Biography of Hon. Joseph R. Hawley
Connecticut Biographies





HON. JOSEPH R. HAWLEY, HARTFORD: United States Senator; Associate Publisher Hartford Courant.

Joseph Russell Hawley was the son of a Congregationalist minister who in 1826, being engaged in some missionary work in North Carolina, was temporarily residing there with his family. J. R. Hawley was born on the 31st of October of that year, and is thus a native of North Carolina, from which state, however, his father shortly removed his family, to settle at Peterboro in central New York. Here the lad grew up, gaining his education at the public schools of the district, and closing it at Hamilton College, from which he graduated in 1847. In 1850, at the suggestion of his Uncle David, who was the well known city missionary of Hartford, he removed to this city and began the practice of law, having previously spent three years in preparation therefor. He prospered in his profession, and in five years after his settlement in Hartford he married Miss Harriet Foote, daughter of General Foote of Guilford, on Christmas day, 1855.

Gen. Hawley early distinguished himself as one of the leaders of the Free Soil party, became active in politics, and soon decided to abandon the law and devote himself to journalism. He was connected and thoroughly identified first with the Hartford Evening Press, and subsequently with the Hartford Morning Courant, of which latter journal he is still the leading proprietor. At the breaking out of the rebellion Hawley was one of the very first to enlist for active service, and was made first lieutenant of Company A, First Regiment, which was mustered into service for three months on the 22d of April, 1861. He served until his term of service expired, again enlisted, and was in active service entirely through the war, being honorably mustered out on the 15th of January, 1866. He enlisted as a. private, was advance through all the grades of promotion, and when finally discharged held the rank of major general of volunteers. Returning home he was nominated by the republican party as its candidate for governor, to which office he was enthusiastically elected. In 1872 he was chosen president of the United States Centennial Commission. The same year he was elected to the forty second congress to fill the vacancy occasioned by the death of Congressman Julius L. Strong, and was reelected for the full term in April, 1873. He was defeated in 1875 and 1876, but elected to the forty sixth congress in 1878, taking his seat March 4, 1879. Thence, March 4, 1881. he was transferred to the senate, and was reelected for a second term in 1887. His record in congress is one of loyalty to his state, of fidelity to his party, and of patriotic devotion to the welfare of the republic.

General Hawley is a vigorous campaign speaker, and is always in demand when important elections are pending. He rarely prepares his speeches in detail, but relies, upon the inspiration of the moment, and in purely extemporaneous effort has few superiors: He has strong and earnest convictions, and possesses the courage to avow them on all proper occasions.

From:
Illustrated Popular Biography
Of Connecticut
Compiled and Published by J. A. Spalding
Press of the Case, Lockwood & Brainard Co.
Hartford, Conn. 1891


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