Samuel Hugh Hawkins diary, January-July 1877

The Samuel Hugh Hawkins Diary, January - July 1877, donated by Georgia State Senator George Hooks to the Lake Blackshear Regional Library System, chronicles Americus, Georgia entrepreneur, lawyer, and banker Samuel Hawkins' financial, agricultural, civic, and religious activities in Sumter County during the final months of Reconstruction. Diary entries briefly illustrate Hawkins' work at the Bank of Americus and his real estate interests in the county. Having an interest in agriculture and horticulture, Hawkins describes his participation in the Sumter County Agricultural Society and Horticulture Society, attendance at the 1877 Georgia State Agricultural Society meeting in Milledgeville, entrepreneurial interest in the Bell Cultivator, and role in the founding of the Americus Fair Association. While later known for his role as president of the Savannah, Americus and Montgomery Railroad Company, Hawkins mentions railroad issues only in passing. An active member of Bethel Baptist Church (later Americus Baptist Church), Hawkins records his religious observances throughout the journal. On a national level, Hawkins comments on the contested presidential election of 1876 and the resulting presidency of Republican candidate, Rutherford B. Hayes. Locally, he chronicles city and county elections and appointments to the constitutional convention, the efforts of an emigrant agent to lure local African Americans to Louisiana as contract laborers as well as events surrounding the murder of a white woman by an African American man. The site also contains related links, suggested readings, a historical note, and biographical notes of the figures mentioned in the diary.

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