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Hudson-Mohawk Genealogical and Family Memoirs:

Index to All Families | Index to Families by County: Albany, Columbia, Fulton, Greene, Montgomery, Rensselaer, Saratoga, Schenectady, Schoharie, Warren, Washington

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[This information is from Vol. III, pp. 1295-1297 of Hudson-Mohawk Genealogical and Family Memoirs, edited by Cuyler Reynolds (New York: Lewis Historical Publishing Company, 1911). It is in the Reference collection of the Schenectady County Public Library at R 929.1 R45. Some of the formatting of the original, especially in lists of descendants, may have been altered slightly for ease of reading.]

The Hawley family of Schenectady descend from a wealthy and titled family of Germany and from a prominent and titled family of England (see Hawley Record, published in 1890, by Elias S. Hawley). The Schwerdtfeger family of Germany have been prominent since the days of Barbarossa, the "Red-Bearded King" of Germany in the tenth century, who knighted a member of the family in token of gratitude for saving the life of the king, by cutting off the head of an enemy with one sweep of his sword, and bringing water in his helmet to cool the eyes of the king, who was already wounded, during one of the battles of his stormy career. The family bore arms, and are yet in possession of family estates and titles in Germany. The family were seated in Hamburg and were high in official life. The American ancestor came to Canada, where he lived, founded a family, and died.

(II) George Jeremiah Swortfiguer (who changed the spelling of the name upon coming to the United States), son of the American ancestor, was born in Canada, 1811. In 1830 he came to Schenectady, New York, where he died May 12, 1890, and is buried in the cemetery of St. George's Episcopal church. He was a jeweler, and engaged in that business in Schenectady. He was an energetic, prosperous man of business, strong in character and universally respected. He bought the family mansion on Washington avenue, now occupied by his daughter, Mrs. Hawley. This house was built in 1700 for a British commissary general, and was occupied by Washington while on a tour of inspection. After several successful years in the jewelry business he disposed of his interest and retired. He subsequently engaged in the development of his real estate investments and did a great deal toward the improvement of his city. He was a man of education and of refined cultivated tastes. He was widely known and appreciated. He married, October 4, 1842, Mary Ann Babcock, born in Schenectady, 1825, died January 27, 1909, a cultured lady of generous, charitable impulse. She was an organizer and secretary of the Young Women's Christian Association of Schenectady; one of the founders of the Society for the Promotion of Useful Reading; charter member of the Schenectady Historical Society; member of St. George's Episcopal Church, and a leader in every good work. Husband and wife were in perfect accord in religious and charitable work, and accomplished a great deal of good. She was a daughter of Ezra Babcock, born in New Bedford, Massachusetts. He was a sergeant in the war of 1812, a man noted for his handsome, commanding physique, as well as his sterling character and rare intellectual attainments. He was prominent in the Masonic order, and in 1825 was leader of the Masonic portion of the exercises at the opening of the Erie canal. He died at the youthful age of thirty-three years. He married Elizabeth Blair, of New England, daughter of a wealthy family of Scotch ancestry. George J. and Mary A. Swortfiguer had a large family of children.

(III) Grace, youngest child of George Jeremiah and Mary Ann (Babcock) Swortfiguer, was born in Schenectady, and was educated in private schools. She married, in Schenectady, August 7, 1889, James L. Hawley, a coffee planter of Guatemala, Central America (see forward). She spent several years there with her husband on his plantation, then came north to educate her children. She resides in the family mansion owned by her father and bequeathed to her. She has traveled extensively at home and abroad. Children:

  1. Mary Adelaide, born in Guatemala, educated in private schools, and with her mother has toured Europe frequently.
  2. Arthur L., born in Guatemala, now a student at Union University.

Mother and children are members of St. George's Episcopal Church.

(I) Joseph Hawley, ancestor of the Hawleys of Schenectady, came from England to America in the year 1629 or 1630. His English home was at Parwich, in Derbyshire. He was born about 1603, died May 20, 1690, as an old tombstone at Stratford, Connecticut, attests. He is first recorded in America at Stratford, 1650. He was a ship builder, and continuously in the public service. He was town clerk, treasurer, chosen by the town for several years to keep an "ordinary," served on special committees, and in other town offices; was deputy to the general court 1658-61-65-67-68-69-70-71-73-74-75-77-78-81-82-83-84-85-87; justice of the peace from May, 1682, until his death, 1690. Was also prominent in the church. His will was made September 17, 1689. He married, 1646, Katherine Birdsey, died June 25, 1692. Children:

  1. Samuel, (see forward.)
  2. Joseph (2).
  3. Elizabeth, married John Chapman.
  4. Ebenezer, married Hester Ward.
  5. Hannah, married Josiah Nichols; (second) John Wolcott.
  6. Ephraim, married Sarah Welles.
  7. John, married Hannah ————.
  8. Mary, married Capt. John Coe.

