Admiral Edward Hawke
At a 20,000-acre tract immediately north of Black Creek and west of Sir Richard Russell, Admiral Edward Hawke developed a 20,000-acre property in the late 1760s. Governor Grant personally selected the tract on Black Creek for Lord Hawke, calling it a “fine river” and renaming it “Hawke's River” hoping the admiral would show his appreciation by sending an armed vessel to help defend East Florida.
Hawke hired Alexander Gray to initiate development at his tract in 1767. Martin Bladen Hawke, the admiral's son, inherited the land, slaves, livestock, buildings and other improvements at his father's death in 1780, and maintained it until the colony was evacuated four years later. In 1784 Governor Tonyn sent the enslaved laborers from Hawke's plantation to the Island of Dominica to be sold at auction. Following the cession of East Florida to Spain, Lord Hawke complained to the Parliamentary Claims Commission on March 7, 1788, concerning the deaths of several of his slave children as a result of their removal to Dominica : “You will find that Negro children in America are healthy, and live; in the West Indies they are very sickly and seldom reared.” Hawke emphasized that every Negro child was healthy when they were inventoried in East Florida on January 2, 1782.
Admiral Hawke's 20,000-acre tract was north of Black Creek and south of Doctors Lake, adjoining the 10-000-acre estate of Richard Russell, which was located between Hawke's tract and the St. Johns River. Heavily wooded wetlands are still prominent at the site.
Plat Map of Admiral Hawke
T77/2/23 and T77/8/6 for Hawke. See also Grant to Pownall, Sept. 9, 1769, JPG. Grant also selected the sites for Tonyn, Richard Russell, and James Crisp.