Hawkins family papers, 1740-1898.

Creator: Hawkins family.
Collection number: 322
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Abstract: The Hawkins family, primarily of Warren and Franklin counties, N.C., included Benjamin Hawkins (1754-1818), who served with Washington in the American Revolution, was in the Continental Congress and the United States Senate, and, in the 1790s, was agent to the Creek Indians and superintendent of all tribes south of the Ohio River; John Davis Hawkins (1781-1858), who graduated from the University of North Carolina in 1801, studied law, and served in the North Carolina Senate; William J. Hawkins (1819-1894), who studied medicine, but worked chiefly in railroads and banking; Philemon Benjamin Hawkins (1823-1891), who was a planter and served in the North Carolina legislature; and Colin M. Hawkins (fl. 1860-1880), businessman of Raleigh, N.C. Hawkins family members worked as planters, state and federal officials, railroad executives, bankers, commission merchants, machinery and phosphate manufacturers, and operators of other enterprises in North Carolina and several adjacent states. The collection includes extensive business and personal correspondence, 1738-1893, of several generations of the Hawkins family. Also included are papers of other locally prominent related families and correspondence with relatives who lived in Texas, Mississippi, Florida, and other states. Some correspondence relates to slaves owned by family members. Volumes up to 1865 relate primarily to planting and railroads; included are some slave records. The remainder of the volumes are account books, letter books, inventories, order and shipping records, and other records. Among companies important in the papers are Hawkins, Williamson & Company, cotton brokerage and commission merchants of Baltimore, and its successor Hawkins & Company; C. M. Hawkins & Company, which continued Hawkins & Company; the Pioneer Manufacturing Company of Raleigh, N.C., distributor of plows, cotton planters, pulleys, machine castings, bobbins, spools, shuttles, and manure; and the North Carolina Phosphate Company, incorporated in 1885, with its main offices at Raleigh and works at Castle Hayne, N.C. There is almost no material pertaining to Benjamin Hawkins’s activities as Revolutionary War leader and United States senator, but there are a few items relating to his career as a United States Indian agent.

Repository: Southern Historical Collection

Collection Highlights: Records from 1738-1799 include deeds for enslaved individuals (See Folders 1-10).

Records from 1805 -1819 included deeds of purchase and sale for enslaved individuals (See Folders 13-23)

Business papers from 1824-1825 include discussion about the price of enslaved people (See Folders 31-37).

Letters from 1844-1845 discuss the hiring out of slaves for work on the railroad (See Folders 67-69)

On 16 June 1850, there is a letter from Congressman J. R. J. David to John D. Hawkins about how the territorial slavery issue was unlikely to result in a settlement acceptable to the South. In the early 1850s, there are a few items relating to the sale and hiring out of slaves. On 26 November 1852, there is a contemporary copy of a letter to Junius Amis of Vicksburg, Miss., from John D. Hawkins about trouble with a slave (See Folders 86-88; 92-94).

In the early 1860s, there are papers relating to John D. Hawkins’s estate, including a list, dated 15 December 1860, of slaves belonging to the estate. A list on 9 December 1862 gives the final disposition of the estate’s slaves (See Folders 118-120; 122-123).

Volume 18 includes including accounts for slaves’ shoes (See Folder 212).

Volume 19 includes a list of personal property, including slaves, belonging to P. E. A. Jones and sold under trust made February 1842 for the benefit of John D. Hawkins and Wesley W. Young (See Folder 213).

Volume 25 contains a list of slaves hired to work on the Central Railroad in 1852, in the back of the book (See Folder 219).

Volume 37 is the Bisset & Hawkins ledger, which contains accounts with laborers and with slaveholders for their slaves working on the Blue Ridge Railroad in South Carolina (See Folder 231).

Volume 43 contains accounts with slaves for work and tobacco with daybook entries and ledger accounts for work on the Blue Ridge Railroad. Plugs of tobacco were apparently given in exchange for putting down holes (6 holes=$.18) (See Folder 237).

Volume S-45 contains plantation accounts, including slave records, of William J. Hawkins at Ridgeway, Warren County, N.C. (See Folder 239).