The Hathaway Family

Early Years

Nicholas Hathaway (or “Hathway”) was born around 1595, perhaps near what is known today as Binley Farm in Kingscote, England. He was probably the son of Thomas (1560-1610) and Margaret Maxfield (1573-1630) Hathway of Kingscote. While in England he had a son John, around 1629. He, John, and probably the rest of the family arrived in New England between February 24, 1638 and 1639, and lived in Braintree, Massachusetts. It’s not clear when or where Nicholas died; he may have returned to England. [1]

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Nicholas' son John married a woman named named Martha (perhaps Shepherd) around 1649. Martha had been born in 1629 in Freetown, Massachusetts, daughter of John Shepherd and Francis Kingston. They had six known children, among them was John Hathaway, Jr., born August 16, 1650 in Taunton. Martha died and John remarried to Ruth Dyer. She died on September 10, 1705 and John also died in 1705, in Taunton.

John Jr. married Hannah Burt in 1668. Hannah had been born about 1654 in Taunton. They had nine children, and then, in 1675, when they had fled to a garrison house during King Philip's War, their tenth child was born:  Jacob Hathaway. Hannah died on June 24, 1726 in Freetown and John Jr. remarried to Christian Maxfield in June 1726. John Jr. died in June 1730 in Freetown.

Binley Farm

Jacob married Philippe (or “Phillip” or “Phillippia” in some records) Chase on January 28, 1696 or 1697, in Taunton. She had been born in Freetown on July 5, 1679. They had thirteen children, the last of which was Meletiah, born June 22, 1714. Philippe died after 1754; Jacob died on February 6, 1759 in Taunton.

Meletiah married Anna Hoskins on February 9, 1731 or 1732, in Freetown. They had seven children, the first of which was Meletiah Hathaway, Jr., born September 14, 1732, in Middleboro. Anna died sometime before 1756 and Meletiah remarried to Sarah Hathaway on November 20, 1758, in Taunton; she had been born in Freetown on November 14, 1712. It is not known when Meletiah died.

Meletiah Jr. married Judith Pierce on September 14 (his birthday), 1753 in Taunton. Judith had been born on February 24, 1736. They had twelve children, among whom was Henry, born on January 5, 1766, in Dartmouth. Meletiah Jr. died on January 8, 1808, in Dartmouth, and Judith died on November 6, 1821 in the same city.

Henry married Mary Evans on November 17, 1796 in Freetown. Mary had been born on June 17, 1772. Together they had three children, including Melatiah on March 4, 1805. Henry died at age 42 in Dartmouth on October 11, 1808 of typhoid (only nine months after his father died).

Melatiah and Hannah

Melatiah married Hannah Weaver on January 5, 1835 in Dartmouth. He worked as a farmer and mason. Hannah had been born in Middletown, Rhode Island on March 1, 1807. They had eight children:

- Alice Weaver Hathaway, April 13, 1836, in New Bedford (she married Presbury N. Luce in 1861 and died on February 23, 1927)

- Harriet Hathaway, February 10, 1838, in New Bedford (she married William H. Winslow in 1859 and died on January 16, 1918)

- Andrew Baikie Hathaway, May 25, 1840, in New Bedford (died March 29, 1922)

- Charles Henry Hathaway, December 23, 1842 (married Helen C. Luther in 1870 and died on December 18, 1929)

- Lucy Peckham Hathaway, February 25, 1845, in New Bedford (died January 1918)

- John Weaver Hathaway, April 16, 1847, in New Bedford

- Hannah Vigneron Hathaway, January 1, 1850

- Mary Evans Hathaway, May 4, 1853 (married Henry A. C. Woodward in 1875 and died in March 1918).

In 1860, Melatiah was living as a farmer in New Bedford, age 55, with Hannah, age 53. Both are listed in the Census as able to read and write. The value of their real estate was estimated at $4,000 and their personal estate at $5,000. With them were living their children Alice, age 24 (her husband Presbury Luce was living with them, though he worked as a mariner and so may have been away); Harriet, age 22 (she had within the last year married William Winslow, age 23, who also worked as a seaman); Charles, age 17, who worked as a farmhand; Lucy, age 15, a student; John Weaver, age 13, a student; Hannah, age 10, a student; and Mary, age 7, a student.

