Dr. Francis Lister Hawks was a priest, church historian, and politician during the mid-nineteenth century in America. He was born on June 10, 1798, in New Bern, North Carolina. At first Hawks took a profession as a lawyer, but once he started lay reading in the Episcopalian church, he discovered his true ministry and became a priest. Noted for his excellent speaking and engaging sermons, Hawks' congregations reached great numbers, and he was continually sought to take more prestigious appointments within the church, including bishop. Most of his early ministry took place at St. Thomas Church in New York City; unfortunately, alleged scandal regarding his private life required him to relinquish his post in 1843. From there Hawks visited various churches across the states, and kept up his research in church history. His works, which include Journal of the General Conventions and Documentary History of the Protestant Episcopal Church, are lauded for their conservation of history. Hawks continued his ministry by preaching, writing, and building up churches and Christian schools until his death on September 26, 1866.
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