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Art Leatherwood

HAWKINS, JAMES BOYD (1813–1896). James Boyd Hawkins, early Texas planter, was born in Franklin County, North Carolina, on December 27, 1813, the son of John D. Hawkins. He married Ariella Alston in 1834, and they had eight children. Hawkins was educated in schools in Raleigh, North Carolina, studied at West Point for two years, and served as a colonel in the militia in Warren County, North Carolina. He took slaves from Mecklenburg County, North Carolina, to Lower Caney Creek, in Matagorda County, about 1845 or 1846 and raised cotton and sugar cane. He built an oven brick kiln and one of the largest sugar mills in Texas. In the mid-1850s he built the Hawkins Lake House. The house received a historic medallion from the Texas State Historic Survey in 1962. The United States Census of 1860 shows Hawkins with 101 slaves and property valued at more than $161,000. He reported having 800 improved acres, 8,000 bushels of corn, 225 bales of cotton, and 175 hogsheads of sugar. He also raised cattle and had the J. B. Hawkins brand registered in Matagorda County. The plantation community of Hawkinsville was named for him, and Maj. Gen. John B. Magruder made Hawkinsville his headquarters from December 1863 to January 1864. After the Civil War he owned 40,000 to 50,000 acres of land and was raising sugar cane, corn, cotton, and cattle with convict labor. He died in Matagorda County on May 11, 1896.


Randolph B. Campbell, An Empire for Slavery: The Peculiar Institution in Texas, 1821–1865 (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1989). Matagorda County Historical Commission, Historic Matagorda County (3 vols., 1986–88). Memorial and Genealogical Record of Southwest Texas (Chicago: Goodspeed, 1894; rpt., Easley, South Carolina: Southern Historical Press, 1978). Junann J. Stieghorst, Bay City and Matagorda County (Austin: Pemberton, 1965).

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The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Handbook of Texas Online, Art Leatherwood, "HAWKINS, JAMES BOYD," accessed July 06, 2020, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fhacz.

Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Modified on October 24, 2013. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
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