John Weaver Hathaway - 1901

In 1880, Melatiah was still working as a farmer in New Bedford, age 75, with Hannah, age 73. Living with them was Harriet, age 42, and her daughter Helen R. Winslow, age 17. Harriet is listed as married but William does not appear to have been at home -- perhaps he was away at sea. Also living in the family home were Andrew, age 40, working as a florist; Lucy, age 35, working as a schoolteacher; and John Weaver, age 33, working as a farmer. John is described as being widowed. A servant was in the house as well: Sarah Warfield, age 20. Melatiah died on January 2, 1890 and is buried in the Rural Cemetery, New Bedford. Hannah died on September 9, 1899, in the same city.

John Weaver Hathaway, 1901

John Weaver and Clara

John Weaver Hathaway married Clara Etta Cowing on November 24, 1881 in New Bedford. Clara was then 27, the daughter of William M. Cowing and Harriet Sanford; she had been born on June 24, 1855 in Taunton and by 1880 was working as a clerk in a store.

Clara's parents were William Merry Cowing, born August 11, 1820, in Dartmouth (child of Joshua and Ruth) and Harriet Ann Sanford, born May 11, 1830 (child of Isaac and Betsy). They had been married on April 11, 1847, and had six children: Mary, Charles, William, Frank, Clara and Hattie. William (senior) worked as a conductor on the New Bedford and Taunton Railroad. From 1881 to 1883 or later, it appears that he had a restaurant in the railroad station. Harriet died on October 29, 1881. William died on October 30, 1894.

The Hathaway family, John Weaver, Clifford M., Clara E., and an unknown woman, 1900, New Bedford.

John Weaver and Clara had one child, Clifford Murray (“C.M.”) Hathaway, on June 7, 1884, in New Bedford. They lived in the family farmhouse on Hathaway Road, next to the Dartmouth town line, together with Melatiah (until he died in 1890) and Hannah (until she died in 1899). Also, from about 1889 onward, Clara’s father, William Cowing, lived with them, until he died in 1894. John Weaver worked as a farmer and also ran a store. He died on April 12, 1906 in New Bedford of “consumption,” or pulmonary tuberculosis, and was buried in the Rural Cemetery.

C.M. and Henriette Stadler

C.M. was rather a good student and entered Brown University in 1904.  He graduated in 1908 with a degree in civil engineering.

John Weaver Hathaway, Clifford M. Hathaway, and family - 1900
Clifford M. Hathaway as a train conductor - 1904

C.M. apparently worked his way through college as a train conductor. This picture shows him in uniform in 1904.

Clifford Hathaway as a train conductor, Rhode Island, 1904.

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Excerpt from Brown University yearbook, 1908

C.M.'s first engineering position was with the state board of public roads in Rhode Island, where he was assistant engineer for three years. In 1910, the Census records C.M., age 25 and single, living as a lodger at 50 Park Street in Providence and working as a highway civil engineer. In 1911, he was 27 years old and living at 416 W. 118th St., New York City. On December 21, 1911, he married Henriette Dora Fredericka Stadler, who had been born on September 2, 1883 in New York City, and was then living at 107 E. 85th St. They were married at Henriette’s residence. [2] He did graduate work at Columbia University at this time.

C.M. and Henriette apparently moved back to New Bedford while C.M. looked for a job. He accepted a position as junior highway engineer in the Illinois Highway Commission in June 1912. [3] Meanwhile, the couple’s first (and only) child, Clifford Murray Hathaway, Jr., was born on January 21, 1913, in New Bedford. C.M. passed the civil service exam for assistant engineer in March 1914. On July 1, 1919, C.M. was appointed district engineer in the Effingham district. [4] In 1920, C.M., age 35, and Henriette, age 34, were living with their son, age 6, at 318 South Fifth Street, Effingham, Illinois. They later moved to Springfield and resided at 829 South State Street. C.M.’s mother Clara Hathaway lived with them, as did Henriette’s mother. C.M. became chief engineer of construction in 1922, in charge of road and bridge construction. [5] Henriette died on May 12, 1923.

C.M.H. and Cliff Jr. at construction site - 1923

Clifford Hathaway senior and junior, at a highway construction site, 1923.


