While working with the Webster Groves Historical Society on an upcoming World War I exhibit, I was asked to do some research on a house located at 9504 Big Bend Road in Crestwood, just west of Webster Groves. The house reportedly belonged to the son of Christopher Hawken, of the Hawken rifle family. As I began to do some research on the Hawken family, my first challenge was that the son also had the name of Christopher Hawken. So whenever I found that name listed I had to ascertain if it was the father or the son in the record. The early census records obviously gave me the Township but not the actual address of the family, so I turned to city directories for assistance. Because Christopher Hawken, Senior died in 1905, I knew that any reference to the name after that date was for the correct Christopher Hawken. All the directories showed Chris Hawken residing on Sappington Road, south of Big Bend. Hawken had married Mary Emily Sappington in 1895, so they had property either near or on her family’s farm. Obviously the information given to us about the house at 9504 Big Bend was incorrect since it is located about a mile east of Sappington Road. But perhaps another member of the Hawken family lived at that address.
A further search of the directories revealed that the widow of Henry Hawken (brother of Christopher Hawken, Junior) resided at 826 Big Bend, and that Harry Hawken (son of Henry Hawken) lived at 810 Big Bend. Those two house numbers no longer exist in the community of Crestwood. Is either of them now 9504 Big Bend? It is a possibility. I did not pursue the research any further because the bottom line is that we did not have a direct connection to Christopher Hawken. If I wanted to go the next step with this particular project, I would have continued to look year by year through the city and county directories to try to find if and when the address changed for that house. I bring this up just to caution you that addresses have changed over the years, so the best thing to do is to make sure that the legal description of the property matches once you find a house and a deed to go with it.