Monday, May 6, 2013

Benjamin Hawkins who married Martha Borden

I have been chatting with a researcher named Jeffrey Fisler who  believes that he descends from Benjamin Hawkins who married Martha Borden.

Here is the e-mail that Jeffrey sent me recently reminding me that I had told him a story, but then couldn't remember where I had heard the story about the elopement of Benjamin and Martha.

Hello Marsha,

I thought I would contact you again about my Benjamin Hawkins ancestor who married Martha Borden in Botetourt County in 1764.  There has been a tremendous amount of information on this Martha Borden and her family but it appears no one can supply me with anything on her husband.  Benjamin died in 1778.  They had children together from which I descend from their son John Hawkins born 1766.  John Hawkins married Sarah Lauderdale in VA and settled in Sumner County TN. We have discussed this John before because someone told you that his brother Borden Hawkins died without issue in TN and left his estate to John......

Best regards,

Jeffrey Fisler

Now there are a LOT of ideas that I want to explore in Jeffrey's e-mail....but first I need to get my head straight about where this family was living.

First let me clarify my thoughts....I kept thinking that Martha was living in Augusta County Virginia when the supposed elopement happened.....and here is the answer...her family was probably living in the part of Augusta that later became Botetourt County when she and Benjamin Hawkins married....There was no Botetourt county yet in 1764.
However by 1776 Botetourt was a HUGE county.  My first thought was that they could have been ANYWHERE.  However read on to see that it is pretty specific where they were living.

 Next I wanted to clarify in my mind where the Borden grant was located as it was a very famous area in Virginia.  

A note to remind everyone that when the Shenandoah Valley is talked about, when one says "moving UP the Valley" the person is talking about moving south!  I was a long time getting that idea fixed in my mind.  

 Rockbridge was formed out of Augusta and Botetourt in 1778....The settlers on the Borden grant  did not move....the counties changed around them. The above map shows what is now Rockbridge County, Virginia

OK, now I have my mind in order on where the Borden family would have been living in 1764.  Probably the Hawkins family was living somewhere near by ...doesn't make sense that Benjamin Hawkins came out of nowhere.  I know that there were Indian troubles in this general area in this general time period.  Several years ago I did a LOT of research on what I began by calling the Clendenin massacre ....but as I did more and more research I began calling it the Cornstalk events.  Here are some URL's in case anyone wants to do more research on how the Indian events may have affected the Borden or Hawkins families who would not have been living too far away:

First raid:  Oct. 10, 1759
Second raid:  1763  July 17, a Sunday, marked special meetings at the Timber Ridge Presbyterian Church. Many of the settlers had traveled there. But other accounts say the special church meeting was at Jonathan Cunningham's cabin. Still others say the settlers had fled to Cunninghams and were saddling horses and organizing a flight to Timber Ridge where the men carried their guns to church. No one knows for sure, but other than the McKee cabin, which could have been attacked first, the Shawnees seemed intent on the Big Spring farm.
The below map  shows where Kerr's Creek is located in what is now Rockbridge County, Virigina.  The land would have been part of Augusta County, Virginia when the events happened.

Now that I have my head clear on the WHERE, here is the first answer that I sent back to Jeffrey: 

Jeffrey, I have thought about this all day....I finally decided that I must have read the story about Benjamin Hawkins and Martha Borden having eloped in Milly Farmer's book:  Bits and Pieces of the Hawkins puzzle.  So I sat down tonight while I ate my chinese take out and began re-reading Milly's book.  Did not take long....found the story on page 4.

 Now let me warn you that this book has no documentation.  Milly Farmer just compiled information that she read or collected from EVERYWHERE!  Any time there was anything written about the Hawkins surname she collected the information and eventually included it in her "book".  The book was just a typewritten manuscript.  Phil Hawkins has put it in our Hawkins DNA newsletter in installments so you can read it for yourself if you would want to on-line.  It is also available through the LDS FHL on fiche #6087967.

Here is what Milly Farmer says about Benjamin and Martha (on page 4 or her Bits and Pieces):

Benjamin Hawkins, the son of John Hawkins, Sr. is described in Historic Families of Kentucky by Green on pg 78.  "August 24, 1819 Dr. McDowell married his kinswoman Maria Hawkins Harvey.   She was the daughter of Matthew Harvey and Magdelena Hawkins Harvey.  She was the daughter of Benjamin Hawkins, a gay, handsome, and graceful cavalier, who had run away with and married Martha Burden.  Her parents were killed by Indians in 1742."

