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Genealogy Profile: John Hawley Sr. (1787-1860)

Pam Hawley Marlin

The following genealogy profile is based on research compiled by the author. John Hawley Sr. is the author's fourth great grandfather. View Hawley Family Tree.


"Enclosure notice" signed by John Hawley Sr. located at the Clarendon Historical Society. P Marlin 2021


Beginnings - Massachusetts, New York and Michigan

John Hawley Sr., the author's fourth great-grandfather, was born in Massachusetts around 1787. He married Betsey (Elizabeth) Malbone and to this union were born four sons, John Jr., Chester, Charles, Calvin Bateman, and two daughters, Sally Amelia (Howard) and Nancy (Cook) (Nancy is buried in Glidden Cemetery).

This line of Hawley men (John Sr., John Jr., Martin and Walter) made their living as farmers. Each of these men owned many acres of farmland in New York, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Iowa, and Kansas as the family migrated west. It was not unusual for the Hawley patriarch and his sons to establish their homestead on the same farmland for a time before the eldest son would venture out on his own.


Lyons, New York and the War of 1812

All indications are that John Sr. and his wife, Betsey, lived in Lyons, New York from approximately 1810 to 1818. According to the The History of Wayne County, New York, John Sr. is listed as one of the men who served in the the Battle of Sodus Point on June 19th, 1813, "The brave patriots who defended our village from the British on June 19th, 1813 consisted of a rag tag collection of poorly trained militia and farmers, with no military training whatsoever, who grapped their flintlocks. The stories of these men range from humorous to sad." 1

John Hawley is mentioned as the father of Nancy Hawley Cook and a participant in the War of 1812 in this excerpt from The Landmarks of Orleans County, New York.

Historic marker of the Battle of Sodus Point overlooking Lake Ontario. P Marlin 2021

John Hawley listed as a recipient of a letter at the Lyons Post Office, October 1, 1817. Geneva Gazette


Life in Clarendon, Orleans County, New York

John Sr,'s transition from Lyons to Clarendon is not clear, however, the Clarendon Historical Society's records indicate that John Sr., had settled in Clarendon by 1828 with his children enrolled in school district No.6. The property John Sr. settled on was known as the "Connecticut Tract." This was a risky venture as deeds to the property they were living on were not guaranteed for up to 10 years.

Clarendon was founded in 1810 and legalized in 1824. According to the Landmarks of Orleans County, New York, "Clarendon, New York was formed from the Hundred Thousand Acre or Connecticut Tract. This land was owned jointly by the State of Connecticut and the Pultney estate, and that belonging to the latter was not surveyed and put in market till 1821 ; hence the late date of many of the deeds. The Connecticut lands were sold earlier. There were "squatters " on the lands of the Pultney estate earlier, by tacit permission. No records of articles, or contracts, with settlers on the Hundre'd Thousand Acre Tract are accessible." The first directors of the Connecticut Land Co. included Moses Cleveland, who as General Agent, led the company’s initial survey party to the Reserve in 1796.

By the 1850 New York Census, John and Betsey are still living in Clarendon on adjacent properties with their adult sons, Chester and Calvin Bateman. On August 1, 1853 John Sr. was awarded a deed to Lot 82 of the Connecticut Tract. This is about a year before the family sold the property to Ira Merrill and moved to Michigan.

The 1850 New York Census lists John Sr. and Betsey Hawley, Stephen and Sally Howard (I think Sally is John and Betsey's daughter) and Calvin Bateman and Sarah Hawley. Ancestry.

John (Hawley) Holly and Calvin Bateman (Hawley) Holly on Lot 82 of the 1852 Clarendon, Orleans County, New York land ownership map. The Hawley children attended School House No. 6 (S.H. No. 6) located east of the Hawley properties. Library of Congress


John Hawley Sr. House in Clarendon

Located about 4 miles southeast of Clarendon on Merrill Road is the house that John Sr. built (his son's houses are long gone). The house has been added to several times, however, the two story section of the house is original. The present owners of the house were kind enough to give us a tour around and inside the house. The original barns located on the property burned down years ago, however, the small creek seen in the map above, still runs behind the house. The family crossed this creek to get back and forth between John Sr. and Chester Hawley's property (section 104 of the map).

