Excerpt from Oral History with Floyd Hawkins
Mr. Floyd A. Hawkins, Sr. was born in 1895, and first moved with his family to Arlington on a two acre plot of land in 1925.
While working as a letter carrier, and later a Motor Vehicle Office Supervisor at the Washington, D.C., City Post Office, Hawkins raised and sold meat from pigs, chickens and turkeys from his Arlington farm. In 1930 he acquired his first bee hives. In the next 58 years, he was affiliated with numerous beekeeper's associations, won awards and ribbons, and conducted numerous classes in beekeeping through the Arlington 4-H. The flyer above is from one his classes.
At the age of 81, Floyd Hawkins helped start the first Arlington County Fair in 1977, and served as the Fair's treasurer for 10 years. In 1985, he was honored as a civic activist in Arlington County for over 30,000 hours of volunteer service. He was also a member of St. John's Baptist Church, the Arlington Chapter of the Full Gospel Businessmen's Fellowship, a charter member of the Y Men's Club International, the Nauck Citizen's Association, and the NAACP.
This quote his from his oral history, which patrons can read or hear in the Virginia Room:
"I started raising bees in 1930. I got two beehives and they had got mean and wild at that time, you know, because they hadn't been attended to. So I got started off with two mean beehives. . . .[T]he queen bee, she's fertile for life. If she's mated by a gentle drone, every egg that she lays will be gentle bees, you see. If she's mated with a wild drone the bees will be mean as long as she lives - she'll always lay those same eggs because she's fertile for life.
So that's the way that they had gotten wild and mean, and I got them, and I got rid of the mean queen and ordered a gentle queen - and the bees became gentle.
"A colony of bees, that's one family. She's the mother of all. She can be the mother of a quarter of a million bees in her lifetime. That covers a span of about two years before she stops."
What About You?
Did you ever take a class with Floyd Hawkins? Do you remember old farms in Arlington? Let us know what you remember!