|Birth: ||May 6, 1884|
|Death: ||Mar. 7, 1938|
Hawkins Comes to Kentucky
Added by wa4otj on 14 Sep 2008
An annotated story, originally told by Howard Robert Hawkins, November 25 1995. Events described have been researched and correlated to historical documents as much as possible. Editors notes are enclosed in parentheses, starting with the word Editor's Note:
Text not thus enclosed in parentheses are a direct quote from Howard.
There were lots of people coming to settle (in KY) at this time, many from Ireland.
(Editor's Note: The Irish Potato Famine started in 1845 and lasted into the early 1850's, and led to the death of more than one million people through starvation and disease. Another million emigrated as a result of the famine. Scholars estimated that the population of Ireland was reduced by 25% as a result)
One of the newcomers was a man known only as Hawkins. He had a young son named George, and George got along very well with the Indians. George grew up to be a young man and fell in love with a Cherokee Squaw by the name of Elizabeth.
(Editor's Note: Elizabeth is elsewhere recorded as being Elizabeth McFarland, b. abt 1853 in KY. She was the daughter of Felix McFarland and Nancy (unknown). Her Indian ancestry is a bit of a question mark. However, Felix McFarland's mother was also named Elizabeth b. abt 1803, and we can establish no genealogy whatever for her. The suspicion is that she was the actual Cherokee Squaw, and Elizabeth's Cherokee blood may have been rather diluted. However there is no proof whatever either way.)
George and Elizabeth were married. They had three children. Their names were Zedic Elijah, Hedge and Hanna.
(Editor's Note: On his death certificate, his name is given as Zedock Eliz, not Zedic Elijah. So we have some dispute about his actual name. The strong suspicion is that Howard's account is in error. Instead of Zedic as Howard says, it actually was Zedock. I believe this because the name Zedock Hawkins appears several times in various Hawkins genealogies, but Zedic does not. I also believe that his middle name was actually Eliz, as given on his death certificate, and not Elijah. The name Elijah appears many times in the genealogies, and Eliz is a unique name, so the natural inclination is to assume Elijah is correct. However in this case, I believe Eliz is correct because his mother was named Elizabeth, and that he was likely named Eliz for his mother, and not Elijah. That and the fact that Eliz is given on his death certificate.)
(Editor's Note: I found a source that gives Hanna's name as Hanna Eliz Hawkins as well. The fact that we have two sources referencing the name Eliz, one for the son and one for the daughter, supports the theory that the mother's name of Elizabeth was the origin of that shortened name.)
The Indians gave Zedic the nickname of "Dick".
Peace in the region did not last very long. The Indians were being sent to a reservation in Oklahoma.
(Editor's Note: Several accounts of this credit the family migration to the famous Cherokee "Trail of Tears" when the Indians were forcibly relocated to Oklahoma. But this happened in 1838, as a result of the Indian Removal Act of 1830. Since Zedock was born in 1884, and the events of this story must have been well after 1890, it seems unlikely that the family's move to Oklahoma had anything to do with the "Trail of Tears".)
Since Elizabeth was a Cherokee, the Hawkins family decided to go to the reservation. Dick wanted no part of this and ran into the woods and hid until they were gone.
After the move, Elizabeth wrote to friends in the village in Kentucky hoping to get in touch with Dick. Sometime after, a letter came telling of his father's death. George had been found slumped over a fence on the road home from town. They thought he had died of a heart attack.
(Editor's Note: The 1910 census shows George J. Hawkins alive and well at age 54, along with wife Elizabeth F. age 57, and daughter Mary H., age 18. There is also a grandchild, Zella Hazelrigg, age 2. All family members are given as "White", i.e. no mention of Cherokee ancestry, and Mary H. is given as "Single", and not married, divorced or widowed. From this information I surmise the following deductions:
1. George's death was later in time than Howard's account implies. The letter telling of his death must have come after 1910.
2. Mary H. was Mary Hedge, making daughter listed as "Hedge" with a first name of Mary.
3. Hanna Hawkins married someone named Hazelrigg and had a daughter named Zella. But something has happened to them since Zella is being raised by grandparents. The obvious assumption is that Hanna died in childbirth and the father was not able to cope with raising an infant daughter. However, Hanna again turns up in 1930 with a new husband. So we are at a loss as to why Zella is being raised by her grandparents in 1910.