The John Hawley Sr house located on Merrill Road in Clarendon, New York. The two-story section of the house is original. The road is named for Ira Merrill, who purchased the home from John Hawley Sr. in 1854. P Marlin 2021

The John Hawley Sr. house located on Merrill Rd in Clarendon, New York. This two-story section of the house is original. P Marlin 2021

The John Hawley Sr. house located on Merrill Rd in Clarendon, New York. This two-story section of the house is original. P Marlin 2021

The John Hawley Sr. house located on Merrill Rd in Clarendon, New York. Notice the original foundation. P Marlin 2021

John Sr. and Chester Hawley are mentioned in this excerpt from History of Clarendon from 1810 to 1888.


Enclosure Notices

Personal hand written documents called "enclosure notices" are part of the Historical Society's collection. I'm not sure what "enclosure notices" are, however, they may have been related to the Enclosure Acts established in Britain as a way to abolition the open field system of agriculture which had been the way people farmed in England for centuries. There were two notices written and signed by John Sr.

"Enclosure notice" signed by John Hawley located at the Clarendon Historical Society. P Marlin 2021

"Enclosure notice" signed by John Hawley located at the Clarendon Historical Society. P Marlin 2021


Road Book

Clarendon's roads were an important matter to its residents. The Clarendon Historical Society has many historical documents that are road lists or road warrants. These documents consist of the names of residents within certain districts who were assessed a certain amount of work days on the roads according to the value of property they owned.

Clarendon's Road Book. Clarendon Historical Society.

A glimpse inside the Road Book. John Hawley is listed as overseer for District No. 45. Clarendon Historical Society. P Marlin 2021

John and Bateman (Calvin) on the "A List of Inhabitants [?] to work on the Highway District No. 45 Town of Clarendon, County of Orleans, for the year 1849." Clarendon Historical Society. P Marlin 2021


Political Preference

Schools were a priority in early Clarendon as indicated by the information provided in local school district reports. In the 1840 election year, a No. 6 school district report lists John Sr., John Jr., and Chester Hawley as supporters of incumbent Democrat President Martin Van Buren. Van Buren was defeated, however, as William Henry Harrison became the first member of the Whig party to be elected President. "Van Buren wanted to build an effective and efficient political organization principally because he thought it the best mechanism for defending and extending the Jeffersonian and Jacksonian political ideals. These principles—the preeminence of state and local concerns, the wisdom of limiting the power of the federal government, and the importance of protecting Americans from government or public institutions that supposedly threatened their liberty—he held dearly and believed vital to the nation's political and economic future." 1 The Panic of 1837 and the Second Seminole War were contributing factors in Van Buren's loss to Harrison. He left the White House after serving only one term.

The Whig and Van Buren supporters in school district No. 6. John Sr., John Jr., and Chester Hawley are listed as Van Buren supporters. Clarendon Historical Society. P Marlin 2021


School District No. 6

According to the school records held at the Clarendon Historical Society, John Sr.'s children attended school in district No.6 (see map). The Society has several Clarendon school district records. Most reports list the parent's name only. The earliest record of John Sr. in Clarendon is the following document from 1828 listing him as a parent of four school age children in school district No. 6. This school was located west of John Sr.'s house (map below).

Clarendon School House No. 6 report for 1828. John Hawley has four children enrolled (top of 3rd column). Clarendon Historical Society. P Marlin 2021

Clarendon Schoolhouse No. 6 report for 1834. John Hawley has two children enrolled (top of 2nd column). Clarendon Historical Society. P Marlin 2021

Schoolhouse No. 6 was located where this private residence is today. P Marlin 2021.


Second Free Will Baptist Church

John Sr. and his son, Chester, were organizers of the Free-will Baptist church of Clarendon. The church held meetings in schoolhouse No. 10 located about a mile from John Sr.'s house. The schoolhouse was located across from Robinson Cemetery on Byron-Holley Road. Today the schoolhouse is a private residence. The original schoolhouse from 1846 is long gone.

An interesting point to make is the John Sr.'s daughter, Nancy Hawley Cook, had a son and named him Eli Hannibal Cook, potentially after the Elder, Eli Hannibal, of the Free-will Baptist church mentioned below.

The following is an excerpt from Historical Album of Orleans, New York.

