles too.  But the next surviving document concerning his life is something of a surprise. 

It is a copy of a marriage bond, executed in the Province of New York on 06 Nov 1783, by Charles HINXMAN and Jane DIKEMAN (also spelt DYKEMAN or DYCKMAN; 1755->1796).  This may be just a coincidence, but Charles had been working with several DYCKMAN colleagues since at least 1781.  Perhaps he had got to know their families, and through them met Jane, his future wife.

The spellings and meaning of the surname DIKEMAN suggest Jane's family originated in the Netherlands.  New York City was first built by settlers from the Netherlands in 1613, and was named New Amsterdam until it was transferred to Britain on 08 Sep 1664.  Many Dutch families stayed on after this change in ownership.  Charles & Jane later had a son named Cornelius: a common name amongst families of Netherlands descent, but rare elsewhere: further evidence of the Dutch origins of Jane's family.

The Reverend HILL in 1901
(quoting the HINXMAN Family Bible, or oral tradition) stated that: 'While in New Jersey he (Charles HINXMAN) married  .  .  .'.  The location is sometimes quoted as the Church of the Holy Trinity, New Jersey, although on what evidence is unclear. 

But the 1781 New York Muster Roll (quoted above) shows that Charles HINXMAN was working in New York, while surviving documentation seems clear that Charles & Jane's marriage bond and licence were issued by New York, not New Jersey.  So the weight of evidence at present suggests that New York is probably where their marriage took place.

Under Lord Hardwicke's Act of 1753, banns had to be called (or a marriage licence obtained) for any marriage to be legally valid.  Banns are public notices of intent to marry, to be read aloud on 3 Sundays before the wedding, in the parish churches of both applicants.  Their purpose is to check there is no known obstacle (such as prior obligations, or close blood relationships) to a couple getting married.

But New York was now being urgently evacuated, and there was simply no time for banns, so Charles & Jane needed a licence instead.  Marriage licences (giving immediate permission to marry) were issued there by the office of the Provincial Secretary of New York. 

Before a licence could be issued, a penal bond was required from the applicants to insure against any potential problems.  This was a legal document, in which those requesting the marriage licence promised to pay £500 (a significant sum at that time) if any 'lawful let or impediment' to the marriage was subsequently discovered. 

Illustration 8:  Evacuation of New York by the British.  1783.  For picture details, see footnotes.

Each marriage bond recorded the name(s) of the person(s) to whom the bond was issued; the names and residence of the persons to whom the marriage license was issued; the date (both in monarch's years of reign and conventional date); and the name (signature) of the witness to the execution of the bond.  All 40 volumes of the New York marriage bonds were originally kept in the office of the Secretary of State

Unfortunately many of the original volumes, dating back to 1664, were destroyed in the State Capitol Fire of 1911 - including the original bond, licence, and register for Charles & Jane's marriage.  The remaining partly-burnt fragments of 18 volumes now reside in the New York State Archives, but are only accessible on microfilm due to their fragile and damaged condition.  However, by good fortune an index to the marriage bonds, containing copies of some key elements, was published in 1860 - well before the fire.  This confirms that the marriage bond for Charles and Jane, recorded in volume 40, was one of the last to be issued - as licences were no longer issued after the surrender of New York:

1783.  Nov.  6.  HINXMAN, Charles, and Jane DIKEMAN,  .  .  .  Marriage Bond.  Vol. XL.  Page 107.

The bond itself proves their intent to marry, but not that their marriage took place.  In fact due to the confusion and destruction that occurred at the fall of New York, no record at all survives of their actual marriage.  But it is clear that soon afterwards they claimed to be married, and it almost certainly took place during the next week or so after the marriage licence was issued. 

The bond places Charles and Jane still in New York at a very late stage of the final evacuation process.  Refugees had been leaving New York in growing numbers for more than 5 months, and with an increasing sense of urgency for the past 2-3 months.  The city was now scheduled to surrender less than 3 weeks from the date of their marriage bond.  So why were they still in New York?

