For the long period of sixty-eight years this gentleman has been identified with the development and advancement in Putnam county, but now, after an active and well spent life, he is living retired, enjoying a well earned rest, his home being in the village of Magnolia. He was born in Clinton county, Ohio. February 6, 1827, and is a son of Joel and Elizabeth (GIBSON) HAWS, who are mentioned elsewhere in this work in connection with the sketch of William HAWS. The first eleven years of his life were spent in his native state, but in 1834 he accompanied his parents on their removal to Illinois, the family locating in Putnam county. Being the oldest son, it devolved upon him to go to work when quite young to assist in the support of the family, with the result that his education was neglected.
Mr. HAWS tells a very interesting story of how he met the lady who afterward became his wife. At that time there were but two buggies in the neighborhood. On a certain day he and another young man, accompanied by two young ladies, drove thirty miles to attend a meeting on Otter Creek, where Streator now stands. They spent the night at a Mr. BROCK's home, and while there our subject met the young lady, who was working for the family at the meager wage of seventy-five cents per week. She had been left motherless at the age of twelve, and was obliged to earn her own living. Mr. HAWS was very much impressed by her appearance, and before returning home had arranged to call on her at the end of two weeks. He visited her a few times and then discontinued his visits, but it was not long before he once overtook her walking into the village of Magnolia, where she was to work in the family of Mr. COWEN. He was delighted to see her, and during the following winter called on her regularly. When he finally asked her to marry him she refused, because she had not the clothes or the money with which to get them. He, however, had saved some gold and silver coin and this he gave her to buy a dress, and on the 26th of April, 1848, at Fisher's Hotel at Lacon, Illinois, were married Thomas G. HAWS and Mary Jane EWING and also Henry COE and Mary Ann HUNT, all of Magnolia, the ceremony being performed by Captain SPRINGER, justice of the peace. Our subject brought his bride to his father's home and they were all pleased with their new daughter-in-law.
At the time of his marriage Mr. HAWS' property consisted mainly of four horses, a wagon, a set of harness and thirty dollars in money, but as the years passed he steadily prospered in his undertakings and soon became a well-to-do man. Locating in the village of Magnolia, he dealt in horses for many years and later purchased one hundred and sixty acres of land a mile and a half east of the village, turning his attention to agricultural pursuits. He has always lived, however, in the village, going back and forth to his work each day. Since the Civil war he has lived at his present residence. For his first eighty acres he paid twenty-five dollars per acre, and for the second eighty, forty-three hundred dollars. Being a good, reliable business man, his credit has been good and he has been able to borrow any amount of money.
Mr. HAWS has been called upon to mourn the loss of his estimable wife, who passed away on the 5th of February, 1905, her death being regretted by all who knew her. During the long years of their happy married life she was never known to utter a harsh word, and their relations were always of the most pleasant. She was the first to be laid to rest in Magnolia cemetery, and he has recently erected a four hundred dollar monument to her memory. She was a life-long member of the Methodist Episcopal church, to which Mr. HAWS also belonged in early life, and she was a noble Christian woman, loved by all who knew her. Her father and mother, belonged to the same church.
Nine children were born to Mr. and Mrs. HAWS, namely: Vivian, who lives on a farm in Magnolia township; Eva, now the wife of Louis SIMPSON, whose home is in Henry; Cyril, who resides on a farm in Magnolia township; Delia, wife of Ash JUDD, living in Wenona, Illinois; Clark, who is single and lives upon his father's farm; John, who when last heard from was in a hospital at St. Louis, Missouri; Wilbur, who is a clerk in the office of the Pan-Handle Railroad at Chicago; and two children who died in infancy.
Since attaining his majority Mr. HAWS has always affiliated with the democratic party, and for three years he was a member of the village board, but he has never cared for political honors nor has he filled any other office. Since the death of his wife his granddaughter has kept house for him, and they have a nice home in Magnolia, surrounded by ten acres of land. He is today the oldest Odd Fellow living in the village, and is highly respected by all who know him. Having come to the county in early pioneer days, he has witnessed almost the entire changes that have been made in transforming the wilderness into highly cultivated farms and beautiful homes. He can relate many interesting incidents of those early days when the Indians still camped in the woods north of town. He used to put a penny in the split end of a stick and let the Indian boys shoot at it at a distance of twenty-five steps. If they hit the mark at the first shot the penny was theirs, but if they failed they must give one to our subject. He says he never won a penny from them in this way, as they hit it every time. At that time the postage on a letter was twenty-five cents, and money was very scarce. Mr. HAWS often hauled pork to Henry and Lacon with a two-horse team, and made three trips to Chicago with wheat, receiving only fifty cents per bushel. But all this has long since been changed, and now his products are conveyed to the city market in a few hours by rail.
Extracted July 2011 by Norma Hass from Past and Present of Marshall and Putnam Counties Illinois, 1907.