Saturday, August 16, 2014

A John Hawkins Hiding in the Records of Colonial Maryland

For descendants of the John Hawkins who signed his will in Abbeville District, South Carolina on July 18, 1797,[1] verification of his parents’ identities has been challenging.  That he was born in Maryland of parents named John Hawkins and Elizabeth Jones has been consistently reported as family lore by members of widely dispersed descendant lines.  In this discussion of several men named John Hawkins, I will refer to him as John of Abbeville (LWT 1797).   

Thanks to the large number of Hawkins descendants participating in the Hawkins Worldwide DNA Project, we now have Y-DNA evidence defining more than two dozen lineages of Hawkins men.  The study has grouped two descendants of John of Abbeville (LWT 1797) with other closely matching participants, designated as Family Group 5.  At least one of the participants in this group had previously traced his ancestry to a Quaker Hawkins family in early Colonial Anne Arundel County, Maryland.  Robert W. Barnes identified this Hawkins family group in his Baltimore County Families, 1659-1759 as "The Hawkins Family of Hawkins Hills and Hawkins's Desire."[2]  Since many other researchers interested in these Hawkins family members refer to Barnes’ work, I will add his Hawkins surname numbers for clarification.  The immigrant progenitor, John Hawkins (#3), is known through the will he signed on February 3, 1670, an inventory filed in 1676, mention in records pertaining to at least two land tracts (see below), and also attribution in Quaker marriage records as the father of Ann Hawkins who married Charles Gorsuch in 1715.[3]  Thanks are due Jeanne M. Bornefeld, who encouraged several family members to become participants in the Y-DNA study and also gathered a plethora of records pertaining to this family in her work, Once a Hoosier, Volume II:  The Hawkins Book.[4]    Some of the participants have since found documentary evidence to trace their descent from John Hawkins (#3), others are still searching for evidence of their connection. 

Even though closely matching Y-DNA haplotypes, coupled with a common surname, indicate a there was a common ancestor, only though the analysis of documentary evidence, or inferences made thereof, can the common ancestor be determined with any degree of confidence.  The immigrant John Hawkins (#3) would have shared his Y-DNA haplotype, exactly or closely matching, with his male ancestors, any brothers, paternal uncles, or paternal male cousins.  We do not know the number or identities of these theoretical male relatives, but must allow the possibility that they existed and they may have had descendants.  Of those individuals who might have been contemporaneous to John Hawkins (#3), some may have lived in England but some may have also immigrated to the North American British Colonies.  So, when looking at the genealogical summaries provided by some of the participants, it is not a surprise to find at least one who have traced their lineage to a colonial era Hawkins ancestor with no apparent link to John Hawkins (#3) – at least, no link has yet been reported.  It is possible that all the Group 5 participants descend from the immigrant John Hawkins (#3), but it is not necessarily so.  In fact, we can only hope that one or more participants placed in Family Group 5 descend from relatives of John Hawkins (#3), since other lines might provide clues to the English origins of our common Hawkins line.  Similarly, while children of the immigrant John Hawkins have been carefully identified by Robert Barnes, including sons John, Matthew, Thomas, Joseph and daughter Anne, we also cannot be entirely certain that these were his only children.  He did not mention the names of his children in his 1670 Will.  Some researchers have inferred an additional son, Augustine.  When considering how all the Group 5 participants might be related, it seems wise to keep an open mind and continue searching for evidence.

Initially, the discovery of these close genetic relatives caused a bit of a conundrum.  I was alerted to the development by Edith Hawkins Griffin, a fellow descendant of John of Abbeville (LWT 1797).  In partnership with Joann Powers, Edith had published in 1997 Randolph-Hawkins and related families[5] which presents findings strongly suggesting that this John of Abbeville (LWT 1797) was the descendant of the Hawkins family identified in Barnes' Baltimore County Families as "The John and Rebecca Hawkins Family."[6]  Robert Barnes previously detailed this group in an article, "The Em(er)son--Cobb--Hawkins Connection.”[7]  Barnes’ defined this Hawkins family as being of two known generations:  John Hawkins (#11) who married Rebecca Emson on December 28, 1718 and his father, John Hawkins (#10) who died July 22, 1733, who had married first the unknown mother of this son and a daughter, Ann, and had subsequently married the mother of his son’s wife.[8]  When a Hawkins cousin closely related to Edith Griffin recently received Y-DNA test results placing him in Family Group 5, the genetic results seemed to be in conflict with the historical evidence she had accumulated.  Robert Barnes noted the John and Rebecca Hawkins family group had no known relationship with the Hawkins of Hawkins Hills and Hawkins Desire.  Though we now know that both family groups resided first in Anne Arundel County and later in Baltimore County, Province of Maryland, they inhabited opposite corners of the latter county.  The evidence Edith had found clearly pointed to the younger of the two John Hawkins, the son who had married Rebecca, daughter of James Em(er)son or Emison, as the father of John of Abbeville (LWT 1797). 