It seems quite likely that Charles was still there because of his job.  Workers like him seem to have been retained as late as possible, to assist in the logistical task of evacuating all of the people and valuable stores, in a sequence which maintained a viable British military presence until the last moment. 

The evacuation was a colossal exercise: vast in scale; complex in detail; compellingly urgent; with an immovable deadline.  Non-essential supplies and people were shipped out rapidly, while essential supplies for those still remaining continued to arrive every day.

The few surviving records show the Commissary General's Department were working hard all the way to the end, when the last British ships - perhaps with Charles & Jane on board? - left on the morning of 25 Nov 1783.

Illustration 9:  The British Fleet leaving New York.  Nov 1783.  For picture details, see footnotes.

But there may have been more personal reasons for Charles & Jane's late departure.  Perhaps they were reluctant to leave while their courtship was continuing, and while they were coming to a decision to stay together or to part forever.  Jane was doubtless reluctant to leave her family members, who were staying behind.  Or possibly their departure was delayed because Jane was pregnant; maybe even about to give birth?  On this we can only surmise.

It is interesting that the couple decided to marry at this turbulent time of final defeat and imminent evacuation, with an unknown future lying ahead of them.  It may have been a time of personal romance for them, but it was also a time of great uncertainty and doubt throughout the Loyalist community.  Single Loyalists must have felt considerable pressure to find reliable partners, with whom to face the challenge of establishing a new home elsewhere.  Charles and Jane certainly came together amid considerable adversity, when their destinies were very unclear, and when a commitment to mutual support must have looked comforting, and even sensible to assist survival.  So was it a marriage born of true love, of sheer pragmatism, or a mixture of both?  We shall probably never know, but adversity seems to have strengthened their loyalty and trust of each other, as they appear to have stayed together for the rest of their lives.

Whatever their feelings and motivations, we can assume that Charles and Jane were married in mid-November 1783.   Charles was then about 32 years old, while Jane was 28.  Their marriage was probably arranged in a hurry, and took place with little formal celebration, as only 19 days remained between the granting of their marriage licence and the final evacuation of the city.  They were fast running out of time.

Nov 1783:  Refugees

The couple's marriage appears to have been their last documented action in the vicinity of New York: within 3 weeks they had left there forever. 

We do not know which of the many ships they boarded (perhaps the very last to leave?), nor exactly when it sailed.  But the final British evacuation of New York City was completed by 12 noon on 25 Nov 1783, when General George WASHINGTON (1732-1799) and his troops entered the city in triumph. 

Charles's British origins, and his employment with the British Army, leave little doubt that he & Jane needed to leave New Jersey and New York by then.  Feelings were running very high between the Patriots and the Loyalists: to stay would have invited rough treatment, loss of possessions, possible lynching, and even death. 

Those final hours of the evacuation were almost certainly filled with real and growing fear, and an increasingly desperate panic to escape the retribution of the invading army.

So sometime between their marriage (from 06 Nov onwards) and the surrender of New York (midday on 25 Nov), the newlyweds embarked on a British transport ship and set sail for Nova Scotia - and an uncertain future.

Illustration 10:  General Washington Enters New York.  25 Nov 1783.  For picture details, see footnotes.

It was a life-changing moment for them, and a defining moment for their heirs.  Charles's plan of working for 7 years, saving hard, and obtaining a land grant, now seemed unlikely to happen.  For Jane, committing to Charles at such a time was a major act of faith.  To sail away from all they knew and owned was a massive risk - but to remain in the defeated city seemed even more dangerous. 

And now the young couple were truly adrift: they had become two homeless refugees. 

They were separated from families and homes, with few possessions of their own; dependent on each other's love and loyalty to help them survive.

There was no telling what their future might hold  .  .  .

This page owes its existence to a long line of people who have researched, preserved and shared data about the HINXMAN family and their history over many years.

Special mention is due to Geoff and Nicola GEIER in England: descendants of the HINXMANs of West Dean, and therefore also relations of Charles and the HINXMANs of Nova Scotia.  Without their meticulous research, the identification of Charles's English origins would have been much less certain.  Geoff sadly passed away before this page was completed, but his contribution remains significant.

