The Joseph Hawley house, on Hawthorn Street, was across the street from the house of Joseph Hawley's former law partner, John Hooker. Hawley moved into the house in 1861. He became a general during the Civil War, governor of the state of Connecticut, and a U.S. senator from Connecticut. He was the organizer of the first national Centennial Celebration. His accomplishments are outlined in the Address of the Reverend Dr. Parker to the Joint Commission on Memorials.
Hawley fought against the Chinese Exclusion Acts in Congress and, with Charles Dudley Warner, was the co-owner and publisher of The Hartford Courant. His first wife, Harriet Foote Hawley, was related to the Beecher family and was honored for her work during the Civil War by the Seventh Connecticut Regiment.