In the last two weeks we’ve introduced you to JAMES VIATOR HAWKINS (1874-1940) Part I and Part II. Now it’s time to introduce you to his son, William Stark Hawkins, and the reason we began this series. Williams Stark Hawkins was a District Judge and attorney in Kootenai County, but more important to the history of Robert R. Romero, Attorney at Law, PLLC was William’s connection to the home at 627 N. Government across from the courthouse that would later become the law firm of Brown, Justh, and Romero.
WILLIAM STARK HAWKINS (1910-1971)
James V Hawkins may not have enjoyed being an attorney, but it’s clear he had an influence on his son who would become the next attorney in the Hawkins family and even go on to be a District Judge in Kootenai County.
William Stark Hawkins was born on 4 August 1910 in the family’s home in St. Joe, Idaho to James and Ora (Stark) Hawkins. He would never know life in St. Joe as two weeks after his birth the family’s home and town were destroyed in the Great 1910 fire. He would, however, grow up in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho as a result of this tragedy and even come back to Coeur d’Alene after college and make his entire life in the town he loved.
One of William’s favorite things to do was swimming in the Coeur d’Alene Lake. One story recounted on the interactive Kiosk at the Coeur d’Alene Library is that of Bill (William) and his best friend Harley Hudson in the 1920s would go out on the steam-wheelers and dive down for the nickels thrown into the lake by tourists. They would stuff the change in their mouth and then go buy a five-cent hamburger or two with the change.
EDUCATION & CAREER
Young Bill Hawkins went through the Coeur d’Alene public school system. He then left to attend college at the University of Idaho and graduated there in 1932. After graduating college he returned to Coeur d’Alene where he practiced law.
The early days of Bill’s career as an attorney were spent in the prosecutor’s office from 1937 to 1943 before leaving to serve his country. Bill spent two years as a U.S. Naval officer during World War II. Upon returning home from the war he was appointed district judge of the Eighth Judicial District in 1945.
Family was very important to Bill. It was a pleasure to hear the stories recounted by his son James. Bill married Agnes M. Ramstedt on 15 November 1934 in the Lutheran Church. She was from Moscow, Idaho. Bill and Agnes had three children; James, Ruthann, and Willie Mae.
In the 1940 U.S. Census Bill and Agnes are living at 1001 Front in Coeur d’Alene. In the household are James (3) and Ruthann (1) and their maid, Francis Alexander. Willa Mae was born later. The unique thing about the 1940 census is it asks where the person lived in 1935, prior to the Great Depression, in Bill’s case the answer was “same.” The census was taken in April of 1940. It wasn’t long after the census that William and Agnes would buy the home at 627 N. Government in Coeur d’Alene, across from the courthouse. The deed was recorded on July 8, 1940, in book 114 of Deeds, page 106. The home at 627 N. Government remained the family home until Agnes sold the home at which time it became a law firm. The last law firm to occupy the home before the county bought it for the land, was Brown, Justh, and Romero.
Join us next week for Part IV of the Hawkins family. You can read about my favorite story when Jimmy caught the house on fire and it was witnessed by a courtroom full of people.