Rodney G. Hawkins, the well known and enterprising publisher of the Wapello Republican, the leading and official
newspaper of Louisa county, has been identified with journalistic interests in this county for more than a quarter
of a century. His birth occurred at Boston Corners, St. Lawrence county, New York, on the 20th of July, 1863, his
parents being Jasper H. and Elizabeth (Kingsley) Hawkins, both of whom are yet living. The father, an attorney
at law, remained in active practice in the legal profession until 1900. The family was represented in this country
as early as 1700. Uriah Kingsley, the great grandfather of our subject, participated in the Revolutionary war and
drew a pension for many years. His demise occurred in November, 1849.
Rodney G. Hawkins obtained his early education in the public schools at Algona, Iowa, and subsequently attended
Algona College for two years. After putting aside his text books he entered the office of the Algona (Iowa) Upper
Des Moines in 1882 in order to learn the printing business. In 1884 he accompanied his parents on their removal
to Des Moines, being employed in various newspaper and job printing offices of that city until September, t885,
when he came to Louisa county and began work as foreman of the Morning Sun Herald. He continued in that capacity
until January 1, 1891, and then purchased a half interest in the Herald from Frank B. Tracy, leasing the other
half from A. M. M. Donon. Under that arrangement he published the paper until January 1, 1893, when he bought Mr.
Dornon's interest, continuing as editor until September 3, 1896. On that date he purchased the Wapello Republican
from C. M. Wright and turned the Herald over to his brother, E. B. Hawkins, who remained its publisher until its
sale to J. K. Latta on the 1st of January, 1898. R. G. Hawkins has been the publisher of the Republican for the
past fifteen years and in August, 1910, installed a model 5 Mergenthaler linotype, the first typesetting machine
brought to Louisa county. The Republican, established in 1859, is the oldest paper in the county and has stood
the test of years, having long been the leading journal of Wapello and Louisa county. It has a larger circulation
than any other newspaper in the county and therefore constitutes the best advertising medium. In the office a specialty
is made of job printing, including linotype composition, book and catalogue work.
On the 15th of October, 1891, at Morning Sun, Iowa, Mr. Hawkins was united in marriage to Miss Avanella G. Kinkead,
a daughter of J. M. and Rebecca (Orr) Kinkead. They have two children, J. Blaine and June G.
In politics Mr. Hawkins has been a stanch republican Vince casting his first ballot for James G. Blain. He has
always been an active worker in the local ranks of the party and has held the office of township committeeman.
On the 26th of July, 1897, he was appointed postmaster of Wapello, ably serving in that capacity until May 8, 1910.
From the 1st of January, 1893, until September, 1896, he was a member and secretary of the Soldiers Relief Commission
of Louisa county. He became a charter member of Black Hawk Lodge, No. 281, K. P., in August, 1891, and the following
year organized Virginia Grove Lodge, No. 302, K. P., at Morning Sun, Iowan, being elected its first past chancellor
and commissioned district deputy grand chanccellor by the grand chancellor. In 1904 he again joined Black Hawk
Lodge by card. In 1893 he became identified with the Masonic fraternity, joining Wapello Lodge, No. 5, A. F. &
A. M. In 1891 he joined the Presbyterian:church! Morning Sun and five years later transferred his membership to
the church of the same denomination at Wapello. At different times he has filled the offices of trustee, treasurer
and chairman of the congregation. Possessing a most genial manner, cordial spirit and kindly disposition, his unfailing
courtesy and ready adaptability have made him popular wherever he is known.
History of Louisa County, Iowa
From Its Earliest Settlement to 1912
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co.
Decatur County, IA
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