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James Boyd Hawkins
Born (1813-12-27)December 27, 1813
Franklin County, North Carolina, U.S.
Died May 11, 1896(1896-05-11) (aged 82)
Matagorda County, Texas, U.S.
Alma mater United States Military Academy
Occupation Planter, rancher
Spouse(s) Ariella Alston
Children 8
Parents John D. Hawkins
Jane A. Boyd
Relatives Willis Alston (father-in-law)

Colonel James Boyd Hawkins (1813–1896) was an American planter and rancher. He moved from North Carolina to Texas in the 1840s, and he established the Hawkins Ranch, a cotton and sugarcane plantation. He was the owner of 101 African slaves by 1860. After the American Civil War, he replaced his slaves with convicts and gradually turned his landholdings into a cattle ranch.

Early life

James Boyd Hawkins was born on December 27, 1813 in Franklin County, North Carolina.[1] His father, John Davis Hawkins, was "land owner in Franklin and Warren counties" who "served in the state senate, 1834, 1836, 1838, and 1840."[2] His mother was Jane A. Boyd.[2]

Hawkins attended schools in Raleigh, North Carolina, followed by the United States Military Academy in West Point, New York for two years.[1]


Hawkins sailed from North Carolina to Galveston, Texas in 1846.[3] He settled near the Caney Creek, a Southern plantation in Matagorda County.[3] He established in the Hawkins Ranch in Matagorda County, Texas in 1846.[3] He brought African slaves and raised cotton and sugar cane.[1] Ten years after his arrival in Texas, he built the Hawkins Lake House.[1]

By 1860, Hawkins was the owner of 101 African slaves.[1] During the American Civil War of 1861–1865, Confederate General John B. Magruder used his ranch as headquarters.[1]

In the postbellum era, Hawkins used convicts rather than slaves.[1] By then, Hawkins was the owner of between 40,000 and 50,000 acres of land.[1] In 1866, he registered the "H Hook", a cattle brand.[4] With the invention of barbed wire, he turned his plantation into a cattle ranch.[1]

Personal life

Hawkins married Ariella Alston, the daughter of Congressman Willis Alston, in 1834.[1] They had eight children.[1]

Death and legacy

Hawkins died on May 11, 1896 in Matagorda County, Texas.[1] The town of Hawkinsville, Texas was named in his honor.[1] The Hawkins Ranch became a cattle ranch.[3]


  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 Leatherwood, Art (June 15, 2010). "HAWKINS, JAMES BOYD". Texas State Historical Association. Retrieved December 31, 2015. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Collection Number: 00322: Collection Title: Hawkins Family Papers, 1738-1895". University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Retrieved December 31, 2015. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Lewis, Frank Hawkins (February 1979). "Evolution of an Early Texas Ranch". pp. 6–8. JSTOR 3900331. 
  4. Representative Texas Cattle Brands. Texas Almanac. 1945. p. 232. Retrieved December 31, 2015. 

External links

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