W. P. Hickerson, Jr., was born in Manchester, October 20, 1850, the son of Judge William P. and Mary S. (Martin) Hickerson, both of Scotch-Irish descent. The father, born in North Carolina, November 26, 1816, went when a child to Tennessee, and began life as a dry goods clerk at Manchester, and afterward read law under Colonel Charles L. Ready of Murfreesboro, and for a number of years was the leading lawyer of that section. For sixteen years he was judge of the Fifth District, and was appointed by Governor Marks as a judge of the State Arbitration Court. As a lawyer he was among the first in Tennessee. He died in Coffee County of heart disease, April 8, 1882, and his wife just one year before. Both are buried in the old family graveyard near Manchester. He was a prominent democrat in the state. The mother, born in Wilson County, Tennessee, February 13, 1825, died April 17, 1881.
Our subject, the second of five children (two living), was educated chiefly at Manchester College, and then for ten months was a contractor in building the Illinois Central Railway, through west Tennessee, then known as the M. C. Railway. Afterward with an uncle, L. D. Hickerson, he leased the McMinnville & Manchester, and the Winchester & Alabama Railways. Three years after he sold the lease to the Chattanooga Company, altogether a successful speculation. He then became conductor for the Chattanooga Company for a year, on the McMinnville & Manchester Railway. In 1879 he began the Stone Fort Paper Company’s Mills, in which he has since owned a half interest, and which are the largest mills south of the Ohio River, and the only mills in the State that make the wood pulp.
On October 17, 1877, he married Ella, daughter of James C. Ramsey, Esquire, of McMinnville, and is a cultured lady. Their four children are William P., born July 2, 1878; Chisum R., February 23, 1880; Georgie M., January 26, 1882, and Nasion W., born March 31, 1884. His wife is a member of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church.