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As It Was: Angie Hawkins Heeds Call of the Wild, Dies of Exposure

When in late December 1959 Angie Hawkins responded to the call of the wilderness, she was reported missing from her grandson’s home in Gold Beach, Ore.

The 92-year-old woman had repeatedly made attempts to hitch-hike or walk 13 miles upriver to the remains of her home, near Quosatana Creek.

Hawkins had loved her life there, where she ordered food by mail-boat and was content to live out her years in quiet isolation until 1957 when a fire ravaged the property and destroyed all her belongings.

Hawkins was raised in remoteness.  Her parents were a frontiersman and his full-blooded Karok wife who had settled near Illahe in the Rogue river area when Angie was 2 years old.

Hawkins survived many hardships, outliving two husbands and six of her eight children, but remained cheerful, avoided saying anything unkind, and read her Bible daily.

The search party found Hawkins on the south bank trail, huddled behind a windfall, with only a quart of milk and a jar of peanut butter.  She suffered from exposure, complicated by a broken arm, and died several days later.

Sources: "Woman 92 Found After Two Nights." Curry County Reporter, 30 Dec. 1959. "Angie Hawkins Dies Jan. 1 After Last Attempt To Go Home." Curry County Reporter, 6 Jan. 1960; "Cold in Woods Kills Gold Beach Indian, 92." Brookings-Harbor Pilot, 2 Jan. 1960.

Laurel earned a Bachelor’s degree in Geography from Humboldt State. Her research efforts as a volunteer for the Curry Historical Society produced numerous newsletter articles and exhibits and earned her a reputation as a seasoned local history buff. Laurel is the author of "Renderings from the Gold Beach Pioneer Cemetery", a 50-page booklet containing a walking tour and snippets about the lives and times of folks buried there. She is also a contributing writer to Oregon Coast Magazine.