Restoring peaceful prairie on a pioneer resting place

Restoring peaceful prairie on a pioneer resting place
Rita and Bill Hammitt, right and second to right, visit with Luana Harman, left, and her daughter, Paige of the Persia Satellites 4-H club.

At the foot of the Loess Hills, in Harrison County, lies Uriah Hawkins. And thanks to the work of Rita and Bill Hammitt, local 4-H groups and others, the burial site lies in peaceful prairie.

An early settler in the area, Hawkins died Sept. 29, 1869, at the age of 69 years and one day, and was buried in what is assumed to be a family plot. Also engraved on the two remaining stones are the names of his wife Lydia, daughters Emma and Esther, and a handful of others, whose exact relation to Hawkins is unknown.

The two aged stones sit next to each other, surrounded by a white picket fence, atop a rise overlooking the Western Skies Scenic Byway of state Highway 44 just west of Portsmouth.

That’s all that is known of the Hawkins family. Anyone who once knew of them is long gone from the area. Someone puts flowers there now and then. Rumor is there may be decendants in California.

The site holds a special fascination for Rita Hammitt, who lives only a few miles away. In 1995, she had...

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