A while back when I started researching the Huckeba name I luckily happened across Lon Huckaby. He provided me a lot of information including the following.
THE HUCKABY HISTORY
It is believed that most of the Huckaby families in America were descended of John and Thomas Huckaby who left England in the 1650s, a period of great hardship for many "common" folk of the period. Many left England to escape oppression or debtors prison, or to escape punishment for crimes against the State or Church. John and Thomas may have been brothers or a father and son that came from the Hamlet of Huckaby/Huccaby England in the Dartmoors of Devonshire. I visited Huckaby, England first in the 1980s, and then again in the summer of 1998, and found it to be a small Hamlet where many of the buildings of the 1600s were still standing. Upon visiting with the farmer who now farms "Huccaby Farm" we were able to locate floorslabs and foundations of other buildings that were also standing in the 1600s. Incidentally, when I replied to his question as to how my name is spelled, he noted that the village is alternately spelled "Huckaby" as well. There is a dark, stone-wall lined pathway that connects Huckaby/Huccaby to it's nearest neighbor "Dartmeet" where the West Dart and East Dart Rivers converge. One can imagine our ancestors making the regular journey along the moss-grown path to Dartmeet.
Huccaby, England , (alternately spelled Huckaby on some maps), is seven and one-half miles northeast of Tavistock, situated equally between Dartmeet and Hexworthy in the middle of the Dartmoor Forest. The Huckaby area is owned by the Prince of Wales, and the prince still makes regular visits to collect taxes and check on his "subjects." It would be only about 15 miles as the crow flies to the port of Plymouth where many early American Colonists set sail.
There are a number of area sites that are named Huckaby in addition to the Hamlet/Village. The Huccaby Bridge spans the West Dart River between Hexworthy and Huccaby, and in the village there is a Huccaby House, a Huccaby Cottage, a Huccaby Hut, a Huccaby Farm, and a Huccaby church (St. Raphael). Just north of the village is Huccaby Tor (a granite outcropping), and two Huccaby Stone Rings; an inner ring and an outer ring. East of the village are the Huccaby Clefts (Cliffs).
The ancient circles at Huccaby have fallen into disrepair and, in places, are indistinguishable from other stones in the area. All of the rocks are much smaller than Stonehenge, which incidentally, is only about one hundred crow-miles away, but perhaps of greater antiquity. There are ancient evidences of human habitation in the area, pre-dating written history - stone circles, hut circles, tin-smelting houses, mortars and molds for the tin-smelting, to name a few. The area around Huccaby Tor and circle was used at the turn of this century for horse-racing.
ORIGINS OF THE NAME
Sources have advanced various possible origins for the name "Huccaby". One suggests an Old English origin; "Woh" meaning "crooked", and "Byge" meaning "bend", perhaps referring to the sharp bend in the Dart River at this point. However, there are some old farm enclosures on the Hexworthy side of the river which are known as the "byes" and the locals pronounce the "-by" in Huccaby the same way. Another source theorizes the name may have as its origin an ancient Celtic word "Ock" meaning "water", compounded with "a-by", translating into "abode-by-the-water". Present day moormen still pronounce it "Ockaby" (long "O"), accenting the last syllable, which is pronounced "buy", not "bee". In 1296 it was known as "la Woghebye; 1317 as "Woghby"; 1340 as "Woghebi"; 1417 as "Hogheby"; and in 1608 as "Hookeby." I'm inclined to believe that the name is in reference to the "Hook" or bend that the river makes at Huccaby. In fact the entire area enclosed by this "Hook" is known as Huccaby including the Cliffs or "Clefts" to the east side of the bend famous in folklore as the "Faeries Holt"; the quarry area on the top (19th century) and the farm on the ridge.
HISTORY OF HUCCABY, ENGLAND
The borough of Lidford (which encompassed the hamlets of Dennabridge, Two Bridges, Hexworthy and Huccaby) is said to have had the honor of entertaining Julius Caesar and his army on his second expedition to Britain in 54 B.C.. In fact the remnants of the original "Huckaby Bridge" at Darmeet can still be seen below the arched structure of the current bridge. It is a traditional Roman Slab bridge.
At the time of King Edward, the Confessor (1042-1066 A.D.), Lidford had eight burgesses (a freeman or citizen, eligible to serve in the Parliament) within its walls and forty-one burgesses outside its walls. Forty houses were laid in ruins before William, the Conqueror (1066-1087 A.D.) came to England. Probably this was in 997 A.D. and was done by the marauding Danes.
