Visit Your Local PBS Station PBS Home PBS Home Programs A-Z TV Schedules Watch Video Donate Shop PBS Search PBS
African American Lives 2 -- Hosted by Henry Louis Gates, Jr.
In Search of Our Roots -- Buy the companion book now from ShopPBS
Sharing Stories: One Family's Story
Read a story matching
the term you chose:
STORYTELLER LOCATION YEAR TOOK PLACE TELLER'S PLACE OF ORIGIN HOW YOU HEARD
Interviewed Aunts, Uncles, Grandfather Notoway County, Blackstone, Virginia 1800s Nottoway County, Blackstone, Virginia Interviewed Aunts, Uncles, Grandfather, Census records, Wills, Birth& Death

After many years of hearing the stories of Great and great great Grandfathers no one in the family could go back any farther to give the family a living record of those that came before. Afer interviewing aunts, uncles, distant cousins and relatives we gathered enough information to search the US Fedeal Census, Wills, Birth & Deaths and Marriage certificates to begin the journey.

What we found is that our family is traceable back, at least currently, to 9 generations. Nottoway County, VA. was split off from Amelia County, VA. in the 1800's. We pick up the Hawkes or Hawks family in Amelia County and follow them into Nottoway County where we find our first confirmed ancestor named Aggie, circa 1805 on the Hawkes plantation in the Spainville/Belafonte district of Amelia/(Nottoway) County.

Aggie was owned by Richard Hawkes who had 12 children. In 1809, he passed on in his Will one of his slave girls Aggie to his daughter. Later that same year his daughter must have gotten ill and Willed the same slave girl to one of her brothers named Phillip. It seems that her brother Phillip and the slave girl Aggie over the years had 7 offspring. One of their offspring named Jane was the mother of my great great Grandfather Branch Hawkes who was born in 1844 and died, circa 1931. Phillip Hawkes leaves this family in his Will and instructs his brother George as executor of his estate to sell his land and to have this family "removed to a non-slaveholding state." That never happens and the family stays on the land farming through the Civil War.

Branch Hawkes marries Rhoda and has 11 children. One of which was my great grandfather Dandridge Hawkes who marries Helen Williams and has 9 children. One of which is my Grandfather William Hawkes. William married Della Fitzgerald and had 10 children of one whom is my mother Bernell Hawkes. Bernell marries Harold Austin and has 4 children, 7 grandchildren and 4 great grandchildren. 9 generations. I'd like to venture further back to find out who Aggie's mother may have been and where the Hawkes family purchased their slaves.

Back to story listBack to sharing into
Email this page
Major corporate funding for African American Lives 2 and its outreach initiatives is provided by The Coca-Cola Company and Johnson & Johnson. Additional corporate funding is provided by Buick.
The Coca-Cola Company Johnson & Johnson Buick
KUNHARDT Thirteen/WNET New York