The Saponi-Catawba Origins of Granville’s Hawley/Holly Family

The Native American /”free colored” Hawley/Holly family of Granville County originates in nearby Northampton County, NC and unlike the several lineages that I have discussed so far, the Hawleys cannot positively with documentation be traced back to the Tidewater area of Virginia. In this blog post, I will give an overview of the Hawley family and explain why I think their origins are tied into both the Saponi and Catawba tribes. Some genealogical information that is referenced came from Paul Heinegg’s research.

Micajah Hawley (1700-1752) is the common ancestor of the Hawley family. The first verified records for him are when he purchased 640 acres of land on Meherrin River in then Bertie County, now Northampton County in 1731. In 1738, he sold 300 acres of this land. Micajah’s wife was named Sarah but her maiden name and lineage is unknown. His location in Northampton County at that time, placed him close to the Bass and Anderson families that left Norfolk, VA and stopped in Northampton County for several years before continuing on to Granville. Micajah left a 1752 will in Northampton County which named his heirs, so we’re able to follow his descendants forward.

Though his will named all of his children as heirs, Micajah left most of his estate to his son Benjamin Hawley (1735-1805). This is likely because by the time of Micajah’s death, his other children had moved with the Basses and Andersons to Granville County and were property owners there. Only his son Benjamin stayed behind in Northampton County to inherit the majority of the estate. Benjamin’s son William Hawley (1760-after 1820) remained in Northampton and had a son named William Hawley Jr who married Lydia Newsom. Benjamin’s daughter Eady Hawley married Nathaniel Newsom (1765-1835). The Newsom family has ties to the Native American community in Northampton County called the “Portuguese Community”. By the 1840s, most but not all of the intermarried Hawley and Newsom family relocated to Ohio.

Micajah Hawley’s other three sons – Joseph, William, and Christopher Hawley moved to Granville County by 1750/51 as indicated by tax records. Christopher has no known descendants, so our discussion focuses on Joseph and William.

Joseph Hawley (1725-after 1791) first appears in the Granville tax lists in 1750. In 1754, he enlisted in Indian trader Col. William Eaton’s colonial regiment which I had previously blogged about here. Joseph was married to Martha Harris who came from the Native American/”free colored” Harris family. Her brother Edward Harris was my 6th great-grandfather. Records place Joseph Hawley’s land in the Fishing Creek district, which is part of community founder William Chavis’ original massive land tract. So we know Joseph and his family lived in the heart of the community. Though he died before filing a pension, Joseph was apparently a Revolutionary War soldier because in 1791, he gave power of attorney to a man named Thomas Bevan to collect wages that were due to him for three years of military service.

All but one of Joseph Hawley’s children remained in Granville County and continued marrying members of the Native American community. Son Jacob Hawley (1751 – after 1810) was second married to a woman named Liddy. Her maiden name did not get properly recorded in the marriage certificate, but Benton Taborn was the bondsman which suggests that Liddy was probably a member of the Native American/”free colored” Taborn family.  Son Benjamin Hawley (1765 – ?) fought in the Revolutionary War with Joseph for 9 months and Joseph also gave power of attorney to Thomas Bevan to collect Benjamin’s wages. Daughter Mary Hawley (1749-1848) married Isham Mitchell from the Native American/”free colored” Mitchell family. According to the pension application for Isham Mitchell’s Revolutionary War service, Mary Hawley-Mitchell was also known as “Molly Craven”. I have not figured out where this nickname comes from but perhaps there are some important clues there. Son Nathan Hawley (1755-after 1820) remained in Granville for most of his life. Son Jesse Hawley (1760-after 1830) had a child named Labon Taborn with a member of the Taborn family in 1784 in Granville County.  Labon  Taborn later married Ann Tyner, granddaughter of community founder William Chavis. By 1800, Jesse Hawley had moved to nearby Halifax County, NC and was married to Winnifred Carpenter which is reflected in the census and tax records. Jesse was also the father of Henry Holly (1785-after 1860) who is the progenitor of the Holly family that intermarried with the “core” Richardson family of the state recognized Haliwa-Saponi tribe in Hollister, NC. This branch of the family often switched between the “Hawley” and “Holly” spellings of the surname.

