Marshall County
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HAWS, William

William HAWS, a leading and representative citizen of Magnolia, belongs to a family that has been identified with the interests of Putnam county since the earliest days of its settlement. The first to locate here was his uncle, Captain William HAWS, who was born in Orange county, Virginia, September 23, 1800 and in 1805 was taken by his parents to Ohio, and there remained until reaching his majority. On the 27th of August, 1821, he became a pioneer of Sangamon county, Illinois, where he conducted a tannery for a time, and in 1826 came to Putnam county, settling on section 26, Magnolia township, which was, at that time, however, a part of Tazewell county. He built a log cabin and there made his permanent home. He married Lucinda SOUTHWICK, a native of New York, who was a typical frontier woman, brave and fearless, and shared with her husband all the trials and privations of pioneer life. Indians at that time were more numerous than the white settlers and wild animals lurked round their little cabin. Mrs. HAWS died on the 4th of July, 1867, leaving no children.

The captain secured his title as commander of a volunteer company in the Black Hawk war. At his house in 1831 Putnam county was organized, and he served on the first grand jury that here convened, the first term of court being held at the old traveling house near Hennepin. Governor Ford was then prosecuting attorney of the district. The captain died in March, 1885, and was buried in the Magnolia cemetery. After the death of his first wife he was again married, his second union being with Mrs. Louisa MOFFITT, nee DEFENBAUGH, now deceased, and to them were born five children, two still living: Clifford, who married in Boston, Massachusetts, and Joel.

In 1845, a sister of Captain HAWS – Mrs. KELLEY – and her family came to Putnam county, locating in Magnolia township, but three years later removed to La Salle county, Illinois, and about 1860 removed to Missouri. An unmarried sister came in 1838, and made her home here until her death, dying at the advanced age of ninety-two years, and was interred in Magnolia cemetery.

Joel HAWS, the father of our subject, was born in Madison county, Virginia, August 15, 1796, and was a son of Conrad and Susan HAWS, who emigrated in 1805 to Clinton county, Ohio, where both died. The grandfather and two brothers took up arms against the mother country in Revolutionary war, aiding the colonies in their struggle for independence. The father was one of a family of eight children, the others being Elizabeth, William, Mrs. Fannie JOHNSON, John, Mrs. Nancy KELLEY, Susan and Tandy, all now deceased.

Until ten years of age Joel HAWS lived in Virginia, and then accompanied his parents to Ohio, where he remained until coming to Putnam county, Illinois, in 1838. In Clinton county, Ohio, April 27, 1824, he was united in marriage with Miss Elizabeth GIBSON, who was born in 1805, and was the daughter of John GIBSON. On coming to his state they lived upon Captain HAWS’ place until 1845, when the father purchased the farm now owned by Gustave OTTO, becoming its original owner. This he continued to cultivate and improve until his death, which occurred June 24, 1883. His wife, who was a faithful member of the Presbyterian church, died in January, 1876. They were the parents of ten children, namely: Mrs. Mary Ann HUBBARD and Thomas G., both of Magnolia; Mrs. Elizabeth McCULLUM, deceased; William, of this sketch; John, of Ottawa, Illinois; one, who died in infancy; Mrs. Sarah J. McCOMBS, of Ottawa; Mrs. Eunice L. OTTO (see sketch of Gustave OTTO on another page of this work); George W., of La Salle county, Illinois, and James A., of York county, Nebraska. The father was a soldier in the war of 1812, serving with the Second Ohio Volunteers under Captain William Fordyce, in Colonel Sumalt’s regiment and General Denoe’s division, and was honorably discharged in 1814. He was an upright, honorable man, a faithful friend, liberal to a fault, and in politics a Jacksonian democrat.

Mr. HAWS, whose name heads this sketch, was born in Clinton county, Ohio, September 10, 1833, and when quite small was brought by his parents to Putnam county, where he became familiar with the arduous duties that fall to the lot of the pioneers. His education was such as the district schools of the locality afforded, and he remained at home until reaching maturity. For seventeen years he was then employed by his uncle, Captain HAWS.

In 1858 Mr. HAWS led to the marriage altar Miss Helen CLISBEE, a native of Marshall county, Illinois, born April 11, 1842. She was reared from childhood by Captain HAWS, and after a short married life died February 3, 1864. Two children were born to them, Minnie L., wife of Riley B. ROBERTS, of Magnolia township, by whom she has four children, Burl William, Helen Haws, Margaret Livingston and Ollie Marie, and Helen, deceased.

Mr. HAWS was again married March 2, 1865, Miss Mary Jane TRONE becoming his wife. She was born in York county, Pennsylvania, January 7, 1845, and is a daughter of David and Christiana (PHILBY) TRONE, also natives of York county, the former born January 9, 1816, and the latter in 1820. In the spring of 1847 her parents located in Caledonia, Magnolia township, Putnam county, Illinois, where the father died in June, 1863, and the mother in January, 1879. They had four children: Mrs. Margaret SMITH, deceased; Mary J., wife of our subject; Mrs. Elizabeth KIDD, deceased, and Jerry. The parents were earnest members of the Methodist church, and the father served as postmaster of Caledonia for some time.

