Sarah Alexander Cunningham donated a collection of family papers to the Georgia Historical Society in Savannah. If you are interested in viewed the papers, which have lots of Lawton stuff, you’ll need to request MS194.
This next article comes from Sarah Alexander Cunningham’s mother’s scrapbook. Her mother was Nora Lawton who married Henry Cumming Cunningham.
The following letter written me by my cousin,
Rev. Jos. T. Robert, D.D., of Augusta, Ga. I
publish in THE INDEX, hoping that it may in-
spire in the hearts of mothers of the present day,
an earnest desire to emulate the Christian vir-
tues of one who has long since gone to that
blissful home where all is joy and all is peace.
I thank God for such a grandmother.
The dinner occasion of which Dr. R speaks is
fresh in my memory, though I was a boy only
ten years old. Grandmother’s birthday-dinner
at old “Mulberry Grove” will never be effaced
from my memory as long as I retain my reason.
I wrote Dr. Robert and requested him to give me
some facts in relation to our grandmother’s birth
and death, and more particularly some account
of her birthday-dinner, as he was, perhaps, bet-
ter posted than any one now living. I cannot
refrain from publishing his letter to me in full.
“Mulberry Grove” was the birth place of my
own father and the father of Gen. A. R. Lawton.
(Gen. L’s father died a few years ago at the ripe
age of eighty-six.) The house is still standing, and
is owned by Gen. A.R. Lawton, now of Savannah,
which was also his birth place. It may not be
necessary for me to apologize for publishing
this letter, as I do it with the hope of benefitting
those who may peruse its contents. J.S.L.
Dr. J. S. Lawton — Dear Cousin: Our grand-
mother, Mrs. Sarah Lawton, was the second
daughter of Jacques Robert, who was a grand son
of Rev. Pierre Robert, the first minister of the
Gospel that came to South Carolina among the
Huguenots in 1646(?). Her father was a man of cul-
ture, well educated, and fond of scientific re-
searches, as we learn from records of philosophi-
cal (?) belonging to this family. His chil-
dren were brought up intelligent and influential
members of society.
Sarah Robert was born February 6, 1755, and
was married to Joseph Lawton at about her
eighteenth year of age. In March, 1783(?), her el-
der brother, John Robert, and her husband, with
their families, removed from Stono Creek, near
Beaufort, and settled plantations near where
now is Robertville, in formerly Beaufort district,
now Hampton county. Both families, pre-
viously Episcopal, had embraced Baptist sen-
timents, and together were the founders of the
Baptist church at Robertville, and the chief
supporters of it during their lives.
By the death of her husband, March 5, 1815,
grandmother was left a widow when sixty years
of age. She was very intelligent, fond of read-
ing, hospitable, and eminently pious and exem-
plary. She honored God in all her ways, and He
honored her with long life and the warm affect-
tion of numerous pious descendants, and the
respectful esteem of all her acquaintances.
In 1831, when she was seventy-six years old,
she determined to invite all her children and
grandchildren then living, to meet together at
her residence at Mulberry Grove, and spend a
day with her once more as a family in social en-
joyment. The interview was very affecting. The
proceedings on the occasion were such as a lov-
ing Christian heart might well dictate. Eighty-
five of her regular descendants were present.
Of her four sons living, two were ministers, and
the other two deacons in the Baptist Church;
and two of the grandsons, also, were Baptist
Soon after their arrival and mutual greetings,
all gathered together and united in a song of
praise to the Giver of every good and perfect
gift. Her oldest son, a minister, then read se-
lected Scriptures, gave an affectionate address of
welcome to the company, and led in prayer,
thanking God for blessings past, and suppli-
cating his continued merciful kindness to us as
a family. After this introductory exercise,
kindred mingled with kindred in a delightful so-
cial converse, or pleasant promenade, or sportive
amusement, as age, or sex, or taste might direct.
At dinner, forty-four of her children and grand-
children arrived at maturity, sat at the same
table; and of this number, forty-three were
members of the Church upon profession of
faith in Jesus Christ.
The afternoon was spent, as the morning, in
pleasant intercourse. Towards its close, the
venerated parent, calling her children around
her, gave them affectionate counsel, and be-
stowed upon them her parting blessing. Her
youngest son, being a minister, then concluded
the interview with appropriate religious exer-
cises, and kindred bade adieu to kindred, long to
cherish the memory of that day spent at Mul-
Mrs. Sarah Lawton lived eight years after
this event, and at her decease, (October 6, 1839)
she left one hundred and fifteen lineal descend-
ants, in which large number there was not to be
found a profane swearer nor a drunkard.
This narrative shows the power of a mother’s
influence. She leaves a deep and indelible im-
press of her character upon her progeny. Mrs.
Lawton was trained piously, and she reared her
offspring in the fear of God, and won their
hearts to the love and service of Christ. Nearly
a half century has passed away since that mem-
orable gathering of her descendants, and very
many who were then present are now gathered
together in the assembly of the redeemed above,
but I shall ever recall the fond memories of
that day as among the most delightful expe-
rience of my life. JOSEPH THOMAS ROBERT.
Augusta, Ga., May 10, 1878.