Below are pictures of direct descendants of Joseph Hawley (1725 – after 1791):

Thomas Hawley (1851-after 1910) was married to Bettie Dunstan-Bass. His parents were Nathan Hawley and Susan Day and he lived in the Walnut Grove township of Granville County. His most likely descent back to Micajah Hawley is as follow: Thomas Hawley; Nathan Hawley; ---------; Nathan Hawley; Joseph Hawley; Micajah Hawley Source: Ancestry, Username: jkhawleyjr1
Thomas Hawley (1851-after 1910) was married to Bettie Duncan-Bass. His parents were Nathan Hawley and Susan Day and he lived in the Walnut Grove township of Granville County. His lineage back to Micajah Hawley is as follows:
Thomas Hawley; Nathan Hawley; ———; Nathan Hawley; Joseph Hawley; Micajah Hawley
Source: Ancestry, Username: jkhawleyjr1
“Babe” Andrew Hawley (1883-19231) was the son of the above pictured  Thomas Hawley and Bettie Dunstan-Bass of Walnut Grove township in Granville County.
Source: Ancestry, Username: jkhawleyjr1
According to this news article,
According to this news article, “Babe” Andrew Hawley was a suspect in the stabbing death of Reuben Cousins, another member of the community. Some details are given in the article but I could not find a follow up article to see if Babe was tried and convicted for homicide. Whatever his punishment may or may not have been, he continued to be recorded in the census on his own property in Granville County. If any of Babe’s descendants know what happened with this case, please contact me.
Source: Oxford Public Ledger, 12 May 1905, Fri, Page 1
William Wardell Richardson (1891-1973) was the son of John Ransome Richardson and Sally Holly. He lived in Halifax Co, NC and his family belongs to the Haliwa-Saponi tribe. His lineages back to Micajah Hawley is as follow: William Wardell Richardson; Sally Holly; William Holly; Catherine Holly; Henry Holly; Jesse Hawley; Joseph Hawley; Micajah Hawley Source: Ancestry, Username: arcolasfinest
William Wardell Richardson (1891-1973) was the son of John Ransome Richardson and Sally Holly. He lived in Halifax Co, NC and his family belongs to the Haliwa-Saponi tribe. His lineage back to Micajah Hawley is as follows: William Wardell Richardson; Sally Holly; William Holly; Catherine Holly; Henry Holly; Jesse Hawley; Joseph Hawley; Micajah Hawley
Source: Ancestry, Username: arcolasfinest
Unidfentifed, Roger Richardson, and Drue Bell Richardson (1896-1995). Drue Bell Richardson was a brother to above pictured William Wardell Richardson. He's pictured in Hollister, Halifax Co with his cousin Roger Richardson and two of their grandchildren. Source: Tony Copeland
Arthur Richardson (1906-1997), Roger Richardson, and Drue Bell Richardson (1896-1995). Arthur Richardson and Drue Bell Richardson were brothers to above pictured William Wardell Richardson. They’re pictured in Hollister, NC with their cousin Roger Richardson and two of their grandchildren. Their family as well belongs to the Haliwa-Saponi tribe. 
Source: Tony Copeland

When we look into the records for Joseph Hawley’s brother William Hawley, more clues of their tribal origins emerge.

William Hawley (1728- after 1772) first appears in the Granville County records in 1751. However it appears through tax and land records that he was moving back and forth between Granville and South Carolina. He was married to Amy Scott, daughter of John Scott (1700- ?) of the Native American/”free colored” Scott family. Amy Scott’s brother William Scott was married to a daughter of “King Hagler” (1710-1763), chief of the Catawba Nation (Per communication with descendants of the Scott family; look here and also take a look at Steven Pony Hill’s research on the Scott family here). The Scott family as well is documented moving back and forth between North Carolina and South Carolina during this time. And though not in very high numbers, the Scott family also resided in and were a part of Granville’s Native American community. In 1754, a group of men kidnapped Amy (Scott) Hawley and her children from their home in South Carolina to be sold into slavery in North Carolina. Though the Scott and Hawleys were free-born, this did not prevent some colonists from attempting to enslave them (see my blog entry on the illegally enslaved descendants of Jane Gibson the elder, an Indian woman).

