Former MC Sheriffs
Posted by sharon cunningham (+12) 17 years ago
Re the Oct 30 thread below, I've learned thru research on old Montana buffalo hunters, that many of these men came from Texas to hunt buffalo, stayed in Montana, and became lawmen. Two, who were in Miles City, were Jack Ballou Hawkins and Jack Harris. (Jack McRae, these are the men I couldn't remember!).

A nice bio of Hawkins appears in a book titled "An Illustrated History of the State of Montana" by Joaquin Miller, Lewis Pub. Co., Chicago, 1894. Hawkins' bio appears on pp. 357-359. He was the current sheriff when this book was published, having been elected in 1892.

He had been a member of Captain Rufus Perry's Company D, Frontier Battalion, Texas Rangers, May 25, 1874-November 6, 1876. He arrived in Custer City, Dakota Terr. March 11,1877, moved almost immediately to the Gallatin Valley, and soon located a ranch on Graveyard Bottom, 20 miles above Miles City on the south side of the Yellowstone.

Hawkins and his brother "in the winter of 1880 killed 1,146 buffalo, and while on the ranch about 3,500; also many deer and antelope..."

I have the greatest photo of "Soda Water Jack" Hawkins in what a flatlander like myself considers the typical Western cowboy stance...facing the camera, body quarter-turned, arms folded, narrow-brimmed felt hat, light, long-sleeved shirt with polka-dot scarf, revolver on a belt underneath a cartridge belt with what looks like .45-70 cartridges! This had to have been taken during his hunting days...wonderful picture!

Sharon Cunningham
Posted by Kenny Vail (+121) 17 years ago
Hi Sharon,

In the Hoopes book there is a little more coverage for the late seventies concerning Jack Hawkins. It seems he came north with a fellow Texas ranger name of Sam Long and they arrived at M.C. in a group of five riders which included Job and Ike Crabtree and Dan Leahy. It says Hawkins procured the first hay contract with Fort Keogh along with partners Thomas Burns of Bozeman, Leahy, Long and Job Crabtree. This was carried out on the flats above the fort near present-day Hathaway in '77.

It also lists 1877 as the year that "Soda Water Jack" served as a scout for General Miles.

Hawkins is also credited with naming the creek "Graveyard Bottom," at which place he started his ranch near Hathaway. He first served as deputy sheriff in M.C. in 1882 and according to the Yellowstone Journal [12/25/1886] he was again appointed deputy sheriff and jailor in that town.

Posted by Bill Hawkins (+5) 17 years ago
I was so elated to find this forum article concerning my great-grandfather Jack Hawkins. I am a history teacher in Alaska and I have been working slowly on my family's genealogy. Unfortunately, many photos and letters concerning my great-grandfather were destroyed when my grandparents ranch house burned in Dillon during the 1940s.
I would really appreciate any information, photos, or even links to photos of my great-grandfather. I have only one picture of him in his later years taken in Miles City. He is on a white horse in front of several businesses along a street. I would be glad to share it with your Historical Society if you so desire.
I was especially thrilled about the description of Grandpa Jack's photo! I have that old 45-70 1873 Springfield at home now, it is mounted on the wall.
I am also looking for a photo of my great-grandfather when he was a Montana lawman. I recall an old picture of him with 5 or 6 other lawmen who were all seated for their group portrait. Perhaps you have some information on this too.
Thanks in advance for your help and great website.
William E. Hawkins
Fairbanks, Alaska
Posted by Dave Roberts (+1493) 17 years ago
It's a Huffman picture- photo #76 in "The Frontier Years" also shown on this site-

(cut and paste the link to your address bar)

left to right- Billy Smith, Jack Hawkins, Tom Irvine, Louis King, and Eph Davis.

[This message has been edited by Dave Roberts (edited 1/6/2004).]

[This message has been edited by Dave Roberts (edited 1/6/2004).]
Posted by Dave Roberts (+1493) 17 years ago
Hawkins bio ala Miller-

differs a little from the Range Riders bio by daughter Nan King, son William, and Julian Terret.

The RR bio shows his birth date as July 10, 1848 instead of 1849 and his arrival in the Black Hills as March 12 instead of 11, 1877.

Also in the RR bio- he was a Sergeant in the Rangers. Appointed Deputy Sheriff 1882, appointed Deputy Sheriff and Jailer 1886, elected Sheriff 1892, re-elected in 1893. Appointed Trustee of the State Reform School by Governor Smith 1898. Held that office until January 1, 1903 when he was appointed Director, holding that position until 1910.

Brother, William, was Chief of Police, Miles City.

Wife, Nannie d Jan. 1930, Dillon. Jack d May 15, 1936, Dillon.

I'm a terrible typist, would be happy to scan and e-mail the RR bio if you'd like.

Posted by Ken Griffin (+3) 17 years ago
I am currently researching information on my great grandfather James (Jack) Ballou Hawkins. I have found that he was the Sheriff of Custer County in 1894 and lived in Miles City. In 1888 he married Nannie Watson and had four children, Maisie, William W., Hazel M.(died as a child) and Nannie Sarah(My Grandmother). His parents were Martin and Henrietta (Ballou) Hawkins. Henrietta had a twin sister Julietta who married ? Russel. Henrietta is a relative of Eliza (Ballou) Garfield - President Garfield's Mother. James had a brothers Thomas B., William and sister Sarah Ellen.

William "Billy" Nelson Hawkins was the Chief of Police in Miles City at some time in the past. Was also a jailer and deputy when Jack was Sherrif.

[This message has been edited by Ken Griffin (edited 8/18/2004).]