Collection Title: Hawley Family Papers

Collection Number: 184

Dates of Collection: 1756-1920

Box Numbers: 1, folders 1-4

RepositoryChester County Historical Society

Project Archivist: Shannon Steel


Joel Hawley was born in Lionville, UwchlanTownship on October 7, 1804 to Joseph and Rebecca Hawley.  Catharine B. Williamson was born in Philadelphia on March 8, 1806 to Samuel and Mary Williamson.  Joel Hawley and Catharine Williamson were married December 11, 1833.  The couple had three children: Hannah Mary born September 22, 1834, Joseph Williamson born July 14, 1836, and Samuel Williamson born May 10, 1840.  Joel Hawley ran a mercantile business and in 1871 was elected Associate Judge of ChesterCounty.  He served until his term expired on December 4, 1876.  He also served as director of the Bank of Chester County.  Catharine Hawley died in her 77 year after a short illness on Saturday, April 7, 1883.  Joel Hawley died on Sunday, April 8, 1883 after a long illness in his 79 year.  The couple was buried in the same casket.

Hannah Mary Hawley married Levi Griffith on January 19, 1859.  Together they had three children: Ida Mary born November 2, 1859, Elizabeth Meredith born December 6, 1860, and Ella Phebe born November 15, 1863.  From 1875-1895 the couple kept a store in Oxford, ChesterCounty.  Levi was elected to the office of Burgess for one term.  Levi died on March 7, 1908, aged 84 years.  Hannah Mary died in the home of her daughter on October 12, 1908 at the age of 75.

Joseph Williamson Hawley was serving as a paying teller in the National Bank of ChesterCounty when President Lincoln called for volunteers for nine months.  Joseph organized a company and became its captain.  The company was the first to reach Harrisburg and became Company A of the 124th Regiment.  Hawley was elected Colonel.  Company A fought at Antietam on September 17, 1862, particularly in the cornfield.  While fighting in the cornfield, Hawley was shot in the neck.  The surgeon was unable to remove the bullet, so Hawley recovered with the bullet lodged in his neck.  Col. Hawley was mustered out of service on May 17, 1863 when the regiment was discharged from service.  Hawley then organized the 29th Regiment of Pennsylvania Emergency Militia.  He served as Colonel from June 19, 1863 until the regiment was discharged from service on August 1, 1863.  The 29th Emergency Regiment guarded the bridges of the Pennsylvania Railroad during the Battle of Gettysburg and pursued Lee’s army until the regiment was discharged.  On October 6, 1864 Joseph married Anna Miller.  They had one child, Mary Miller Hawley.  He served as an organizer and manager of the First National Bank of Media.  In 1906 Hawley retired from the position of bank President.  Hawley had a particular interest in the House of Refuge and became a patron and manager.  Joseph W. Hawley died on May 5, 1915 in his 78th year.  Mary Miller married Justice Mitchell Thompson on November 15, 1893.  The couple had no children.

Samuel Williamson Hawley served for three years during the Civil War in Company C of the 97th Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers under Col. Henry R. Guss.  Hawley was eventually appointed Sergeant Major.  Samuel married Sarah Gibson on September 7, 1865.  The couple had one child, James, who died in infancy.  Sarah died aged 28 on October 10, 1866.  Samuel married Ellen Van Leer Lewis on March 25, 1869.  The couple had no children.  Samuel was in business in Media, Delaware County.  He died on January 25, 1905, aged 65 years.           

Resources Used:

CCHS Newspaper Clippings

Collections Scope:

The collection consists of 4 folders containing letters, family histories, and other papers concerning the Hawley family.  The main focus of many of the documents is on Samuel and Joseph Hawley and their service during the Civil War.  The collection dates range from 1756-1920, with most documents concerning the years 1861-1864. 

Collection Arrangement:

The collection is in chronological order.

Collections Contents:

Folder 1:  Hawley Family Line 1756-1920

-Undated.  “Copied from writings of Benjamin Hawley.”  Describes Benjamin Hawley’s life.

-Undated.  “My father’s account of the family…”  Short history of the Hawley family.

-Undated.  The Hawley family line from 1703 to the parents of Joel Hawley.

-Undated.  Hawley family line.  Details Joseph Williamson Hawley, Samuel Williamson Hawley, and Hannah Mary Hawley.

-April 22, 1756.  Copy of a marriage license for Benjamin Hawley and Mary Johnson.

-December 11, 1833.  Marriage certificate of the marriage between Joel Hawley and Catharine B. Williamson.

