my Ralston Family story


Hon. Alvin T. Hawkins [1821 – 1905]     Tennessee Governor





Alvin Hawkins was born in Bath Co., KY. When he was about five years of age his parents removed to Maury county, Tenn., and two years later to Carroll county. Alvin attended the common schools, where he received a good rudimentary education, which  he  supplementedHawkins Alvin  by a  course of  self- study  and reading. in his early days he did farm work, learned the blacksmith trade, taught school for a time, read law with B. C. Totten, of Huntingdon, and in 1843 was admitted to the bar. He established himself in Camden, Benton county, where he began the practice of his profession, and soon attained a high position at the bar.


In 1853, he was elected to the legislature and was an elector on the Bell and Everett ticket in 1860. He was elected to Congress in 1862 as a Unionist, under a proclamation of Andrew Johnson, military governor of the state, but his election was declared irregular and he was not permitted to take his seat. In 1864 he was appointed United States district attorney for the district of Western Tennessee, but resigned the following year to accept the appointment of judge of the supreme court. This office he resigned in the spring of 1868 and retired to private life for a few weeks, when he was appointed consul-general to Havana, Cuba. After serving as consul for a few months he resigned and returned to the United States. In May, 1869, he was elected justice of the Tennessee supreme court, but the adoption of the new constitution the succeeding year displaced him.


In May of 1880, while attending a Methodist Episcopal conference in Cincinnati he was nominated by the Republicans of Tennessee, in their state convention, for the office of governor. Mr. Hawkins was elected by a handsome majority. Governor Hawkins served a single two-year term then retired to private life as an attorney, one of the most prominent in West Tennessee. His administration passed into history as one of the cleanest and most progressive in the record of the state.


Benton County Tennessee Biographies, transcribed and contributed by Christine Walters. From the book, Notable Men of Tennessee.