Happily, further analysis of the early Maryland records reveals that these two Hawkins families Barnes had presumed to be unrelated are actually one:  The John Hawkins (#10) for whom his widow Rebecca served as the executor of his estate in 1733[9] is evidently the same man as the John Hawkins (#4), the eldest son of the immigrant John Hawkins (#3).   Land records provide the majority of the data supporting this conclusion, but only those land records bearing on the question of whether the John Hawkins who died in 1733 (#10) and his son John Hawkins (#11) descend from John Hawkins the Immigrant (#3) are included here.  Barnes noted in the introduction to his study of Baltimore County families that while he consulted many sources, land records were not completely abstracted.[10]  I suspect Robert Barnes would not be at all surprised that evidence of these relationships had been hiding in the records. 

In 1661, the immigrant John Hawkins (#3) acquired a tract of land called Great Bonnerston[e] from James Bonner, who had patented in tract in 1659.  On the reverse of the patent was recorded assignment of the property by James Bonner to Jno. Hawkins.  Below that notation, John Hawkins signed on November 11, 1661 a conveyance of half the parcel to William Cole.[11]  By separate a deed re-recorded in 1709,[12]  John Hawkins confirmed on April 11, 1663 the conveyance of 75 acres of Great Bonnerston(e) to William Cole, who then later transferred that portion of the tract to Samuel Galloway.[13]  In 1668, John Hawkins (#3) acquired the 100 acre tract, Bolealmonack.[14]  In 1676, a will and inventory were filed for John Hawkins the Immigrant (#3).[15]  His will designated Mary, his wife, as sole beneficiary and as Executrix.  His real properties, Great Bonnerston and Bolealmonack, descended directly to his eldest son by primogeniture, then in effect in the Province of Maryland. 

On August 12, 1684, John Hawkins (#4) "of Ann Arundell in the Province of Maryland Planter Ldest Sonn & heire of John Hawkins late of said county" transferred a tract called "Bolealmanack neck" in Baltimore County to Henry Constable, Merchant of the same county.[16]  This transaction verifies that John Hawkins (#4), son of the immigrant John Hawkins (#3) who was formerly in possession of this tract, was living in 1684 and of age to sell property.  No release of dower was included in this very detailed document, so he may not yet have married. 

The 1707 Rent Rolls of Anne Arundel County include payment made by only one individual named John Hawkins, and that man was then in possession of 75 acres of "Bonnerston," located in West River Hundred.  The other 75 acres of this early tract were in the possession of Sam[uel] Galloway.[17]   John Hawkins (#4), son of John Hawkins (#3), was active in Anne Arundel County at that time and still in possession of the tract, Bonnerston, that passed to him after his father's death. 

The next mention of the “Bonnerston” in recorded land transactions occurs after July 28, 1726, when John Hawkins Senior, Baltimore County, Planter, conveyed to Peter Galloway of Anne Arundel County two properties located in the latter's county of residence.[18]  One was a 78 acre tract called "Favour Indeed," which had been patented by John Hawkins in 1714.[19]  This tract is described in the 1726 deed as being "on the south side of parcel called Bonnerston, bounded by Cumberstone, by Galloway's Enlargement."  The second property included in this 1726 conveyance was “the moiety of another tract called Bonnerston, containing 75 acres."  His wife, Rebecca Hawkins, acknowledged her release of dower.  This is the same property for which John Hawkins (#4) had paid quit-rent in 1707, having inherited it from his father.  This transaction confirms that the same John Hawkins who inherited Bonnerston had married a Rebecca and that he was older than another John Hawkins with whom he might have been confused – most likely this would have been own son, John Hawkins. 

