When Charles Henry Hawn arrived in Athens in 1881, he traveled in one of the first trains to arrive after the railroad into Athens was completed. He brought with him a carload of lumber that was unloaded at the site of the later Henderson County Jail (now the Historical Commission), but he didn’t stay in town long. Almost immediately he headed back to Wills Point Haven in his buggy to collect his wife, then upon his return he began the lumber company that bore his name. This firm would soon become well known in Henderson County as they began over a century of service in providing the materials to – literally – build Athens.
An article in the Athens Weekly Review “Historical and Homecoming Edition” issue of May, 1941, explained how the Hawn Lumber Company was very involved in the history of Athens. The reporter related, “During the peak of the building activity before and after the turn of the new century  the Hawn Lumber Company operated a number of saw mills and several yards to bear the larger share of the building boom which saw the rapid development of the county …”
Another early account reported that “Hawn Lumber Company built nearly all of the buildings around the courthouse square in Athens, Texas, as well as many of the older homes…”
In fact, another article in the Athens Review of December 24, 1885 reported: “The new courthouse being built by C.H. Hawn was nearing completion.” Hawn was described as “adept as an architect and master builder and in his art he had few equals.”
Records in the collection of the Henderson County Historical Commission give us more information on the above-mentioned Hawn production – the 1880s era courthouse. Early Athens resident Will Matthews wrote. “When I reached Athens, May 24, 1884, I found, upon the spot that is covered by our magnificent courthouse, in the midst of a large oak trees … a small two story frame courthouse about 60 feet square, a room in each corner of the lower floor with a passage between….” [“Our magnificent courthouse” was probably the current edifice – built in 1913].
State senator, judge, local attorney and Henderson County historian Judge J.J. Faulk wrote about the Hawn Company in his 1929 History of Henderson County. He stated: “[The] Hawn Lumber Company has been a very great convenience, not only to Athens but to the whole county. The original founder of the yard was also an extensive builder; he built many houses here and in the county, both brick and wooden. I think I am correct when I say that the first house he built in Athens was a dwelling for me and my wife in 1882, located on a hill near the high school …….