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John Matthew Hawkins Family
By Frances Fox
Taken from Ye Olde Ancestors, September 26, 1991
Written permission given by the New Boston Genealogy Society
to post this information to the Bowie County TXGenWeb site.


John Matthew Hawkins was born in 1857 in Hew Holland, Hall County, Georgia.  He was the son of James "Jimmy" Hawkins and Sarah Martin.  The father, James Hawkins was killed in the Civil War in 1864 at Wilderness, Virginia.  He was a 2nd Lieutenant in Company I, 24th Regiment Georgia Volunteers.  When he was killed, his cousins quickly changed clothes and shoes with him and buried him in a shallow grave.  Since he was an officer, his clothes were better than their rags.  There was no time for a proper burial.

Sarah Martin Hawkins was left pregnant with two small children.  That was her situation when General Sherman made his infamous march to the sea burning and destroying everything he could find.  Sarah quickly butchered a calf and hid the meat and put her valuables down in the well.  The soldiers took the milk cow and hogs.  It is no wonder that the people in Georgia remained so angry about the Civil War for over a hundred years.  There is no record of the Hawkins or Martin family ever owning slaves.  Sarah's father was a Baptist minister, Reverend John Martin.

When John Matthew Hawkins was twenty years old, he married Rachel Ann Joshiean Virginia Louise Anna "Jocie" Perry.  The reason her name is so long is that when she was born, her mother decided to name her after her aunts, all of them.  She didn't want to hurt anyone's feelings.  "Jocie" was ten years older than John Matthew.  She was also born in Georgia and had a brother named Billy, and two sisters Frances and Viney.  We do not know the names of her parents and if anyone who reads this article knows, we sure hope they will tell us.  We could not find them on the Hall County census.

Sometime in the 18890's, John Matthew and Jocie decided to leave Hall County, Georgia and move to Sand Mountain, Alabama.  When their relatives asked why and where, John Matthew answered that he was looking for "a honey pond and a fritter tree".  In 1900, they were on the DeKalb County, Alabama census.  There were seven sons and one daughter.  Soon after the census a whole train load of people from that area came to Leary, Texas.  Maybe there is a honey pond and a fritter tree here in Bowie County because this is where they spent the rest of their lives.  They eventually moved to a house and farm in the College Hill Community.  John Matthew usually ran a store where ever he lived.

The seven sons and one daughter of John Matthew and Jocie were:
 1. James Thomas "Tom", 1878-1941, married Nina Vernon
 2. Richard Lafayette "Fate", 1880-1938, married Ida Vernon, a sister of Nina
 3. John Melvin, 1881-1955, married first Alice Davis, second Ethel Lee Story
 4. Marion Claud, 1882-1959, married first Callie Bayless, second Nora J Sexton
 5. Elbert Garnet, 1884-1951, married Claudie Early
 6. Joseph Edgar, 1885-1973, married Gertie B Early
 7. William David "Bill", 1888-1974, married Janie Winn
 8. Sadie Sarah M, 1890-1982, married Beverly Early.  (The Earlys were brother and sisters)

Most of these children had large families and all but two of them raised their families in Bowie County.  Marion moved to Oklahoma and Sadie moved to California.  One of Marion's sons, Troy Hawkins, compiled a book about the descendents of John Matthew and Jocie Hawkins.

We went to Hall County, Georgia in the 1960's.  It was quite an experience.  The children of John Matthew's brother and sister still live in that area.  They were so excited to see us, the long-lost cousins from Texas.  They had a lot of stories to tell,

John Matthew went back to Georgia to visit with his mother before she died in 1913.  She lived near Gainsville with his younger brother, Capp Hawkins.  She was at home alone when John Matthew got there.  Her eye sight had grown dim and she did not recognize him and she was not expecting him.  When he saw that she did not know him right away, he pretended to be a traveling salesman, a very pushy salesman.  He was so bold with his questions that she rang the dinner bell to call the family in from the field where they were working.  That's when he finally told her that he was her own son.



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