ALVIN HAWKINS was born in Bath County, Kentucky and moved with his family to Tennessee at an early age. After attending Bethel College, he studied law and was admitted to the Bar in 1843. He served as a Whig in the Tennessee House of Representatives, and though elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1862, he-like others from Tennessee-was refused his seat. In 1864 he became a member of the state executive committee of the National Union Party, supporting Abraham Lincoln and Andrew Johnson. He served as U.S. District Attorney for West Tennessee from 1864 to 1865, when he resigned to accept an appointment to the Tennessee Supreme Court. He resigned from the Court in 1868, was reelected the following year, and resigned once again when the new state Constitution was adopted in 1870. In 1868 he also served as U.S. Consul General in Havana, Cuba. A decade later he was the Republican Party’s candidate for governor, winning election in large part due to a split that had occurred within the Democratic Party over the issue of the state’s debt. During his gubernatorial term, the state legislature finally passed a compromise revenue act to deal with the debt, but it was declared unconstitutional by the state Supreme Court. Although Hawkins was renominated by the Republican Party for a second term, a resolution of the split among Democrats resulted in his defeat. He returned to the practice of law in Huntingdon.
The National Cyclopaedia of American Biography, Vol. 7. New York: James T. White & Company.
Past Governors of Tennessee
Philips, Margaret I. The Governors of Tennessee. Gretna, LA: Pelican Publishing Company, 2001.
Sobel, Robert, and John Raimo, eds. Biographical Directory of the Governors of the United States, 1789-1978, Vol. 4. Westport, CT: Meckler Books, 1978. 4 vols.
White, Robert H. Messages of the Governors of Tennessee, 1869-1883. Nashville: The Tennessee Historical Commission, Vol. 6, 1952.