We can thus confirm that John Hawkins (#4), son of the immigrant John Hawkins (#3), is the same man as John Hawkins (#10) who married a Rebecca and was senior to another John Hawkins.  As Robert Barnes has clarified in his 1981 study, in 1725, John Hawkins (#10) wed the much married Rebecca (___) Darnell? Emison Cobb, his son's mother-in-law.[20]  I have not found any other couples comprised of a husband named John Hawkins and a wife named Rebecca appearing in the land, court or parish records in either Baltimore or Anne Arundel Counties during the period covered above.  All mentions of a John Hawkins with a wife Rebecca refer to one or the other of these two couples, who are referenced in Barnes Baltimore County Families as John Hawkins (#10) and his second wife Rebecca (___) Darnell(?), Emison Cobb or John Hawkins (#11) and his wife Rebecca (Emison), daughter of James and Rebecca (___) Emison.[21]  The wording of the 1726 conveyance also reveals that John Hawkins (#4/#10), Senior, had changed his residence to Baltimore County.

Now that we have established the direct paternal line connection between John Hawkins Senior, husband of a Rebecca as of 1726, and his father, the immigrant John Hawkins (#3), what of John Hawkins “Junior”?   In 1717, Joseph Hawkins conveyed the tract "Intent" in Baltimore County to "John Hawkins junior of Ann Arundell county."   Joseph's wife, Elizabeth, released her right of dower.[22] [23] Barnes has identified this Joseph Hawkins (#5) as a son of John (#3) and wife Mary Hawkins.  He was, therefore, a brother to the John Hawkins (#4/#10) who sold both “Favor Indeed” and “Bonnerston” in 1726 and was married to a Rebecca.  The grantee in this conveyance of “Intent” cannot have been Joseph Hawkins's (#5) own son named John, who had been born December 23, 1713[24] and in 1717 was far too young to be the recipient of a land conveyance in his own right.  The appellation alone would not necessarily confirm that "John Hawkins junior" was the son of Joseph's brother, John, if other evidence were absent.

The identity of the recipient of the tract ”Intent” is revealed in a 1735 deed in which John Hawkins, Planter, conveyed that same property to Joseph Baseman.  He is no longer denoted as “junior,” his father having died two years prior.  John Hawkins (#4/#10) Senior died on July 22, 1733, as recorded in St. George’s Parish register.[25]  Notation was made on the back of this deed that Rebecca Hawkins, wife of John Hawkins, Planter, relinquished all right of dower on November 6, 1735.  This John Hawkins who sold “Intent” in 1735 was indeed a grandson of the immigrant John Hawkins (#3).  As the confirmed son of John Hawkins (#4/#10) who died in 1733, we also now know that a land transaction connected John Hawkins (#11), husband of the former Rebecca Emison, to Joseph Hawkins (#5), who had conveyed the same tract to him in 1717 and who we now know was his paternal uncle.

I hope that more evidence awaits discovery that will bear further witness to these relationships – or dash the conclusions definitively should the evidence here have been misconstrued.

Further evidence supports the hypothesis that the John Hawkins who migrated to western North Carolina and later to Abbeville District, South Carolina (LWT 1797) is a son of the John Hawkins and Rebecca (Emison) Hawkins who sold “Intent” in 1735.  But that is a discussion for another post.

