Strangers to Us All
Lawyers and Poetry

Robert Hawley

(1827- 1905)

"Robert Hawley was born in Muncy, Lycoming County, October 6, 1827. He was educated in the public schools at Lairdsville and Muncy and the Lewisburg Academy. He studied law with the Hon. Henry Johnson of Muncy, and was admitted to the bar of Lycoming County, in 1850. He practiced in Muncy, Hughesville and Williamsport at various times. He was appointed Prothonotary by Governor James Pollock in 1856, and commissioner of the board of enrollment for the XVIIIth district of Pennsylvania from April 1863 to May 1865. He was appointed Postmaster at Williamsport, July 30, 1869 and retired January 23, 1878. He was widely known for his poetical genius. According to the Muncy Luminary, on December 23, 1856, he was practicing in Hughesville. In 1863 he was still practicing in Muncy where he gave special attention to soldiers' pension claims, until November 14, 1865, when he moved to Williamsport with Hugh H. Cummin. He was the son of Enos Hawley, who had established a tannery with Thomas G. Downing, known as the Franklin tannery, located about half a mile below Lairdsville.

Enos Hawley was remembered and honored by the generation that knew him as a man of strictest integrity and morality. He was the first man in his community who had the courage to vote the Abolition ticket. He and his home were the innocent victims of the Muncy Abolition Riot. He had considerable of John Brown in his make-up, according to Meginness, but being in sympathy with the Friends in his ideas regarding war, he was not in the same spirit aggressive. Enos Hawley was born in Chester county, near the Brandywine Battlefield, in June 1799, and came with his father, Robert Hawley, and mother to Lycoming County in 1802, settling in Muncy Township. Enos was appointed Postmaster at Muncy, July 9, 1861 and served nearly twelve years until March 12, 1873. He died October 2, 1881.

The bar memorial to Robert Hawley, No. 114, December Term 1905 is missing from the Prothonotary's office, so he presumably died in Muncy in that year." [Historical Sketches of the Bench and Bar of Lycoming County, Pennsylvania] [online text]

It is reported that both Robert Hawley, and his father, Enos Hawley were poets. [See Marshall Reid Anspach, An Account of the Muncy Abolition Riot of 1842 Including a Narrative of One of the Jurymen, 7 (2) Quarterly Magazine of History and Biography 37 (1942)]