Haws/Hawes Family History
by Susan Presley Laney
  Sampson Haws, my great-great-great-grandfather was the first Haws in the Dekalb County Alabama area. He moved to Dekalb County about 1830 from Floyd County, Kentucky. Sampson was born in or near what was then known as Montgomery County, Virginia, about 1790, the son of Samuel and Elizabeth Haws. His brothers were Samuel Jr., Robert, John, Azriel and Benjamin(e). He had at least one sister, Elizabeth. Floyd County Records from 1808-1831 show many entries of appointments for the Haws brothers. Robert appears to be the most politically active. He was a coroner and clerk of elections in 1808 and was appointed Justice of the Peace in 1809. He performed the marriage ceremony for his brother, Sampson, and Polley Mathis on 5/11/1811. Robert was also appointed commissioner in 1810, granted a ferry license in 1815, appointed patrolman in 1816, sheriff in 1817, collector of levy in 1817, and granted a tavern license in 1819 (I wonder if being a lawman turned him to alcohol!). In 1810, Samuel was also appointed as a Justice of the Peace. John seems to be as popular as his brother Robert. He was appointed clerk of election in 1811, coroner in 1812, commissioner of revenue in 1813, constable in 1814 (resigned in 1817), deputy sheriff in 1815, deputy collector in 1815, and commissioner in 1816. Brother Azriel (Azreel?) was appointed road surveyor in 1816. There are no appointments shown for Benjamin and Sampson. However, one entry for Sampson, in 1811, simply states "resignation." What he resigned from is anyone's guess. Sampson's marriage to Polley Mathis was in 1811, so this could have been a factor in his resignation.

It would appear that Sampson was "different" from his brothers, who all received land grants and stayed in Floyd County, Kentucky. I do not know why he chose to move to Dekalb County, Alabama. Sampson and Polley produced four sons: Solomon, Samuel, William and Jefferson, my great- great- grandfather. Census records show Jefferson was born in Kentucky about 1818. Only Jefferson and Samuel stayed in the Dekalb County area. Samuel married a girl from Tennessee. I do not know where the rest of the family moved, but there were other Hawes in the area who were more than likely their kinfolks since they arrived in the area shortly after Sampson and his family.

After moving to Dekalb County, Jefferson met and married Mary Ann McCurdy. She came from a rather prominent family (see my genealogy narrative on my McCurdy lineage.) Her father was Elijah McCurdy, Jr. (b. 11/18/1798, Abbeville District, S.C. - d. 11/20/1875 in Dekalb County, AL). His parents were Elijah Sr. and Ann Handy Harris McCurdy. Her mother was Rosa Ann Jones (b. 1808 in South Carolina - d. 8/22/1889 in Dekalb County, AL). Rosa Ann's parents, John and Mary Jones, were born in Ireland. Elijah Jr. owned a large section of land in the Mount Hermon Community near Ft. Payne, Alabama. The Mt. Hermon Cemetery, where Elijah and Rosa Ann are buried, is situated on a steep hillside on land once owned by Elijah. His grave was the first one there. He supposedly picked out his own grave site under an oak tree while watching his cattle graze one day. Elijah and Rosa Ann had 9 children, 3 boys and 6 girls. Mary Ann, my great-great-grandmother, was their eldest child. She was born in 1825 in Limestone County, Alabama. I have personally been to Mt. Hermon Cemetery and visited "Grandpa and Grandma's" graves. They are buried at the crown of a very steep hill in two rock enclosures. A simple granite slab on the side marks their final resting place.

