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The Blue Book of Iowa Women A History of Contemporary Women

Compiled by Winona Evans Reeves, 1914.


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Mrs. Eleanor J. Hawk

To an Iowa woman, Mrs. Eleanor J. Hawk, belongs the credit for the establishment of the custom all over this nation, of placing an American flag on the breast of the soldiers at burial.  Among her personal possessions was a flag which she always placed as a guard over the soldiers who died in her home city, Colfax.  It was a beautiful tribute paid by a patriotic woman to the soldiers who had bravely defended the stars and stripes.  While she was Department President of the W. R. C. of Iowa, she secured the establishment of this custom in Iowa and later the national department G. A. R. adopted it.  Eleanor J. Johnson was born Dec. 29, 1850 in Muskingum county, Ohio, and died Feby. 27, 1913, in Colfax.  She came to Iowa in 1864.  In 1870 she was married to Dr. W. W. Hawk, who served for three years in the Civil War in Co. E, 33rd Iowa Infantry.  To them were born two children:  Mrs. Nellie H. Witmer, of Newton, and a son, Charles, who died in early manhood.  There are four grand children:  Jessie, Cecil, Howard and Irene Witmer.  Mrs. Hawk was a woman whose strength of character and personality made an impression upon all whom she met.  Beside her state-wide work in the W. R. C., she was an active church woman, was one of the organizers of the Colfax Parent-Teachers' Association, and was its president for two years.  Was for twenty-one years a trustee of the Colfax library, twelve of those years being secretary.  After her death the pupils of the public school purchased a handsome chair, which they placed in the library in her memory.  She was a member of the Woman's Club of the U. S. Daughters of 1812, and of the O. E. S.  She was a devoted wife, a good mother, a loyal friend and a Christian patriot.



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