Special thanks are also due to Cyndi HINXMAN in North America.  This page owes much to Cyndi's encyclopaedic collection of material about this branch of the HINXMAN family.  Without her enthusiasm for the topic, dedication to careful research, and attention to detail, the piecing together of Charles's story in America would have taken much longer.

It seems very fitting that this story of an adventurous English HINXMAN, who voyaged to the New World to seek his fortune, is the outcome of a modern, transatlantic collaboration.  Thank you one and all who were involved: Charles would have been proud of you, and touched to know that his story has been pieced together again for his family to share and remember.

DNA Testing
DNA tests of modern descendants from the Nova Scotia branch should help to confirm the documentary evidence of Charles's place of origin in England, the inter-relationship of the North American HINXMANs, and their connection to other HINXMAN branches - helping to test the theory that HINXMANs worldwide are all one family.

If you are a possible descendant of the Nova Scotia branch, of either gender, and interested in taking a DNA test (this involves providing a small sample of saliva), please do get in touch.  Multiple participants are needed to obtain the most meaningful results.

  • Alden CHESTER & Edwin Melvin WILLIAMS.  1925.  Courts and Lawyers of New York: A History 1609-1925.  Volume I.  Part Two: The English Period.  Chapter XIX: The Nicolls & Lovelace Administrations.  Pages 337-339.  The American Historical Society.  New York & Chicago, USA.  Reprint 2005: The Lawbook Exchange.  Clark, New Jersey, USA.
  • William E. CHUTE.  1894.  A Genealogy and History of the Chute Family in America, with some account of the family in Great Britain and Ireland, with an account of forty Allied Families gathered from the most authentic sourcesSalem, Massachussetts, USA.
  • Comment:  This single volume comprises 2 separately numbered parts: Part I, The Chute Family & Part II, Allied Families.  Both contain important HINXMAN references: Descent of Bethia Matilda WOODMAN (1825-1892), 2nd. wife of Capt. James T. HINXMAN (Part I, Page 31); Poem 'On the Death of Nelson CHUTE', which refers to James T. HINXMAN (Part I, Page 57); Descent of Susan G. PURDAY (1816-1854), 1st wife of Capt. James T. HINNMAN (sic: typographical error, spelt correctly earlier) + Descent of the latter from 'Thomas, (and then) Charles, from Eng(land)' (both in Part II, Page xcviii). 
  • Churches Conservation Trust.  Consulted 13 Feb 2018.  Borbach Chantry, West Dean.  Webpage URL:  https://www.visitchurches.org.uk/visit/church-listing/borbach-chantry-west-dean.html.
  • J. J. COLLEDGE & B. WARLOW.  2010.  Ships of the Royal Navy: The Complete Record of all Fighting Ships of the Royal Navy from the 15th Century to the Present.  Casemate Publishers.  Philidelphia, USA, & Newbury, England.  4th edition, fully revised and updated.  Collection of Richard HINXMAN.  Source of data on HMS Atalanta.
  • Reverend 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:  Key source on the settlement of Charles & Jane HINXMAN in Digby, Nova Scotia, and their initial descendants.  Sometimes incorrect in the details, due to its secondary nature as a source written long after the original events, but nevertheless of real importance in guiding the direction of research.  The purchase of this book was kindly sponsored by Alex BOWER.