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In 1899, Henry Frank Ebert, born April 29, 1876, age 23, married Johanna Ruth (Hannah) Lutz, born January 1874, age 25. Henry was from Ohio. Hannah had come to the United States as a child around 1880, at age 6. Henry's adoptive parents were John Frank Ebert (born in Germany) and Caroline. Johanna's parents were John Lutz and Dorothea Ullmer (both born in Germany); the Lutz family lived in Chicago. In 1900, Henry and Johanna were living in a rented home at 412 Fifth Avenue, Sterling, Illinois.

Henry was a preacher in the evangelical church; they moved from place to place, usually serving in a church for a few years before moving on. Their first child, a daughter, Esther Bertha Dorothea Ebert, was born on April 7, 1900. In 1902, they had a second daughter, Ruth Violetta Ebert. Living with them was Dorothea Lutz, 59, Hannah’s widowed mother, who had been born in Germany in July 1840.

By 1920, Esther, age 20, was still living with her parents and sister, age 18, in a rented house at 649 Illinois Ave., Ottawa, Illinois. She was working as a stenographer for an implements company, and Ruth was working as a stenographer for a lawyer. By 1930, the daughters had moved out and Henry and Hannah, now 54 and 56, lived in a rented house in Rooks Creek, Illinois.

Hannah and Henry Ebert, Springfield, Illinois,1925

C.M. and Esther Ebert

In 1925, C.M. met a young secretary in the Highway Department office:  Esther Ebert. They were married on June 27, 1925, at the Evangelical Church in Mendota, Illinois. Esther’s sister Ruth and her husband Elmer Anderson were attendants. After the wedding, C.M. and Esther took a car trip through the south and then returned to live at 829 South State Street. They had their first child together, Elizabeth Ann, on January 31, 1928. By 1930, the family consisted of Cliff Jr., age 17, Elizabeth Ann, age 2, and Clifford’s widowed mother Clara, then 74. In 1932, their daughter Constance Ruth was born.

C.M.H. and Esther Ebert's wedding - 1925

C.M. and Esther Hathaway, wedding, 1925

C.M. was active as a member of the Masons and the Y.M.C.A., and was on the leadership team of Christ Episcopal Church (he was, for example, a delegate to state-wide church meetings in 1928 and 1932). Esther was also active in the Christ Church Women's Auxiliary, the Y.W.C.A., the Springfield Women’s Club, the P.E.O. Sisterhood (a sorority), and the PTA of the Hay-Edwards school (where she served as president in 1939-40). C.M. and Esther also participated in charitable events: for example, they were patrons of the birthday ball for President Roosevelt in January 1935 and 1938.

Meanwhile, Cliff Jr. became a Boy Scout for many years and served in the choir at Christ Church — his roles in the choir went from soprano in 1926 to alto in 1928 to tenor in 1929, and seemed to hold steady there. He was also a high school football player before graduating in 1931 and going off to the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana. He returned home after college and lived in the family home while working.

On April 11, 1936, Esther’s father Henry Ebert died after a two-week illness. At that time, he was pastor of the Zion Evangelical Church at LaSalle. Then, on July 26, 1936, C.M.’s mother Clara Hathaway died at the family’s residence on South State Street in Springfield; she was buried in Oak Ridge Cemetery.

After Henry’s death, his wife Hanna lived with the Hathaways in Springfield for awhile, then resided with Ruth and Elmer Anderson in Kankakee. In 1939 she took an extended trip to California to visit relatives, after which she returned to Illinois for a stay in Springfield. On the evening of June 12th, she told Esther she was going to walk into town. Esther protested but she departed nevertheless. While crossing West Grand and Lawrence Avenues, she was hit by a car. According to witnesses, the driver of the car stopped, placed her unconscious body on a lawn, and volunteered to take her to the hospital. After being informed that a police ambulance had been called, he drove away.

Hanna sustained a fractured hip and leg, and a back injury. The next day, she died, aged 65. The police conducted a manhunt for the hit-and-run driver. He was Wayne Brooker, age 28. He had been driving with a young woman, Dorothy Blessing, from Cisne, Illinois into Springfield to see Lincoln’s tomb. According to him, he drove away after the ambulance came, to Oglesby, Illinois, to visit relatives. While there, he saw a notice of Hanna’s death in the newspaper and called the police to turn himself in. He was arrested upon arriving in Springfield, with Miss Blessing, and charged with manslaughter. On the 16th, Hanna was buried in the Ottawa Avenue Cemetery in Ottawa, Illinois, together with her husband.

