Hawkins, Jonah

from Yaphank As It Is and Was
Beecher Homan


His Earthly Labors----Uncle Jonah's Anterior Position

This jocund old gentlemen was born in West Moriches, Sept. 3, 1790. He died Dec. 3,1856. His elitaphic words were: "When my soul fainted within me, I remembered the Lord."

Jonah Hawkins was not an exceedingly fascinating man, physically but a more agreeable and honorable citizen never existed in Yaphank. Always feeble and frail in constitution, but active and ambitious.

He was hunchbacked and very deaf; but, notwithstanding his physical deformity, he always wore a genial smile for everyone. Mr. Hawkins possessed an reproachable reputation while living, and left a white record of blameless life.

His Earthly Labors

Where E. W. Mills now "gathers in the dust" stood an unpainted, weather beaten, brown structure, one story and attic high. In that old building, Jonah Hawkins established a grocery store on a limited scale, and from behind the low, rough-planed counter, the old gentleman would smilingly greet his rustic customers.

In those "Ye olden days," Yaphank-----then Millville gloried in the accommodations of three stores. Isaac Terry's was declared the model mercantile institution, and he the "Pricely merchant."

J.P. Mills was then unknown upon the mercantile sea, but soon launched his ship. He purchased Mr. Terry's business and interest, and became possessor of the little brown store. A larger and more commodious one was soon erected upon the old ground, and the romantic name of "Mills" was a business fact.

Uncle Jonah's Anterior Position

What is now Van Rensellear Swezey's carriage and store house, forty years in the past was a popular grocery and Yankee Notion store, where the vivacious subject of our sketch bartered his commodities and notions for farmers' produce and the hard cash of the local yeomanry.

"Uncle Jonah" lived to the mature old age of threescore years and six, and then he girded on his armor, and began the long, long march through the valley;. He died as he had lived, fearing God and loving man.

His mortality slumbers beside those of his faithful companion, in the Episcopal graveyard in Yaphank.

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