William P. Hawkins


William P. Hawkins. A resident of Oklahoma since the beginning of the second decade of its existence as a territory, Esquire Hawkins has been closely and influentially identified with varied avenues of activity along which the development and progress of the territory and the state surely advanced, and he has proved signally steadfast and true in all of the relations of life, has been called upon to serve in numerous positions of public trust, has been concerned with progressive industrial and civic enterprises, has been a prominent force in connection with the cause of organized labor in this new commonwealth, and from the time of the admission of the state to the Union until the present he has been the valued incumbent of the position of city magistrate or justice of the peace in Oklahoma City. He commands the unqualified respect and confidence of the community and as a loyal and popular citizen whose earnest co operation has been accorded in the furtherance of the development and upbuilding of Oklahoma, he is specially entitled to recognition in this publication.
William Preston Hawkins was born in the City of Galena, Jo Daviess County, Illinois, on the 13th of June, 1859, and is a son of John C. and Elizabeth (Conlee) Hawkins, the former of whom was born in Kentucky and the latter of whom was a native of Illinois, in which state her parents were pioneer settlers. Mr. Hawkins was a mere lad at the time of the family removal to the State of Nebraska, where his father was a pioneer farmer, and to the public schools of that state he himself is indebted for his early educational discipline. As a youth he was for a time independently identified with agricultural pursuits in Nebraska, and finally he established his residence at Platte Center, that state, where he was engaged in the real-estate and collection business for thirteen years, besides which he served three years as city clerk and also held the office of justice of the peace. From 1874 to 1898 he was there engaged in the printing business.
In the year last mentioned Mr. Hawkins came to Oklahoma Territory and after having passed one year on a farm in the southeast part of Oklahoma County he established his residence in Oklahoma City, which was then an ambitious little city but one of minor population. Here he devoted his attention to the business of sidewalk construction about two years, and within the ensuing four years he gave effective service as a clerical and executive assistant in various county offices, including those of county clerk, treasurer and register of deeds. In 1903-4 he was city assessor.
During the years 1901 -2 Mr. Hawkins was secretary of the Carpenters’ Union in Oklahoma City and simultaneously secretary of the Central Trade Council, besides being editor of the influential labor paper known as the Signal. Within the period of his connection with this paper there occurred a general labor strike in Oklahoma City, all of the trades unions having been involved, and during the continuance of this strike, which lasted about eight months, the service of Mr. Hawkins as the advocate of the cause of the union and as their official spokesman through the Signal, marked a distinct epoch in the history of organized labor in Oklahoma.
After severing the associations last noted, Mr. Hawkins entered the employ of the Oklahoma Railway Company, and was made timekeeper and assistant superintendent of its system in the City of Guthrie. There also ho had supervision of the first work in connection with the development of the public-park system of Guthrie, which was then the capital of Oklahoma, and within this period also he had charge of the construction of the large dam in Highland Park, now one of the most attractive portions of the park system of the city.
After his return to Oklahoma City Mr. Hawkins accepted an executive position with the Cleveland-Trinidad Paving Company, for which corporation he had the supervision of its contract paving work in various parts of the city, and later he engaged individually once more in the construction of concrete sidewalks.
In 1907, the year which marked the admission of Oklahoma as one of the sovereign states of the Union, Mr. Hawkins was appointed to fill a vacancy in the office of justice of the peace in Oklahoma Township, and after the establishing of the state government he became the representative of this office in the municipality of Oklahoma City. Through re election in 1910, 1912 and 1914, he has since continued in tenure of this judicial position, and in every sense he has made the office justify its name. An idea of the high esteem in which he is held for his fairness and impartiality in conserving the ends of equity and justice may be gained by the following brief statement concerning the support accorded to him in each of the three elections noted above. In 1910 he received 1,700 votes; in 1912, the ballots cast in his favor numbered 2,287; and in 1914 he received 3,748 votes. The volume of business in Justice Hawkins’ court exceeds in scope and importance that of some district judges in many counties of the state, and many causes are voluntarily brought to him for adjustment, owing to his high reputation for mature judgment and for fairness in arbitrament.
Prominently affiliated with the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, in which he is past noble grand, Mr. Hawkins has served more than six years as secretary of his lodge, which he has three times represented in the Oklahoma Grand Lodge, during one of his terms of service in which supreme body of the order in this state he was a member of its most important committee, that of appeals and grievances. Mr. Hawkins is past dictator in the Loyal Order of Moose and is serving at the present time as secretary of its local organization in Oklahoma City, the lodge being now one of the strongest and most prosperous in the state, owing largely to his earnest efforts in restoring harmony at a time when its affairs were in chaotic condition. Both he and his wife are earnest members of the First Methodist Episcopal Church in their home city..
At Tecumseh, Nebraska, on the 4th of February, 1882, was solemnized the marriage of Mr. Hawkins to Miss Cora Kline, daughter of Jacob and Margaret (Wyland) Kline, both of whom were born in the State of Pennsylvania, whence they removed to Nebraska in the pioneer epoch of the history of that commonwealth. Concerning the children of Mr. and Mrs. Hawkins brief record is given in conclusion of this review: Lena, born May 18, 1883, is the wife of Charles Shidler, of Oklahoma City; Maude, born July 25, 1884, is the wife of David H. Price, of Tulare, California; and Norman E., who was born October 29, 1885, is an engineer by vocation and now maintains his residence in the City of Billings, Montana. Mr. and Mrs. Hawkins have five grandsons, and they take justifiable pride in their children and their children’s children. In Oklahoma City they reside at No. 35 East Sixth Street.