Monday, August 24, 2009

Another Nathaniel

This was actually written on 8/21, but I am just actually posting it now.

Okay, things are getting kind of CRAZY here! I don’t exactly know where to begin to explain the events of the last 24 hours, but to surmise, my fellow Hawkins researcher and I have continued to share back and forth via email, as well as a little bit more on the HAWKINS message board on Ancestry. Just as it seemed that the two of us had settled on agreeing to disagree on the interpretation of Philemon’s will (at least until we had further proof one way or another), boom! I get an oddly-worded message on the board from a (White) Hawkins descendant. He seemed a bit aggravated at the discussion taking place about his ancestors, so I sent him a response in hopes that we could connect, and that hopefully I could help him come to terms with the fact that he does have Blacks in his family tree!

Okay… so immediately after typing my response, I decided to pull out the documents that were sent to me two years ago by that other HAWKINS descendant and researcher, HB HAWKINS, in Eugene, OR. We ran into each other on one of the boards back in 2007, and had a couple of conversations, after which he send me hard copies of the family tree (ancestral lines for my gg grandfather, specifically noted), a nice letter, and a collage of pictures of himself and his family, so that I could “see if there is any resemblance.” (He looks a lot like my grandmother.) HB also sent me a copy of a marriage record for Nathaniel Hawkins and Patience Green, whom we had discussed extensively on the phone, as we tried to figure out if this could have been my gggf, since his wife was a Green. (This is the same Nathaniel who I’d mentioned in my earlier post, whose records I’ve been shoe-boxing in Ancestry.) I studied everything carefully at that time, and have referred to these documents a few times since then, even as recently as three days ago. But, before now, I have concentrated mostly on the page that contained the information about my NATHANIEL MACON HAWKINS, or at least who I’ve believed him to be all this time – and so did HB. However, just now, after responding to the poster on the message board, I thought about that fact that his name was “Herbert”, and I wondered if he could have been the same person as, “H.B.” So, I pulled out the envelope again, and began looking through each page for HB’s full name, but this was to no avail. Everything was just, “HB.” (I remember him telling me that he only goes by that, so it makes sense.)

Since I had the papers out, I decided to go through them again, now that I have so much more information and new questions about the HAWKINS family. First off, I found that I’ve actually had notes about the whole Philemon will thing all this time! HB had put a note on one of the pages, explaining the whole thing, even giving a bit more information than what I’d recently found out. I’m sure I’d read this two years ago, but it had no personal meaning to me at that time! The information was noted at the bottom of the page that was designated for the tree of Philemon’s first marriage to Mary Christmas, who died in 1822.
Well, (I know this is long…) while I was on this page, I noticed that there were question marks for several of the descendants’ death dates, and I knew I’d created a document where I’d copied several death notices from the Raleigh Register, so I decided to pull out my document and see if I could fill in any of the death dates. It was just as I was beginning to do this – as I was perusing the page to find question marks – that I saw it. NATHANIEL MACON HAWKINS. There was my gg grandfather’s full name, but it was on a completely different page! This Nathaniel was listed as the sixth child of Dr. Joseph Warren Hawkins and his wife, Frances “Fanny” Minter Hawkins! What - was -this?
My mind started going about 1000 mph. Another Nathaniel Macon Hawkins? How could I have missed him all this time? Well, first of all this family lived in Mississippi, not in NC. Not only that, but upon finding him (immediately) with his family in the 1850 Census, I learned that he was born in 1840 – almost ten years after my Nathaniel (but much closer in age to my gg-grandmother, Anna, who was born in 1844). So, even if this Nathaniel had ever come up in my searches, I would have discounted him, I’m sure.

My next step was to try to find out what happened to this NM Hawkins. As I typed his information into the search boxes, I couldn’t help but to think about how elusive my original Nathaniel has been all these years. How none of the Hawkins researchers I’ve connected with ever knew anything about him, except that he was born in 1831. Nobody knew what became of him, where he was buried, why he wasn’t mentioned in anyone’s wills – nothing. Was I about to discover that I’d been barking up the wrong tree all these years?

1860 – It will take a bit more work to find out where Nathaniel is, because there are several with his name in Tennessee and Alabama who fit his description.

1863 – Marriage bond with Patience Green. Nathaniel is noted as, “col.”.

1866 – Cohabitation bond acknowledged.

Now, all of this happened just before I started typing this, and as I’ve been doing so, I’ve been going back and forth trying to find more out about this Nathaniel, but oddly enough, he disappears, also. So the mystery thickens. I know that my original Nathaniel did exist, because he’s shown in the HAWKINS household in 1850 and 1860, and because I have several other documents related to his death and estate. But why is it that these two Nathaniels are so elusive? There are several other connections that I’m seeing, which are teasing my curiosity about this, but perhaps this finding will lead to nothing. But I do have to say, WILL THE REAL NATHANIEL MACON HAWKINS PLEASE STAND UP?

Addendum: 8/24/09 - I have not heard back from my "cousin", and apparently he's not going to be forthcoming with any family information. Makes me think about the discussion on Luckie's blog. (See OGR here: http://ourgeorgiaroots.com/?p=674&cpage=1#comment-829)
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