Looking Backward: The Hawley Home at Highland Farm

George I, followed his older brother, Aaron into the construction trade, building everything from churches and offices to the governor's mansion. When the Erie Canal opened in 1825, George turned his attention to opportunities in upstate New York. They included residential and commercial projects for Jonas Baldwin, Baldwinsville's founder, and his son, Harvey Baldwin, Syracuse's first mayor. According to Ancestors, George was "building in Oneida, Port Byron, (and) Camillus as well as in Syracuse .he must have been skilled in executing Federal Style work, for surviving illustrations are of buildings in that style."

In 1827, George married Matilda Warner, born Oct. 27, 1806, to Heman and Phoebe Foster Warner. Matilda's father and uncles, Henry and Seth, settled in Van Buren Center circa 1800. Because they were three of the earliest pioneers and had 22 children between them, folks called it Warners. According to Ancestors, "Heman Warner gave the cemetery and church sites in Warners. Great-grandfather Hawley built the church for the Union Society, which was an organization of Presbyterians, Methodists and Universalists formed in 1831 .The white wood church in the New England style stood across the street from the present (Methodist) church in the southeast corner of the Warners cemetery .In this early period of his life great-grandfather Hawley began to show his unusual business ability."

"By 1831, the fact that great-grandfather Hawley was a restless person had become apparent. He was always dissatisfied with his present situation and making plans for another move .Told of one of their impending moves, great-grandmother Matilda lamented to her husband that she had already moved 21 times since their marriage .Great-grandfather couldn't get over his earlier yearnings for a place in the Warners area situated at least in part on high ground. On one visit, they found that the property that was to become the Brickyard Road farm was for sale. Matilda probably didn't regret returning at last to Warners and he bought it."

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