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The Verde Independent | Cottonwood, Arizona

home : blogsold : verde heritage May 26, 2016

Verde Heritage
By Glenda Farley, Cottonwood, AZ
Local historian Glenda Farley guides us on a journey back in time to discover fascinating moments that make up our Verde heritage and history.
Friday, January 25, 2013

1875: FIRST FAMILIES; William and Harriet Hawkins Family

Verde Heritage

"Parson" James Clawson Bristow wrote about traveling from Missouri to Arizona Territory. "Soon after we passed Fort Scott we came upon Hawkins. He had been across the plains in an early day to California. He had something near one hundred cows and some horses. Now we number in all, women and children, about fifty."

They were traveling through New Mexico. "Here we came to two roads that they said would lead us to where we wanted to go, but advised us to take the left hand. Hawkins would not do it. Hawkins seemed to have some knowledge of the country. He had a brother who traveled with a drove of cattle from Texas to Prescott, and I suppose that he got some knowledge of the route from him. So we parted, leaving me and Jim Human, and Hawkins alone. Hawkins was a man that when he set his head to do a thing Uncle Sam could not turn him from the course that he had lined out to go. ... When in about two miles of Las Vegas," horses were stolen; "two from Hawkins and the last horse I had. ... I do not remember how far it was from Albuquerque to Wingate."

"We reached the Reservation about a mile up the river from the Fort. We did not go to the Fort. There we camped on the night of the seventeenth, and on the eighteenth we camped near where the old adobe was built. ... In a few days ... Cumi and Rastus Hawkins went up to Prescott and were married. Then Hawkins moved up to Peck's Lake."

("A Sketch of the History of My Traveling from Southwest Missouri to Arizona;" by James Clawson Bristow; Middle Verde, October 5, 1909; typed manuscript; pages 3, 5, 8; from Sedona Heritage Museum.)

"Parson" James Clawson and Luranda C. (Smith) Bristow traveled to Arizona Territory with 6 of their children, which included Mary (b. 11-09-1857), and her husband, James W. Human, who were married January 31, 1875. Another daughter, Talitha Cumi Bristow (b. 09-03-1861) married David Erastus Hawkins.

William Henry Hawkins and Harrieta Melissa Strayton were married on January 23, 1852 in Independence, Missouri. Later, they took their family to California. William (b. 02-07-1855, in Stockton) and James (b. 01-28-1861) and their other children returned to Missouri. The Hawkins family came to Arizona in 1875 with 9 children, arriving in the Verde Valley with the "Parson" Bristow family.

Morris A. Ruffner, credited with the discovery of what became the United Verde mine, was "living near the vicinity of Peck's Lake when the first wagon train of pioneers came into the district." Morris Ruffner, who had been a Confederate soldier, sold his ranch to William Hawkins, who also had been a Confederate soldier. The Hawkins family settled there and Morris Ruffner lived near them or with them "while investigating the mineral possibilities of the surrounding country." (Verde Copper News; September 28, 1928; page 1, column 6.)


JOHN HAWKINS, son of William and Harriet Hawkins, was the first person buried in what became the Cottonwood Cemetery.

SARA E. HAWKINS ALDERSON (b. 12-25-1854, Independence, Mo.) is buried near her brother. She died January 26, 1879. "SAD ACCIDENT --- Mrs. Sara Alderson, of Upper Verde or Peck Lake, about the 18th inst., while standing near a fire, had the misfortune to have her clothes take fire and nearly all burned from her person. Her husband discovered her situation and in an instant came to her rescue, but was unable to extinguish the flames, as there was no water in the house, at the time, he was compelled to carry his wife to a small lake of water, adjacent to their dwelling, before he was able to extinguish the fire. Mrs. Alderson was badly burned, and died from the effects of her injuries on Sunday night last. We sympathize with Mr. Alderson in his misfortune, which took from him a devoted wife, and with Mr. and Mrs. Hawkins in the loss of a loving daughter." (The Weekly Arizona Miner; Prescott; January 31, 1879; page 3.)

DAVID ERASTUS HAWKINS (b. 11-08-1851, Independence, Mo.) died in Prescott March 26, 1882, and is buried in the Hawkins plot. Talitha Cumi (Bristow) Hawkins married "Doc" Wilbur.

WILLIAM HENRY HAWKINS (b. 02-28-1820, Tennessee), husband of Harriet, was a Confederate soldier in Wood's Regiment, Missouri Cavalry, Company D. He died January 26, 1883, and is buried with his family.

LOUISA JANE HAWKINS (b. 02-10-1865, Independence, Mo.) married James Alvin Van Deren at Cherry on July 4, 1880. They were parents of 3 daughters when she died in 1887. He married Edith Mae Strahan, and they became parents of 2 daughters and 1 son.

JAMES GABRIEL HAWKINS married Mariah May Dickinson on July 3, 1882. They were the parents of 2 children when she died in Camp Verde in 1889. Constable James Hawkins was shot and killed by a prisoner in his custody in Jerome on April 19, 1891. Her parents, Samuel Cotton and Nancy Jane (Green) Dickinson, who had been part of the "1875 Wagon Train," raised the orphans; Charles became a cowboy and married Francis Bruce, and Minnie married Maurice Calvin Smith. The Dickinson family with Maurice and Minnie Smith, owned and operated the Cottonwood store and post office until they sold out to Alonzo Mason, who became postmaster May 21, 1907.

LAURA BELLE HAWKINS (b. 1863, Belton, Mo.) married Dennis Hickey. She died of complications during childbirth in April of 1892 and is buried next to "our babies" and her husband, a miner, who died in Jerome on July 28, 1909.

HARRIET "Hattie" MELISSA STRATON HAWKINS (b. 10-07-1827, Tennessee) died in Jerome December 20, 1895, and is buried next to her husband, William, and her children. Harriet M. Hawkins was granted a land patent for 155.6 acres, near what became Tuzigoot, on September 3, 1884. When she died, only 4 sons were living; Emory, William, Lee, and Tom, and two son-in-laws, Dennis Hickey and James Van Deren.

THOMAS ALEXANDER HAWKINS (b. 06-02-1871, Belton, Mo.) drowned in Mockingbird Wash, Hayfield Draw, July 25, 1901. (see: The Verde Independent; "1901: DROWNED IN CLOUD-BURST; Thomas Hawkins;" July 24, 2012.)

EMERY (EMORY) WASHINGTON HAWKINS (b. 03-15-1869, Independence, Mo.) married Frances Moser in Flagstaff on June 28, 1897. He died in 1905.

WILLIAM HENRY HAWKINS, Jr. (b. 02-07-1855) was granted a land patent for 120 acres near the family homestead of his mother, on February 8, 1900. He died in Watts, Los Angeles, California on June 27, 1927 (may not be in Cottonwood Cemetery).

LEE ANDREW JACKSON HAWKINS (b. 01-02-1867, Independence, Mo.) was a dentist in Jerome. He married Ethel Jane Carrier. His photographs are lasting reminders of what Jerome and neighboring areas once were. He died January 6, 1932.

See: The Verde Independent; "1875: VERDE RESERVATION OPEN TO SETTLEMENT; Wagon Trains Arrive;" August 22, 2012.

Reader Comments

Posted: Thursday, March 14, 2013
Article comment by: Matthew Holmes

Much gratitude to whoever researched and wrote this article. Several direct descendants of William Henry Hawkins have returned to and are now once again living in the Verde Valley. William and Harriet were my great-great-great grandfather and grandmother, and William Jr. my great-great grandfather. We did not know that William Sr. was a Confederate veteran of the Civil War. I'm very proud of this fact! Thanks, thanks, thanks!!!

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