At least one of these kidnapped children named “Busby alias John Scott”, appears to have been born to Amy (Scott) Hawley before she married William Hawley. Amy’s father John Scott directly descends from an Indian man named Thomas Busby who was documented as a servant to Robert Caufield in Surry Co, VA in 1684. This Indian servant Thomas Busby is thought to be named after a colonist also named “Thomas Busby” who was an Indian interpreter that lived in Surry Co, VA.  It was common place for Native Americans to adopt the names of Indian traders and other “friendly colonists”. The last confirmed record of William Hawley is in 1772 for 225 acres of land he owned in now extinct Craven County, SC. In the early 1800s, several “free colored” Hawley/Holly families appear in the census records for South Carolina and these likely are descendants of William Hawley and Amy Scott.

So what is the significance of the movement between North Carolina and South Carolina during the mid 1700s? Well there are several colonial records that I believe help explain why the Hawley family (as well as the Scott and Harris families) were moving between these locations. In 1718, Fort Christanna located in Brunswick County, VA was closed. Fort Christanna was the project of Governor Alexander Spotwood’s to place “friendly” Saponi and allied Indians on what was then the frontier of the British colony, to serve as a buttress against “hostile” Indians and the colonists. After the fort was closed, the Saponi fractured into smaller bands or groups with some staying within close distance of the fort, and others moving into North Carolina. In 1743, Governor Clarence Gooch reported that:

Saponies and other petty nations associated with them . . . are retired out of Virginia to the Cattawbas

Source: 1743 British Records on Microfilm, #2.5 132 N. Colonial Office 5/1326:10B-19B, August 22, 1743. N.C. Division of Archives and History, Raleigh.

However in 1748, the Saponi decided to return to their homelands on the Virginia/North Carolina border area. This brief stay in the 1740s, is similar to another brief stay the Saponi had with the Catawba in 1729-1732, as noted by William Byrd and John Mitchell. We know this group of Saponi returned to Virginia/North Carolina by 1733 when Lt. Governor William Gooch granted them permission to come back. These brief moves onto the Catawba reservation were likely a result of conflicts the Saponi had with settlers and with other tribes.

During the mid 1700s, the Cheraw, another tribe closely related to the Saponi and Catawba, also sought refuge with the Catawba. So the Saponi who lived among the Catawba, most likely not only intermarried with the Catawba but also the Cheraw.

So knowing that the Saponi had at least two brief stays with the Catawba, let’s revisit the Hawley family again. Very little is known about Micajah Hawley’s origins prior to his land purchase in Bertie (modern Northampton) in 1731. I suspect he moved down to Bertie/Northampton sometime after Fort Christanna closed in 1718. It is also possible that Micajah was part of the group of Saponi that moved in with the Catawba in the early 1730s. The “Portuguese Community” in Northampton County largely descend from Saponi who left Fort Christanna (per communication with descendants of the “Portuguese Community”). Though later called “Portuguese” by neighboring whites, the people are not ethnically Portuguese and the label was one of the many misnomers attached to Native Americans peoples in the Southeast. Knowing that Micajah Hawley’s family who remained in Northampton County intermarried with the “Portuguese Community’s” Newsom family, suggests that he had a connection to this community.

However Micajah’s other children were likely part of the Saponi movement to and from the Catawba reservation. This seems to be especially true for son William Hawley who is recorded in South Carolina and became an extended family member of King Hagler of the Catawba. Note that the Great Indian Trading Path runs through Granville County down to Catawba territory. Indian trader Col. William Eaton lived in Granville and is noted for having Saponi living next to his land and enlisting in his regiment. The Hawley family lived in the heart of Granville’s Native American community and Joseph Hawley enlisted in Eaton’s regiment. Knowing that the Saponi lived among the Catawba for protection from colonists and other tribes, it certainly makes sense that they would return to Granville County when Eaton moved there. Living next to Eaton’s lands and having him and other friendly whites as allies, provided the Hawleys and other Native American families the protection they previously had while living among the Catawba.

