1915 postcard from Rockland, RI to Glendale, RI
In December 1915, Alice B Hawkes of Rockland, Rhode Island, sent a postcard to her friend Mrs Green which read:
Dear Mrs Green,
I heard you got as far as North Scituate looking for me. I wish you could have kept right along till you got here. Next time you must. Would just love to have you come and see our home. Mrs Randell and Edna has been out and spent the day with us.
Alice B Hawkes
This postcard caught my attention because Rockland, Rhode Island, no longer exists. It was leveled to make room for the Scituate Resevoir. More on that later. Meanwhile, what can we learn about these two women?
Thomas and Annie (Roberts) Brownsword
Alice (Brownsword) Hawkes was born March 5, 1874, in Salford, Lancashire, the daughter of Thomas and Annie (Roberts) Brownsword.Familysearch's family trees, Alice Brownsword page. Alice Brownsword, birth: June Quarter 1874, Salford, Lancashire, Mother's maiden name: Roberts, Vol 08D, page 104, at www.gro.gov.uk .
She was christened November 3, 1880, along with her sisters Ellen and Sarah, and her brother George William, at St. Bartholomew, Salford, Lancashire, England.England Births and Christenings, 1538-1975," database, familysearch, Alice Brownsword, 1880. On 3 April 1881 she was living on Regent Road, in Salford, Lancashire, with her parents, brother, and sisters.1881 Census, Salford, Lancashire, England. RG11, p. 12, Piece/Folio 3971/49.
Alice's father died toward the end of 1881 or the beginning of 1882, and is buried in Barton Wesleyan Methodist Chapel burial grounds, Salford.Thomas Brownsword, death, 1882, Barton upon Irwell, Lancashire, at https://www.freebmd.org. Thomas Brownsword, findagrave page.
The SS Marathon
On April 28, 1884, Annie (Roberts) Brownsword, a widow, and her four children arrived in Boston aboard the SS Marathon.Massachusetts, Boston Passenger Lists, 1820-1891, familysearch, Alice Brownsward, 28 Apr 1884. Annie was living in Pascoag, Rhode Island, in 1900,United States Census, 1900, Annie Brownword, Burrillville, RI, ED 104, sheet 10A, family 212. and died in Scituate in 1914.Rhode Island Deaths and Burials, familysearch, Annie Brownswood, 25 Aug 1914, Scituate. She is buried in Smithville Cemetery, North Scituate, along with her daughter Ellen.Alice Brownsword, findagrave page.
Alice (Brownsword) Hawkes
On December 20, 1897, Alice Brownsword was married to Waldo L Hawkes by Edward J Ayres, a minister at the Pascoag, Methodist Church. At the time, both were living in Pascoag. Waldo was an assistant postmaster. This was the first marriage for both of them. Rhode Island, Town Clerk, Vital and Town Records, 1630-1945, familysearch, Waldo L. Hawkes and Alice Bronsword, 20 Dec 1897. Souvenir history of the New England Southern Conference : in three volumes, Compiled and edited by Rennetts C Miller (Nantasket, Mass: Rennetts C Miller, 1897) at archive.org.
Alice and Waldo Hawkes were in Pascoag in 1900, but by the time of the 1910 census they had moved to Rockland and were renting a house on Rockland Road. Waldo was now working as a street car conductor. They were still there on September 12, 1918, when Waldo registered for the World War I draft. United States Census, 1900, Waldo Hawkes, Burrillville, ED 104, sheet 16B, family 370. United States Census, 1910, Waldo L Hawkes, Scituate, ED 275, sheet 3A, family 47. United States World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918, Waldo Lyman Hawkes, Burrillville, Local Board State Division 3.
Meanwhile, in 1915—the year Alice sent her postcard to Mrs Greene—the Rhode Island General Assembly authorized the Providence Water Supply Board to condemn 14,800 acres of land in rural Scituate. "By December 1916, notices were delivered to the villagers stating that [their] homes and land ... were to be taken and destroyed. Construction was well under way by 1921, and water was being stored by November 10, 1925."Raymond A Wolf, The Lost Villages of Scituate, (Arcadia Publishing, 2009), available in the Ocean State Libraries system and at Arcadia Publishing.
Rockland Post Office, undated photo
The Hawkes, who were only renting, were probably not as impacted as the families in the area who had farmed the same land for generations. Still they had to relocate, and 1920 finds them with Waldo's parents in North Scituate and Waldo still a street car conductor. By 1930 they were in Cranston and were still there in 1940. Waldo worked for a while in a machine shop, then as a janitor for a library. United States Census, 1920, Waldo Hawkes, North Scituate, ED 315, sheet 2A, line 14, family 31. United States Census, 1930, Waldo Hawkes, Cranston, ED 178, sheet 17A, line 31. United States Census, 1940, Waldo Hawkes, Cranston, ED 4-47, sheet 7A, line 17, family 147.
The 1941 Cranston City Directory shows Waldo and Alice at 116 Greenwood with Waldo working as a janitor at the Auburn Branch of the Cranston Public Library. They were still at that address, and Waldo was still working for the library, in the 1954 Directory. The 1956 edition says that Waldo Hawkes died October 1, 1954. There is no mention of Alice in 1956, 1957, or 1959. Recent death records for Rhode Island are not on line, but from findagrave.com we learn that Alice (Brownsword) Hawkes died in 1958. She and her husband are both buried in Smithville Cemetery, North Scituate, the same cemetery as her mother and sister. They had no children. Alice Hawkes, findagrave page. Waldo Hawkes, findagrave page. Cranston City Directories, at ancestry.com.
It seems ironic that in December 1915, as Alice expressed her wishes that her friend Mrs Greene could come out to see her home, plans were already underway that would lead to it being torn down. Still, the Hawkes fared better than most. "There were 'quite a few' suicides - possibly because townspeople, [historian Fred] Faria said, received 'peanuts, nothing' for their properties. 'The owners were compensated, but not enough.'""Lost village of Rockland remembered at history conference" by Denise Perreault, in The Valley Breeze, April 29, 2015. At least Alice and Waldo Hawkes lived out the rest of their lives, probably not as happy as they were in Rockland but alive nonetheless.
There is extensive information on Alice Brownsword's family in the familysearch tree cited above in note 1. In the next article, we will take a look at the recipient of the card, Mrs Julia (Mowry) Paine Greene.
Continued in Julia (Mowry) Paine Greene, of Glendale, Rhode Island.
I found the photo of the Rockland Post Office in the digital edition of The Lost Villages of Scituate by Raymond A Wolf, (Arcadia Publishing, 2009), in the Ocean State Libraries system. I am using it with his permission. The author stated that most photographs in his book were courtesy of the City of Providence Water Supply Board archives.
The photo of the SS Marathon comes from Norway Heritage.
The photos of Alice and Waldo Hawkes were on the familysearch familytree mentioned in note 1.
The postcard from Mrs Hawkes to Mrs Greene was once in my possession but is no longer.