Mr. HAWS is prominently identified with the Masonic fraternity, belonging to the Blue lodge at Magnolia, in which he has served as treasurer for many years, the chapter at Lacon and the commandery at Peru. Politically he has been a lifelong democrat, taking a deep interest in the success of his party, and has been called upon to serve in several official positions, being road commissioner one term, supervisor two terms, a member of the school board and also a member of the village board of Magnolia, of which for several terms he was president. Since the war he has devoted his time and attention exclusively to agricultural pursuits, and now owns a valuable farm of three hundred and sixty acres, well improved and highly cultivated.

Riley B. ROBERTS, Mr. HAWS’ son-in-law, was born October 26, 1854, on the old Roberts homestead in Roberts township, Marshall county, and is a son of Livingston ROBERTS, now deceased. In the district schools he acquired his education, and on reaching manhood he was married June 26, 1876, to Miss Minnie L. HAWS, who was born in Magnolia township February 17, 1859, and, as previously stated, they have four children. They began their domestic life upon the farm where they now reside, a tract of one hundred and sixty acres, highly cultivated and well improved. Mr. ROBERTS raises a high grade of Jersey cattle and fine horses, and has sold some excellent teams. In Magnolia lodge, No. 103, F. & A. M., he holds membership and is past master, while he also belongs to the Modern Woodmen, in which he has served as the presiding officer. His political support is given the republican party, and for twelve years he has been road commissioner, and has also served as school director in his district.

Extracted March 2011 by Norma Hass from The Biographical Record of Bureau, Marshall and Putnam Counties, Illinois, 1896.


William HAWS, a retired farmer making his home in Magnolia, where he owns and occupies one of the fine homes of the village, is also a large landowner, owning two hundred acres of land near the village, which furnishes him with a good financial income, has through a long period been identified with the progress and development of Putnam county. He is a native of Clinton county, Ohio, his birth having occurred September 10, 1833. The first man to locate in this district was Captain William HAWS, the paternal uncle of our subject. His birth occurred in Orange county, Virginia, September 23, 1800, and in 1805 he was taken by his parents to Ohio, where he remained until he attained his majority, when, on the 27th of August, 1821, he located in Sangamon county, this state, where he conducted a tannery for a time, and in 1826 came to Magnolia township, Putnam county, where he settled on a farm on section 26. He built a log cabin and there made his permanent home. His wife bore the maiden name of Lucinda SOUTHWICK, who was a native of New York and was a typical frontier woman, brave and fearless, and shared with her husband all the trials and privations of a frontier existence. Indians at that time were far more numerous than the white settlers and wild animals were heard howling around their little cabin. The Captain secured his title as commander of a volunteer company in the Black Hawk war. When he first located here this district was included in Tazewell county, but in 1831 a meeting was held at his house, at which time Putnam county was organized. He was identified with much of the progress and improvement of this portion of the state and served in various ways in public affairs, and during the first term of court which convened in an old traveling house near Hennepin, Mr. HAWS served on the grand jury, Governor Ford then acting as prosecuting attorney for this district. After the death of his first wife Captain HAWS was again married, his second union being with Mrs. Louisa Moffitt nee DEFENBAUGH, by whom he had five children, of whom two still survive Clifford, who resides in Henry, Marshall county; and Joel of Varna, Illinois. Both Captain and Mrs. HAWS are now deceased, the former having passed away in March, 1885.

In 1845 a second member of the HAWS family located here, this being Mrs. Kelley, a sister of Captain HAWS, who spent the succeeding three years in Magnolia township, subsequent to which time she removed to La Salle county, and about 1860 removed to the state of Missouri. Another sister came in 1838 and made her home here until her death, at the very advanced age of ninety-two years, after which her remains were interred in the Magnolia cemetery.

Joel HAWS, the father of our subject, was born in Madison county, Virginia, August 15, 1796, a son of Conrad and Susan HAWS, who emigrated in 1805 to Clinton county, Ohio, where both passed away. Conrad HAWS and two of his brothers served in the Revolutionary war, aiding the colonies in their struggle for independence. Joel HAWS was one of a family of eight children, the others being Elizabeth, William, Mrs. Fannie Johnson, John, Mrs. Nancy Kelley, Susan and Tandy, all of whom are now deceased. Joel HAWS remained with his parents during his boyhood and youth and accompanied them on their removal to Clinton county, Ohio, where he was united in marriage to Miss Elizabeth GIBSON, their marriage being celebrated on the 27th of April, 1824. She was a daughter of John GIBSON and was born in 1805. The young couple took up their abode in Ohio, where they remained until their removal to Putnam county in 1838, at which time they took up their abode on the farm belonging to his brother, Captain William HAWS, where they made their home until 1845, in which year the father purchased the farm which is now owned by Gustave OTTO. This he improved and cultivated until his death, which occurred on the 24th of June, 1883, when, he had reached the very advanced age of eighty-seven years. His wife was a devoted member of the Presbyterian church, and her death occurred in January, 1876. Their family numbered ten children, namely: Mrs. Mary Ann HUBBARD, deceased; Thomas G., a resident of Magnolia; Mrs. Elizabeth McCULLUM, deceased; William, whose name introduces this record; John, who died in 1904, at Ottawa, Illinois; one who died in infancy; Mrs. Sarah J. McCOMBS, of California; Eunice L., the wife of Gustave OTTO, whose sketch appears on another page of this work; George W. of La Salle, this state; and James A., who resides at York, Nebraska. The father served in the war of 1812, as a member of the Second Ohio Volunteers under command of Captain William Fordyce in Colonel Smith's regiment and General Denoe's division, and he received an honorable discharge in 1814. In politics he was a Jacksonian democrat, and in his community was known as an honorable citizen and a faithful friend.