Jefferson and Mary Ann had only one child, George Washington, who was born 3/27/1842, when Mary Ann was 17 years old. Jefferson may have taken after his father, Sampson, for family lore presents him as being "strange" and "reclusive." None of these stories can be substantiated, so I consider them to be hearsay. One story I was told was that he "disappeared" from Sand Mountain, and some years later some Hawes descendants supposedly found a rock on Lookout Mountain with the name Jeff Haws carved on it. It was presumed that the rock marked his grave site. However, it is more likely that Jefferson, himself, carved his name on the rock while patrolling atop Lookout Mountain while in the Tennessee/Alabama Independent Vidette Cavalry. For according to National Military Archives records (of which I have copies), Jefferson didn't disappear at all from Sand Mountain, but joined the Independent Vidette (Union) Cavalry, Co. B., in Stevenson, Alabama, on 9/10/1863. This may have been done in secret in order to protect his wife, Mary Ann. The Vidette Cavalry was made up of spies who did "dirty work" for the Union. Jefferson was about 44 years old when he joined the unit. He was, no doubt, already a sick man, because he died in Cumberland Hospital in Nashville, Tennessee, on 3/28/1864, the day after his son's 22nd birthday. His age is listed as 46, but according to census records, he would have been 44 or 45, depending on his birth date. The cause of death is listed as cardiac dropsy. He was buried in City Cemetery in Nashville. The death record lists Mary Ann, who was living in Stevenson, Alabama, as his wife. His personal effects, which consisted of "1 hat, 1 pair boots, 1 packer book, and $1.40 in U.S. currency," were left to her. Mary Ann then married Ancel Marshall and they supposedly had several children together. She must have married rather promptly after Jefferson's death since she was already around 39 years old when he died. It is interesting to note that the military records contain some correspondence between officers trying to find out which unit Jefferson belonged to. No one recognized him as belonging to Company B. This could have been bureaucratic bungling, or he may have struck out on his own after joining the cavalry as suggested in one note.

The military enlistment description states Jefferson was 5' 10", with dark complexion, black eyes and black hair. I have heard rumors from a couple of "Hawes" relatives that family lore says Jefferson was an "indian". This physical description certainly sounds like he may have been. However, there is no evidence to support this, and Haws is an English/Scot/Irish name. It is possible that he was adopted by Sampson and Polley Haws and could have been of indian descent. However, because his name is "Jefferson" and it appears Mary Ann's well-to-do family accepted him, I find it highly improbable that he was an "indian". One item of news I read reports that one of Mary Ann's brothers died after a night of coon hunting. The whole family was noted for their coon dogs and hunting prowess, including Jefferson and George Haws.

It appears that prior to his enlistment in the Vidette Cavalry, Jefferson's only child, George, my great-grandfather, enlisted in the 33rd Alabama Confederate Cavalry Unit. Records show him to have been "captured" by the Union at Larkinville, Alabama, on 8/30/1863 at age 21. According to Confederate records, he was "paroled to home". Records show that he almost immediately enlisted in the Vidette Cavalry at Stevenson, Alabama - the same time as his father, 9/10/1863. It is very likely that George was already unofficially enlisted in the Vidette Cavalry when he joined the 33rd Alabama Confederate Unit and that he acted as a spy for the Union. The fact that George was awarded the rank of corporal in the Vidette Cavalry could signify this. One Hawes relative told me that George sat on the Tennessee River bank and watched for rebel boats, but I don't remember where I got this information. Spying was not as uncommon as many people think, and Dekalb County was full of union sympathizers who were loyal to America and looked on "rebels" as traitors. George's mother, Mary Ann, was descended from prominent Revolutionary War patriots through her father, Elijah McCurdy, Jr., so George (and Jefferson) may have been convicted to uphold family honor. There may also have been patriots in the Haws' family. This is all conjecture on my part, but it does seem highly probable. What is known, however, is that George was enlisted in both units. He was honorably discharged from the Vidette Cavalry with the rank of Corporal on 6/16/1864, in Stevenson, Alabama, a few months after Jefferson died. He was 22 years old. He is listed as being 5' 8", dark complexion, black eyes and black hair. There is quite a bit of information available on the Tennessee/Alabama Independent Vidette Cavalry.

George, my great-grandfather, appears to have been more prolific than his father. He fathered at least 13 children, including a set of twins, by his wife Missouri Mayes, who was born in 1846. She was the daughter of James Fletcher Mayes and Adaline Padgett Mayes, who had moved to the area from Rutherford, North Carolina. It should be noted that I am not 100-percent certain that Adaline's last name was Padgett. However, I did find a marriage record for a James Fletcher Mayse and a Adaline Padgett showing they were married 6/15/1835 in Rutherford County, N.C. I have also seen supportive evidence that Adaline was a "Padgett" before her marriage to Fletcher Mayes. Padgett family researchers have told me that a group of Padgett family members migrated to Jackson County, Alabama, from Rutherford County, N.C.

