Biographical Sketch of Dr. B. H. Hawkins
September 6, 1878 – January 23, 1946
Benjamin Harrison Hawkins was born on September 6, 1878, the youngest child of John Jackson and Mary Ann Missanni Blancett Hawkins in Parks, Scott County, Arkansas. He had one sister who died at the age of six, two older brothers and one older sister who lived to aduthood. He spent his childhood in Parks, a small town in a rather rural setting.
When Benjamin finished high school he decided he wanted to be a doctor. He went to the University of Arkansas Medical Science Campus. Dr. Hawkins is listed in the University as graduating in 1904 at age 26 and is also listed in the 1914 American Medical Directory as a registered legally qualified physician.
Looking for a place to establish a medical practice, he chose Mena, Arkansas in Polk County just adjacent to his home town county. It did not take long to develop a thriving practice. He was easy to talk to, “a tower of strength to new mothers—to any one hurting,—-and (had) a great sense of humor”.* So beloved was he that when he died his tombstone read:
“WITH THE CHARACTER OF GRANITE
HE HAS THE HEART OF A CHILD
TENDER, KIND, LISTENING TO THE CALL FOR HELP
READY TO RESPOND**
Dr. Hawkins was interested in community projects. He became a member of the Board of Governors for the Boy Scout Council. He was a member of the Methodist Church and left them $5000 for a new Sunday School facility. Always interested in the unfortunate citizens he was elected President of the county Board to help the Salvation Army’s week long drive in 1921.
Professionally, he was on the Polk County Board of Health. At one time the Board quarantined the County due to a small pox epidemic. One of the local doctors broke the ruling and visited a town where the disease was known to exist. The offending doctor was quarantined to his home as a result. He sued the Polk County Board of Health.
Dr. Hawkins was named examining officer for the War Risk Insurance for former service men in Polk County. He was an active member of the Arkansas Medical Association and presented papers he had written.
In 1940 Dr. Hawkins bought the old Mena General Hospital and sold it about 10 years later to be used as a clinic. A new Polk County Memorial was being built.
Dr. Hawkins died in 1946 when he was 67 years of age. He had practiced medicine in Polk County serving its people for approximately 40 years. He was buried in the Hawkins family cemetery in Scott County where he began his life.
*History of Polk County 114
Betty L. Battenfield January 2020