4. The lack of mention of Elizabeth's Cherokee blood further suggests that perhaps she was not the Cherokee Squaw. This lends support to my belief that Elizabeth's grandmother was the Cherokee squaw, not Elizabeth.
5. We have a story from another account that one of Zedock's sisters was crippled in a wagon accident at a young age, and lived with her mother until her death, never marrying. From this census data, I conclude that Mary Hedge was the crippled daughter. However the 1930 census data does not have info on Mary, suggesting the possibility that she did not outlive her mother in fact.
6. Their 1910 home was Otoe, Lincoln, Oklahoma. While they show up here in 1910, I can find no record of them in 1900. From this I suspect they were moving around 1900 and missed the census in both KY and OK. This makes Zedock about 16, plus or minus a bit, when they moved.
7. That Mary H. was 18 in 1910, places her birth at 1892. Since she was described as a child at the time of the move, it must have been somewhat after 1892.
8. Hanna Eliz must have been the daughter who had the bout with rabies as told in the story of the Mad Stone.
The surfacing of Hanna and Elizabeth in Ft. Cobb in 1930 was a surprise and contradicts several small items in Howard's story.)
Dick wandered around scraping out a living for himself any way he could until he was around 14 years old. There was a family by the name of Clark in Mt. Zion. Clark raised Oxen.
(Editor's Note: I am not entirely sure where the referenced "Mt. Zion" was. There are several Mt Zion's in KY, and the one that is mapped today as Mt. Zion, KY is over 125 miles away from Flemingsburg. Kentucky is known for colorful local names that often do not appear on any maps. I strongly believe Mt. Zion in this story refers to a location in Nicholas or Bath County. However I have county maps that detail most if not all of these minor names. At first chance I will clarify.)
Another family by the name of Newls lived on this side of the river in Fleming County. Newls bought up a lot of land with the intention of logging it, and he needed men to work for him as loggers. He bought Oxen from Clark, and hired young Dick to be his driver.
(Editor's Note: One photograph we have of Zedock shows him riding an ox)
Young Dick quickly developed a reputation as the best Oxen driver in the state. The story goes that the old ones used to watch young Dick with a team of six Oxen, and a wagon loaded so high with logs that you could not see him. Despite the tremendous load, He would bring his team and the load off the mountain without a mishap of any kind, indeed not so much as a shift in the load.
This logging continued until the timber was exhausted. Today in Hilltop, Peck's Ridge, up and down the river and all through this area, most of the log homes and other homes and buildings were built with the timber hauled down the mountain by Dick.
Dick still continued to get a letter from his mother Elizabeth every so often for over 30 years. Then for six years he did not hear anything.
(Editor's Note: The timeframe is questionable, as best guess we have been able to make has George and Elizabeth moving to Oklahoma around 1900, and Dick died in 1938. It was probably a bit less than the 30 years claimed.)
His one sister had married and she just disappeared. Nothing more was heard of her. The other sister was single and lived with her mother. She had been run over and had her leg broken.
(Editor's Note: We know from the 1910 census data that Hanna Eliz left a two year old daughter to be raised by her grandparents, and that the daughter went by the name Hazelrigg. Further, Hanna resurfaced again in 1930 married to Ray C. Manns. We also know that Mary Hedge was living with her father and mother in 1910, age 18, listed as single and using the Hawkins name.)
One day Elizabeth said to her daughter, "Let's go back to Kentucky and see if we can find Dick."
They boarded the train and headed back home. The train came through Paris. Elizabeth was talking to her daughter, saying that she thought Dick would be around Pleasant Valley, (Note: Unincorporated Nicholas County area, highway 32 between Abners Mill Road and Fleming Creek road) as that was where his last letters were mailed.
A young fellow sitting across from them on the train overheard their conversation. He said, "Pardon me Madam, but are you Elizabeth Hawkins?" She said "Yes," and then said, "Don't tell me who you are, I know you. You are one of the Mitchell boys. I don't know which one, but you and your brothers came and ate at my house many times before we moved to Oklahoma."
"I don't know exactly where he is today, but I know where he lives," explained the young man, "We are friends. You should have a ticket for Cowan, instead of the Valley. You stay right here and I will speak to the conductor." He disappeared and came back a short while later with the Conductor.