Kegley's Virginia Frontier, in the chapter on James River Communities in Botetort CO. 1770-1783, relates some of the life story of Martha's parents as well as the years that she spent with her husband, Benjamin.  There was no mention of the Indians.  Martha's mother was a widow who married a second husband, John Bower or Bowyer, a school teacher.

Benjamin, who married Martha in 1764, died young, leaving Martha with six children.  IN May 1779, Martha who had inherited large amounts of land from her father, deeded to her children:  "to son John one half of the plantation whereon I now live, with negroes and appurtenances:  To son James, one third of Halls' bottom and negro Sam;  To son Burden, one third of Hall's bottom and negro Moses; To daughters Magdalene and Sally, two tracts, one called Crabtree Spring and the other adjoining, containing jointly about 700 acres."  Martha married Robert Harvey and her daughter Magdalene married his brother, Mathew.  

PS.  It looks as if Green's book is on-line at:

On pages 148-149 of Kegley's Virginia Frontier by F.B. Kegley there is information about Benjamin Borden having moved to the Opequon from New Jersey in 1734.  His home was Spout Run north of Winchester Virginia.  I am not going to copy the paragraphs about his acquiring land that we know as Borden's Grant in what is  now Rockbridge County.  But will summarize that Benjamin Borden died young leaving heirs:  Zeuriah (wife) and sons:  Benjamin, John, and Joseph and daughters Hannah, Martha, Abigail, Rebecca, Deborah, Lydia and Elizabeth.  ......"Zeurhiah went back to New Jersey the next year, giving Benjamin Jr. power of attorney to sell any lands of the estate except that 5000 acres on James River.  In 1746 Benjamin Jr. came into exclusive control of the large tracts of undeveloped land which in later years his great-grandchildren improved.  These were the children of Benjamin Hawkins and Robert Harvey by Martha Borden, daughter of Benjamin Borden, Jr"...."Benjamin Jr. " like his father also died prematurely in April 1753" ...."so there was left only Martha, a daughter, as heir to the Borden lands".

Instead of taking time to type more from Kegley's book, I am going next to address the thought about the Hawkins family that may have been living in the Augusta/Botetourt area of Virginia in 1764.  

Here is what I have in my HawkinsDNA cheat sheet about this area (none of this is my research....just misc notes I have collected from others):

I then took a look at Borden Hawkins, son of Benjamin Hawkins and Martha Borden of Virginia.  A will made in 1779 reveals the names of her children: daughters Magdalene and Sally, sons William, John, James, and "Burden".  I investigated a bit more and found Burden Hawkins in Wythe County, Va. in 1794-1795 and then in Sumner Co., Tn. with one of his brothers.  I never could find a link.  And Wanita added: Burden (Borden) Hawkins, son of Benjamin and Martha notes indicate that he died in Sumner Co., Tn. leaving a will, all property to his brother, John.  The will seemed to indicate no wife or children, and that would keep any descendants from  doing the  DNA.  However  his brother  John lived nearby  and in Feb 2008 in response to a note I sent to the Hawkins mail list about a marriage in Montgomery County, VA between John Hawkins and Margaret Cloyd, I received the following: Hi, Marsha. Saw your note about John Hawkins and Margaret Cloyd in Montgomery Co VA. Could he be the son of Benjamin Hawkins and Martha Borden?
Cindy Thomas   And Cindy also sent: The book "Over the Mountain Men" lists a will for Benjamin Hawkins, 1779, in Botetourt Co and he does have a son named John. It was a funny coincidence as I had just looked at the orphans of the Benjamin Hawkins who married Martha Borden in a fiche of children from Botetourt County, VA at the LDS FHL.

I looked other places in my cheat sheets and almost every Hawkins DNA group seems to have had someone in the general area of Botetourt/Campbell/Bedford/Amherst, Virginia....but not this early....most moved after the Revolutionary War into these areas.  Anyone have ideas on this?  

I continued to read Milly Farmer's Bits and Pieces of the Hawkins puzzle this evening.  REMEMBER Milly does not document...and this is NOT my research.  Do not take this as fact....merely some theories to prove or disprove.

On page 45, Milly says:

"A Nicholas Hawkins who married Ann ---died in Boyle County Kentucky.  He lived in Rockbridge County, Virginia before moving to Madison County, Ky.  He owned many slaves and much property and was a veteran of the war of 1812.  His daughter, Martha mar. Samuel McDowell and they had 5 sons: Joseph, Charles, Nicholas, b. 6 Feb 1834 Samuel and William.  Nicholas McDowell m. Maria Hawkins Harvey, dau. of Martha Borden Hawkins Harvey and Benjamin Hawkins."  

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