  • Lois JENKINS.  2017.  Descendants of Charles HINXMAN.  Personal communication: unpublished paper.  Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia, Canada.  Collection of Richard HINXMAN.
  • A detailed and fully referenced digest of American documentary sources, relating to Charles & Jane HINXMAN and 4 generations of their descendants.
  • Lieutenant-General James ROBERTSON (1717-1788).  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 for the Year 1916.  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).  The purchase of this book was kindly sponsored by Edward & Carrie CANNON.
  • Secretary of the Province of New York.  1753-1783.  Marriage Bonds executed by Persons obtaining Marriage Licenses.  New York State Archives.  Series A1893.  Accessible on microfilm only.  URL for the index of marriage bonds on the website of the New York State Archives:  http://iarchives.nysed.gov/xtf/view?docId=ead/findingaids/A1893.xml;query=
  • Comment:  These are the fire-damaged remnants of some of the old New York marriage bonds.  It is unclear whether Charles & Jane's bond is one of those still surviving.
  • James SULLIVAN (Editor).  History of New York State, 1523-1927.  The Historical Society of the Courts of the State of New York.  Volume V.  Chapter XII: The Bench and Bar.  Page 46 of 129, and Footnote 54.
  • Gideon J. TUCKER.  1860.  Names of Persons for whom Marriage Licenses were issued by the Secretary of the Province of New York, previous to 1784.  Pages 111 & 184.  Weed, Parsons & Company.  Albany, New York State, USA. 
  • Unattributed.  18 Aug 1751.  Charles HINXMAN.  Baptized 1751.  Page 34 of 70.  Parish Register, 1678-1793.  West Dean, Wiltshire, England.  Wiltshire & Swindon Record Office.  Chippenham, Wiltshire, England.
  • Unattributed.  Between c.1815-1860.  Information (Genealogical notes on the West Dean branch of the HINXMAN family)Pages 65-69.  Parish Register, 1678-1793.  West Dean, Wiltshire, England.  Wiltshire & Swindon Record Office.  Chippenham, Wiltshire, England.
  • A most unusual and helpful find, included within a parish register: a set of 19th century genealogical notes and draft family trees of the West Dean branch of the family.
  • Rif WINFIELD.  2007.  British Warships in the Age of Sail, 1714-1792.  Seaforth Publishing.  Barnsley, Yorkshire, England.  Collection of Richard HINXMAN.  Source of data on HMS Atalanta.
  • Wiltshire County Council.  Webpage.  Consulted 13 Feb 2018.  West Dean.  Wiltshire Community History.  Webpage URL:  https://history.wiltshire.gov.uk/community/getcom.php?id=235.
  • Unattributed.  Webpage.  Consulted 24 Mar 2018.  Honorable Rear Admiral Robert Digby.  URL: http://admiraldigbymuseum.ca/?page_id=46.
  • The Admiral Digby Museum at Digby, Nova Scotia, Canada, is a major source of local history information, including much relating to the HINXMAN of Nova Scotia branch.
  • Wikipedia.  Webpages.  Consulted Apr 2018.
    • American Revolutionary War.
    • Borbach Chantry.
    • Guy Carleton, 1st Baron Dorchester.
    • Robert Digby (Royal Navy Officer).
    • Evacuation Day (New York).
    • United Empire Loyalist.
    • George Washington.

