|Benjamin Hawver and hs first 5 children|
Monroe Hawver was the father of Benjamin Monroe Hawver, who went on to have 7 children and a very large clan that has extended down 5 generations full of descendants.
Benjamin's story is that when he was a teenager, he ran away from home because his step father, Ezra Pullen, beat him and treated him so bad that he couldn't stand it. He was later reunited with his mother (Julia Frances Keith) in San Fransisco after she left Mr. Pullen. In San Fransisco Ben met his wife to be, Magdalena Gall, and then off they went.
So if Ben ran away from his step dad, who was his real dad?
His name is Monroe E. Hawver. He was born around the year 1845 in the Wisconsin Territory (before it was a state). His father moved their family on a wagon train to California sometime in the early 1850s, and by 1860 they were living in Gilroy, CA.
On Sept. 6, 1874, Monroe was married in Hollister, CA (near Gilroy), to Julia Keith.
So what happened to Monroe?
The story that was passed down and later transcribed was that in 1879, Monroe was killed in an argument over a horse. I even had heard in the telling of it that it was a knife fight.
Years of searching online had not been able to confirm his death. I couldn't find a grave, or a death certificate, or a newspaper story. Now a death certificate was going to be hard, since the state of California didn't require standard death certificates until 1905. Before that each county had different ways of record keeping, if they even kept records at all. And as far as newspapers? I was assuming that his death might be listed in one, however not all newspapers from every year and every town have been digitized, so searching is only available online for certain papers and years.
It wasn't until just recently I came across this story in a more recently digitized paper, the San Jose Mercury-News. This story was published on June 15, 1883.
As you can tell from the two stories, Julia thought that the killing was not Monroe's fault. I'm more inclined to side with her, but there is no way to know for sure. I'm just extremely happy that I now have been able to confirm the story about being killed...in an argument...over a horse...even with a mention about a knife. I'm also super pumped about having a death date: July 29, 1880, and a death place: about 18 miles from Soda Springs, Idaho Territory (Idaho wasn't a state yet). So, happy 140th death anniversary today!
I'm sure there will be a little bit more to find eventually, since there was an original story written in a California newspaper, as referenced in the first story apologizing for being wrong about not believing his death. I hope to find that one and others in the continuing stories that this family has, buried in history.