26 thoughts on “The Saponi-Catawba Origins of Granville’s Hawley/Holly Family

  1. Been doing research on myfamily for a little over two decades and have recently found my great great grandmother Rachel Davis ‘ mother listed as Mary Nowlin on her son heywards death certificate. Mary Nowlin married Archie Davis and had both Rachel and heyward. Rachel Davis born circa 1865 was said to have been Santee. Mary Nowlin may have been either sissipahaw or Saponi and Santee (same people basically ) does anyone out there know whether the Nowlin name pops up amongst saponi or sissipahaw people? It was also said that myancestors may have traveled as far as places like Nebraska and Minnesota .


      1. Hi, cousin Kianga Lucas. I thoroughly enjoyed reading, learning following ur flow on these aforementioned families of interest to many of us. Awesome work dear. Kianga, I have been savoring on ur helping me/us break down walls on my “Guy” “Maclin” & “Coleman’ ancestors from the NC/VA border lines. I also descend from a “Scott” line too. But, many road blocks on tracing these Scotts who were many in (modern) Hertford/Northampton Co, NC which were formerly Bertie Co. as u earlier stated. A Rebecca Scott, who died in 1954, was one of my gg grandmothers. She married a William Henry Harvey b. abt 1850. Her father was a Joe(Joseph Scott) who married a Easter/Esther Chavis/Walden. We have a genealogical outline of the Walden/Chavis line from Surry County, VA from 1680 forward into NC. Some remained in VA. But, the “Scott” genealogy not so much. Joe(Joseph) Scott b. abt. 1832. Joe Scott married Easter Thomas Walden & bore 14 children all born in Northampton County NC. Their off-springs: Bithey Scott, (Rebecca Scott, my line), Eliza Scott, Bucky(Hurthy) Scott b. 1860, William (Wiley) Scott b. 1865, Thomas Scott b. 1865, Anna Scott b. 1866, Andisizo Scott b 1868, Susan(Sisson) Scott, b 1869, Cipie Scott, b. 1869, Bolie Scott, b. 1873, Rachel Scott, b 1875, Sarah Scott, b 1876.

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    1. Hello Carletha, my name is Gladys Hawley Scott Stone. My Great grandfather name was Thomas Hawley (1851 – 1910). His son was James (Pump) Hawley and his son was my father William Hawley. I would love to know further information. I reside in Raleigh, NC. You may reach me via email Thanks and i look foward to hearing from you.


      1. Hello Gladys, this is your cousin, my great grandfather was also,Thomas,[AKA, TOM], Hawley [1849-1916], & my great grandmother, Betty Duncan-Bass Hawley [1860-2924], my grandparents wew Graham & Julie Thoorpe Hawley, and daughter of James Lucious,[AKA, Grant], Hawley. James [AKA, Pump], Hawley was my great uncle. I would love to see some of your family pictures. Would you happen to have any pictures of your Uncle Graham’s children, whoes names were: Thelma Hawley, Wilma Mae Hawley, Jerry Bee Hawley, Serena Hawley , Thurman Hawley, Graham Oscar Hawley, Babe Andrew Hawley, Grant Hawley, & Hubert Hawley. I don’t have A FACEBOOK ACCOUNT NOR A TWITTER ACCOUNT, so.o.o.o you would have to post pictures on ths website. I would appreciate a rply as soon as possible. Thanks for allowing me this opportunity to share this information with you. Be blessed


      2. Hello Extended Family! The Hawley Family Reunion is coming up and will be July 28th- July 30th! Hope to see you all if you can make it!


    2. My Grandmother married Charlie Webb from Granville Grandfather I read in a post Walden,Evans came from Virginia and and went to Chatham County and some are in Apex,Pittsboro surrounding areas Cary My Grandmothers relatives her name Mamie Cotten Webb her Mother Ollie Walden Cotten she was Indian her father Sam Cotten was a White man her mother’s relatives also Scott,Raines,Stewart,Richardson Harris


  2. Babe Hawley was my great grandfather also. Thomas Hawley was his father. These two men were my Grandma Mamie Hawley Thorpe’s father and grandfather.


