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    Charles Wesley Hawkesworth

    Encyclopedia Arctica 15: Biographies

    001      |      Vol_XV-0375                                                                                                                  
    By Mrs. C.W. Hawkesworth

    Received May 20, 1948

    Recopied with revisions by VS

    June 1, 1948

    Charles Wesley Hawkesworth

            HAWKESWORTH, CHARLES WESLEY (1878-1940), for three years the most

    northerly representative of the U.S. Government in Alaska, was born 19th April,

    1878, in Port George, Nova Scotia, in the home of his maternal grandmother.

    When he was three months old, the mother returned to Leadville, Colorado, with

    her two older children and babe where the father was employed. In 1882, the

    family moved to Cambridge, Mass. Four years later the mother died. His

    father was kind, but strict in bringing up his children in habits of respect

    and obedience. Charles was lively, active boy, impetuous, affectionate

    and placable, sensitive and impressionable. He was orderly, solicitous

    always to do right, industrious and persevering. His summers were usually

    spent on the farm of George Hale at Newbury, Mass. where he enjoyed pleasant

    companionship, the love of what was intellectual and beautiful, the love of

    literature and converse of the minds of the great and good. He received his

    elementary schooling at Amesbury, Mass., and in 1893.entered Kimball Union


            Charles Hawkesworth volunteered in the Spanish-American War, Company

    G, first New Hampshire Volunteer in 1898. After the war he returned to

    Kimball Union Academy and graduated. He was captain of the basketball team,

    and outstanding in the Academy activities. Deciding to study for the

    ministry, he entered Bangor Theological Seminary at Bangor, Maine, studying

    there until 1904. Then he entered Bowdoin College at Brunswick, Maine,

    and graduated with the class of 1906. He was a member of the Beta Theta Pi

    Fraternity and outstanding in football. After graduation from Bowdoin

    College, he felt the urge to go west and preach. Coming to Walla Walla,

    Washington, he supplied, for a short time, at a small church in Sunnyside,

    002      |      Vol_XV-0376                                                                                                                  
    near Walla Walla. He received a call to the Congregational Church at

    Arlington, Washington, and stayed there until June, 1907.

            June 7, he married Miss Ida Ruth Rear at the home of her parents

    in Snohomish, Washington.

            Through the friendship of Mr. & Mrs. John Kilbuck, who were

    teaching and working with the Eskimos at Wainwright, Alaska, under the

    U.S. Bureau of Education, Department of Indian Affairs, Hawkesworth decided

    that teaching among the Eskimos was the life he wanted. On his applying to

    William Lopp, Government Superintendent of Indian Schools for a position,

    Lopp replied he could assign him to teach the most northerly school in Alaska,

    where Hawkesworth would also be supervisor of the reindeer herds which the

    Government had introduced into that section. Needless to say, he accepted.

    Transportation was arranged for Mr. & Mrs. Hawkesworth for Point Barrow, Alaska.

            They left Seattle, Washington, June 18, 1907, for Nome, Alaska,

    where they were to go aboard the United States Cutter Thetis , which made

    yearly trips to Barrow. They reached Nome, June 27, and left for Barrow

    July 4th. It was an exciting trip as the ship had to force its way through

    ice floes, always watchful for open leads. While bucking the ice, the ship's

    rudder post was broken and the Hawkesworths were transferred to the small

    sailing vessel, Volante . Upon boarding her they were informed by Captain

    John Backland that they were nearly out of fresh water and asked to try

    and not use more than one cup a day. Having learned how the Thetis coped

    with the fresh water situation, Hawkesworth suggested to the Captain that

    he go over to an old-looking floe of sea ice, a short distance from the ship,

    and obtain all the fresh water needed. The Captain was dubious, but after

    some discussion as to how it was done, he consented to take three of his

    sailors, Hawkesworth and himself, and row over in the dinghy to the floe.

    003      |      Vol_XV-0377                                                                                                                  
    Captain Backland, still doubtful as to the water, cautiously sipped from

    the tin cup which he had brought for tasting. He drank, smacked his lips

    and let forth a whoop that could be heard on the Volante . As a result of

    this experiment, the Volante was well supplied with water. She was a

    Government supply ship, carrying freight to the villages along the coast;

    on her return south she would bring out whalebone, furs and ivory to be

    sold in the States.

