Harry B. Hawes: Pioneer of Missouri’s Highway & Flood Control Systems

Missourian Harry B. Hawes had family ties to the Confederacy, was elected Commander in Chief of the United Sons of Confederate Veterans in 1905, served as a Missouri state representative from 1916-1917, U.S. Representative from 1920-1926 and U.S. Senator from 1926-1933

The Thursday September 28, 1905 edition of the Wayne County Journal (Greenville, Missouri) reported on the election of Missourian Harry B. Hawes to the position of Commander in Chief of the United Sons of Confederate Veterans and as the paper pointed out , his family tree made him well qualified for the position.

Wayne County Journal (Greenville, Missouri) September 28, 1905Wayne County Journal (Greenville, Missouri) September 28, 1905 Thu, Sep 28, 1905 – 1 · Wayne County Journal (Greenville, Missouri) · SHSMO Digital Newspaper Project

In addition to the information found in the Wayne County Journal , the Political Graveyard website states that Harry Hawes grandfather , Richard Hawes served as the Confederate Provisional Governor of Kentucky from 1862-1865.

Harry Hawes was a member of the Democratic Party and after an unsuccessful bid for the office of Governor of Missouri in 1904, He was elected to the Missouri House of Representatives and served from 1916-1917.

A brief history of Harry Hawes on the Wikipedia website states:

“Hawes’ next foray into elective politics was more successful, as in 1916 was elected to the Missouri House of Representatives. While brief [Editor’s note: Hawes served from 1916-1917 before resigning to join the U.S. Army, due to World War I, where he was commissioned a captain] , his career in the House was eventful. Hawes authored bills that created the Missouri Highway Department and revised state traffic laws. He also served as chairman of the Good Roads committee and led the effort to pass a $60 million bond issue for creation of the states first highway system. Pertaining to river transportation and its importance to Missouri, Hawes was one of the chief organizers of the “Lakes to the Gulf Waterway Association”, whose goal was creating a series of locks & dams along the Mississippi, Illinois and Missouri rivers that would enable easier shipment of grain and other goods.”

Upon returning home from the war, Harry Hawes was elected as U.S. Representative for Missouri’s 11’th Congressional District and serving from 1920-1926.

In 1926 Hawes was elected to the U.S. Senate serving from 1926-1933 (he resigned from the U.S. House of Representatives to take his Senate seat early due to the death of Senator Selden Spencer.

During his time in the Senate Hawes continued his work of flood control, by advocating the building of dams and levees along the Mississippi River.

After leaving the U.S. Senate, Harry Hawes returned to practicing law , specializing in foreign relations. During World War II , Hawes served as legal council for the Philippine government in exile while the island nation was occupied by Japan.

Harry Hawes, the architect of Missouri highways and flood control efforts, died on July 31, 1947 in Washington , D.C. his remains were cremated and his ashes scattered along the Current River, near Doniphan, in Ripley County, Missouri. He was the product of Southern honor and ancestry, upholding his family’s long tradition of politics, patriotism and military service.

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