K.R.L. Brauer
White Hat Descendant


[1] "South Carolina Probate Records, Bound Volumes, 1671-1977," images, FamilySearch, South Carolina, Abbeville > Wills, 1787-1815, Vol. 01 > images 145-146 of 257 (accessed 12 Jul 2014).  Pages in original volume 229-230, citing Department of Archives and History, Columbia, SC. Will signed July 18, 1797; recorded by Benjamin Hawkins, executor, on March 25, 1799.
[2] Robert W. Barnes, Baltimore County Families, 1659-1759, (Baltimore, MD:  Genealogical Publishing Co., 1988), p. 311-312.
[3] Henry C. Peden, Jr., M.A., Quaker Records of Southern Maryland:  Births, Deaths, Marriages and Abstracts from the Minutes, 1658-1800 (Westminster, MD, Family Line Publications, 1992), p. 15.
[4] Jeanne M. Bornefeld, Once a Hoosier, Volume II:  The Hawkins Book (Utica, KY:  McDowell Publications, 2007).
[5] JoAnn Powers and Edith Hawkins Griffin, Randolph-Hawkins and related families, (Decorah, Iowa: Anundsen, 1997).
[6] Robert W. Barnes, Baltimore County Families, 1659-1759, p. 312.
[7] Robert Barnes, "The Em(er)son--Cobb--Hawkins connection", Maryland Magazine of Genealogy 4 (Fall 1981):  67-73.
[8] Robert W. Barnes, Baltimore County Families, 1659-1759, p. 312.
[9] ibid.
[10] Robert W. Barnes, Baltimore County Families, 1659-1759, p.  x.
[11] ANNE ARUNDEL COUNTY COURT (Land Records), Maryland, Liber WH 4. p. 0044, MSA CE 76-4 (accessed 19 July 2014); digital images, Maryland State Archives, MDLANDREC.NET (
[12] The subsequent recordation of the deed was necessary because on the night of October 18, 1704 a fire consumed the courthouse in Annapolis, destroying nearly all of early Anne Arundel County's accumulated court and land records.  Only the then current volumes of records escaped the flames, presumably because they were stored elsewhere.  In 1709 there was a call to re-record deeds, resulting in a series of volumes that partially reproduce those missing early land records.
[13] ANNE ARUNDEL COUNTY COURT (Land Records), Maryland, Liber WH 4. p. 0016, MSA CE 76-4 (accessed 19 July 2014); digital images, Maryland State Archives, MDLANDREC.NET (
[13] BALTIMORE COUNTY COURT (Land Records), Maryland, Liber RM HS, pp. 0103-0106, MSA CE 66-1 (accessed 19 July 2014).
[14] " Anne Arundel County Circuit Court Land Survey, Subdivision, and Condominium Plats ", [Maryland State Archives] (, MSA S1581-659:  1688, Patent Record 11, p. 193; MSA S 1581-660:  1668, Patent Record 11, p. 405; Bolealmonack, 100 Acres; Patent  Developer/Owner: Hawkins, John.
[15] V. L.  Skinner, Jr., Abstracts of the Inventories and Accounts of the Prerogative Court of Maryland 1674-1678 and 1699-1703 (Libers 1-5) (Westminster, MD:  Family Line Publications, 1992), p. 28. John Hawkins, Anne Arundel County.  Inventory totaling #11185 [pounds of tobacco] recorded in Liber 2, folio 159 on June 8, 1676.  Appraisers:  Robert Francklyn [and] Walter Car. 
[16] BALTIMORE COUNTY COURT, Maryland, Liber RM HS, pp. 0103-0106, MSA CE 66-1 (accessed 19 July 2014). digital images, Maryland State Archives, MDLANDREC.NET (
[17] ___, Maryland Rent Rolls:  Baltimore and Anne Arundel Counties, 1700-1707, 1705-1724; Excerpted from the Maryland Historical Magazine, 1924-1931.  (Baltimore, MD:  Genealogical Publishing Company, Inc., 1976, reprinted 1996), p. 141.
[18] ANNE ARUNDEL COUNTY COURT (Land Records), Maryland, Liber SY 1. p. 0232-0234, MSA CE 76-12 (accessed 19 July 2014); digital images, Maryland State Archives, MDLANDREC.NET (
[19] " Anne Arundel County Circuit Court Land Survey, Subdivision, and Condominium Plats ", [Maryland State Archives] (, MSA S1581-1562:  1714, Patent Record EE 6, p. 104; MSA S 1581-1563:  1714, Patent Record CE 1, p. 154; Favour Indeed, 78 Acres; Patent  Developer/Owner: Hawkins, John.
[20] Robert Barnes, "The Em(er)son--Cobb--Hawkins connection", p, 68.
[21] Robert W. Barnes, Baltimore County Families, 1659-1759, p. 312.
[22] Barnes, Robert.  Baltimore County, Maryland Deed Abstracts 1659-1750.  (Westminster, MD:  Family Line Publications, 1996), p. 108.
[23]BALTIMORE COUNTY COURT, Maryland, 1672-1718 Liber TR RA, p. 0465-0467; MSA CE 66-5 (accessed 19 July 2014); digital images, Archives of Maryland, MDLANDREC.NET (
[24] St. Thomas Parish Baptisms:  Owings Mills, Maryland, 1732-1995  (Westminster, MD, Family Line Publications, 1996), p. 93. "John Hawkins son of Joseph Hawkins and Elizabeth his wife was born 23 December 1713.".
[25] Bill Reamy, Martha Reamy, St. George's Parish Registers, 1689-1793 (Silver Spring, MD:  Family Line Publications, 1988), p. 39.