John Wesley's conflict with 'Beta' Hawkins



While John Wesley was on St. Simons Island he had numerous encounters with Beta Hawkins, the doctor’s wife. She sent her maid to ask John to visit her in her home. Expecting trouble, he insisted that the maid promise to stay right with them and not leave for a minute during the visit. It was a good thing. 

Wesley and the maid went into a small front bedroom in Dr. Hawkins’ home. Beta was not there at first. John sat on the bed. Soon Beta came in with both hands behind her back. She went up to Wesley on the bed and said, “Sir, you have abused me! You have insulted me! And I am going to put this pistol ball through your brain!” Then she pulled out a pair of scissors and said, “And I’m going to cut that long hair!” 

Wesley grabbed both her hands and she fell on top of him on the bed. He called out to the maid, “Get her off! Get her off!” Beta called out to the maid, “You hold him still or I’ll shoot you, too!” The maid was frozen still. The Davidson children from next door looked in. Some neighbors looked in. Dr. Hawkins came in. “What is that scoundrel doing in my house?” he exclaimed. “Sir, what are you doing on top of my wife?” Wesley replied, “Sir, I am not. She is on top of me! Get her off!”

Dr. Hawkins grabbed her by the waist. Beta pulled John’s sleeve off with her teeth. Finally they got untangled. John went straight to Oglethorpe and reported what happened. Oglethorpe called them all in and said, “My mercy! I have more trouble with the 80 people in the village than I do with the whole Spanish army! Just stay away from each other. Don’t talk with each other anymore! And let’s have some peace and quiet around here!”

That suited John Wesley just fine at least for a little while until he could return to Savannah.