Elizabeth Sears Hawley


Elizabeth Sears is said to have been born in October 1763. Thus, she was the daughter of Knowles Sears and his first wife, Susannah Townsend Sears, of Ridgefield, Connecticut. She grew up the eldest daughter in the large family of a farmer turned militia officer. Her mother died of smallpox in 1782. Knowles re-married and lived until 1817.

In April 1785, Elizabeth or "Betty" married Nathan Hawley in Connecticut. By 1810, the marriage had produced twelve children. Soon after the wedding, these Hawleys moved west - settling in Rensselaersville and finally in Albany by the early 1800s where Nathan had become the jailor.

Nathan Hawley died in February 1810 - just before the birth of their last child. The city census for that year identified Elizabeth Hawley as the head of a household that included nine younger residents.

In 1813, the Albany Argus reported that Mrs. Hawley was a tavernkeeper located in the "rear of the old jail." Beginning in that year, city directories called her a widow innkeeper with an address of 71 Maiden Lane.

Elizabeth Sears Hawley died at the Albany home of her son in July 1846. She had lived eighty-three years.

biography in-progress


the people of colonial Albany Sources: The life of Elizabeth Sears Hawley is CAP biography number 8380. This sketch is derived chiefly from family and community-based resources.

first posted: 2/25/11