The Hawley family has many prominent members. Begining with Joseph Hawley, our immigrant ancestor, many have risen to prominence. He was one of the largest landholders in Connecticut, owning much of the land that became Bridgeport and Derby, Connecticut. At the zenith, he owned nearly 5,000 acres. Isn’t it interesting that we know he owned land in Derbyshire, England and that some of the land that he owned in Connecticut became the town Derby?
He was the second wealthiest person in Connecticut in the 1660s according to tax records of the time. He was one of the first proprietors of Stratford, Connecticut. He was Town Clerk, elected as a representative to the Assembly of Colonial Connecticut, a tax collector and a shipbuilder. His first ship was named the John and Esther. There is no evidence to suggest it, but one wonders if this could be a clue as to names of his parents?
There is an old Connecticut expression, “as rich as the Hawleys”. Our family history is certainly rich. We have been farmers, politicians, ministers, doctors, lawyers, actors, fashion illustrators, artists, shipbuilders, soldiers, Loyalists, and merchants. We have built not only homes, but churches, roads, bridges and other infrastructure that from the earliest times of settlement, added greatly to the creation of our nation.
We are among the most American of families , yet our family members fought on both sides of the Revolutionary War. In some ways, this was actually a Civil War between England and its greatest colony.
We are a family. Like others in many ways, but unique in others. We are you and me.