(II) Samuel, eldest son of Joseph and Katherine (Birdsey) Hawley, was born in Stratford, Connecticut, 1647, died August 24, 1734. He was a farmer and tanner. He was a very large owner of real estate, and one of the thirty-six proprietors of the town of Newtown, Connecticut. He married (first) Mary, daughter of Thomas and Ann (Welles) Thompson. Ann Welles was the daughter of Governor Thomas Welles of Connecticut. He married (second) Patience, widow of Lieutenant John Hubbell, who was the mother of six younger children. Samuel Hawley was a leading citizen of Stratford, member of the church, and officer of the town. His father was elected deputy thirty sessions (sometimes twice a year). Samuel was elected eight times a deputy — 1690-1711. Captain John Hawley was elected eighteen times, so that in sixty-six years some member of the Hawley family had been elected to the assembly fifty-seven times from Stratford, counting the service of Captain Joseph Hawley, of Farmington, Connecticut, which ended 1738. Some member of the family had during a period of eighty years been elected to the assembly seventy times. Children:

  1. Samuel (2), (see forward).
  2. Captain Joseph, married Bethiah Booth.
  3. Deacon Thomas, married Elizabeth Wilcoxson.
  4. Matthew, died 1693.
  5. Ebenezer, died before 1717.
  6. Jehiel, married Hope Stowe.
  7. Elizabeth, married Lieutenant Charles Wolcott.
  8. Ephraim, married Sarah Curtis.
  9. Catherine, died February, 1696.
  10. Stephen, married Mary De Forrest.
  11. Benjamin, married Mary Nichols; (second) Experience Dibble.
  12. Mary, married Josiah Hubbell.
  13. Nathaniel, married Mary Ufford.

(III) Samuel (2), son of Samuel (1) and Mary (Welles) Hawley, was born May 14, 1674, died 1754. Like his father and grandfather he was a very large land owner, although not active in the public service. He married his second cousin, Bethiah Booth, and resided in both Stratford and Derby, Connecticut. Children:

  1. Matthew, died young.
  2. Ann, married Captain Joseph Blackleach.
  3. Richard, died young.
  4. Obadiah (see forward).
  5. Captain Francis, married Ann Clark.
  6. Jonathan, married four wives — Martha Smith, Abigail Nichols, Mabel Gillette, and Widow Beardsley.
  7. Matthew (2), married Bethiah Wheeler.

(IV) Obadiah, son of Samuel (2) and Bethiah (Booth) Hawley, was born February 3, 1708-9, died June 16, 1751. He was a farmer of "Woodbury," Rosbury; Connecticut. He married Sarah ————. Children:

  1. Frederick, died March 16, 1774, unmarried.
  2. Hannah, married Jedediah Welles.
  3. Bethia, married ———— Perry.
  4. Samuel, married Kate Sherwood.
  5. Richard, married Prudence White.
  6. Gideon (see forward).
  7. Elias, married Ruth Lewis.
  8. Matthew, married Chloe Barnes; (second) Abigail Squires.
  9. Rachel.

(V) Gideon, son of Obadiah and Sarah Hawley, was born in 1744, died May 10, 1840, aged ninety-six years. He removed to Charlton, Saratoga county, New York, where he died. He was a farmer. He married Sarah Curtis, born 1752, died April 12, 1801. Children:

  1. Anson, died at age of fifteen years.
  2. Eunice, died at age of eighteen years.
  3. Urania, married Elisha Taylor.
  4. Obadiah, died February 19, 1790, aged sixteen years.
  5. Curtis.
  6. Lemuel.
  7. Penuel.
  8. Sarah, married Simeon Woodruff.
  9. Hannah, married Hon. John Savage, of Wisconsin.
  10. Gideon (LL. D.), lawyer, of Albany, New York; state superintendent of schools; secretary of board of regents; trustee Albany Academy, and well known business man of Albany. He married Margarite, daughter of Jacob and Anna (Quackenbush) Lansing, of Albany. She was born November 5, 1790, died May 22, 1869.
  11. Roswell (see forward).

(VI) Roswell, youngest child of Gideon and Sarah (Curtis) Hawley, was born November 15, 1791, died May 20, 1859. He was educated in the public schools, and grew to manhood on the Saratoga county farm. After his marriage he purchased a farm which he cultivated all his active life. He married, May 1, 1823, Hylitie, daughter of Henry Van Hovenburg and Esther Dumard. She was born 1795, died March 30, 1873. Children:

  1. James D., died October 16, 1854; removed to Alton, Illinois.
  2. Gideon A., (see forward).
  3. Henry V. H., died December 14, 1834.
  4. Elisha R., died March 14, 1862, was of New York City.
  5. John S., married Margaret Reed.

(VII) Gideon A., son of Roswell and Hylitie (Van Hovenburg) Hawley, was born in Charlton, Saratoga county, New York, November 29, 1829. He studied medicine and was a regularly qualified practicing physician. He went to Central America, settled at the city or town of Quezaltenago, Guatemala, where he became interested in coffee production. He practiced his profession and operated coffee plantations with great success. He married, 1864, Adelaide, daughter of James G. A. McKinney. Children:

  1. James L., (see forward).
  2. Sara, born 1868.
  3. John F., born 1869.
  4. Ester, born 1871.
  5. Adelaide, born 1873.

The children were all born in Guatemala, Central America.

(VIII) James L., son of Dr. Gideon A. and Adelaide (McKinney) Hawley, was born in Guatemala, November, 1865. He was educated in the New York schools and in California. He succeeded his father in the coffee business and became a prominent and wealthy coffee planter. He married Grace Swortfiguer, of Schenectady, August, 1889. They have two children — Mary Adelaide and Arthur L., born in Guatemala.

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