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Caroline "Carrie" (Yost) Hamilton Hawley - Notable Women Ancestors

My great, great grandmother, Caroline "Carrie" (Yost) Hamilton Hawley, was born April 12, 1852 in Port Carbon, Pennsylvania and died 100 years later on June 15, 1952 in Oakland, California.

The following information comes from the STOCKTON RECORD (Stockton, California) December 17,1948, written by Lolita Lorang Record Oakdale Correspondent:


Caroline Oakdale, December17, 1948 -
Persons now living who count among their memories a meeting with President Lincoln probably can be tallied on the fingers of two hands.

One of them is 96-year-old Mrs. Charlie Hawley of Oakdale, former Stocktonian, whose friends are proud to shake the hand that shook the hand of Lincoln.

She is the mother of Earle Hawley, retired Stockton postmaster now living in Santa Cruz; Walther Hawley and Alta Hamilton Thierkoff, all of Stockton and George Hawley of Oakdale district. With whom she makes her home.

Mrs. Hawley never tires of telling of her call on Lincoln with her mother in 1865 to seek permission to move her brother's body from Gettysburg Field. Lincoln shook hands and complimented her, she admits with a quick smile.

Reminiscences of Carrie Hawley includes crossing the United States in a train which resembles the San Francisco California Street cable car, and rounding up wild hogs for fattening, shipping grain by boat from near Modesto to Stockton when her husband operated a livery stable in the heart of the Stockton business district.

A descendant of pioneer Americans, Mrs. Hawley declares her grandfather was a Revolutionary War soldier whose leg was frozen off during that awful winter with Washington at Valley Forge.


This bright-eyed smiling alert lady has had an exceedingly busy life and still keeps busy making numerous quilts. She can even thread a needle without her eyeglasses and now is in the process of making a quilt for great-granddaughter Susan. No hermit despite her years, she gets around as well as anybody. Thanksgiving Day was spent attending the movies in Stockton.

Born Carrie Yost in Port Carbon, Pennsylvania, on April 12, 1852 Mrs. Hawley was the twelfth child in the family. Her father died while she was quite young. Her mother remarried and another child was added to the already large family. As the home was a little crowded and financial circumstances none too good, Carrie went to live as a helper with a family by the name of Evenson, soap manufacturers. There she was accepted as one of the family and lived there until she was 18.


Then she came to San Francisco, bringing two children to their father. It was on this trip she rode the open-air train resembling a cable car, which made frequent stops for water. Passengers sat on chairs, sleeping when and how they could. Since that time Mrs. Hawley has been East five times by much improved methods of travel.

As no funds were supplied for her return trip to Pennsylvania, San Francisco becomes her new home. The next couple of years are a deep dark secret about which Mrs. Hawley refuses to talk. However, it has come to light, that during that time she became a member of the OES, and in 1872 was married to Sylvester Alexander Hamilton.


Mr. and Mrs. Hamilton settled down on a homestead near Vernalis. The property consisted of about 350 acres, now part of the El Solyo Ranch. There is at present a fruit-packing shed and a road in the locality bearing the name of her second husband, Hawley.

When Carrie was 25, Sylvester died, leaving her with the ranch and three small daughters. They are the present Alta Hamilton Thierkoff of Stockton, Veva Hamilton Allen of Los Angeles, and Sadie Hamilton Frick, now deceased.


As manager of a large ranch and three young daughters, the days were long and the work strenuous, but Mrs. Hamilton proved capable. She remembers that with the aid of her daughters she collected wild honey and purified it for market. Grain was delivered by wagon to Midges Landing near Modesto, where it was loaded on riverboats headed for Stockton. A good price at that time was 80 cents.

In spite of her efforts to keep the ranch and family intact, the place was put up for sale at public auction. However, kind friends bid it in and turned it over to her. In later years, she and her sons paid back the debt.

Mrs. Hawley also tells about Miller & Lux driving cattle by the ranch, a line sometimes 10 miles long. When an animal died by the roadside, farmers would skin it out, selling the hide.


After a few years of widowhood, Mrs. Hamilton became Mrs. James W. Hawley and the family moved to Stockton, where Hawley operated a livery stable at the approximate location of the present Tiny's Restaurant. One son, Walter, was born while the family lived in Stockton, before moving back to the ranch when the stable was sold in 1884.

Some prominent names are listed in Hawley's stable record books of October and November 1884, as patrons of the stable. Among them are John Gearhart, 125 pounds of hay, $1.25: Martin Lund, 210 pounds of hay, $2.10, and a sack of barley, $1.25; James M McCarty, Horse and buggy, $4.00, Henry Louderbach, Feeding team, 50 cents: Constable Walker, Buggy team, $6.00: Joseph O'Donnell, hay, $1.75; James H. Budd, Buggy to Lathrop, $4.00 and horse and buggy to French Camp, $3.00; Woods & Phelps, horse for 2 days $5.00, and for a double carriage, $10.00.

It was after moving back to the ranch that two more sons were born, Earle and George Hawley of Eugene, near Oakdale. While the boys were quite young, Mrs. Hawley again had to supervise the family and its finances. Her husband becomes an invalid as the result of an injury from falling tree.

With the help of the boys she would round up wild hogs and fatten them for market. Another source of income was the chopping and sale of firewood.


In 1913, Mrs. Hawley became a widow for the second time, the family having again moved to Stockton in about 1905. For forty years, her address was 2205 N. California Street. Her daughter, Mrs. Benjamin Thierkoff still lives next door at 2207.

Along with her three sons and two living daughters, Mrs. Hawley can count 21 grand Children, 39 great grand children and 13 great great grandchildren, 78 in all.

High light of the past year was her 96th birthday celebration when many friends and relatives gathered at the Rosedale Schoolhouse to wish her a happy birthday.

As to future plans? She is looking forward to her 97th birthday next April and to spend another summer at Santa Cruz where she has a cottage.


The Funeral Card reads as Follows:

In memory of Caroline Hawley Born Pennsylvania April 12, 1852 passed away Oakland, CA June 15, 1952. Services in the Chapel of Frisbie and Warren June 18, 1952 at 2:00 P.M.

Reverand Horace Allen Officiated
she was entombed in Casa Bonita Mausoleum

Frisbie and Warren is located at 809 N./ California St., Stockton, CA


The following is part of a letter I received from a cousin through one of Carrie's daughters. It contains some family lore that I have not confirmed as of yet.

"What and how did this young woman of 18 do and manage to get by for 2 years in San Francisco during the late 1860's being left there without means to return home? Her first daughter was born in early 1870's. There was a TV program called Big Valley starring Barbara Stanwick and some family members said that the story line was taken from Carrie Hawley's life. As I recall it was about a widow with 3 children operating a large cattle ranch in the foothills outside of Stockton. The stories often had them going to town (Stockton) for supplies and to conduct business. The widow was a strong willed woman just as Carrie had to be. So-I wonder if there is any truth to the rumors about the TV programs origins". [Jack La Berge 11-3-1998]



If you have any information on this family or recognize any surnames,
please e-mail Carolyn Hawley Crawford

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