William HAWS, whose name introduces this record, was a little lad of only five years when he was brought by his parents to Putnam county, and here he became familiar with all the duties that fall to the lot of the pioneer settler, for during his youth he assisted his father in the development and improvement of his farm, thus gaining practical knowledge of farm work in all its departments. During the winter months, when his services were not needed on the farm, he pursued his studies in the district schools, but his advantages in that direction were limited, owing to the unsettled condition of the country and the primitive manner in which the schools were conducted at that early day. He remained under the parental roof until he attained his majority, and then starting out upon an independent career, secured employment with his uncle, Captain HAWS, with whom he remained for seventeen years. He was early trained to habits of industry and economy, and, saving his earnings, he was in due course of time enabled to purchase land and engage in farming on his own account. As he prospered in his undertakings he added more and more largely to his possessions until he is now the owner of a fine farm of two hundred acres situated near the village of Magnolia, and on this place he was for many years engaged in general agricultural pursuits and stock-raising, but is now living retired in a beautiful home in the village of Magnolia, where he and his wife are enjoying the fruits of their former toil, for they have acquired a property and a competence that enables them to enjoy all the comforts and many of the luxuries of life, and in this home they expect to spend their declining years.

Mr. HAWS has been twice married. His first wife bore the maiden name of Helen CLISBEE, who was born in Marshall county, April 11, 1842. She was reared from her early childhood by Captain HAWS, with whom she remained until her marriage, and her death occurred February 3, 1864. She was the mother of two daughters, of whom the younger, Helen, is deceased. The elder daughter, Minnie L., was married on the 26th of June, 1876, to Riley B. ROBERTS, who was born on the old Roberts homestead in Roberts township, Marshall county, October 26, 1854, a son of Livingston Roberts, who is now deceased. Mrs. Roberts was born in Magnolia township, February 17, 1859, and was reared and educated in this township, and by her marriage has become the mother of five children, Burl William, Helen Haws, Margaret Livingston, Ollie Marie and Irene. Following their marriage Mr. and Mrs. ROBERTS located upon the farm which continued to be their home through many years, and here he engaged in general farming and stock-raising, raising high grades of horses and Jersey cattle. He belongs to the lodge of Masons, No. 103, at Magnolia and is also a Modern Woodman, filling some of the chairs in that organization, while his political affiliations are with the republican party, and he takes an active interest in local affairs, having served for many years as road commissioner and as school director. They now live in the village of Magnolia.

After the death of his first wife Mr. HAWS was married again, his second union being with Miss Mary Jane TRONE, whom he wedded March 2, 1865. She was born in York county, Pennsylvania, January 7, 1845, a daughter of David and Christian (PHILBY) TRONE, likewise natives of York county, the former born January 9, 1816, while the latter was born in 1820. In the spring of 1847 her parents made their way westward, the family home being established in Caledonia, Putnam county, where the father passed away in June, 1863, while the mother survived until January, 1879. Both were devoted members of the Methodist church and the father served as postmaster of Caledonia for several years. Their family numbered four children: Mrs. Margaret SMITH, deceased; Mary J., now Mrs. HAWS; Mrs. Elizabeth KIDD, deceased; and Jerry.

Mr. HAWS is a worthy member of the Masonic fraternity, belonging to the blue lodge at Magnolia, in which he served as treasurer for a long period, the chapter at Lacon and the commandery at Peru. He has always given his political support and co-operation to the democratic party, and has ever been interested in the progress and success of his party. In former years he was quite active in local affairs, and served as road commissioner for one term, as supervisor for two terms, was a member of the school board and of the village board of Magnolia for a long period and likewise as president of the village for several terms. Mr. HAWS has always led an active and busy life, and all that he has accumulated has been acquired through his own well directed labors. At one time he owned three hundred and sixty acres of land, but has since disposed of a part of this and now retains possession of two hundred acres, which constitutes a valuable farm, also one hundred acres of timber land in Marshal! county, and thirty acres in Putnam county, besides a number of town lots, from which property he derives an income sufficient to enable him to spend the remainder of his days in honorable retirement. He and his wife both enjoy good health, and are comfortably situated in a pleasant home in the village of Magnolia, the hospitality of which is enjoyed by a large circle of warm friends.

Extracted July 2011 by Norma Hass from Past and Present of Marshall and Putnam Counties Illinois, 1907.


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