THE LEADING CITIZENS OF MADISON COUNTY

CONTENTS
Preface
Names Index
Portrait Index


   AUSTIN A. HAWKS, one of the best known and most substantial citizens of Georgetown, is a son of Horace Hawks, who was born in Hawley, Franklin County, Mass., November 19, 1795, and was a son of Zedock Hawks, also a native of Hawley, Mass. The father of Zedock, Zur Hawks, came to America from Scotland in company with two brothers, and settled in Massachusetts.
   Zedock Hawks grew up on his father's farm, being trained to agricultural pursuits from an early age. When arrived at man's estate, he united his destinies to those of Rhoda Parker, daughter of David Parker, a native of Massachusetts and they became the parents of eleven children. About 1815 he removed to Oriskany Falls, remaining there a year, and coming in 1816 to Georgetown, where he settled on land upon which his grandson now resides. His purchase, which consisted of forty acres, was covered with a dense growth of timber, which he immediately began to clear. As saw-mills were rare institutions in those days, and there was little or no demand for timber, he burned the logs, extracting salts from the ashes, the salts being sent to Albany, where they sold readily for cash. By sturdy effort and unremitting toil he at last succeeded in clearing the greater portion of his land, transforming the rugged barrenness of primitive nature into a scene of fruitfulness and domestic comfort. The summer sun ripened the waving grain, here the sheep nibbled the luxuriant herbage, and in the fields could be heard the low of cattle. Amid such peaceful scenes, the fruit of his own industry, he passed the rest of his days, cheered by the companionship of his loving wife, and enjoying the society of his children.
   Of these was Horace, the father of our subject. His birth occurred, as above stated, in Hawley, Mass.; and at the age of ten he commenced to learn the trade of a tanner and shoemaker. He accompanied his father to Georgetown, where, however, he remained but one year, when he returned to Massachusetts. After a year's residence in that State he was united in marriage to Hannah Bordwell, a daughter of Gideon Bordwell, of Shelburne, Mass., and, returning to Georgetown, purchased the home farm of his father, who thenceforth resided with him, being at that time well advanced in years. He managed the farm with great success, in course of time adding to it over one hundred and fifty acres of land, and being engaged largely in the buying and selling of stock. He was a man of widely extended influence, and very prominent in public affairs. In the year of his return to Georgetown he was elected Constable and Town Collector, served seven years as Supervisor, was appointed Census Enumerator, and was Justice of the Peace for twenty years. He was also Land Appraiser in Madison County for the Central Railroad, which was built in 1833, and was elected a Member of Assembly, his period of service commencing in 1846, and was in addition President of the Plank Road Company, for thirty years known as the Georgetown, Eaton, and Pexport. His marriage occurred in 1819; and he and his wife became the parents of nine children, namely: Gideon B., who was born February 26, 1821, and died September 17, 1823; one child who died in infancy, in 1822; Polly, born February 24, 1823; John Q. A., March 31, 1825; Rhoda, January 15, 1827; Eli, January 15, 1829; one other child who died in infancy, born in 1831; Austin A., our subject; and Sally B., whose birth occurred June 17, 1835. After the death of his first wife Mr. Hawks was again married, in 1845, to Tryphena Bordwell, of Colerain, Mass. She died March 22, 1863.
   Austin A. Hawks, our subject, was born on the farm where he now resides, January 30, 1833, and received his education in the district school. The duties of the farm engage his chief attention, the management devolving entirely upon him. He purchased over one hundred additional acres of land, and soon became widely known as a prosperous and substantial farmer and stockman. He has followed these occupations up to the present time, extending the scope of his operations and adding to and greatly improving his property, until now he has an elegant home with fine barns and commodious outbuildings, and a thoroughly improved and highly cultivated farm, well stocked with high grades of cattle, together with a flourishing hop-yard. Most of this he has acquired by his own industry and conspicuous managerial talents.
   Mr. Hawks was married January 3, 1855, the maiden name of his wife being Susan Wadsworth. She was a daughter of Harry Wadsworth, of Georgetown. Her death occurred but four months after her marriage, she passing away the 2d of May following. Some years after the death of his first wife Mr. Hawks again married, his second wife being Arvilla Amsbury, daughter of Truman Amsbury, of Georgetown. This marriage occurred on the 1st of June, 1859. Mr. and Mrs. Hawks have reared two adopted children, a boy and girl, both of whom are now married and have homes of their own.
   In addition to his farming and stock-raising, Mr. Hawks has been a director in various stock companies, and in fraternal matters is a member of Georgetown Lodge, No. 726, F. & A. M., of Cyrus Chapter, No. 50, at Hamilton, and of Norwich Commandery, No. 46, K. T. He has also held and filled acceptably various town offices throughout the greater part of his life, and has always brought to the performance of his public duties a keen intelligence, supplemented by sterling common sense. Both he and his wife are held in high regard, as being among the most useful and representative citizens of their town and county.

 

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