title: A Durable Memento

Chauncy H. Hicksspacer Chauncy H. Hicks (born circa 1836)

Chauncy Hicks was born in the colony of Liberia around 1836, the son of Nugent M. Hicks. A former slave, Chauncy's father had emigrated from Philadelphia aboard the brig Liberia in 1830, following his emancipation by a man identified only as "Mr. Whittlesey." Once in Liberia, Nugent Hicks embarked on a career in commerce. As chief clerk for Liberian merchant J. R. Daily, he acquired the practical knowledge and capital that later enabled him to launch his own commercial ventures. By 1843, he was counted among the colony's leading merchants, with an immensely profitable trading enterprise and an equally lucrative commission business.

As the son of one of Liberia's so-called "merchant princes," it is not surprising that Chauncy Hicks was able to secure the post of clerk of the House of Representatives. While serving in this capacity, young Hicks was daguerreotyped in the somewhat awkward posture that is repeated in the watercolor of the Liberian Senate.

Attributed toAugustus Washington
Sixth-plate daguerreotype, circa 1857
Image courtesy Prints and Photographs Division
Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.
Click here to view the Liberian Senate watercolor.


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