The Children of Robert and Esther Pickens
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) List

August 10, 1998

Purpose: To collect, preserve, and spread information about the descendents of Robert (b. 1645 France) and Esther Bonneau Picon (Pickens).

This FAQ is now being split between members' web pages. If you would like to take ownership of what is left, please email mitch.

Table of Contents

0 General Questions
1 History
2 Cousins
3 What published resources are available?
4 (Deleted)
5 The BIG gedcom
6 Miscellaneous
7 Future Plans
8 Notes

0 General Questions

0.1 How do I add questions, answers, and corrections to the list?

Please email them to mitch(at)

1 History

1.1 Who were Robert and Esther Bonneau Pickens?

From General Andrew Pickens letter to General Lee in 1811, "There seems to be some support for the claim that one ROBERT PICON, a Scotchman or Briton at the court of France was a Protestant who fled from Scotland in 1661 to avoid persecution of Charles II. In France he is said to have married Madam Jean Bonneau, also a Protestant. They fled France after the revocation of the Edit of Nantes by Louis XIV in 1685. Tradition continues that they went to Scotland, later to North Ireland." _Pickens Families of the South_ by E. M. Sharp, 1963
From _Dozens of Cousins_: "Robert Picken/Picon, a Scotsman, went to France during the reign of King Henry IV of France (1589-1610). There he held an obscure diplomatic post. Robert evidently returned to Scotland after 1610 and had a son born about 1624 named Andrew. Andrew left Scotland for France, possibly as early as 1651 when Charles II was defeated by Oliver Cromwell and fled to France. If those who say Andrew's son, Robert was born in 1654 in France are accurate, this action would fit the timetable. Robert Picken/Picon born 1654 in France married a young widow, Esther Jeanne (Benoit) Bonneau of Rochelle, France. They had the following children: sons Andrew, John, Robert, Israel, William, and Thomas, and at least one daughter, who married a Davis. The family fled France in 1685 for refuge in Scotland after the revocation of the Edict of Nantes, because they had strong protestant convictions. They lived in Scotland a short time, then moved to Ulster, Northern Ireland, where they 'found blood kinsman of the Pickens family'. Early researchers think Robert Picken, the father, died in Limerick, Ireland in 1700... One thing is certain, the early records on the Pickens family, before they reached the new world, are still obscure. Descendants of William and Thomas have established that these two sons of Robert Picken came to America from Northern Ireland. Thomas, with his wife, Margaret Steele, arrived in Massachusetts in 1719 and stayed in New England. This history traces the descendants of the son, William, who went to Pennsylvania"

1.2 What do we know about Robert and Esther's Parents?

Well not much. A gedcom 'piles.ged' exists at that states Robert's father was named Andrew. Does anyone know who submitted this file to It has some great information on the Pickens family.

2 Cousins

The cousin address list has moved to cousins.html.

3 What published resources are available?

This section has moved to Terry McLean's site

5 The BIG gedcom

Terry McLean is compiling a gedcom of all the known descendents of Robert and Esther Pickens at

6 Miscellaneous

6.1 How can I be put in the email list?

Use the form located at join.html

6.2 Who are famous descendents of Robert and Esther?

  1. General Andrew Pickens - General in Revolutionary War "the British, harassed by partisan leaders like Francis Marion, Thomas Sumter, and Andrew Pickens, soon retired to the coast and remained locked up in Charleston and Savannah." -Encyclopedia Brittanica
  2. Andrew Pickens (son of Gen. Pickens) , Gov. SC 1816-1818
  3. Francis Wilkinson Pickens (son of Gov. Andrew Pickens) , Also a Gov. SC. "Pickens authorized the first military action of the Civil War when South Carolina troops on Morris Island fired on the Star of the West as it attempted to relieve the Federal Army garrison at For Sumter." - Biographical Directory of the Governors of the United States Vol IV.
  4. Israel Pickens, Gov. of Alabama.
  5. T. Boone Pickens, businessman, future donator of his book to the Pickens Cousins.
  6. Champ PICKENS, Sportsman
    >From Brown/Owens, TOTING THE LEAD ROW - RUBY PICKENS TARTT, ALABAMA FOLKLORIST [p. 147] "Champ PICKENS became famous in football annals as the orginator of the Blue and Gray football game, played each New Year's day in Montgomery, Alabama. He started his career as a sports promoter when he was studen manager of the University of Alabama football team in 1896. He was responsible for the Crimson Tide's first invitation to play in the Rose Bowl in 1927. PICKENs' autobiography, A REBEL IN SPORTS, was published in 1956 by A. S. Barnes Company."
  7. Ruby PICKENS TARTT, Author
    [flyleaf]: "As a young woman growing up in Livingston in the Black Belt region of Alabama, Ruby PICKENS TARTT developed a keen interest in the stories, songs, and folklore of rural blacks. .... In her collection work, including service with the WPA Writer's Project, Ruby PICKENS TARTT worked with and assisted other collectors of folklore, notably Carl Carmer and John Lomax... TOTING THE LEAD ROW is divided into two major parts. The first is biographical, and told in detail of her work during the Depression with the Federal Writer's Project, collecting folk songs and lif histories and gathering folklore. The second part contains selected writings of Ruby PICKENS TARTT; 18 life histories and stories and 12 slave narratives." [Ruby was a fiery and independent person - her life makes interesting reading! - tmc]

6.3 How do I upload files to the Pickens Home Page?

If you do not yet have your on web page, I would be happy to host your information. Please email mitch(at) with your info in the message.

6.4 What future work would be helpful by volunteers?

(If you have any desire to work on any of these, or suggest new topics, please email mitch(at)
  1. What is the status of the copyright on Rev. Sharp's book? Can it be legally photocopied? Can it be purchased from some source?

    We have an answer from Terry:

    RE: PICKENS FAMILIES OF THE SOUTH and other works by Rev Eron M. Sharp: Alma Sharp, widow of Rev. Eron M. Sharp, is still living, and has legal rights to copyrights of all of his works. At this time, Mrs. Sharp is not willing to give permission to have PICKENS FAMIIIES OF THE SOUTH reprinted. She isn't sure there is enough interest! However, she has given permission to Jim Murphy of Henderson, TN to reprint and update a smaller work on PICKENS and DOWDLE families. Projected date of availabilty is fall, 1997. It is the combination of two publications that he had published in 1961: - THE PICKENS FAMILY - "An account of the descent from William Pickens, the first of our American Ancestors, through two of his sons, Andrew Pickens and John Pickens by the marriage of Capt. Joseph Pickens to his first cousin, Eleanor Pickens". It runs about 50 pages.

    - THE DOWDLE FAMILY - a similar work of about the same length. It is our hope that when Mrs. Sharp sees the response to this work, she will be more receptive to republication of PICKENS FAMILIES. Mrs. Sharp did tell me that all of her husband's materials were donated to the library in Memphis. I called the library and they told me it is quite a large collection. I have yet to determine if there is a finding aid for this material, but when I have the information, I will announce it here on the PICKENS home page, with more details.

7 Future Plans

  1. A list of all the known errors in Rev. Sharps Book.
  2. A real mailing list, Pickens-L. see for possibilities.

8 Notes

  1. For more info on sending or getting gedcom files from emcee, send a empty message to
  2. For more info on GenServ send any message to

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