Survey of Historic Sites and Buildings
Fort Hawkins was a combined military post (1807-19) and "factory" (1806-17). In 1795 the Federal Government inaugurated the factory system as a means of controlling the Indian trade and negating the influence of Spanish, French, and British traders. The factory at Fort Hawkins was the third, and westernmost, of those on the Georgia frontier. Col. Benjamin Hawkins, "principal temporary agent" for the Southern Indian tribes from 1796 to 1802 and "agent of the United States among the Creek" from 1802 to 1815, selected a hilltop commanding several miles of the Ocmulgee River as the site of the combined military and trading postauthorized by the Treaty of Washington (1805), negotiated with the Creeks. In 1806 the 100-acre tract set aside for the use of the post was cleared; the fort constructed; and the factory, which had been located at Fort Wilkinson (on the Oconee River near present Milledgeville, Ga.), moved to the site. The following year troops who had been stationed at Fort Wilkinson garrisoned the new fort.
Although never attacked, Fort Hawkins was of considerable importance as a supply depot and as a mustering point and base for troops engaged in battles to the west and south during the Creek War, 1813-14; the War of 1812; and the first Seminole War, 1817-18. After 1819 the fort was not garrisoned. Because of the decline of the fur trade in the South, the factory at Fort Hawkins was never very successful. However, it continued in operation until 1817, when it was moved to Fort Mitchell (on the Chattahoochee River near present Fort Mitchell, Ala.).
About 1930 the Nathaniel Macon Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution acquired the site of the fort's southeast blockhouse. In 1937-38, through the cooperation of the National Park Service, the Civilian Conservation Corps, and the Works Progress Administration, the blockhouse was reconstructed on its original location. Now owned by the city of Macon, it is open to groups by special appointment.
William H. Crawford lived in a house on this site during the latter half of his life. In 1799 he began his career as a lawyer in Lexington. He was a State Representative during the years 1803-7, after which he acquired a vacant seat in the U.S. Senate. In 1811 he was elected to the Senate. From 1813 to 1815 he served as Minister to France and in 1815 as Secretary of War. Madison appointed him Secretary of the Treasury in 1816, and he remained in that office from 1817 to 1824 under Monroe. He was a Democratic-Republican candidate for the Presidency in 1824. When the victor, John Quincy Adams, asked him to remain as Secretary of the Treasury, he declined and returned to Georgia. In 1827 Governor George M. Troup of Georgia appointed Crawford as Judge of the Northern Circuit, a position he held until he died 4 years later.
Crawford's home, Woodlawn, built in 1804, was a two-story structure, each story having a separate kitchen and porch, and contained 13 rooms. A servants' house, with a high chimney, stood in the side yard. In 1936 fire destroyed the main house. Before that time, the Daughters of the American Revolution had placed a granite marker along the highway. A cemetery, near the house, contains Crawford's grave.
Last Updated: 29-Aug-2005