In 1940, Cliff Jr. was commissioned a second lieutenant in the Army reserves. He was later stationed in Santa Anita, California. On November 14, 1942, Cliff Jr. and Margaret Stiles were married at the home of Margaret’s aunt and uncle in Springfield. Margaret (“Margie”) was the daughter of J.P. and Bessie Saxton Stiles of Lee County. Cliff Jr. served in Europe during World War II and, after the war, Margie joined him and the two of them toured through France and Germany as Cliff Jr. helped the Army pick up the pieces of a devastated continent. Read about the book that has been written about their life.

Esther continued her work with the Women’s Club and P.E.O., and also became a board member of the Public Health Nursing and Tuberculosiss Association. In 1946, she gave a speech at a Christ Church guild on “Prophets of Israel.” C.M. participated in the Masons; for example, in 1945 he was the “eminent commander” of the Knights Templar, a Christian subset of that fraternity. He continued to be involved in Episcopal church administration, serving at one point as the treasurer of the diocese and as parish warden of Christ Church.

In 1945, Elizabeth graduated from high school and enrolled at DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana. She joined the Pi Beta Phi sorority and lived in the sorority house. In May 1946, Esther visited her on campus. Read Elizabeth's letters home.

In December 1948, Adlai Stevenson announced C.M.’s appointment as chief highway engineer. He assumed the position in 1949 and in September of that year joined the Rotary Club and gave a speech summarizing the main challenge of his work: “Roads, like clothing, automobiles, and other usable items, wear out, in time, and must be repaired or replaced to fit the conditions of the current use.” And the problem was, how to pay for it: “We have 40 million federal dollars available if we could match it with state funds.” In a November speech he cited truck traffic on U.S. Route 66 in Sangamon County as an example of the kind of damage needing repair: “… the conclusion is plain. Heavy truck traffic certainly does wear out our highways.” [6] Also in 1949, he defended the hiring of 56 University of Illinois football players by the department, saying “anyone making a traffic survey” was doing “legitimate work” for the division of highways. [7]

In 1948, Cliff Jr. and Margie’s first child was born, Clifford M. Hathaway III. In 1949, Cliff Jr. was an ordnance officer with the New England military district in Boston. In June, he was reassigned to the Ordnance School in Indian Head, Maryland. Their second child, John Hathaway, was born in 1951.

In 1949, Connie graduated from high school. In the fall, she followed in her older sister’s footsteps by attending DePauw University and pledging to Pi Beta Phi sorority.

In November 1950, a state legislator was accused of cashing checks made out to highway department employees — but no one could find any evidence that such persons existed. A grand jury hearing was convened and more than 50 state employees were scheduled to testify. C.M.’s testimony took place on November 21st. A month later, governor Stevenson announced that he had accepted “with regret” C.M.’s resignation. The resignation was due to ill health and effective as of January 1, 1951. However, C.M. would continue to serve in a consultative capacity. On March 29, 1951, C.M. was presented with life membership in the American Society of Civil Engineers at an 8 p.m. ceremony at the Hotel Abraham Lincoln.

On June 2, 1951, Connie married Roger Humphrey at Christ Church in Springfield. Elizabeth was an attendant. After a short honeymoon, Connie stayed with her parents and worked at Myers Brothers as a junior fashion coordinator. Roger returned to the Army, first to Camp Brecklinridge, Kentucky, and then to Korea.

On March 30, 1952, an announcement was published of the upcoming wedding of Elizabeth to Robert Dwyer. They were married on May 31st at noon in Christ Episcopal Church. Connie was Elizabeth’s attendant and Cliff Jr. was the best man. A reception followed at the Hotel Abraham Lincoln and the couple departed for the east, “the bride wearing a navy blue suit with navy and white accessories and an orchid corsage.”

In the early 1950s, C.M. continued to serve the church, reappointed as parish warden of Christ church and reelected to diocesan treasurer. He also continued as a consultant to the highway department until February 17, 1954.