            At the village of Wainwright, Kilbuck, who was the local government

    teacher, was invited aboard, to sail to Barrow and meet his wife, who had

    been visiting at the home of Mr. Spriggs and his wife, in charge of the

    Presbyterian Mission. Kilbuck had the sad news to break to his wife of

    the death of their son and daughter who were attending college in the

    states. Sad at heart, the Kilbucks returned to their station at Wainwright.

            The Volante reached Barrow, August 22nd. There was much freight

    to be landed and Hawkesworth had his first experience with Eskimo labor,

    which was not paid for in cash, but in trade — calico, drill for snow

    skirts, thread, needles, ammunition, hard tack, rope, flour, coffee, etc.

    The Eskimos refused to work on Sunday. They had learned to believe that

    to do so would be a sin and would keep them from entering heaven.

            Mrs. Hawkesworth had received a piano as a wedding gift from her

    parents; but Captain Backland advised against taking it, saying, that an

    organ would be better because its tone would not be ruined by the hard

    trip. He told her to purchase an organ with mirrors and a fancy top,

    which she did. The Captain transported the organ, free of charge, as his

    wedding gift. Many times the Hawkesworths wished the Eskimos were not so

    curious as to what made the organ sing. They loved music and so the organ

    was played for all occasions.

    004      |      Vol_XV-0378                                                                                                                  

            School bagan September 1st with an enrollment of 90 pupils.

    Hawkesworth's greatest joy was in teaching these eager, studious boys and

    girls and watching them respond. They enjoyed the reading material he supplied

    them and were welcome to come into the Hawkesworth's home at any time. The

    church services were also held in the school room.

            In their Barrow home, near Alaska's north tip, the Hawkesworths met

    a number of polar explorers. The one whom they knew best, because he came

    so often and had so much in common with them through interest in the people,

    was Vilhjalmur Stefansson. He and they spent many happy hours together.

            At the end of the third year, in 1910, Hawkesworth felt that he

    wanted to go east and enter Columbia University for more intensive study,

    since he had decided that teaching was to be his profession. So, upon

    arrival of the Cutter Bear , which brought Mr. and Mrs. Cram, who were to take

    over the Barrow school, Mr. & Mrs. Hawkesworth boarded the Cutter Bear to

    go as far as Nome, intending to proceed from there by the steamer Victoria

    to Seattle. But, upon reaching Nome, an urgent telegram from the Bureau

    of Indian Affairs awaited Hawkesworth, requesting that he go back by dog

    team to visit and inspect all the stations and reindeer herds along the

    coast as far as Point Barrow. This he did and came out to Seattle the follow–

    ing summer, in 1911. But it seems that Hawkesworth was not to go to Columbia;

    for the Interior Department wanted him to go to Southeastern Alaska to help

    the Haida Indians establish themselves in a new place where they could have

    their own businesses and live their own lives away from the influence of the

    whites. The Department said they wanted a man of vision, character and the

    ability to lead and understand the needs of these people in their new adventure.

            November 11, 1911, Mr. & Mrs. Hawkesworth and the inhabitants of

    the little Indian village of Klinquan, started by gas boats with their be–

    longings and lumber from the torn down old school house, for the site chosen

    005      |      Vol_XV-0379                                                                                                                  
    to be their new home. Upon reaching this place, the first thing to be

    done was to cut down trees and clear space enough to put up tents in

    which to live until the school could be re-built. It was to be used also

    for church services, council meetings and entertainments for the people.

            A co-operative system was established so that all could share in the

    profits. The government made the loan to build a saw mill, besides setting

    land aside for the people to build their homes on. The business of the store

    made a handsome profit, which was shared. The council voted that no white

    men should ever be permitted to come to their town and set up any business.

            The town was named by Mrs. Hawkesworth and called Hydaburg. It

    is located in the southeastern part of the Prince of Wales Island, ninety

    miles west of Ketchikan. Its site was chosen because of its fine harbor and

    for its nearness to the fishing grounds, so vital to the native life. Hydaburg

    prospered through its fishing and cannery. Hawkesworth was the first Post

    Master at Hydaburg.

            At the end of the fifth year at Hydaburg, Hawkesworth was assigned

    to Juneau, Alaska to be in charge of schools and hospitals. These government

    schools are placed in Haida, Klinket and Tsimshean villages. He was able to

    expand so much of the vocational, educational and hospital work, that a number

    of the young women, who were instructed in nursing, became helpers in the

    hospitals and are now proficient in nursing and teaching.

            Hawkesworth was active and prominent in fraternal and social

    organizations, international, national and Alaskan. He received an honorary

    MA Degree from Bowdoin College in 1939. He died suddenly November 4, 1940.

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