"A Free-will Baptist church was organized at East Clarendon at an early day, and retained an existece until about 1850, when it was absorbed by an organization of the same denomination in the southwestern part of the town, known as the Second Free-Will Baptist Church of Clarendon which was formed in 1846. The following is an extract from the records of that church: "Pursuant to appointment a meeting was held at the schoolhouse in district No.10 in Clarendon, April 7th 1846, at which time Elder Archibald Bennett, Elder Eli Hannibal and Elder Ferguson formed in union twenty-three members and organized a church." A sermon was preached by Elder Bennett, a covenant read and charge given by Elder Ferguson, and the right hand of fellowship extended by Elder Hannibal. Chester Hawley was elected church clerk and treasurer: Jehial Glidden was chosen deacon, and John Hawley, assistant deacon. Rev. Archibald Bennett became the first pastor of this church and remained until May 1st, 1851: he was followed by Rev. A. Gilman for a time. Up to this time public meetings had been held, for a most part, in schoolhouse district No. 10."

The location of schoolhouse No.10 original photo. Clarendon Historical Society

Schoolhouse No.10 is a private residence today. It is located across from the Robinson Cemetery. P Marlin 2021


Move to Michigan

In 1854, the Hawley family moved to Michigan. This included John Sr., and Betsey, their sons, Calvin Bateman and Chester, as well as John Hawley Jr., who was living in Springfield, Pennsylvania with his wife, Jerusha. John and Betsey's daughter, Nancy Hawley Cook, had died and was buried at a small cemetery located near the Hawley house. Another daughter, Sally Amelia Howard, (unconfirmed) did not make the move. It's unclear why the family decided to move, other than opportunities west.

The following deed, dated October 28, 1854, details John and Betsey Hawley's sell of their Clarendon property to Ira Merrill (today the road that John Hawley's house is located on is called "Merrill Road"). At the time of the move, John Sr. was 68 years old, and Betsey was 64. I wonder how Betsey felt, selling the home her husband had built over 20 years earlier, and the home she had raised her children in. Undoubtedly, Betsey stopped at the small cemetery, located near her home, to say a final goodbye to her daughter, Nancy, before they left.

Property deed. John Sr., and Betsey Hawley sell their property and home to Ira Merrill on October 28, 1854.


Comstock, Michigan

Nearly two months after the sell of his property in New York, John Sr. purchased 80 acres of land in Comstock, Kalamazoo County on December 2, 1854. About the same time, his two sons, John Jr., and Calvin Bateman, settled in Porter, Van Buren County, Michigan, about 30 miles away. in 1857, John Sr.'s eldest son, Chester, arrived in Comstock from New York and purchased 40 acres near John Sr.'s property. Betsey, John Sr.'s wife, died at this property in 1858, four years after their arrival.

John Sr. deed to 80 acres in Comstock, Michigan (west half of the northeast quarter of section number 18 in township No. 2 south of range No. 10 west). Family Search Image Search

A year after Betsey's death, on May 17, 1859 John Sr. sold his 80 acres in Comstock to his son Calvin Bateman (who relocated from Porter). Calvin paid $2000.00 for the property. After this sale, Calvin and Chester Hawley lived within a few miles of each other for nearly 15 years (see map below).

Deed for the sell of John Sr,'s 80 acres to Calvin Bateman (west half of the northeast quarter of section number 18 in township No. 2 south of range No. 10 west). Family Search Image Search

Calvin Bateman Hawley (prior John Sr. property) and Chester Hawley on the 1861 Land Ownership Map for Comstock, Kalamazoo County, Michigan. Library of Congress


The Comstock House

The house located on the John Sr., and Calvin Bateman 80 acres in Comstock is thought to have been built around 1843 (not confirmed). John Sr. did not build the house, however, he and Betsey, as well as Calvin Bateman and his family, lived here for over 20 years. The photos below show the original house (date unknown) and the house today with additions. The current owners of the house were kind enough to walk us around the house and show us original photos.

Original photo of the Comstock house (date unknown). Provided by the current owners.

Photo of the Comstock house taken in June 2021. The two story section is original. P Marlin.


