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Past and Present of Livingston County
Volume 2. Biographies
by Major A. J. Roof. 1913
Reuben Hawkins, living retired in Chillicothe, for thirty-four years held a position of distinction as a financier and through his long connection with banking interests stood as an honored representative of a department of activity which has ever been an important factor in conserving business development and progress in every community. He was born in Franklin county, Indiana, January 21, 1834, and is a son of David and Margaret J. (Alley) Hawkins, the former a native of Sullivan county, Tennessee, and a cousin of the famous Davy Crockett. On the paternal side the grandparents of our subject were Mr. and Mrs. John Hawkins, the latter a Gray before her marriage and the former, as far as is known, a native of Maryland and a brother of Rebecca (Hawkins) Crockett, the mother of Davy Crockett. Mr. Hawkins' paternal grandfather was a stanch Methodist and a man of exemplary character. He died in Franklin county, Indiana, about the year 1839. He had a large family of children, among whom may be mentioned the following: Robert, the eldest, who served under General Andrew Jackson from 1812 to 1815 in Florida and New Orleans and died soon after the close of his service; and Reuben, Nathan, Sally, Mrs. Bettie Abrams and Mrs. Rebecca Nordyke, all of whom have passed away. On the maternal side Mr. Hawkins' grandparents were Mr. and Mrs. John Alley, the latter a Miss Porter, and the former probably a native of Virginia, who afterward engaged in farming and preaching, affiliating with the Methodist church. He died in Franklin county, Indiana. He and his wife besides the mother of our subject had the following children: John who, according to the family records, represented Franklin county, Indiana, in the state legislature previous to the year 1839; Samuel; Joseph; and Anna, who became the wife of James Alley, of Mercer county, Missouri. All have probably passed away. The father of our subject, David Hawkins, was born in Sullivan county, Tennessee, May 17, 1805, and moved from Franklin county, Indiana, in the fall of 1839 to Missouri. He located first on a farm in Jackson township, Livingston county, whence he moved in 1865 to Cedar county, Missouri, where his death occurred December 30, 1880. He was a devout member of the Christian church, and politically affiliated with the democratic party. He married Miss Margaret J. Alley, who was born in Virginia, January 6, 1811. She died in Cedar county, Missouri, January 17, 1874. In this family were nine children: Mary, who died in infancy; Reuben, of this review; Jasper N., a farmer in Clay county, Texas; Samuel, an expert mechanic, who died in St. Louis in January, 1912; Nathan; John, a farmer, who resides near Bertram, Texas; Zerelda Ward, a widow who resides in Cedar county, Missouri; William W., of Kansas City; and Elzira Ann, who died in October, 1861.
Reuben Hawkins was reared upon his father's farm in Jackson township and acquired such education as the limited school facilities of the section offered. However, he is largely self-educated, having supplemented his limited course by hard study in private and by constant reading, research and observation. In this way he fitted himself for teaching and still holds a certificate issued by D. R. Martin, the first school commissioner of Livingston county, holding office in 1853. From the time he was eighteen years of age until he attained his majority Mr. Hawkins taught in the public schools of Livingston county and from 1855 to 1860 worked as a merchant's clerk and bookkeeper. He read law in the office of W. V. Slack, of Chillicothe, until the outbreak of the Civil war, when he offered his services to the Confederate government, serving with ability and loyalty until the close of hostilities. After his discharge he resumed his mercantile pursuits and engaged in this line of work from 1866 to 1876, in which year he began his banking career. He identified his interests with those of the People's Savings Bank of Chillicothe, serving first as assistant cashier but winning rapid promotion to the office of cashier and then to that of vice president, doing efficient and conscientious work for thirty four years. The bank was remarkably successful under his administration and the deposits and capital stock increased greatly during his period of association with the institution. His judgment came to be regarded as practically invaluable concerning the complex problems of banking and finance, for his progressiveness was tempered by a safe conservatism based upon a thorough understanding of the conditions of the money market and the business principles involved. After thirty-four years of active and faithful service Mr. Hawkins resigned his office in the People's Savings Bank and on January 1,1910, retired from active life, having earned rest and comfort by well directed work in the past.
On the 1st of March, 1866, Mr. Hawkins married in Livingston county Miss Nancy Ethaline Hicklin, a native of this county, born December 25, 1845. Her paternal grandfather was Thomas Hicklin, probably a native of Ireland, who was reared in Virginia and there followed farming. His death probably occurred in Missouri. He married Miss Rebecca Graham, a native of either Ireland or Virginia, and to their union were born ten children, John, James, Thomas, William, Moses, Robert, Elizabeth, Margaret, Rebecca and Jane, all of whom have passed away. On the maternal side Mrs. Hawkins' grandparents were John and Mary (Johnson) Kenney, the former a native of Kentucky, who followed farming in that state for a number of years. He gave his allegiance to the whig party and was a stanch supporter of its doctrines and principles. He died in Ralls county, Missouri, about 1828. His wife was a native of Virginia and a relative of General Joseph E. Johnson, of that state. Mr. and Mrs. Kenney had thirteen children, James, Moses, Isaac, Willis, Jonas, Nicholas, Edith, Mary, Nancy, Jack, and three other children whose names are not now remembered. Mrs. Hawkins' parents were William and Nancy (Kenney) Hicklin, the former of whom was born near Frankfort, Kentucky, November 17, 1789. He removed to Ralls county, Missouri, about 1824 and from there came in 1839 to Livingston county, where he engaged in farming until his death, which occurred in 1857. He was a whig in his political principles, and his religious views were in accord with the doctrines of the Baptist church. He married about 1827, in Ralls county, Missouri, Miss Nancy Kenney, who was born in Bourbon county, Kentucky, April 25, 1802. She removed to Missouri about 1824 and died in Livingston county, August 21, 1882. In this family were seven children. Caroline, the eldest, was born in 1829. She married William Arnold and died in St. Louis, Missouri, January 16, 1912. William was born January 13, 1831. Joshua F. was born August 13, 1833, and died at Springfield, Missouri, April 12, 1908. He was an able lawyer and practiced his profession for a number of years, serving as probate judge of Gallatin, Missouri. Thomas was born November 6, 1836, and died August 6, 1862. Francis J. was born March 20, 1839. He is engaged in farming and resides in Livingston county. Mary Ann was born September 2, 1842. She married Porter Massengill and they reside near Springfield. Nancy Ethaline, the youngest child in the family, married the subject of this review. To Mr. and Mrs. Hawkins were born six children: Lydia, who married Dr. Judson 0. Roberts, a physician in Denver, Colorado; Frank, a carpenter and builder in Chillicothe; Reuben, Jr., who married Miss Minnie Kittredge and who is engaged in the real-estate and insurance business in Chillicothe; Margaret, at home; and Wyley and Adelaide, both of whom have passed away.
Mr. Hawkins is affiliated with the democratic party and as a public-spirited and progressive citizen has taken a commendable interest in public affairs, although he never seeks nor desires office. Trustworthy and faithful in business, progressive in citizenship and loyal to the claims of friendship, he has thus displayed many good qualities which have gained him high regard.