The sons of JCCBP Hawkins

This drill-down from the Ramsbury vicarage story contains what I discovered about the brothers. I was able to find regular on-line hits for the four surviving brothers - or on three of them, at least - in contemporary newspapers, trade and court directories, Google, and in the treasure at the Oxford archives. During my initial research I summarised my findings as a series of notes and extracts from these various sources and I now leave them in that format, since it is the shortest way to fill in the rest of their lives and the quickest way for any family historians to pick up the detail. Please click here to go back to the Families home page.

Richard Berens Bradford HAWKINS 1824-1894

There is a large gap for Richard as a young man. His later life was traceable in detail but where was he in 1851 and 1861? I wonder if he was in the United States? Unfortunately the New York passenger lists are no longer freely available on and the Ellis Island on-line transcripts do not start until 1890. But in 1885, his youngest brother Arthur wrote a letter to Richard from Canada which suggested he had been out there since the early 1860s. Maybe they had been out there together. Arthur was at home on the 1861 census night but I wonder if he had been pestering JCCBPH to go, and the cautious father had sent older Richard off to set up a base for Arthur? I do not know. But I was able to find the following biographical nuggets, which I show in date order:

Balladoole House

Post Script 2012: In 2012 we noticed that it was possible to fly from our local airport (outside Gloucester) to the Isle of Man. So of course we did. We started at the Manx Museum because John was researching his father's wartime service there on a radar station, so I set off looking for more about Jane S WOODS. Her older sister Lucia had married Croft HAWKINS in 1866. Croft did spend some time living on the Isle of Man on his army half-pay and this must have been how he met Lucia. The father of both girls was at one time the Master of the House of Keys in Ramsey, and the family lived in at Balladoole House, Rushen (which we flew over on our way home!). I found this photograph of the house in the extensive and accessible archives of the Manx Museum, along with a good deal more about the family wills and Jane's property on the island. She would certainly have been an asset (socially and financially) to Richard in Woodstock. The only HAWKINS sons to marry had, like their father and his father, successfully found and married heiresses.

Post Script 2011: Fletcher's House is now the home of the Oxfordshire Museum so I went to look at it. Bits of the original house remain - an old staircase and the long hall, and the peaceful garden - but nobody there that day knew anything about the Hawkins family. However, through one of those happy coincidences, the Oxford friend who took us round the museum knew of a 1997 research paper about Fletcher's House and I was very generously given a copy. From this I learned that Richard became the Town Clerk of Woodstock in 1881, and was three times Mayor - so thank you Cynthia.

1901 census for RBB's family:

Croft Augustus Charles HAWKINS 1831-1884

Francis Goodlake HAWKINS 1834-1897

This is quite extraordinary. Francis apparently had an official role to play in Richard's legal business in Woodstock, but was that just a front? His father's will clearly suggested that he should not be trusted directly with any money and he had to repay loans made by his brothers. In fact, his father specifically left him an immediate cash bequest of 500 when the other brothers got 200, presumably to pay his debts. Was he a gambler? a heavy drinker? He never married and moved to Ramsgate with his sisters when they left the vicarage. I can find no reference to him as a lawyer in Kent after 1871. Another unhappy man.

Post Script 2014 Even more extraordinary: In the Rescued Papers of William Cowle I found documents written by Richard HAWKINS and William Cowle's solicitor Wilberforce HEELAS, who was tasked with ensuring that the purchase of The Field estate went smoothly. Disentailing the estate was Richard's problem, and he quickly organised that with his siblings. But Richard must have wanted very much to clear this slur on his brother's character. So he asked Wilberforce HEELAS to visit Woodstock, give a professional opinion of Francis's legal work. In March 1873, Mr HEELAS wrote a Declaration that Francis was of sound mind, and Richard wrote a Declaration of his brother's mental fitness. Both documents were stored in an envelope labelled "NOT TO BE SHOWN". I think it is time they were.

Arthur HAWKINS 1837-1897

1881: THE OXFORD ELECTION COMMISSION: [apparently an enquiry into voter bribery and campaign expenses] 38th day: Arthur Hawkins, Summertown, said he received 4s at each election for being one of the Liberal Guard. NOT THE RIGHT ONE - later report is about Arthur Hawkins, gardener of Summertown, drunk and disorderly after assaulting his wife and mother-in-law...

Then nothing. All I knew from David Nash was that Arthur had died in Canada. My subscription does not cover Canada although it allows a peek, and I found intriguing but inaccessible hits on the Canadian 1891 census, death records, and immigration and border crossings. I emailed a fellow researcher who lives there to see what she could find. She sent me the following image from the 1891 census for an Arthur Hawkins with the same year of birth and in the right part of Canada. I can not say that it is the same man but it would be pleasing if it were. This Arthur Hawkins was working as a labourer in Esquimault, Victoria, BC - right at the bottom edge of Vancouver Island. The relevant column headings [all in French - the whole form is in French] are:

Sex: Age: Married or Widowed: Relation to Head: Place of birth French Canadian? -- Place of birth of Father, and of Mother: Religion, Occupation then (off the page) wage-earner; can read and write [but then they all could]

1891 census for Vancouver
AH burial plot

The Ross Bay cemetery on Vancouver Island has a burial record (online) for an Arthur HAWKINS died at Swan Lake 17 April 1897 but aged 64, not 60. Swan Valley is close to Victoria at the very tip of Vancouver Island and this might be him, at Plot 80 W 36.

