The Hawley Society is deeply saddened by the loss of Norman Hawley, Society member and Vice President of the Bay of Quinte Branch of the United Empire Loyalists Association of Canada. He contributed an article to our most recent newsletter. Norm was a good friend and passionate researcher whose loss will be felt by many. Following is another article that Norm presented at a UELAC meeting about his journey of discovering his roots.
My New American Cousins
by Norman Hawley, Descendant of Ichabod Hawley
My name is Norman James Hawley. I live in the small village of Colborne, Ontario in Canada and I just recently discovered that I have quite a number of American cousins. The following will explain how this remarkable discovery came about.
About two years ago at the age of 67 it suddenly dawned on me that I knew next to nothing about my ancestry on my father’s side of the family. My two sisters Wanda Hill and Barbara Heppler had a bit more information than I did, but it still did not go back more than two generations. Not knowing really where to start I began my research by wandering through cemeteries collecting any information I could glean about known Hawley relatives. My wife Judith and my son Thomas helped me gather data on these excursions.
When I visited my grandmother Hawley’s grave in Camden East, Ontario I started to remember things I had been told by my father and grandmother when I was a child. My grandmother used to tell me with some degree of pride that I should remember that we were Ernestown Hawley’s who had landed at Adolphustown, Ontario. I also remembered that my father once told me that his grandfather Eli owned two taverns, a general store and a Potash Factory and all this has recently been verified for me from some information found in historical texts about the region.
I knew that Adolphustown was the landing place of some of the United Empire Loyalists who had entered Canada at Montreal around 1777 but left because of the French influenced feudal system. They traveled by bateaux some 600 miles up the St. Lawrence River and landed at Adolphustown. I thought that it made sense to contact the UEL Association in the area.
After contacting the Association, I was able to attend a Saturday Session at their headquarters in Adolphustown where they had genealogists present as well as providing access to all sorts of historical records. Within an hour I suddenly had information about my great grandfather. I knew who he married and when, I knew the names of his children and their birthdates, I knew who these children married and their marriage dates. All of this information was quickly found by Eleanor Moult and Linda Corupe who were two genealogists attending the session. Here I had been wandering around cemeteries for months and they showed me all this information in an hour.
From that point on, I was hooked and I knew that I had to keep on going. I still work full time therefore I knew I could not do this work myself. I contacted Linda Corupe who was one of the genealogists I met at the UEL association and asked for her help. Linda has done a wonderful job to date and has gathered all sorts of birth records, marriage records, land transactions such as deeds and mortgages, newspaper articles etc. But we got stuck on my great grandfather Eli Peters Hawley and could not find anything that would positively identify his father and mother.
That is when Trudy Hawley at the Hawley Society came to my rescue. We found that the Hawley Record indicated that Eli Peters Hawley was the son of Peter Hawley and Jemima Peters. The source for that information was a letter written to Elias Hawley by one of Eli’s sons, a John C. Hawley. The fact that Eli’s middle name was Peters and not just Peter convinced me the information from the Hawley Record was probably correct. I now have about a dozen legal documents covering land transactions clearly signed by Eli Peters Hawley. Most of these also bear the signatures of Peter Hawley, Jemima Peters, her brother William as well as her father.
Then Linda Corupe forwarded to me a copy of a baptismal record dated 1801 from the St. John Episcopal Church in Ernestown showing that Peter Hawley was the son of Ichabod Hawley and Mary Fairfield. I also have a copy of a land claims document that verifies that Peter Hawley is a son of Ichabod Hawley. Ichabod was the youngest son of Jehiel Hawley and he came to Adolphustown with his brother Jeptha Hawley around 1777. I have several legal documents showing that Ichabod Hawley came to Canada from Arlington, Vermont.
Shortly after settling in Ernestown, Jeptha and Ichabod were instrumental in bringing the first Anglican Minister to the area. The church that was founded in Ernestown was the St. John Episcopal Church and it still stands and holds regular Sunday services. I would guess that founding a Church of England in a new settlement was something they learned from their father Jehiel while living in Arlington, Vermont.
At that point in my research I decided to contact Trudy Hawley again to get more information about the DNA tests that she had previously talked to me about. Based on the advice I received from Trudy and Doctor R. James Hawley I completed the maximum marker DNA test. The DNA test results have so far matched me with seven male Hawley’s in the USA that are definitely direct descendants of Joseph Hawley. I was absolutely elated when I received these matches because now I knew that without question, I was a direct male descendant of Joseph Hawley.
Because of all this research, I have also discovered and met with a first cousin once removed, right here in Canada. This cousin is Martin Hawley and his great grandfather was John C. Hawley, John was the man who wrote the letter to Elias Hawley. John C. Hawley and my grandfather James Eli Hawley were brothers. Martin owns a farm less than a ten minute drive from the cemeteries where I started my search for my Hawley ancestors.
There are many other Hawley’s in Canada with relatives in the USA and many of these people I am sure can trace their lineage back to Joseph Hawley. My advice to any Hawley doing research on either side of the border would be first contact a genealogist and at some point along the way do the DNA Test. I would like to close by sincerely thanking everyone that has helped me pull all this information together.