Other Source Consulted
  • The National Archives (UK)Bessant Drive, Kew, Richmond, Surrey TW9 4DU, England.  Website: www.nationalarchives.gov.uk.
  • Comment:  'Discovery', the online catalogue of The National Archives (UK) holds many records relating to various members of the HINXMAN family.  But a thorough search of the overall catalogue of over 32 million records (http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk), plus various detailed categories suggested by archives staff, revealed nothing that might relate to this Charles HINXMAN or Jane née DIKEMAN.

Further Research
Issues identified for further exploration:
  • Jane DIKEMAN's relatives in New York: do these include any of Charles HINXMAN's known DYCKMAN work colleagues?

Next  .  .  .
  • A sequel to this webpage is in preparation, telling the next phase of Charles's and Jane's story: of their trials and successes, and the founding of a new branch of the HINXMAN family.
  • Click on Facebook: Hinxman History for our Facebook page, to keep you informed on relevant news such as additions to the HINXMAN Family History websites.
    To receive occasional updates as they happen, click on 'Like' against that page (just below the cover picture).
Webpage version 2018.5.  First version 2018.
Webpage copyright © Richard HINXMAN, 2018.

1.  Interior of Borbach Chantry, West Dean.  2008.
This is the only remaining part of the old St Mary's Church: the ancestral place of worship for the West Dean branch of the HINXMAN family, where Charles HINXMAN (c.1751-1836) was baptised.
Digital colour photograph.  Mike SEARLE.  2008.  Interior of Borbach Chantry.  West Dean, Wiltshire, England.  cc-by-sa/2.0 - © Mike Searle - geograph.org.uk/p/1002770

2:  Sir Henry Seymour CONWAY, MP (1721-1795).  1780. 
The settlement of Conway in Annapolis County, Nova Scotia, was named after Sir Henry CONWAY: a radical English politician who was popular in America at that time.
Oil portrait on canvas.  Thomas GAINSBOROUGH (1727-1788).  1780.  Marshal Henry Seymour CONWAY (1721-1795).  Royal Court House, St Helier, Jersey, Channel Islands.  Public domain.  Accessed via https://artuk.org.  Creative Commons CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 licence.

3:  Example of an Indenture.  1833.
Note the simple security feature, of an indented edge along the top, which gave indentures their name.  This example is from the London branch of the HINXMAN family.
Manuscript on oiled paper.  John HINXMAN of Goldersgreen (London branch; 1777-1856) to James BAIKIE & Frank BURTON Esquires.   22 Dec 1833.  Indenture: Lease for 1 Year of Messuages, Tenements, etc.  Collection of Richard HINXMAN.  See Terms of Use.

4:  General Sir Henry CLINTON (1730-1795).  Circa 1762-65. 
General CLINTON commissioned the review that revealed Charles HINXMAN working at Marston's Wharf in 1781, and was one of the strategic planners of the evacuation of New York in 1783.
Oil portrait on canvas.  Attributed to Andrea SOLDI (c.1703-1771).  Circa 1762-65.  Sir Henry CLINTON.  The American Museum in Britain.  Bath, England.  Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.
URL: http://www.americanmuseum.org/graphics/library/Sir%20Henry%20Clinton~a.jpg

5:  View of New York harbour.  Circa 1770.
A view of Lower Manhattan across the harbour, apparently from Governor's Island.  This is very much how Charles HINXMAN would have seen New York on his arrival in 1775-76.
Monochrome engraving.  Unattributed.  Circa 1770.  View of New York City Harbour.  New York Public Library.  Public domain: free to use without restriction.  URL: digitalcollections.nypl.org

6:  Admiral Robert DIGBY RN (1732-1815).  Circa 1783. 
Admiral DIGBY was one of the strategic planners of the evacuation of New York in 1783, and instigated the resettlement of Loyalist refugees to bolster the defences of Nova Scotia.
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.

7:  General Sir Guy CARLETON (1724-1808).  Date unknown.
General CARLETON was one of the strategic planners of the evacuation of New York in 1783, and insisted on evacuating all Loyalists (including former slaves) who wished to leave.
Portrait in oils.  Unattributed.  Date unknown.  General Sir Guy CARLETON.  National Archives of Canada.  Public domain via Wikimedia Commons. 
URL: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:General-Sir-Guy-Carleton_2.jpg

8:  Evacuation of New York by the British.  1783.
Monochrome print.  Henry N. CADY et al.  1890.  Evacuation of New York by the British.  New York Public Library.  Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.
URL: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Evacuation_of_New_York_by_the_British_-_Gebbie.jpeg
Found in:  Annie Cole CADY.  1890.  The American Continent and its Inhabitants before its Discovery by Columbus.  GEBBIE & Co.  Philadelphia, USA.

9:  The British Fleet leaving New York.  Nov 1783.
A panorama of the His Majesty's fleet leaving New York under full sail, with Lower Manhattan in the foreground.  The ships depicted are all warships, which would have been the last to leave.
Monochrome engraving.  Unattributed.  Date unknown.  The British Fleet Ready to leave New York, 1783.  Public domain.  Website:  Historical Narratives of Early Canada.  URL:  http://www.uppercanadahistory.ca.

10.  General Washington Enters New York.  25 Nov 1783.
This picture portrays a turbulent entry by Washington into New York, with a mixture of welcomes and fear from the remaining inhabitants.
Monochrome engraving.  Alexander Hay RITCHIE (1822-1895).  1853.  Triumph of Patriotism: George Washington Entering New York, 25 Nov 1783.  Accession No. 42.50.5.  Metropolitan Museum of Art.  New York, USA.  Public domain.  Licence permits free copying.