Ken & Cy




 John Bickford (~1861 to after 1930)




Duration 48:50













Introductory comments by Conrad Terrill, July 2010:




   John Bickford came to Middlefield with his wife Maggie (~1861-?) and his relative Clayton Lorenzo Slocum (1888-?) and family, and some other person, sometime between 1910 and 1920, from Utica, NY.  John was well-liked, and easily remembered by all.


  There is a discontinuity in the tape at about 5:03.  I think the part before that was recorded on 16 May 1984, and the part after on 23 May, a week later.  Ken and Cy digress extensively at two points, but return to the John Bickford story.  The digressions, on blacksmith Clarence Clark and on boys smoking cornsilk in the blacksmith shop, are both interesting and entertaining.  The end, at 48:50 may seem abrupt.  What happened was that Ken and Cy had finished with the John Bickford story and suddenly began another.


   From census records, primarily:  In 1910 John and Maggie Bickford were tenants in a house in Utica at 209 Whitesboro Street, owned by a John Guzik, who also lived there.  John and Maggie had been married thirteen years.  It was the first marriage for John and the second for Maggie, who had given birth to three children, all of whom were still living, but not with them.  These children were undoubtedly from her first marriage, and grown-up by then.  John was a bleacher at a cotton mill.  Another tenant family at 209 Whitesboro was that of Fred Slocum, 32, wife Evelyn, 25, and mother-in-law Mary Van Slyke, 51, a widow.  Across the street, at 206 Whitesboro Street, lived Clayton Slocum (a boiler maker in a boiler shop), wife Josephine (they’d been married for three years), and one-year-old daughter Josephine.  Sometime between 1910 and 1920, probably in the early part of the decade, John and Clayton moved their families to Middlefield.  Clayton was certainly there by 1917, per his WWI draft registration card:  Clayton Leorenzo [sic] Slocum was born in Boonville, NY, worked as a shop hand at the Rogers Mfg. Co. in Rockfall, and was tall, of medium build, with brown eyes and brown hair.  Maggie died sometime between 1910 and 1920.  In 1920 John, widower, was renting in Baileyville and working as a janitor at the Gun Sight Shop.  Clayton and Josephine also lived in Baileyville, and Clayton worked as a “stagger” at the Bone Mill.  By 1930 John was still renting, and working as a scrub man at the Gun Sight Factory.  Clayton was back in Utica in 1930, working as a barber at the State Hospital.  Clayton and Josephine had children:  Josephine E. (b. ~1909, NY), Clayton Jr. (~1916, CT), Floyd N. (~1918, CT), and Leona (~1922, CT).  Floyd may have died by 1930.


   Clayton Slocum was very likely John Bickford’s stepson—Maggie’s son.  We know that Clayton was born in Boonville NY in 1888.  In 1880 the only Slocum families in Boonville were those of Samuel Slocum, 65, and Lorenzo Slocum, 33.  Lorenzo and wife Maggie, 19 (so born ~1861), had no children as of 1 June, and with them lived Stephen McLane, 62, Lorenzo’s father-in-law.  From reference 7 we learn that Samuel was Lorenzo’s father; that Lorenzo married Margaret Lane, his second wife, daughter of Stephen and Ellen (Cunningham) Lane, in 1878; and that their first child, Effie May, was born 25 May 1880 (it’s odd that she wasn’t enumerated in the census).  Frederick Slocum, the only child of Lorenzo Slocum’s first marriage, was born 14 Mar. 1872.  I think reference 7 must be off on Fred’s birth year.  I think it must have been 1877, since “14 Mar. 1877” is what Fred R. Slocum of Utica, husband of Evelyn, wrote on his 1918 WWI draft registration card, and this is in agreement with census records.  The U.S. Census of 1890 was lost in a fire, and I’m unable to find John & Maggie Bickford, with son Clayton, in the 1900 census.


   And John Bickford was very likely a John Bigford, of Forestport, Oneida Co., NY, in 1880.  The family’s surname was spelled “Bigford” in the censuses of 1870 and 1880, and “Bickford” in 1860, 1900 and 1910.  John was the son of Eben & Desire Bickford, and had younger brothers Charles (b. 1864) and Robert (1869).  Eben and Desire died sometime between 1880 and 1900; and Charles and Robert were still in Forestport in 1900 and 1910, but John was gone.



1.  1860 U.S. Census, Wilmurt, Herkimer Co., NY, Eben Bickford.  And 1870, 1880: Forestport, NY, Eben Bigford.

2.  1900, 1910: Forestport, NY:  Charles and Robert Bickford.

3.  1910 Utica, NY: John Bickford, Fred Slocum, Clayton Slocum.

4.  1920 Middlefield, CT: John Bickford, Clayton L. Slocum.  And 1930 Middlefield: John Bickford.

5.  1930 Utica, NY: Clayton Slocum.

6.  WWI draft registration cards:  Clayton Leorenzo Slocum, Middlefield CT; and Fred R. Slocum, Utica, NY.

7.  A Short History of the Slocums ... of America ..., by Charles Elihu Slocum (Syracuse, NY: 1882), p. 315, “Samuel8 Slocum.”  Available online via Google books.