HISTORY OF HOLMES COUNTY -- The First Settlers of Holmes County --- Hathaway

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(From the book "Heart and History of Holmes County" by Anna Paget Wells (used by permission of the publisher, Sue Cronkite))  This book is chock full of pictures and what has been used within this web site is only a small about of the book.  It can still be ordered from Sue Cronkite or from the Holmes County Advertiser, 112 E Virginia Avenue, Bonifay FL 32425; phone 850-547-2270; fax 850-547-9200

The Hathaway family contributed much to the development of Holmes County.

Cash, in his History of Florida listed two Hathaways among the leading citizens of Holmes County in 1885. These were J W Hathaway and A B Hathaway. No doubt the two men were related. Just what the relationship was, the writer has not been able to find out.

The Hathaways came to Holmes soon after the Civil War.

We probably have more information on the J W Hathaway family. We find his children making important contributions to the educational and political life in locations throughout Florida.

Mr and Mrs J W Hathaway were pioneers in the development of Holmes County. J W Hathaway served as a county commissioner in the 1880s. He was also chairman of the Board of Commissioners.

Mr and Mrs J W Hathaway were the parents of at least 10 children – 8 sons and 2 daughters: J A J, L D, W B, Fons A, J T, James J, J B, C D, Pearl, and Ada.

        1. J A J Hathaway grew up with his sturdy brothers and other sturdy youth of his day, taking part in the hard knocks that developed sturdy manhood. He took advantage of educational opportunities that came to him tardily, as was common in those days. He prepared himself to teach and became prominent in school work in Holmes County. He was chosen to serve as superintendent of education for eight years. This led to his election as a county judge, where he served 12 years. He was then admitted to the bar and practiced law in Bonifay up to the time of his death.

        2. L D Hathaway settled in Brooksville.

        3. W B Hathaway served as language professor with distinction at the University of Florida in Gainesville.

        4. Fons A Hathaway was probably one of the best known of J W Hathaway’s sons. Several local historians commented on Fons. James Wells, in Pioneering in the Panhandle, places Fons in the schools of Santa Rosa:

"The earliest record, shown by school warrant stubs, dates back to 1895. Warrants were issued to Fons A Hathaway in March and December, 1895, at a salary of $40 per month. My mother, Ella Padgett, was a pupil of Hathaway’s at East Bay, until her marriage in 1898. Her Bible contains entries of births and deaths of several people in his handwriting. It is possible that he taught at East Bay earlier than the records indicate, because there was one Bible entry of the birth of Hamilton Garshay Broxson in 1892."

Fons A Hathaways became a well-known public figure in Florida. Since he was a native of Holmes County, we can feel a sense of pride over a native son. For many years he was superintendent of city schools in Jacksonville, Fla. He was chairman of the State Road Department under Gov John W Martin, from 1925 to 1929, during which time the era of highway construction really began.

He was a candidate for governor in 1928, but lost to Doyle Carlton by a small margin. He served as the head of the Works Progress Administration (WPA) in Florida during the Depression years.

        5. J T Hathaway (no information)

        6. James J Hathaway (no information)

        7. J B Hathaway (no information)

        8. C D Hathaway (no information)

        9. Pearl Hathaway married E O Womble.

        10. Ada Hathaway became Mrs Ada Fifield.



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This page was last updated on:  17 June 2002 , 08:42 PM