George and Missouri "Jude" were married 2/20/1862 at Ft. Payne, Alabama. George and Jude lived in the "Liberty Hill" community of Jackson County, where George farmed land he had received in a land grant from the U.S. government. Jude had her first child when she was 17. She died on 12/3/1890, at age 44, after giving birth to a daughter, who was named Missouri ("Zou"). She supposedly had tripped and fallen on her stomach while "chasing chickens" out of the garden, and, no doubt, this fall contributed to her early death. It would appear her whole life was given to childbearing. I have also heard that George, while being good natured, was rather lazy (spoiled?) and his daughters waited on him hand and foot!

George, who appears to be the first in this Haws branch to add an "e" to his surname changed the spelling from Haws to Hawes. George Hawes is buried at Wheeler Cemetery, not far from where he lived. The only other Hawes graves in Wheeler Cemetery are those of his 2 daughters; Palestine Hawes Presley and Annie Hawes Smith. He lived for 76 years. To my knowledge he never remarried. It is interesting to note that the marriage record of George and Missouri has Haws (Hawes) spelled Haus. Whether George did this to be humorous, or whether it was an administrative error, we'll never know. It is also interesting to note that George spelled his name "Haws" on his pension application papers.

Following, in birth order, is a list of the children born to George and Missouri Hawes. [1]

  1. John Anderson, b. 3/12/1863, m. Mary "Mollie" Williams, d. 9/2/1925, buried: Caperton Cemetery, Jackson Co., AL
  2. Jefferson Monroe, b. 9/18/1885, m. Sophronia "Fronie" Smith, 1/18/1888, d. 4/1/1936, buried: Liberty Hill Cemetery, Jackson Co., AL
  3. Mary Ellen, b. 4/27/1867, m. John Allen Ross, d. 11/11/1960;
    buried: Shamrock Cemetery, Wheeler Co., TX
  4. Martha V. "Sweet," b. 2/23/1869, m. Jerome F. Houser, d. 3/11/1957, buried: Santa Fe Cemetery, Bradford Co., FL
  5. Eliza Jane, b. 3/2/1871, m. Thomas Shaw, d. unknown, buried: unknown cemetery, Leary, TX
  6. Idella Estella "Ida," b. 3/10/1877 (this is the birth date on her tombstone), m. Jacob Lafayette Williams, 12/24/1902, d. 4/24/1960, buried: Kingsley Lake Cemetery, Clay Co., FL
  7. Charley C., b. 1/23/1879, m. Hannah Maxwell, d. 1950, buried: unknown
  8. Annie, b. 5/11/1880, m. Robert Smith (Sophronia Smith's bro.), d. unknown, buried: Wheeler Cemetery, Jackson Co., AL
  9. Rose (Rosa?) Palestine "Pat," b. 4/9/1881 (this is the birth date on her tombstone), m. William Leonard "Bill" Presley (b. 7/9/1890), d. 11/11/1964, buried: Wheeler Cemetery, Jackson Co., AL
  10. Jessie Lawrence, b. 9/12/1884, m. Mollie Eaton, d. 10/19/1971, buried: Liberty Hill Cemetery, Jackson Co., AL
  11. Rebecca, b. 6/6/1887, m. John Presley (bro. to William Leonard Presley), d. 2/19/1952, buried: unknown, Jackson Co., AL
  12. Nettie, b. 6/6/1887, m. Leslie Steele, d. unknown, buried: unknown, Dallas, TX
  13. Missouri "Zou," b. 12/3/1890, m. 1) Lon Christopher, 2) Jack Logan, d. unknown, buried: unknown.



  1. This information is derived mostly from William L. "Fay" Durban's "Hawes Genealogy." I have recently received a copy of George W. Haws' pension application, dated Jan. 2, 1914, which substantiates most of Fay's information. The application shows a handwritten list, by George Haws, of his children's names and birth dates. He did, however, give my grandmother, Palestine's, birth year as 1882, not 81, and listed her name as "Rosa Palestine," not "Rose Palestine." She could have been named Rosa after her great grandmother McCurdy. Her name, Palestine, no doubt comes from her grandmother, Mary Ann Haws' sister, Palestine McCurdy. She is the only Palestine I have found in the family other than my grandmother.

McCurdy Narrative
Descendants of Samuel Haws
Descendants of John McCurdy
Ancestors of Ida and Pat Hawes
Hawes & Presley Photographs
Hawes & Williams Photographs
George W. Haws Pension Papers
Jefferson Haws Civil War Papers
Family Stories

For more information, contact Susan Presley Laney (stardust1950@hotmail.com)

MIDI: Tomorrow (Irish hornpipe)