About the Collection
Claude William Hawley
by Jeffrey S. Hardy
Claude William Hawley was born on 2 August 1887 in Richfield, Sevier County, Utah, to Asa Robert Hawley and Frances Ellen Howd. The year following his birth the Hawley family moved to the nearby community of Central. Claude was baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) on 3 September 1896. He married Etta Elizabeth Christensen on 4 May 1910 in Salt Lake City, but they settled in Central. His new married life was shortly interrupted, however, by a call to serve a mission for the LDS Church.
Hawley left Salt Lake on 11 May 1910 bound for Independence, Missouri, where headquarters for the Central States Mission was located. After arriving he received the assignment to serve in the South Texas Conference and soon became heavily involved with holding cottage meetings and tracting in and around Houston. A common journal entry reads, “Held meeting at night (Cottage). Very warm 102 degrees in shade. A most enjoyable day and Sunday in Texas.”1 His sense of humor is also evident in his diary; he frequently recorded anecdotes and humorous experiences such as when he fell off a rope swing into a river while wearing his best Sunday clothes. On another occasion he noted, “About nine o’clock it commenced raining and we commenced getting wet.”2 Claude diligently fulfilled his proselytizing duties and on 12 December 1910 was given a new missionary to train. Shortly thereafter he became president of the South Texas Conference, a calling he held until the end of his mission. Late in 1912 Hawley received his official release and journeyed home to Central.
Following his return home from Texas, Claude pursued his education by attending classes at the Brigham Young Academy in Provo, Utah County, Utah. Ecclesiastically, after his mission he served as president of the Central Ward Mutual Improvement Association, superintendent of the Sunday School, and a member of the Genealogical Society. He also devoted time to his family, which included four children by 1927. In Central, Claude became an important business and civic leader, working for the county as road commissioner until 1917. He later obtained employment as director of the James M. Peterson Bank, and the Sevier Valley Canal Co., and president of the Central Water Works. He was also “one of the leading farmers and stockmen of the county,” and was “esteemed as one of the county’s most substantial citizens.”3 In 1925 Hawley represented Sevier County in the state legislature in Salt Lake City. His later Church responsibilities included high councilman for the South Sevier Stake, first counselor in the Central Ward bishopric, and president of the Stake High Priest’s Quorum. Claude William Hawley unexpectedly passed away at the age of forty-four from a stroke on 2 March 1932 in Central.
1 Claude Hawley, “Diary, 1910–1911,” 19 June 1910. MSS SC 1660, L. Tom Perry Special Collections, Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University.
2 Hawley, “Diary, 1912,” 31 March 1912. MSS SC 1660, LTPSC.
3 Richfield Reaper. “Former Member of Legislature Dies Suddenly.” 3 March 1932.
Ancestry World Tree Project. Provo, Utah: MyFamily.com Inc., 2003. 7 April 2004 available from http://www.ancestry.com/trees/awt/main.htm.
Hawley, Claude. “Diaries, 1910–1912.” MSS SC 1660, L. Tom Perry Special Collections, Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University.
Richfield Reaper. “Former Member of Legislature Dies Suddenly.” 3 March 1932.