Born: 12 August 1851, Bridgeport, Connecticut
Died: 22 July 1915, Saunderstown, Rhode Island
Henry Stephen Hawley, Vice President of the National Historical Society, was in a special sense a Founder of the Society. When the plans for such an organization were laid before the friends of The Journal of American History by the magazine’s Editors, his wise counsel and understanding sympathy were a bulwark of encouragement, whose value will never be forgotten. He was elected an Original Life Member Founder and Vice President of the Society, at its first Directors’ meeting held for such elections.
By force of charcater he impressed himself on all with whom he had intimate relations. The Railway Review, in a memorial article said, “In the death of Mr Henry S Hawley the world loses a man of a high type, the city of Chicago one of its most valued citizens, and the railway supply business one of its most respected leaders.”
Of Mr Hawley as an eminent business leader much might be said for the name of Henry Stephen Hawley stood for sparkling honesty, absolute financial integrity, and unswerving honor, but perhaps the justest estimates of him as a man come from his associates in his spiritual life. For Henry Stephen Hawley was a strong, devoted Christian, who lived his religion in health and strength. The Rector of the Episcopalian Church of the Redeemer in Chicago, of which he was Senior Warden, wrote:
When I think of our noble friend with the greatest help and comfort, I think of him as I used to see his fine, strong face in two particular places. One was in church, as I used to look upon him from chancel or pulpit, when seriousness and reverence mingled loftily with the keen intelligence that always characterized his features, and the other was in his home, when geniality an cordiality, generosity and kindliness, beamed from every look and made him a prince of truest cordiality.
He was born in Bridgeport, Connecticut, August 12, 1851 and died at his summer home in Saunderstown, Rhode Island, July 22, 1915. He was educated in Bridgeport, but in 1874 removed to Chicago becoming connected with bridge construction work. He was elected President of the Chicago, Wisconsin & Minnesota Railroad, and later held high offices in other railroads. In 1906 he reorganized the Railroad Supply Company and became its President.
Mr Hawley took an active interest in politics, being a member of the Republican Party. He belonged to several clubs, but his chief interest outside of business was his church life.
He was a man of strong convictions, which he backed up courageously.
On November 3, 1880, he married Miss Lillie Leah Ferguson, who survives him, with two sons, Royal Duncan Hawley of San Francisco and Philip Ferguson Hawley of Chicago. Another son, Henry Stephen died in infancy.
The following Resolutions were passed by the Directors of The National Historical Society after Mr Hawley’s death.
Whereas, The National Historical Society owes a debt of deep gratitude to Henry Stephen Hawley, an Original Life Member Founder and Vice President of the Society, for his cordial encouragement and wise counsel at the inception of the Society, and whereas the Directors of the Society esteem it a blessing to have had such cooperation from a man whose kindly virtues and admirable judgement were enlightened by his strong faith as a devout servant of our Lord Christ.
Therefore be it resolved that the Directors of The National Historical Society extend their heartfelt sympathy to the family of Henry Stephen Hawley in their grief at his death.
And be it further resolved, that these present resolutions be recorded in the minutes of the Society, and a copy thereof sent to Mrs Henry Stephen Hawley.
~The Journal of American History, pgs 38-39
Interestingly, Henry had three lines of Hawley descent, two from Joseph, and one from Joseph’s sister Elizabeth, who married Richard Booth. It is not uncommon for many of us to be descended from one set of cousins, but three lines is less common. His lines of descent are as follows:
- Joseph/Ephraim/Gideon/James/Aaron/Aaron/Stephen/Daniel Wheeler Hawley
- Joseph/Samuel/Thomas/Ezra/Elizabeth/Aaron/Stephen/Daniel Wheeler Hawley
- Elizabeth Hawley/Ephraim Booth/Joanna Booth/Ezra Hawley/Elizabeth/Aaron/Stephen/Daniel Wheeler Hawley