The Deming's Bridge community grew up around a wooden bridge built over the Tres Palacios River at this site in 1857 for Edward A. Deming, owner of land along the west side of the stream. The crossing provided by Deming's Bridge became a natural gathering place for settlers of western Matagorda County.
Tres Palacios Baptist Church, site of many community activities, was established on the east side of the river. The Deming's Bridge Post Office opened in 1858, with Edwin A. Deming serving as postmaster until it was discontinued in 1866. Reinstated in 1872, the post office name was changed to Hawley in 1899. It closed again in 1903 when it was moved to the new settlement of Blessing (2 miles west). A Masonic hall, established in 1874, was also moved to Blessing after location of the railroad there caused a population shift.
Hawley Cemetery originated as a two-acre plot of land called Deming's Bridge Cemetery. Among the burials are the graves of brothers and noted cattle ranchers Abel Head "Shanghai" Pierce (1834-1900) and Jonathan Edwards Pierce (1839-1915). Jonathan Pierce donated land to enlarge the cemetery and was instrumental in changing its name in 1898 in honor of Texas Senator Robert B. Hawley (1849-1921).