Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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HAWKINS, Philemon, statesman, born in Oloucester county, Virginia, 28 September, 1717; died in Warren county, North Carolina, in 1801. He served in a cavalry troop at the battle of Alamance, 16 May, 1771, as aide to Gov. Tryon, in the same year was a member of the general assembly, and represented Bute and Granville counties for thirteen years. He raised the first volunteer company in Bute county for the Revolutionary army, and was elected its colonel in 1776. Colonel Hawkins was a member of the convention that ratified the National constitution, was the last surviving signer of the constitution of North Carolina, and was frequently a member of the executive council.--His son, Benjamin, statesman, born in Warren county, North Carolina, 15 August, 1754; died in Hawkinsville, Georgia, 6 June, 1816, was a student in the senior class at Princeton when the Revolution began, and his proficiency in modern languages, especially French, caused General Washington to appoint him interpreter between the American and French officers of his staff. Hawkins served at the battle of Monmouth, and probably in other engagements, and in 1780 was commissioned to procure ammunition and arms at home and abroad, he went to the West Indies and obtained and shipped supplies in vessels that belonged to a merchant of New Berne, John Wright Stanley. He was elected by the legislature to congress in 1782, in 1785 was appointed to treat with the Cherokee and Creek Indians, and concluded the treaties of Josephinton and Hopewell. He was re-elected to congress in 1786, and in 1789 became one of the two first United States senators from North Carolina. At the expiration of his term in 1797 he was appointed agent for "superintending all Indians south of the Ohio." Although he possessed a large fortune, he removed to the Creek wilderness, established a settlement, built cabins and mills, and manufactured implements. He tendered his resignation to each successive president from Washington to Madison, but it was always refused. The city of Hawkinsville, Georgia, the headquarters of his station, was named in his honor. His manuscripts are in the possession of the Georgia historical society, and two of them, on "Topography" and "Indian Character," have been privately printed.-Benjamin's nephew, William, statesman, born in Warren county, North Carolina, in 1770; died in Sparta, Georgia, 17 May, 1819, was elected member of the assembly, and its speaker in 1805. In 1810 he became governor, and took an active part in the war of 1812.--Philemon's grandson, Nieajah Thomas, congressman, born in Warren county, North Carolina, in 1790; died there, 22 December, 1858, was educated at the University of North Carolina, served in the legislature in 1819, and was a member of the senate in 1823-'8. From 1831 till 1841 he was a member of congress, having been elected as a Democrat, and for many years was major-general of North Carolina militia.
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