-March 8, 1880.  Recent family history, transcribed by Catharine B. Hawley for her son Joseph W. Hawley.  Lists Joel and Catharine’s parents, birth dates, marriage date, and the birth of their children.

-Post 1920.  Paper contains a few notes on Hawley marriages and homes.

Folder 2:  Hawley Family Correspondences 1861-1918

Cope, Gilbert, 1 letter

-February 18, 1918.  Addressed to Mary Miller Thompson.  Letter comments on ancestral chart of the Williamson family (Thompson’s grandmother’s family).

Evans, Jos. S, 1 letter, 1 copy of x-ray

-September 17, 1862.  Near Boonsboro, Md.  Letter is addressed to Mr. Joel Hawley from Jos. S. Evans, the Chaplain of the 124th Regt. P.V. Evans informs the Hawley family that their son Joseph Hawley had been shot in the neck shortly after the battle began.  He does not believe the wound is fatal, yet the ball has not been extracted.  Hawley can walk with support and rests easily.  The letter continues on the next day; the surgeon cannot locate the ball, so Hawley must heal with the ball inside of him. With the letter is a copy of the x-ray showing the bullet that struck Hawley in the neck on September 17, 1862 during the Battle of Antietam.  Original photograph is in the archives.

Hawley, E.S., 1 letter

-March 20, 1878.  Addressed to Joel Hawley.  E.S. Hawley inquires about the Hawley family and locations of more Hawleys.


Hawley, Joseph W., 1 letter

-December 9, 1862.  Head Quarters, 124th Regt.  Hawley lets his parents know how he is and that they should be moving tomorrow.

Hawley, Samuel W., 5 letters

-December 23, 1861.  Hilton Head.  Addressed to Joseph Hawley.  Hawley writes about the paper work that comes with handing out new shoes and the excitement over receiving bread.  He teases Joseph about his military company.  He requests the most recently published war map of the south.  Mentions that the measles are affecting the regiment, but there have been no serious cases and no deaths yet.  Letter continues on Christmas morning.  Writes that they will have bean soup and hard biscuits while two dead steers have not been butchered yet.

-April 23, 1862.  Camp “FortExdisto” S.C.  Addressed to Joseph Hawley.  Writes that in the excitement of receiving goods, especially baked pies, he lost the original letter to Hawley.  He comments on higher officers and their locations.  He does not think they will be able to go home until they help take Charleston.  He teases Joseph about him and Anna’s relationship.

-December 26, 1862.  Hd. Qrs. 97thReg.Pa. Vols.  St. HelenaIsland.  Recounts the soldiers’ Christmas celebrations, the games they played, the soldiers who won, and the food they ate.

-October 21, 1863.  Head Qrs. 97th R. P.V.  Fernandina, Fla.  Hawley writes about the girls in Florida, the election, the heat, and mosquitoes.  Describes mosquitoes in military terms.  Wants Joseph and Levi to visit him.  Comments on “traitorous” Jesse G. Hawley.

-September 7, 1864.  Hd. Qrs. 97th Pa Vols.  Before Petersburg, Va.  Hawley writes that he is instructing two men in the business of an adjutant.  Complains that Pennypacker still believes that the soldiers should have the same clean appearance and quality now as they did when they were in the south; however, now they are at the front and it is harder keep the same appearance.  Samuel asks Joseph to keep this confidential.  Writes that their lines are within 100 yards of Rebels.  Says the Rebels look stronger, but the 97th “…have made up their minds never to show their backs to the enemy again.”  Hawley will be mustered out in a week.  Pennypacker wants him to represent them and show their flag at the Delaware County Fair.

Woodring, D.W., 1 letter

– May 14, 1902.  Addressed to Col. Joseph W. Hawley.  Woodring thanks Hawley for carrying him to the hospital and saving his life when he had been left behind on May 3, 1863.

Folder 3: The New South 1862

Hawley, Samuel W., 1 item

-December 6, 1862.  Port Royal, S.C. Vol. 1, No. 16.  Sent by Samuel Hawley to his family.  Hawley writes a small note along the margin.  Says his in good health and mentions some of the food he has been eating.

Folder 4:  Joseph Hawley Biographical Notes 1903-1915

-Undated.  Speech given by the Survivor’s Association on the life of Col. Joseph W. Hawley.

-Undated.  Incomplete biography of Hawley.  Contains good information on Hawley’s childhood.

-May 21, 1903.  Record for the Loyal Legion.  Details Col. Joseph Hawley’s role in the Civil War.

-April 14, 1910.  Copy of Hawley’s will.

-December 7, 1915.  Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States.  In memoriam of Col. Joseph Williamson Hawley.  It includes a short biography.  Two copies.