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This article is from the Dictionary of North Carolina Biography, 6 volumes, edited by William S. Powell. Copyright ©1979-1996 by the University of North Carolina Press. Used by permission of the publisher. For personal use and not for further distribution. Please submit permission requests for other use directly to the publisher.

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Hawkins, Philemon, II

by Armistead Jones Maupin, 1988

28 Sept. 1717–10 Sept. 1801

Philemon Hawkins, II, planter, Revolutionary soldier, and public officeholder, was born in Virginia. He was the oldest son of Philemon and Ann Eleanor Howard Hawkins, founders of this branch of the Hawkins family in America. His parents were born in Devonshire, England, and settled in Virginia in 1715. Philemon the emigrant, the great-grandson of Sir John Hawkins, Elizabethan naval commander, was a young man when he died in Gloucester County, Va., in 1725.

In 1735, at age eighteen, Hawkins moved his mother, his brother John, and his sister Ann to Bute County where he soon became the wealthiest man in the county. He was a member of the Anglican church and filled many public positions from 1743 until the end of the Revolutionary War. Hawkins took an active part in the events of 1771–76, serving as aide-de-camp to Governor William Tryon on the expedition against the Regulators in 1771 and later as a member of the two Provincial Congresses that met at Halifax in 1776. The Congress named him a lieutenant colonel of cavalry, but he soon resigned his commission to raise his own battalion. Between 1779 and 1787 he served seven terms in the General Assembly, and in 1782–83 he was a member of the Council of State.

In 1743 Hawkins married Delia Martin, daughter of Colonel Zachariah Martin of Mecklenburg County, Va. They had four sons—John, Joseph, Benjamin, and Philemon—all of whom were colonels in the Continental Army during the Revolution, and two daughters, Delia and Ann. Mrs. Hawkins died in 1794. Both she and her husband were buried at the old homestead in Warren County.


Samuel A. Ashe, ed., Biographical History of North Carolina, vol. 5 (1906).

John L. Cheney, Jr., ed., North Carolina Government, 1585–1979 (1981).

John D. Hawkins, An Oration Commemorative of Col. Philemon Hawkins, Senior, Deceased (1829).

William S. Powell, ed., The Correspondence of Governor William Tryon, vol. 2 (1981).

Additional Resources:

Knight, Lucian Lamar. A Standard History of Georgia and Georgians vol. 4. Chicago, Ill.: Lewis Publishing Company, 1917. 2007. (accessed April 11, 2014).

Rodenbough, Charles D. Governor Alexander Martin: Biography of a North Carolina Revolutionary War Statesman. Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland & Co., Inc. 2004. 82. (accessed April 11, 2014).

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