  3. Your info was very in depth & spell bound on the Hawley’s. I was hoping so much that I would find that person in your info who would break my wall down that has been there for 25 years!!! You should be so happy & proud with your self for sharing this info with many of us Hawley’s.


  4. Mamie Hawley was my great grandmother I remember her. my grandmother was Mary Mayliza Hawley – Cooper I grew up with her in my life. Grandma told me that the White side of my family last name is Black. I could also see the Indian in my grandmother and my great grandmother. My grandmother’s father looked like he was Indian and White I saw him and my great mother when I was young living in Granville County N.C. I was born in 1952. I remember my great grand father’s body and funeral was in his house I was very young but I never forgot it.


  5. Hello to all my beloved cousins on the Hawley -Halliwa,Saponi, Native American roots and the decendants and off-springs. To Craig, Carletha, Gladys, Kianga, Natalie, Jamela, Cora, and Joan, (AKA, Brenda), and all our hundreds of relatives who are fortunate to have this opportunity to read this message. I am the great great great great granddaughter of Jack Hawley, the great great great granddaughter of Nathan Hawley, great, great granddaughter of Thomas, (AKA, Tom Hawley), the granddaughter of Graham Hawley, and the daughter of James Lucious Hawley. May God bless and keep all of you in good health and perfect peace.


    1. thank u lucy allen. im still on the genealogy trail trying to link pleasant davis children (both are named holling) and at the same time trying to stay vigilant on the dakota access pipeline ordeal . hopefully ill be enrolling with dakota oyate in south dakota this year . there is a certificate declaring all south eastern saponi. santee. cherah chicorah and all southeastern siouan groups as eastern dakota sioux”


  6. Craig, I am extremely excited to get a reply to my message so soon. It is so gratifying to know that you are my relative and cared about me enough to respond. I want to get to know about your grandparents and parents, including some pictures. My great grandfather,Thomas,(AKA, Tom Hawley’s picture is already on this website, as well as my great uncle’s picture, (“Babe Andrew Hawley). I was schocked when I ready that he got his belly full of blockage whiskey, and got into a heated argument with one of his acquaintances and stabbed the man to his death. He probably didn’t do any jail time, because it would have been a, (dead man’s.word against him, and the dead mam couldn’t talk,(LOL).


    1. i can forward u my email address if u like. but i dont have any pics of ancestors. my great aunt was a holling by marriage bu was santee herself . her name was pleasant davis and she was a widow with two children by the last name of holling


  7. Hi, I just read your message in reference from the decendants and off-springs of BABE ANDREW HAWLEY, who was my great uncle, and my grandfather, GRAHAM HAWLEY’was his brother. Their father was, THOMAS, [TOM], HAWLEY, who was my great grandfather. PLEASE.E.E.E, post on this web site on tomorrow, JULY 21ST, 2017 tthe information,about the HAWLEY FAMILY REUNION, who to contact to register, pay money to,and city, and venu, of where the. REUNION is being held. COLONEL LEE HAWLEY,i is the greatgrandson of BABE ANDREW HAWLEY, and his wife GLADYS HAWLEY and I worked together for numerous years, and they don’t live that far from me, so.o.o.o, would they have information about the reunion. LET ME KNOW WHO I CAN CONTACT. I WOULD LOVE TO ATTEND!!!! Respectfully your cousin, Lucy H. Allen


  8. My name is Gloria Black Booker. My grandparents were James (pump) Hawley and Mamie Downey Hawley. They both died in November 1958, (18) days apart in the house with my mom and dad in Oxford. NC. There bodies were brought back to the house until the day of the funeral. They sold their farm and moved in with my mother, Lizzie Etta Hawley Black the third (3rd) child, and my father, Cicero Thomas Black. I remember my mother three (3) sisters and three (3) brothers coming to visit with their families. That was a beautiful time in my life. Family was always together. Even after the death of our grandparents, the family always came to our house


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