In 1238 A.D., the Forest of Dartmoor ("Forest" being a hunting ground belonging solely to the King) and the castle of Lidford were granted by King Henry III to Richard, Earl of Cornwall. The manor still belongs to the Duchy of Cornwall (which is the property of Prince Charles, Duke of Wales, heir to the throne of England), as do most of the tenements of the moors, being leased from the Duchy by the inhabitants.
The first historically recorded inhabitant of Huccaby was "Geoffrey de la Wogheby", listed in the "Accounts of the Ministers of Edmund", compiled by the Earl of Cornwall, during the 25th year of the reign of Edward I, 1296-97 A.D.. WOGHBY appears as a personal name in 1317. In the "Lay Subsidy Rolls (1340), the name WOGHEBI is recorded.
In 1587, the ancient tenement is mentioned as the "villagium of Hokecaby" and in 1702 as "Hookerby" and "Huccaby".
On May 4, 1641, a bill was passed by Parliament that all citizens must sign a vow and promise to "protect, maintain and defend...the true reformed Protestant Religion expressed in the Doctrine of the Church of England." Those who refused could not hold office or receive benefits from the commonwealth. Members of the Widecombe-in-the-Moor Parish (the church of the area before the St. Raphael Parish was established) include Adrian HEXT, Bartholomew HEXT, Francis HEXT, two John HEXTs, two John LEYMANs and two Gregory NORRISes, according to the "Devon Protestation Records of 1641".
John and Thomas Huckaby have yet to be located in the Devonshire area, probably because that was not their original name. It is probable that they were of one of the families mentioned above, and took the name of the home as their name in America. In 1702, four tenements are recorded as residing in Huccaby, England: Richard NORRIS, John HEXT, Anna NORRIS and Thomas LEAMAN. Records of one of these families emigrating to America probably from Plymouth, England may yet be found.
EARLY HUCKABYS IN ENGLAND
My sister, Cheryl (Huckaby) Colson, has recently uncovered references to Huckabys (various spellings) in the 1600s at "Bocking End" near Braintree in Essex, England; which offers another possible source for the Huckaby's English ancestry. Prior to this discovery I am not aware that anyone has found the Huckaby surname in 17th Century England, although these Huckabys could have had their beginnings in the Huccaby area of Devonshire as well. One theory is that Huckabys could have been conscripted from their homeland during the War of the Roses. Five listings for Huckabys can be found in a History of Braintree and Essex, England by the former Deputy Head of a Braintree School. There is a copy of the book in the NZ National Library in Wellington. The following list (which includes common family names!) was compiled by Mike Foster of Wellington in 1993:
HUCKABY Richard - Illicit beer-selling 1620
HUCKABY Robert - Harboured a Saling resident (Auger) 1629
HUCKABY Robert - 1622, absent from church, at Little's house
HUCKERBY Erasmus - 1628 absence from church, A'deacons Court
HUCKERBY George - 1628, unreverent behaviour, A'deacons Ct
HUCKERBYE Erasmus - In plague list, probably died (as above?)
EARLY HUCKABYS IN AMERICA
There were Huckabys in Charles City County, Virginia as early as 1662 - John and Thomas. Thomas appears to have been transported to the colonies by Capt. William Bird who on 27 Oct 1673 was granted 1280 acres of land in payment for transporting 122 persons including one Thomas Huccoby [sic]. Thomas, listed as Huckoby or Huckiby, worked for the Sheriff's office and Courthouse. They didn't seem to be too particular about the correct spelling of one's surname, in early-day Virginia. At any rate, the Salt Lake City records contain a microfilm account, equal to four typewritten pages, concerning a Thomas Huckaby. There is also, by 1725, a Thomas Huckaby of Brunswick Co., VA. possibly a son of the Thomas Huckaby of Charles City, VA.
