Joseph Roswell Hawley died 110 years ago today. Longtime readers may remember way back when I mentioned that I was working on a book project about the general. I thought it was a good time for a progress report. The Hawley project is still in the works though it has taken a back seat to the Theodore Roosevelt Sr. monograph. My original intention was to work on both at the same time. That proved to be impossible. Early this past fall I made the decision to go full steam on one or the other. It was difficult because they both mean so much to me. Ultimately it came down to the advice of my wife and one of the rangers at the Theodore Roosevelt Birthplace. Both told me that Roosevelt Sr. should be my focus. And so that’s what it became.
A biography actually came out in late 2013 called ‘Fighting Joe’ Halwey by a journalist from Connecticut named Kevin Murphy. Murphy did a fine job. My book will focus on Hawley’s life in a somewhat different manner. Hawley was a Zelig-like character who always seemed to be where history was being made. Actually the overlap between Hawley and the Roosevelts is quite fascinating. Hawley and Roosevelt Sr. were both friends with Frederick Law Olmsted for instance. Years later, when Hawley was in the Senate and Theodore Roosevelt Sr. was long gone, Hawley was an ally of President Theodore Roosevelt. Hawley left the Senate after eighteen years of service just as Roosevelt was about to be sworn in for that second term in early March 1905. He died two weeks later. As you might be able to tell, I am eager to get back to this. All in due time.
Dave Gillespie said:
Thank you for this post! I had no idea people were working on General Hawley. He was my great great great step grandfather and I have always wanted to know more about him.
Keith Muchowski said:
Dave, thanks for the comment. Yes, Hawley was a fascinating man. I stumbled upon him when I was tracing my own genealogy a few years ago. Had the family legend been accurate he would have been my great great grandfather. That turned out almost certainly not to be the case. There are Hawleys in my family, but I believe it was another side of the family. There are layers of history to JRH’s life.