Gershom Hawkins


Gershom Hawkins: A Revolutionary War Soldier

    Gershom Hawkins was an ordinary farmer before he became a soldier in the Revolutionary War fighting on the American side. Gershom was a patriot yet one of his brothers was a loyalist. The Revolutionary War had divided many families and brought families together.

    Hawkins was born in 1742 in Yaphank, NY. His parents were Zachariah Hawkins and Abigail Jayne Hawkins. He married Hannah Brigard, daughter of Lenke, and then when Hannah died on October 12, 1782 he married Mary [her last name was unknown]. The children of Hannah and Gershom  were; Hannah, born on November 24, 1763, Agnes, born August 4, 1765, Phebe, born August 1, 1767, Tabitha, born May 28, 1769, Mary, born June 17, 1771, Sarah, born April 18, 1773, Gershom, born April 26, 1775, and Rebecca, born August 20, 1778. Mary and Gershom also had three children.

    Gershom was living during the amazing time period of the Revolutionary War. He signed the Association in May, 1775. Americans were asked to sign the Association to show support to the Continental Congress of America. People who signed the Association were declared Patriots.

    Gershom Hawkins was a soldier who served in the First Regiment of Minute Men commanded by Col. Josiah Smith. In August of 1776 the Battle of Long Island was fought where George Washington lost to the British. After the battle, the British took control of Long Island and some patriots fled to Connecticut as refugees, while some remained on Long Island. Gershom was one of the patriots that stayed on Long Island. In 1778 the British were demanding that Long Islanders give their cattle, sheep, wagons and horses to the English army. To avoid not having their goods taken, they would have to sign the Oath of Loyalty to King George the III, which Gershom Hawkins signed. By signing this oath Gershom was able to keep the property he owned before the war. Even though the patriots signed the Oath of Loyalty, they still secretly gave aid and information to the Americans in Connecticut.

    After serving in the army Gershom Hawkins received land in Bayport, NY where at the time it was known as Middle Village. In his will, which was dated September 25, 1815, Gershom left 100 acres in Bayport to his oldest son Gershom. The Hawkins homestead and belongings was left to his second wife Mary. Once Mary died Gershom’s property was to be divided equally between his six daughters.

    Gershom Hawkins lived during an important period of American history. During the American Revolution there were many men like Hawkins willing to fight for what they believed in. Those men had a lot of courage to do so and should be recognized for their bravery because without that we wouldn’t have the freedom we have today.

Written by,
Jessica Eustace
May, 2003

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