(Editorial Note: Part 260 of a series of further development in the early days that impacted Franklin County. Sources: The Trailblazer, History of the Development of Southeastern Idaho, published by Daughters of the Pioneers; Life story, Obituary of Joshua Hawkes; History of Joshua Hawkes)
The family of Joshua and Mary Hawkes were new residents in Franklin in 1873. They had moved there from Wellsville, UT. The couple were soon a busy part of the society in their new holdings. It wasn’t long before Joshua was appointed by the City Council of Franklin to fill the council vacancy of L. H. Hatch, who had been given the official title of Mayor in 1872.
Joshua Hawkes was born in 1836 in Far West, Caldwell County, Missouri. His early years were spent in Nauvoo, IL, the center of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at that time. After the assassination of the church leader, Joseph Smith, Jr. in 1844 the residents of Nauvoo worked to finish the construction of the Nauvoo Temple. Joshua’s father was one so employed.
In the fall of 1846 the Hawkes family were driven out of the city, across the Mississippi River, into Iowa. His parents were in poor health with chills and fever and with the help of others heading west, they built a cabin on a farm south of Council Bluff, IA, living there for several years. His mother died there and in 1852 the family continued their westward trek with Joshua driving a team of oxen much of the way. He was 15 years old.
Arriving in Utah, the Hawkes family settled in the Ogden area for a time and Joshua was able to enroll in some schooling. A few years later finds them around Spanish Fork, on 40 acres in the village of Palmyra. At age 21 Joshua was elected as a member of that City Council and later as the Captain of the Police. He was part of the scouting party that dealt with the approach of Johnston’s Army to Salt Lake City.
Joshua married Louise Mary Lewis in 1859 and they began their lives farming around Spanish Fork. As life would have it he had several bouts with health issues and that brought about a move to Weber County, living on a farm near Willard Bay. He had an injury to his leg that caused concern for the rest of his life. Following various jobs and trading of land, they moved to Wellsville and a new house in 1871.
In Wellsville Mary joined a theatrical troupe. Joshua began doing a lot of studying and was recognized as a public speaker. Joshua “served a home mission in Cache Valley Stake, visiting most of the wards. (He) was elected Justice of the Peace and went to the School of the Prophets at Logan.”
With the pain in his leg hampering much of their farming in Cache Valley the Hawkes family traded with Andrew Morrison in 1874-75 for a home in Franklin, ID. Once again they joined the dramatic association that was available. He received some treatment for his leg in Salt Lake City and his life was vastly improved from it.
Hawkes was appointed to the city council of Franklin, then finished out the mayor term that had been vacated by Mayor Hatch. A term of office under the charter was two years. His experience in civic duties was noticed and he was appointed to be the second official mayor. He was elected Mayor of Franklin at the regular election one year later. As a council member Hawkes served on a committee to overhaul the City ordinances in 1877.
“As it was found, a great many defects were in them. Another labor of a public nature now developed itself upon (him) by virtue of the office which (he) held as Mayor of the city as successor of L. H. Hatch. Hatch had filed on the townsite which consisted of 640 acres of land. That must be looked after, which took quite a good part of (Joshua’s) time as he had to make final proof on it and resurvey the town and make a new plan. This was quite a labor. And to raise the necessary funds within the prescribed time by law (six months) was the hardest part of the business. A large amount of the land that was not occupied beside the streets made it appear very high. An amount had to be put upon the land to cover the amount and it caused some unpleasant feelings with some at that time. But this seemed the only course to obtain the required amount and the whole business was upon (his) shoulders.”
That summer he, in company with a number of others, went to Malad and made the final proof on the townsite. The next task was to resurvey all the land that was occupied, then have a plan made of it so that they would get the correct amount of land each person owned. Not finished yet, the next detail was to make out deeds for all the owners of said land.
That same summer the Utah and Northern Railroad began to be extended northward and that affected the economy of Franklin. Grasshoppers had consumed much of the grain crop. Joshua’s family saw an opportunity to increase their family funds and started a business to board the construction crews for the railroad.
In 1879 Joshua married a second wife, Sarah Ann Smart, and with this, faced some of the persecutions at that time for those practicing polygamy, particularly in the political fields with voting restrictions and decisions made in the communities.
Hawkes continued in the deeding business and often represented the city and Oneida county in political affairs. In 1883 he was called to serve a mission in the Southern States. Two years later he reported to Salt Lake City and the ward in Franklin.
He homesteaded some land at Horseshoe Flats in 1896, north of St. Anthony, ID. He moved Sarah and their children to the homestead and Mary continued to live in their Franklin home with that family. Joshua continued to be a civic leader in both locations. He passed away in Logan in 1914, and is buried in Franklin.