Hawkins n Also Mister Hawkins, Old (Man) ~ [Etym unknown, but possibly of Brit origin (see quot 1935 below)] orig chiefly C Atl, later (chiefly among Black speakers) more widespread Cf hawk n 1
Icy weather or an icy wind personified.
1877 Chester Daily Times (PA) 3 Jan /2, Yesterday . . we met that well-known colored man Minus, and saluted him with the time of day, adding that Hawkins was out pretty strong to-day. Minus says, “Mister, He has spread his white cap all ober de ground, and what are we poor cullid people goin’ to do.” 1877 Eve. Dispatch (York PA) 7 Nov /1, “Old Hawkins” as cold weather is familiarly called, seems to be around. 1884 Boston Daily Globe (MA) 9 Dec /1, [Advt:] “Old Hawkins,” as sailors, firemen, policemen and others aptly term Jack Frost, premeditates a visit, and young men and old men should be prepared to meet him. 1895 Eve. Times (Washington DC) 7 Oct 7/4, [Advt:] Ole Man Hawkins is almost here. Get ready for him by coming to us for an elegant custom-made suit or overcoat. 1895 Lippincott’s Mth. Mag. 55.183 MD, The wind whistled . . —this keen north wind which the Maryland negroes have invested with a quaint personality that they call “Hawkins.” When the wind begins with a low, sighing moan that gradually rises higher and higher till it ends in a shriek, they say to each other, “Hawkins is callin’,” and they hurry to make themselves snug, for they know that winter is upon them. 1896 S. Workman 25.16 Sth [Black], If turkeys roost high in a tree, it’s a sign of cold weather. You will hear the old folks say, “Look out children, Hawkins is coming.” 1899 Public Opinion (Chambersburg PA) 22 Sept 1/1, The new structure [= a barn] . . will be ready for occupancy before the winter months set in on [sic] the blasts of “old Hawkins” are heard. 1922 Washington Times (DC) 29 Oct sec 2 7/1, There’s a chill in the air that announces old man Hawkins is just around the corner and coming fast. 1935 Sun (Baltimore MD) 5 Jan 10/7, I remember, as a small child, hearing adult members of my family—of Virginia stock for many generations—say on a day when the wind was particularly high and cold, “Hawkins is certainly out today.” I have heard similar expressions from Negroes, but I have never had the impression that Hawkins was of African origin. It was my idea that the darkies had borrowed him from the whites. This idea is strengthened by what my wife tells me. She is English, and spent her early years in Devonshire and South Wales, and she says that Hawkins was frequently mentioned there when the wind was especially nippy. 1936 Chicago Defender (Natl. ed.) (IL) 24 Oct 20/7 [Black], And these cold mornings are on us—in other words “Hawkins” has got us. 1939 NY Amsterdam News (NY) 2 Dec 20/1 [Black], ’Twas early Tuesday morning a week ago and the icy wind whispered evilly: “I am Mister Hawkins. Have you got it? I am Mister Hawkins. Have you got it?” 1944 Hughes in Chicago Defender (Natl. ed.) (IL) 9 Dec 12/7 NYC [Black], Joyce made me so mad I walked out of the house without my coat and Hawkins was frantic that night! 1964 Gold Jazz Lexicon 141, According to jazzmen, hawkins has been current esp. among Negro jazzmen since c. 1900, hawk since c. 1935. 2000 Shores Tangier Is. 240 Chesapeake Bay, Hawkins’s here! (an expression about the arrival of severe and harsh weather). 2005 DARE File ceMO (as of 1950s), Colored folk all over the country use “The Hawk” when referring to an uncomfortably cold wind. When I was in grade school (1942-1950) in St. Louis, we used the expression, “The Hawk talks!” to describe what it’s like on a cold, windy, winter’s day. When the occasion demanded it, we said, “The Hawk is talkin’.’” By the time that I was in high school, some people said “Hawkins is talkin’.”