William Charles HAWKINS

Submitted by Descendants:  Corey James, Heather Ann, Jason Michael, and Mary Ann Sullivan MAMMEN

William Charles Hawkins, son of William Hawkins and Mary Elizabeth Cox, was born 21 October 1843 in Leon County, Florida.  His parents were both born in South Carolina.

After his father was awarded a land warrant of 120 acres in the Tampa Bay area for service in the Florida Militia in 1838 and 1839, the family moved south, probably by steamboat from St. Marks to Tampa Bay.

Several Florida history books mention the Hawkins family as early Florida cowboys.  In 1856, young William registered his brand, a simple “H” for Hawkins.  Records show that he shipped cattle to Nassau, Cuba and the Bahamas.

In 1861, William Charles and his stepfather, John McLean, became part of a guard outpost at Piney Point.  Later he rode his horse to Ichepuchsassa and was mustered into the First Florida Calvary Regiment, Company K, 21 January 1862.  Co. K was ordered to dismount and serve as infantry known as “First Florida Cavalry Regiment (Dismounted)”.  They were ordered to Chattanooga to become part of the Army of East Tennessee under General Albert Johnson.  William Charles Hawkins fought in all the well-known battles of the Tennessee campaign, including Chickamauga, Missionary Ridge, Rocky Face, Franklin, and Nashville.  He was one of only about ten original soldiers in his unit to survive.  He was shot in the wrist and lost his trigger finger at the Battle of Dallas, Georgia, but after a couple of weeks in a field hospital near Atlanta, he rejoined his company.  He surrendered at Greensboro, North Carolina on 26 April 1865, was paroled from CSA Army 1 May 1865 and began his long journey back to Florida.

William Charles Hawkins stayed in the Manatee area until he decided to go to Orange County (now Seminole County).  He deeded “all and singular goods, chattels, leases, and personal estate” which included one mule, one stock of cattle and one stock of hogs, to his mother, Mary Elizabeth Fisher.  She married this third husband after John McLean died in CSA service in 1862.

In Orange County, he teamed up with a friend, Alexander Vaughn and together they bought ten acres of land from Ebenezer and Rebecca Metts for $100 in August 1875.  Shortly after on 27 December 1875, William married Ebenezer’s daughter, Marquita Victoria Metts, (b. 27 August 1858 in Orange Mills, St. Johns County, Florida).

In 1880, William Charles purchased 60 acres from a brother-in-law, Elias Metts for $1,000.  By this time he was a butcher and had a sizable herd of cattle.

William Charles Hawkins and Victoria Metts had nine children:  Albert Sydney, b 1 February 1877; Mary Ellen, b. 21 April 1879; William Everett, b. 13 July 1881; Cora B., b. 29 April 1884; Charles, b. 15 December 1887; John Ebenezer, b. 1 May 1889; Edgar A., b. 6 February 1897 and Laura E., b. 13 February 1898.

While visiting his daughter in Dunedin, Florida, William Charles Hawkins died of heart failure 8 September 1907.  His body was brought back to Paola, Seminole County, and he was laid to rest in the Sylvan Lake Cemetery.

William Charles Hawkins was first established as a Florida Pioneer in 1990