Journey's End

Within six years of the move to Michigan, John Sr. and Betsey both died. Betsey died in 1858 (cause of death unknown) and John Sr., died in February 1860 from an accidental fall from a wagon. A few months before he died, John Sr. married again. As indicated in his will below, John Sr.'s second wife was Fanny Glidden (she had also relocated from Clarendon, New York, years earlier). John and Betsey are buried in the Comstock, Kalamazoo County cemetery near their oldest son, Chester Hawley, and his first wife, Elmina. John Sr. and Chester's headstones are both gone, with John Sr.'s headstone being removed recently. The photo of the headstone (below) was taken about 15 years ago.

John Hawley Sr., headstone (now gone). Van Buren County Michigan Gen Web

John Hawley Sr. fall from wagon. Ancestry mortality schedules

The site of John Sr., Betsey, Chester and Elmina Hawley burials. Betsey and Elmina's tall stones are on the right. The small stones are footstones. John Sr. and Chester's are gone. Photo taken June 2021 by P Marlin 2021.

A drive-by the John Hawley Sr. house and property along Merrill Road in Clarendon, New York, time period 1828 to 1854; Historic Glidden Cemetery in Clarendon, New York where Nancy Hawley Cook (no stone) is buried. Most of the stones are gone; Comstock Cemetery where John Hawley Sr. and wife Betsey are buried along with their son, Chester Hawley, and his wife Elmina. Both John Sr. and Chester’s stones are gone.


Last Will and Testament of John Hawley Sr.

John Sr. made this will on February 19, 1860, a few days before he died from the fall from a wagon. The Will is partially transcribed by author.

John Hawley Sr., Will and Testament. Ancestry

In the Matter of the Estate of John Hawley Deceased

In the name of God. Amen

I, John Hawley, of the County of Kalamazoo and State of Michigan being of sound mind and memory and considering the uncertainty of this final [?] life, do therefore make, ordain, publish and declare this to be my last Will and Testament. [?]

After all my lawful debts are paid and discharged the residue of my estate [?] and personal [?] give and bequeath and dispose of the following [?] to my granddaughter, Nancy Amelia Howard, one hundred dollars in money. Also all my household furniture excepting my cook stove and such articles as may have been added to it since my last marriage.

To my son John Hawley Jr, one hundred dollars in money. To my son Chester Hawley one note of one hundred dollars given by him to me for a horse. To my wife Fanny Hawley my cook stove and household furniture which have been bought since my marraige with her and also ten dollars in money. [?]

To my grandson and only son of Charles Hawley the house and lot now occupied by Charles Hawley in the Village of Comstock. [?] I also give and bequeath to my son Calvin B. Hawley to have and to hold the same to himself and to his heirs and assigned forever upon of following uses and [?] to with in trust to pay to my grand son Edgar Hawley ten years old. [?]

Also in trust to pay my son Charles Hawley on account of his bodily infirmaties and inability to provide for himself all the [?] use of my estate both real and personal or as much as he may need for support during his natural life time and if it shall not be all consumed for his support during his lifetime.

The residence to be equally divided between the aforesaid John Hawley Jr. and Chester Hawley. Likewise I make constitute and appoint my son Calvin B. Hawley to be Executor of this my last Will and Testament hereby [?] all former wills by me made.

I witness thereof [?] subscribed my name and affixed my seal the 19th day of February, one thousand eight hundred and sixty. John Hawley

The above written instrument was subscribed by the said John Hawley in our presence and acknowledged by him to each of us and [?] the time published and declared this this above instrument so subscribed to be his last Will and Testament and [?] request signed the named as witnesses hereto and [?] over places of residence. D.S Crowell, W.J. Stillwell, Eli B. Anderson, All of Comstock, Kalamazoo, State of Michigan

Pam Hawley Marlin at the gravesite of fourth great- grandparents, John Sr. and Betsey Hawley. Comstock Cemetery, Michigan.


Clarendon, New York Historical Society

The Clarendon Historical Society houses its historic records in the old Stone Building (1836). Town historian, Melissa Ierlan, assisted in my search for John Hawley Sr. in some of the town's oldest records from 1820 - 1850. These records were found under the floorboards of one of the old buildings in Clarendon and are now being organized by the town historian. In addition to preserving the town's oldest records, Melissa raised enough funds to buy and restore the old Stone building which was deteriorating.

The Stone Building. John Hawley Sr., and his family lived in Clarendon during 1836 so they would have visited this building.

The Stone Building 2021.