Coming to Dakota Territory as a motherless girl of 10 in 1881, Mrs. Thomas H. Hicks, played her part in transforming Grant and Roberts County from a vast treeless prairie into a prosperous farming community. Mrs. Hicks was born Anna Croal on January 25, 1871, in Milwaukee. After her mother’s death, her father brought his nine children to his preemption four miles north of Mrs. Hicks’ present home.
Mrs. Hicks attended the rural school located on her father’s farm. The school children became lost during the blizzard of 1888 but found their way home. Mrs. Hicks was a student in Milbank high school the first year of its organization.
When she was 18, she taught a rural school. She then worked as assistant bookkeeper in her brother-in-law’s mill in Milbank and later attended business college in Owatonna, Minnesota, studying short-hand and typing. She clerked three and a half years in a general store in Milbank.
In 1902, she was married to Dr. Thomas H. Hicks, farmer and veterinarian. Three boys and two girls were born to them. Dr. Hicks died in 1935.
Mrs. Hicks organized and was leader of the first 4-H club in her community. In 1923 she became a member of the Melroetta home extension club. This club was merged with the “G and R” (Grant and Roberts County) club in 1939. She has held all the offices in both of these clubs. She has been a member of the county extension council. All of the younger children were 4-H members.
Mrs. Hicks served as clerk of the local school board 11 years. She has been a lifetime member of the Milbank Catholic Church and has always been a diligent worker in the different church activities and events. She was a member of the Royal Neighbors 25 years and of the Degree of Honor society many years ago.
Always a driving force for the betterment of her community, Mrs. Hicks helped organize the first Grant County fair in 1897 and was one of the prime movers toward the completion of the rural electrification line.
She was active in Red Cross work during World War I.
Always a skilled seamstress, Mrs. Hicks made all of her daughters’ clothes until they were able to buy them for themselves.