AS RECORDED IN:
COMMEMORATIVE BIOGRAPHICAL RECORD OF
TOLLAND AND WINDHAM COUNTIES CONNECTICUT.
BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES OF PROMINENT AND
REPRESENTATIVE CITIZENS AND OF MANY OF THE EARLY SETTLED FAMILIES
PUBLISHER: J.H.BEERS & CO., CHICAGO; 1903 P. 762
HAWKINS, now retired from business,
and a resident of Rockville, Tolland county, since 1874, is a man who can pass
his declining years in comfort, sustained as he is by the accumulations and
savings of industrious and honorable years of business.
Hawkins was born Dec. 12, 1822, in Trowbridge, England, and is a son of James
and Mary (Blake) Hawkins. They were
poor people and while not able to give their son that start in life their fond
hearts desired, reared him in honesty and integrity, and these principles became
a part of his daily life, a working force to the making of a good character.
They were strict Baptists, and he was early inculcated with a love and
devotion to that faith that have remained with him in after years.
His schooling was of a fragmentary character, and when he was nine years
of age, he began to earn his own living in the world.
He went into the mills, became a “dresser,” and followed that trade
until his coming to this country in 1845. He
had saved some money, and felt assured that he could do far better with it in
the New World than in his native land. Accordingly
he left from Liverpool in the sailing vessel, “The United Kingdom,” and
after a voyage of six weeks and two days reached the city of New York.
There he was employed for domestic service for a short time, and tried
carpenter work. This was in poor
demand at the time, and he became a groom and then a coachman for Silas Holmes,
who lived at No. 48 Bond street at that time an aristocratic section of the
city, and who had his summer residence at East Greenwich, R.I.
Mr. Hawkins entered the employ of Mr. Holmes and remained with him until
1860, when that gentleman died. On
his death bed he asked Mr. Hawkins to remain with his widow.
She died in 1865, and remembered him handsomely in her will as her
husband had done in his. Both Mr.
and Mrs. Holmes died in East Greenwich, and Mr. Hawkins brought their bodies to
New York. While Mrs. Holmes lived a
widow she made her home at East Greenwich, and it was the duty of Mr. Hawkins to
take charge of her large estate. After
her death, her relative, W. Henry Schieffelin, a member of a noted drug firm,
engaged Mr. Hawkins as the overseer and manager of his country home at Ketona,
in the town of Bedford, Westchester Co., N.Y., and in that gentleman’s employ
nearly the next ten years were spent. At
the end of this time the farm was sold, and Mr. Schieffelin offered Mr. Hawkins
any position in his store in the city. Mr.
Hawkins, however, did not care to engage in active business at his time of life,
but came to Rockville in 1874 and bought all the land on the east side of
Webster street from Mountain street to the home of Lorenzo Webster, containing
at that time but one small house. There
he built three houses. He also
bought a large lot on the west side of Webster street, which he still owns.
With his home he built a fine barn, and for several years kept a number
of the finest turnouts in Rockville. His
horses and carriages were his pride and pleasure.
These he kept for his own comfort, and their fine appearance betokened
the kind heart of the owner.
1848 the parents of Mr. Hawkins and five of their children, Mary, Martha, Emma,
Benjamin and Charles, came to the United States.
A son, William, remained in England until 1854;
John, another son, had come to the United States in 1844;
Joseph, in 1846, with James making a family of nine children.
The parents settled in the city of New York, where the mother died in
1852, at the age of fifty-six. The
father died in Rockville, March 7, 1884, in the home of his son James.
Of his children, William died in Hartford, whither he had removed after
settling in Coventry in 1854; John
is a retired tailor in Jersey City; Mary
died in New York soon after her arrival in this country;
Joseph died in Jersey City; Martha
married George Webb, a surgeon in the police service in New York (he died in the
service, and when her brother James removed to Rockville, Mrs. Webb, a widow,
and her three daughters made their home with him.
She is still living with him, and of her daughters, Emma, the oldest,
married Frank Rogers and has one daughter, Bernice;
Alice J. married Edward Badmington, and is the mother of three children,
Gladys, Leslie J. and Rodney; Georgia
died at the age of twenty-one years; Emma
is living in New York, as the widow of Martin Kelly, at one time prominent in
the City Hall); Benjamin is a
retired hardware dealer in New York; Charles
H., the youngest son of this family, served three years in the United States
regular army before the Civil war, and when that came on he became a first
lieutenant and later became a captain of the 2d N.Y. Vol. Cav.
He was wounded while in action, his limb being shattered while on his
horse, and as amputation became necessary, three operations were had, to no
purpose, and he died in St. Luke’s hospital in New York.
Hawkins visited the home of his youth in 1882, and could hardly realize the
vastness of the change from the old conditions, even in England, the land of
conservatism. Today he is a
remarkably well preserved and hearty old gentleman, small in stature, but
possessed of much will and determination. He
generally votes with the Republican party, but seeks the best men for local
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