Another branch of the Huckaby family lists as progenitor a Thomas Huckaby, saying he was born in England in 1745, and came to Virginia in 1765. He married on 22 June 1772, then moved to Bedford County, Virginia. This Thomas had eight children, some remaining in Virginia, some moving to Barren County, Kentucky and on to Polk County, Missouri. This descendancy has been well recorded, however it is interesting to note that Joyce A. Huckaby (a definitive researcher of this line) came to believe in her later years that Thomas, the progenitor of the line, was not the original emigrant but was descended of much earlier immigrants to America. This would perhaps lead us back to the original John and Thomas Huckaby once again. The Thomas Huckaby of Barren Co., KY who married Kesiah Nuckols (various spellings) is generally accepted to be the son of Thomas Huckaby bca. 1720 VA and [daughter] Chaffin. Various ancestry of that Thomas have been recorded, depending on the genealogy you read, but it is a good possibility that his ancestry can be traced on through Richard R. Huckeby bca. 1700, Brunswick Co., VA and Mary Kimbell to the Thomas Huckaby and Mary Simmons found in Brunswick Co., VA by 1725 (see above). Richard R. Huckeby is listed as a son of Thomas Huckaby and executor of Thomas' Will.
There is another recorded immigrant, William Huckaby, that has been documented as arriving in March of 1764 aboard the Ship "Tryal" in Middlesex, VA. He was an English Convict, sentenced to America to work off his debt to the Crown along with other debtors. It is also said that he served in the Revolutionary War on the side of the Colonies, which would not be surprising considering his prior situation with England. It is not certain what line of the Huckaby family may be descended of William. The similarity of dates makes one wonder if the data on Thomas Huckaby that purports his arrival in VA in 1765 isn't actually for this William Huckaby, or if it is indeed the same individual.
by Lon A. Huckaby and Jewell J. Huckaby
On our last trip to England in the summer of 1998, I noticed that various innkeepers were spelling my name as "Huckerby." Although I have seen that spelling in Huckaby records, the reason for the spelling didn't occur to me until I was watching a local soccer game in a tavern. They kept extolling the effort of one Darren "Huckaby," a star for the Coventry team, during the play-by-play broadcast. Needless to say I was intrigued as actual Huckabys in England seem to be extremely rare. When I noticed the back of Darren's jersey his name was spelled "Huckerby." It was then that I realized that they drop the "r" with regularity, leaving the name to be pronounced somewhere between "Huckaby" and "Huckeby" (with short vowels) as family members do our name. This may give more validity to the "Huckerby" spelling and is reminiscent of the "Hookerby" spelling for the village of Huccaby in the 17th and 18th century.
Excerpts from a Claiborne Parish, LA book, supplied by Beryl Poteat indicate that "Huckerby" is currently the common spelling of the name in England as well. The article states: "The common British spelling today is Huckerby. The late Harry Huckerby of Long Clawson, a village near Melton Mowbray in Leicestershire, England, did a great deal of genealogical research. According to his records, which his widow, Phyllis, so generously provided, the line extends back to King William I of England, and Harry was a descendant of King William through a female line. Harry had documentary proof of his descent from William Hokyrby, who was living in the village of Eastwell in 1509, also near Melton Mowbray. The churchyard at Eastwell contains the most ancient graves of the Huckabays, and other nearby churchyards have Huckabay graves as well, namely Hose and Long Clawson. Huckerby Grange in Lincolnshire was centuries old when it was demolished recently to make way for new development. Phyllis has in her possesion two vases from the ancient farmhouse. Records in Nichol's History of Leicestershire indicate that the Huckabays were farmers and tradesmen and belonged to the yeoman class. There are many land transactions and wills in the county records offices, and the parish church records have records of births, marriages, and deaths. Today, many of the descendants of the family live in England, some in cities such as Nottingham and Leicester, and some on dairy farms in rural areas. Martin Huckerby is a music critic for the London Times. He writes that his branch of the family has lived in south London for several generations."
Those individuals recording the early records of the Huckaby lines in America obviously spelled the name phonetically, bringing about the variety of spellings. Recorded spellings of the surname include: Hucaby, Huccaby, Huccoby, Huceby, Hucheby, Huckaba, Huckabay, Huckabee, Huckaberry, Huckabey, Huckabey, Huckaby, Huckalby ,Huckbee, Huckbey, Huckby, Huckeba, Huckebee, Huckeby, Huckelby, Huckerby, Huckiby, Hucklabee, Hucklby, Hucklebe, Huckleberry, Huckleby, Huckoby, Huckuby.
A Photograph of Huccaby Farmhouse, A Map of the Huccaby, and England area A Photograph of Huccaby Bridge available upon request.