The story of Hawn’s Mill, Missouri is a tragedy. You may have noticed I have been spelling the name H A W N, rather than the traditional spelling of H A U N. In our next conversation with Dr. Alex Baugh, we discuss the spelling of Jacob’s name, and why it has likely been misspelled by historians for over a century.
Alex: [Jacob] is in New York, marries. His first wife dies, I think in childbearing. Then he marries Harriet… I believe they married in Buffalo. But anyway, he’s kind of one of these, you know, “Go West, young man.” Next we pick him up, he’s near Green Bay, Wisconsin… Then he moves down to Caldwell County, Missouri…He’s got a mill operation. You can’t pack that up and move it. He’s not going anywhere. So he stays. He’s not a Latter-day Saint and he never was. He spells his name HAWN, not HAUN. But you can understand that’s a phonetic spelling, you can spell it HAHN. We’ve got a place in Orem here, they have HAHN. It’s German. [There are] multiple, different spellings. For years we’ve been looking for Hawn with HAUN, because that’s the way it was always on the maps and everything that I found his name was HAWN.
I was in my office one time and I got an email from Kyle Mayer up at Family History [library.] He says, “I got a lady here who needs to talk to you.” Now I can’t remember her name. But I emailed her and [Kyle] says, “I think you you might want to talk to her, communicate with her. She’s got some information about Jacob Hawn. There might be a connection.” Anyway, I write to her. I wish I could remember her name. As soon as we stop talking, I’ll remember. She was so helpful. She said, “I’m reading a book by Beverly Cleary.” Do you know who Beverly Cleary is?
GT: Yes, the children’s author.
Alex: Yeah, Ramona and all. She’s got an autobiography called, A Girl From Yamhill. Beverly Cleary was born in the Yamhill, Oregon. In the book, she says, “My great grandfather”, I think it was, “was a man by the name of Jacob Hawn. He was a miller, and in 1835, he was in Caldwell County, Missouri.”
GT: Oh my goodness.
Alex: And anyway, they had two children there. I’m going, “Oh my gosh.” Well, again, I got the email. I walked right over to the Harold B. Lee library and checked out that book and read exactly where she was telling me about. Two weeks later, I was on my way to Portland, Oregon and Yamhill is a little south. I went there. I’m trying to think of the county. Rick, I found out everything about Jacob Hawn. I found his burial place, I found out all about him.
GT: All through Beverly Cleary, essentially.
Alex: Yep. I have written, I’ve tried to find her. She’s 100 years old right now.
Did you know we’ve been spelling Jacob’s last name wrong for a century? We’ll also recap events up to this point.
Check out our conversation….