William G. Hawley, who is well known because of his effective, earnest labors in behalf of the Republican party and now serving as the postmaster of San Jose, was born at Leicester, England, June 16, 1846, being a son of William and Elizabeth Hawley, members of prominent old familes of that country. The father died there in 1856, having been a prominent architect, stone-mason and building Leicester, and was also the owner of the Clay Lane collieries at Clay Cross, Derbyshire.
During the days of his boyhood the son William attended private schools, and at the age of thirteen graduated at a private academy. In 1861, via Quebec, he came with his mother and family to America, the family taking up their abode in North Prairie, Wisconsin, where William remained until his eighteenth year. He then offered his services to the Union cause in the Civil war, entering the Twenty-eighth Wisconsin Infantry, Company A, under Colonel E. B. Gray, and also served under Generals Steele, Carr, Granger, Canby and Sheridan, participating in active service from the time of his enlistment until peace was declared, after which he was ordered to the Mexican frontier when the president requested the French to withdraw their troops from Mexico. In September, 1865, Mr. Hawley received an honorable discharge from the army and then made his way to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where he worked as a bookkeeper when his health would permit, and also at Manistee, Michigan. In 1872, in the latter city, he engaged in the real estate business, but leaving that city he went to Reedsburg, Wisconsin, in 1873, and in 1883 came to California, the first three years in this state being spent at Hanford. Coming thence to San Jose, he was engaged in real estate operations until in March, 1899, when he was appointed to the office of postmaster, at the same time disposing of his real estate business. In February, 1903, he was reappointed to that position for four years, being the present incumbent.
The marriage of Mr. Hawley was celebrated on the 28th of October, 1868, when Caroline A. Everts became his wife. She is a native of New York and a daughter of E. H. Everts, also a second cousin of William M. Everts, ex-United States Senator. They have two sons, Frederick William, engaged in the jewelry business in San Jose, and George Archer, in the employ of the Southern Pacific Railroad Company at Tucson, Arizona. Mr. Hawley is identified with the Masonic fraternity, belonging to San Jose Lodge No. 10, F. & A. M.; to Howard Chapter No. 14, R. A. M.; to San Jose Commandery No. 10, K. T. He also belongs to the National Union, and is past department commander of the Grand Army of the Republic for the department of California and Nevada, his membership relations being with the John A. Dix Post No. 42, in which he has served as post commander. Throughout his life he has been an active worker in the ranks of the Republican party, and as its representative has held many positions of honor and trust. During his residence in Wisconsin he served as treasurer and tax collector combined at Reedsburg for two years, for nine years was a justice of the peace, was a member of the town council, and at Hanford was made a school trustee. Owing to his efforts the school building, costing twenty thousand dollars, was erected in that city, but this was done after one of the hardest fights in his political career. After coming to San Jose Mr. Hawley took an active part in the board of trade, serving seven terms as a director and one as president, and while in the former position he presented the motion for a committee to be appointed to wait on the Southern Pacific Railroad Company and request them to close the Santa Marguerite pass, which resulted in the completion of the Coast Line Railroad. Mr. Hawley also served one term as a director of the board of education in this city.
Return to California AHGP home page
Return to Sacramento County AHGP home page