Pulaski County

Biography - Louis Hawkins

Louis A. HAWKINS. A native of Germany and brought to America by his parents when he was a mere infant, the entire life of Louis A. Hawkins since his advent in this country has been passed in Illinois, save for a few brief years spent in St. Louis county, Missouri, as a small boy. Since 1870 he has been a continuous resident in the vicinity of Mounds, and there he has established a home and built up a farm which is on a parity with any similar tract of land in Southern Illinois.

The exact spot of his nativity in the Fatherland is not known, but the date of his birth was December 9, 1844. His father was George Hawkins, who on immigrating to this country with his family first settled in St. Louis county, Missouri, among the German speaking people of that district. He settled near the Mississippi river in Jackson county, where he spent the remainder of his life, passing away in about 1856, when he was in the neighborhood of forty-four years of age. His first wife died in Germany, and he was married the second time there. His second wife died a short time after his passing away, and of the two unions, Louis is the only child known to have reached maturity.

At the death of his father Louis Hawkins fell into the keeping of Hiram Lee, a neighboring farmer, and he also died before the unfortunate boy came of age. The usual lot of the orphan was his and the only education he was privileged to receive was acquired in the few scattering months he was able to attend the country school of the village in which he was reared. Before he reached the age of twenty-one he married, and the sum total of his assets when he began life as a married man was one horse. He farmed the widow Lee's land on shares one season and his share of the crop was sufficient to secure for him another horse, as a result of which his second year was more successful. While the Civil war was in progress he made an attempt to enlist in the Eightieth Infantry of Illinois. He went to Centralia, where he contracted fever and ague, and he became so debilitated as to warrant the commanding officer in sending him home without enlistment.

In the main, farming has occupied Mr. Hawkins' attention from first to last, although he has been employed in other capacities in his time. In Missouri he spent some time as a laborer about the mines in Madison county, and when he first came to Pulaski county he was employed for a year in hauling lumber from the mill of his father-in-law. This latter employment was the indirect occasion of his acquiring his first piece of real estate, of which he took possession in the early seventies and began to improve the "cut over" area of the land in his initial efforts at building him a home. His tract of one hundred and seventy acres of fertile bottom lands, practically cleared and under cultivation, represents in large measure the nature and results of his employment during the years of his residence upon it. In addition to this tract he owns two other pieces of land, totaling sixty-five acres in all, which, combined with his other holdings, constitutes a modest and worthy competence as a result of the labors of the orphan boy of years ago. His first tract of forty acres, one-half mile south of Mounds, was his first home. He lived there about twenty years and then moved to the one hundred and seventy acre tract about one and one-half miles west of Mounds. His third tract of twenty-five acres lies about two miles west of Mounds. Mr. Hawkins has made his winnings as a stock and grain farmer. His is the repetition of the story of the tortoise and the hare, and after more than forty years of continuous industry the battle against adversity has been completely overcome, and provision for the evening of life has been assured. He has taken a good citizen's interest in politics as an adherent of the Republican party, and for twenty-eight years he retained the office of justice of the peace. He cast his first presidential vote for General Grant, and has voted for every presidential candidate of the Republican party since that date.

On August 20, 1865, Mr. Hawkins married Sallie Walbridge, a daughter of Henry Walbridge, from Vermont. ' The issue of the union of Mr. and Mrs. Hawkins are: John, who married Kate White and is a farmer in Pulaski county; Addie, the wife of Warren Grain, a farmer near Mounds; Mary S., who spent several years as a teacher in Pulaski county before she was elected county superintendent of schools by the Republican party in 1908, and who is now successfully serving her second term as the incumbent of that responsible office; Lizzie, the wife of Marion Shifley, of Mounds; Hattie; Sallie, who married Thurman Carson, of Mounds; and Louis H., as yet in the parental home.

Extracted from A History of Southern Illinois, 1912, Volume 3, pages 1324-1326

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