This prosperous and progressive ranchman, cattle-grower and fruit culturist of Garfield county, who was one of the earliest settlers in the neighborhood of Rifle, locating there before the town was laid out or started, hails from far-away Tennessee, where he was born, near Strawberry Plains, in Jefferson county, on November 25, 1865, and where his parents, Frederick and Elizabeth (Mount) Hickman, also were born. They moved to Missouri in the fall of 1870, when he was but five years old, and located in Caldwell county, where they passed the remainder of their days farming and raising stock. The father was an ardent Republican in political faith, and when armed resistance threatened the integrity of the Union he joined the Federal army and served three years in the memorable contest under General Rosecrans. The parents were Baptists in church affiliation. The mother died on April 13, 1878, and the father on May 21, 1901. Their nine children are all living: William H., Owen P., James H., Martha S. (Mrs. Eli McComas), John F., Samuel M. and Thomas, all reside in the vicinity of Rifle, this state; Sarah (Mrs. James Sneed) lives in Oklahoma Territory; and Mary (Mrs. Daniel McCullough) is a resident of Ray county, Missouri. John F. was educated to a limited extent in the public schools, remaining with his parents until he was seventeen years old. Then, after working one season in a flour-mill at Hardin, he began farming on his own account, and he continued his operations in this line in Missouri until 1887, when he came to Colorado and located on Rifle creek. Here he entered the employ of the Grand River Ranch and Cattle Company, with which he remained six years, serving as foreman during the last three. After leaving the service of this company he engaged in ranching for himself, having sold to his partner, Dr. Edward Norris, of Rifle, his interest in the first stock of drugs and groceries held in that vicinity, after the partnership had lasted three years. He purchased in partnership with his brother Henry the ranch he now owns, comprising one hundred and sixty acres, and the partnership continued until it was harmoniously dissolved in 1901, since when Mr. Hickman has owned and operated the property alone. His principal industry here for a number of years was raising cattle, which he carried on extensively. The last few years he has given more attention to fruit culture with excellent results. He has thirty-five acres in trees of good bearing order, and their product is the pride of the neighborhood and the top of the market. He also raises hay, grain and vegetables in profusion, and, in short, conducts a general farming industry with success and profit and is regarded as one of the leading men in his line in this part of the state. In fraternal life he was a charter member of the Odd Fellows lodge and the camp of Modern Woodmen in his locality, and is also a member of the order of Good Templars. In political allegiance he is a Republican. On April 3, 1889, he was united in marriage with Miss Emma Stephenson, who was born in Ray county, Missouri, and is the daughter of Carl and Susan (Johnson) Stephenson, prosperous farmers in that county for a number of years and both now deceased, the father having died on May 24, 1884, and the mother on August 27, 1889. Both were members of the Church of God. They had four children, of whom Caroline (Mrs. Owen Hickman), James S., of Ray county, Missouri, and Emma (Mrs. John Hickman) are living. Three have been born to the Hickman household, Ralph B., Earl F., and Ruth. The parents are Methodists and are held in the highest esteem throughout all the surrounding country. They are well pleased with Colorado, and proud to be numbered among the state’s progressive citizens.
Source: Bowen, A. W. Progressive Men of Western Colorado. Chicago: A. W. Bowen & Co., Publishers. 1905.