William B. Hawkins was born in Washington County, Pennsylvania, on August 28, 1814, the son of Charles and Sarah Ann (Orr) Hawkins. He graduated from school in 1835, in the classical course, at the age of eighteen. He immediately started reading for the medical profession with Dr. John Wishard. At the end of this time, he graduated from the Washington and Jefferson College in 1840, receiving the degree of A.M. from the Washington branch and M.D. from the Jefferson branch. In April 1840 he commenced practice in Connellsville, Fayette County, Pennsylvania.
In 1848 the panic and distress of the country caused the loss to the doctor of nearly $10,000, which he had accumulated in his practice. He gathered up what little means he had left and started for Canton, Illinois, but he stopped in Cincinnati, Ohio; the city was suffering from the cholera plague. He secured the position of surgeon to the out-door poor of the Fifth Ward, which he held two years. At the end of this time, he moved to Terre Haute, Indiana, and practiced there until 1854. At the end of two years, he sold his practice and moved to Prairieton. In 1867 he moved to Brazil, Indiana, and actively engaged in his doctoring profession.
On October 15, 1840, Dr. Hawkins married Christiana Darling, a native of Scotland. To them were born six children. Christina died on February 20, 1866, at Prairieton, Indiana. He next married Abigail Daniels at Terre Haute. They were the parents to one child, Robert Warren Hawkins. Robert followed in his father’s footsteps. William B. Hawkins passed away December 1891.
Dr. Robert Hawkins was born January 7, 1872, in Brazil, Indiana; his father was one of the pioneer physicians of Brazil. Robert had been a graduate of Brazil High School. On March 29, 1895, he graduated from the Medical College of Indiana, which later became a part of Indiana University.
Shortly after his graduation, Robert began practicing as a physician in Brazil. When the United States declared war against Spain, he enlisted in the service and served as a hospital steward with the rank of first-class sergeant of the 159th Indiana Regiment at Camp Alger, Virginia, from April 26 to November 23, 1898. On his discharge he returned to Brazil and resumed the practice of medicine, which he continued until August of 1918, when he was called as a member of the Officers Reserve Corps and assigned to Fort Riley, Kansas, for the training of soldiers for overseas duty in World War I. In September of that year he was transferred to Camp Wadsworth, South Carolina, and became a surgeon of the quarantine camp, where the influenza epidemic was very severe. Later he was assigned to the 381st Ambulance Corps of the 321st Sanitary Train and was about to be sent overseas when the armistice intervened.
Returning home, Dr. Hawkins resumed his medical practice, which he continued to follow. He married Claudia Tennant on October 12, 1898. Robert passed away October 25, 1936, and is buried at Hill Cemetery in Clay County, Indiana.
Contributed by Rhonda Tincher, Clay County Genealogy Society, Center Point, Indiana.
Sources: Ancestry.com; Brazil Democrat, December 31, 1891; Obit of Robert Warren Hawkins.