In about February 1952, Connie and Roger’s first child, Bridget, was born. On September 9, 1954, they had their second child, Robin. They were then living in Bloomington, Illinois. Their third child, Louis, arrived on August 7, 1956, while they were living at 918 N. Fell Ave. in Normal, Illinois.

By 1955, Cliff Jr. and Margie were back in Springfield; he was employed by the Bureau of Construction of the Division of Highways, and was promoted to lieutenant colonel in the Army reserve. He eventually retired from the Army reserve with the rank of colonel.

In January 1956, C.M. was elected senior warden emeritus and honored for his 31 years of service on the Christ Church vestry, 24 years as clerk, 12 years as junior warden, and 2 years as senior warden. On June 7, C.M. celebrated his 72nd birthday. Later that year, on November 24th, C.M. entered Memorial Hospital. After several days, he died there on December 11.

C.M.'s Obituary

After C.M.'s death, the newspaper reported that, “He came to Illinois in 1912 … when the entire personnel of the state highway department consisted of only about 12 persons. Now it has nearly 4,000, or more, and he watched the automobile revolutionize the American way of life and its highways.” [8] C.M. was eulogized in the Illinois Highway Engineer [9] with the following remembrance of "Clifford M. Hathaway, The Builder" from the Springfield Register:

TO HAVE BEEN A successful engineer and builder of highways to promote the public welfare and to add to the prestige of lllinois, would, of itself, have placed Clifford M. Hathaway, Sr., among the outstanding men of the State he served so long and well.

But he was a great builder in other fields of constructive endeavor, especially as a Churchman. He was a moral and spiritual engineer, active for decades with Christ Episcopal Church, a leader in his Parish and a power in the Springfield Diocese.

Although ill health prompted him to resign as Chief Highway Engineer in 1951, he continued to serve as a consultant. His skill, honor and devotion to fundamental principles of faithful public service won place for him in State and national engineering organizations. He was at all times and in all places recognized for his righteous sincerity.

Early yesterday morning Mr. Hathaway was summoned to eternity. His death ends a lustrous career, and his keen wit and charming personality, as well as his masterful guidance as a builder of highways and of men, will be missed by the State, this community and the church which he served so loyally and well. Sincere condolences are expressed to Mrs. Hathaway and members of the family in their bereavement.

C.M.H. - early 1950s

Clifford M. Hathaway, Sr.

Later Years

Through the late 1950s and 1960s, Esther worked for the Lincoln Land Boy Scout Council; she also continued her volunteer work and long associations, for example, with the P.E.O. Sisterhood. Mostly, however, she focused on her career as grandmother for nine grandchildren, as described in the next chapter. She was always called, in an affectionately formal sort of way, “Grandmother.”

Esther continued to live at 829 South State Street for many years; she finally moved to an elder-care apartment, where Connie would visit her almost every day. She died on March 12, 1989:

Esther and C.M. Hathaway in New Bedford, Massachusetts


[1] Unless otherwise noted, sources are: Hathaway Family Association; R.F. Kearney, "Hathaway" (geneaological information compiled May 2015); "Chart of Melatiah Hathaway's Ancestors and Descendants" (undated, handed down in the family); U.S. Census, 1840, 1860, 1880, 1900, 1920 and 1930. Also see Edwardsville Intelligencer, Jan. 11, 1948; The Daily Journal, Herrin, IL, Jan. 11, 1949; Edwardsville Intelligencer, Nov. 14, 1949; Edwardsville Intelligencer, Dec. 2, 1949; The Daily Register, Harrisburg, IL, Nov. 21, 1950; Dixon Evening Telegraph, Dec. 28, 1950.

[2] Marriage Certificate of C.M. Hathaway and H.D. Stadler.

[3] Edwardsville Intelligencer, Jan. 11, 1948; The Daily Journal, Herrin, IL, Jan. 11, 1949.

[4] Urbana Courier, Feb. 12, 1950.

[5] Id.

[6] The Daily Register, Harrisburg, IL, Nov. 21, 1949.

[7] The Daily Register, Harrisburg, IL, April 23, 1949.

[8] Daily Illinois State Journal, Dec. 12, 1956.

[9] Illinois Highway Engineer, First Quarter 1957.

Esther and C.M. visiting Hathaway Road in New Bedford, 1950s.

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