He explained to the Conductor what the problem was. He asked the Conductor to get them to Cowan Station and make sure the luggage was there and to send someone to fetch Dick Hawkins. When the train pulled into Cowan Station, he kept his promise. He took the two ladies into the station, and got their luggage for them. Then he asked if anyone in the station knew Dick Hawkins, and if they would go and get him.
There was a young fellow there named Sammy. He spoke up and said he knew Dick, and that he lived within fifty yards of him. The Conductor asked him if he would go and get Dick and have him pick up his mother and sister. Sammy said he would go right away.
(Editor's Note: In another place Howard referred to this visit by his grandmother. He claimed that he was about 10 years old then. If so, since Howard was born in 1917, that places the events of this time at about 1927. He also claimed Elizabeth was in her nineties, but if she were 57 at the time of the 1910 Census, she would only be about 74 or 75 at this time. Mary Hedge, his sister would have been about 35, and Dick himself was eight years older than his sister, or about 43. The census record of Elizabeth in Ft. Cobb in 1930 matches well with an estimated date of 1927 or so for this trip.)
Sammy jumped on his horse and rode off and found Dick. He told him his mother and sister were at the station. He told Dick to come and get them. Sammy apparently had a bit of a reputation as a trickster, for Dick did not believe him. Dick said, "Oh, no you don't!" "You're not going to trick me!" "You have pulled too many tricks already, and I'm not going." Finally Sammy described Elizabeth and his sister, saying Elizabeth was blind and the sister had a crippled leg. Eventually he convinced Dick he was not lying.
(Editor's Note: We have a couple of different mentions of Mary Hedge's leg having been maimed by a wagon accident as a small child, but this is the only mention of Elizabeth being blind. We have no other evidence to either support or dismiss this claim. However, in those days even as simple an issue as cataracts were incurable, and by age 75-plus cataracts are quite likely in anyone. So blindness is not an unreasonable condition.)
They hooked up a team of horses to the wagon and left for the station. There, waiting at the station was his mother and sister, indeed Sammy had not been joking. The sister was too young when they had left to remember Dick.
(Editor's Note: We have estimated their departure for Oklahoma at about 1900. We have Mary as being about 18 in 1910. Therefore she would have been about 8 in 1900. Whether an 8 year-old would remember an older brother or not can be debated. But the statement of her being a small child does confirm that the move happened after she was born, probably several years after. That places it well into the 1890's, again close to the 1900 we estimated before, and makes an upper limit of 1900 reasonable.)
Dick took them home with him, and they spent about a month with him. During this month they would sit around and Elizabeth would tell the stories of the Indian fights, and all the things that happened when she was a young girl. Other neighbors, upon hearing that Elizabeth was visiting, came and visited, and they all reminisced about the old days and all the changes that had taken place.
Elizabeth and Mary left one day to visit some other friends. A week went by and no one had heard from them. A few days later, Dick received a letter in the mail from Cushing, Oklahoma. They had gone back to their home. They had said they could not bear to say farewell like they had the first time when they had originally left for the reservation. They had enjoyed their trip and their visit with Dick, but it was time to return to their own place.
A short time later, Dick received a letter from his sister that their mother had died. She was 97 years old.
(Editor's Note: As explained before, 77 is far more likely, but we have failed to find any death certificate for her. But our best guess is she died about 1930)
(Editor's Note: A 1930 Census record has Elizabeth Hawkins, age 77, living in Fort Cobb, Cado, Oklahoma. This is consistent with the other info we have about her. She is apparently living with daughter Hanna and her new son-in-law, Hanna's husband Ray C. Manns. There is no mention of sister Mary Hedge.)
Five years pass with regular letters from his sister. Then they stopped. Shortly thereafter, a friend in Oklahoma wrote and said the sister had died.
Dick thought maybe there would be some money, so he contacted a minister in Oklahoma. He traced down the family and their life on the reservation and found they had been living there since they had left Kentucky years before. They had been near starvation most of the time. Dick was surprised since neither his mother nor his sister had mentioned their hardships. Their burials had been done by the reservation personnel.
Dollie Gray Hawkins (1887 - 1940)
Almeda Hawkins Fryman (1912 - 1991)*
Upper Blue Licks
Created by: Nathan Gregory
Record added: Feb 07, 2009
Find A Grave Memorial# 33619635