AccentA lifetime of questions answered when Gene Hicks meets his brother and sisters for the first time

In June of 1965, Thomas Eugene Hicks, who goes by Gene, was serving in the military when he received orders for an assignment in another country.  Despite all of his government clearances, he was in need of a passport. Although he had the birth certificates of his wife and three children, he didn’t have one for himself. All his parents could produce was a certificate of birth from the hospital. What started out as a simple request to obtain a record of his birth turned into a mystery that took more than 40 years to solve.

Hicks contacted Richmond, Virginia to begin the process of obtaining his birth certificate.  When he called, he was informed there was no record of birth for a Thomas Eugene Hicks born in December of 1935. “Needless to say, I was mortified,” said Hicks.  The clerk searched by his mother’s maiden name and discovered a birth certificate issued for a Thomas E. Cunningham, born to Mary E. Cunningham. No father was listed. “Honey, they made a mistake at the hospital,” Mary Cunningham Hicks said to her son.  “They didn’t get the correct name.  Your father is Jim Hicks.” The birth certificate was eventually amended to include Jim Hicks as Gene’s father.

Although Hicks was born in West Virginia, he and his family had ties to Johnson County.  He first moved to Tennessee in 1943 and lived in Laurel Bloomery.  His grandparents had previously moved to the area in 1941.  “I actually called my grandparents Mom and Dad,” said Hicks. “I had two uncles and an aunt that were close in age.  We thought of each other as brothers and sisters.”  In 1949, the family moved to Mountain City when Hicks started high school.   He entered the service in 1952.  More...


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