I do not know if the date which David has for Arthur's death is independent of this burial record, or taken from it as an assumption. Here is a modern photograph of the burial site, kindly taken for this essay by a member of the Old Cemeteries Society.

Canada 3c stamp

And that was it, until I went to the county archives in Oxford. There I found the original of Arthur's will, and the letter with which he returned it to Richard in 1885. Moments like this are rare.

The envelope itself is tiny. The addressee is R B B Hawkins Esq / Woodstock / Oxfordshire/ England; sent by Canada Post with 2 x 3c orange stamps, cancelled on the front Victoria APRxx 85, cancelled twice on the back with circular stamps saying: HAMILTON CANADA 7PM My 1 85 and Woodstock 15 My 85. That was quick. Two weeks to travel about 500 miles from Hamilton [Ontario] to New York, then across the Atlantic, then by road again to Woodstock from Bristol (150 miles) or Liverpool (200 miles). And all for six cents.

Arthur's will was straightforward. It is clear from his letter that Richard had drafted a simple document for Arthur to sign, have witnessed, and return. This is what it said:

This is the last will and testament of me Arthur Hawkins, one of the sons of the late Revd John Calland Cunningham Bennett Popkin Hawkins, Vicar of Ramsbury Wilts in England, deceased. I give and bequeath all the real and personal estate whatsoever and wheresoever over which I have any power of disposition unto my brother Richard B B Hawkins his heirs executors administrators and assigns absolutely and I appoint my said brother my sole executor. In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand this 15th day of April 1885.

witnesses: Henry Henly Victoria BC and Edward[?] Henly Victoria BC

My Canadian mole kindly did some more digging and found Henry HENLY in the 1881 census for Victoria Canada. He was aged 64 and born in England. He had a wife, Mary Ann, who was 54. I looked in the English censuses and there was no entry for any Henry HENLY of the right age after 1851. But in 1851 Sussex was Henry HENLY at Midhurst, aged 50, fellmonger, born Midhurst [so b abt 1800]. Midhurst is where JCCBPH's younger brothers Croft (b 1798) and Bradford (b 1799) went to school. They were of an age with Henry. Sometimes people and dates converge in a compelling way. It is hard not to believe that the young Henry met the young Hawkins brothers either in the village or in the school grounds and, years later, Bradford put up Henry as a suitable ... chaperone? (ought that to be chaperon?). OR: In 1843 a Henry Henly married Mary Knight at Highworth, Wiltshire but same name died 1845 (maybe a baby son?) - same chap? Different chap? Known to Bradford and Richard from their Highworth days? I leave it to someone else to sort that one out.

Arthur's letter, dated 20th April 1885, is written on both sides of a folded sheet of thin paper. The first page - pre-printed with a mourning border, looks like this, and the whole letter said: ArthurHawkins letter

My dear Richard

I received your letter enclosing an order for 5 and also a document for me to sign and I took it out to Mr Henley and got him and his son to witness it but two days afterwards I was obliged to go up country and I have had it in my pocket ever since/ having been unable to Post it till today & I can tell you it was very welcome & will be of the greatest possible use to me. We are getting lovely weather and all March was splendid no frost or wind to signify I am sorry to hear Croft died without making a will as to say the least it comes hard on his wife. I am feeling better than I was but am not anything/ very lively now poor old Henley seems breaking fast. he misses his wife sadly. My God Richard how I would like to have a look at you all once again it is quite a long time since we parted but I hope you will remember that I take the greatest pleasure in your letters

the country here is full of men but they are not the right kind for they all arrive/ in the country hard up and we had plenty of that class before. a great many of the old pioneers of 62 have died lately I have not heard from Ramsgate lately I owe them a letter but I shall write as soon as I can but writing letters here is rather hard work for there is nothing new stirring here at all

with kindest love to Janie my neices and yourself

I am as ever yours affecty

Arthur's signature

The phrase "the pioneers of '62" is used elsewhere to describe the folk who went across the great plains on the Oregon trail. There is an excellent essay on-line which describes the journey. Arthur clearly needed the fiver which Richard sent, and maybe seems a little disappointed not to receive a bequest after Croft's death. His mention of "that class" suggests that he did not regard himself as "that class". I know no more about his circumstances but this website describes another English family's life on a mid-19thC farm in Vancouver.

So, that is the end of my biography of JCCBP Hawkins' children. Please click here to return to the main story.

Copyright © Marion Hearfield 2009 updated 2011, 2012, 2014