Soldiers returning from the Napoleonic wars on the European mainland were flooding the labour market. There had been a war in North America between the Americans and the Canadians (1812-14). The English government offered free land to settlers (preferably with military experience) to defend Canada from the Americans. A lot of the original Hawkins family came over during that period and settled in Beckwith and Lanark.
It has been noted that the first Hawkins men may have been from the Church of England in Beckwith, but they were always
“Irish loyal.” The family name of Hawkins was of English origin, but they chose to side with the Irish (some of their Irish wives insisted). It was made clear to me they were quite proud of the Irish blood, and their English name was just a name.
This is an account from Cathie Hawkins McOrmond about her family.
My Great Grandfather was born on the 9th line Hawkins homestead. He grew up married and had children there. One of his sons, my Grandfather went west and settled in Winnipeg, Manitoba and had children of his own one– of those children being my father Marvin. The stain glass windows above the choir pew at St. James Anglican Church in Carleton Place are in memory of my great great grandparents. My Mother and Father, Marvin and Doris, met and married in Winnipeg. My father was in WWII, and when he returned he was the only Canadian trained in Code Sypher and he was offered a position in Ottawa with External Affairs.
My parents moved to Ottawa, had six children, with me being the youngest. They lived and worked in Ottawa for many years, but once they decided to retire they purchased 45.5 acres of land in Beckwith running from the tracks up Lake Park Road. They built a house and retired, and my brother and I being the youngest are the only two that moved to Carleton Place with them.The land my Dad purchased on Lake Park Road after he retired. He cut cross country ski trails for many to use for years and named the trails after his children and grandchildren. Eventually my father sold 29.5 acres to a housing developer, hense the current name Hawkins Drive off of Lake Park Rd. Myself, along with my siblings eventually sold the house my parents lived in once my mother had passed.
There was a trail named after myself called Catherine marked with a sign. This land was part of the 29 acres sold, and one day I was called and told a child found the sign and had taken it into school for show and tell. It had a year on it of 1975. Louise Gour now lives in Cathie’s childhood home and sadly says the trails no longer exist. We don’t own our family history, we just preserve to carry on to tell others. It’s a link to the past and a bridge to the future.