The Lawtonville Cemetery in Estill, SC

The Morrison Academy Historical Marker

The Morrison Academy Historical Marker

“In old Lawtonville community, across from this site, was the first Morrison Academy, a one-room elementary and college preparatory school.  It was later moved 3.4 miles north of here on Orangeburg Road to be near the home of the Rev. John Timothy Morrison, headmaster from 1865 to 1905, minister, legislator, Lt. C.S.A.”

Sugar Bateson and I went to a funeral at the cemetery on September 11, 2009.  This is one of the most beautiful, peaceful cemeteries I’ve seen.  It is completely fenced with two gateway openings.  There is a cattle guard made of railroad rails at each gateway.  There are many mature trees in the cemetery, which is itself surrounded by farm fields.  There’s a cotton crop growing now.  The cotton plants bloom with beautiful colors, and I was surprised to see cotton blooming this late.  The cotton bolls were swollen and ready to burst open with life. 

The cattle guard

The cattle guard

Cotton plant with white and pastel flowers

Cotton plant with white and pastel flowers

Close-up of cotton bolls

Close-up of cotton bolls

The fields around the cemetery stretch for miles.  The day was mild and warm, and the memorial service took place by a set of steps, the only remains of the original Lawtonville Baptist Church.  Lawtonville was burned by Sherman and completely wiped out.

Cotton Field

Picture taken looking east across the road from the cemetery

Inside the cemetery, the many trees made dappled shadows on the flat sandy ground.  I took some pictures that I posted on www.findagrave.com, but the shadows made the headstones hard to read. 

Lawtonville Cemetery

Lawtonville Cemetery

The memorial service took place under the green canopy on the right.  The actual interment was to take place where you see the green canopy on the left near the back of the cemetery, and was to occur after the service was over and the mourners left.  I’ve never seen this type of proceeding before, and indeed when we arrived at the cemetery, we saw both green canopies and thought that two funerals were taking place.  Later we realized that there was to be no true graveside service, but the service at the site of the old church was peaceful and symbolic. 

It was a quiet and fulfilling day.  The family invited us to join them at the church for a meal.  I had discovered that Sugar was related to the family on the Lawton side, and they welcomed him with open arms.  It was like the lost son had been found, and returned to his roots. 

Lovely Lawtonville

Lovely Lawtonville. This picture looks northward - the historical marker is in the distance. Fields surround the cemetery.

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24 Responses to “The Lawtonville Cemetery in Estill, SC”

  1. Simba Says:

    Such a beautiful final resting place! It seems to be well cared for. I don’t know why they put the historical marker there instead of on the side of the street where the academy was, but so be it. It still appears to be very peaceful and quiet there.

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  2. ruthrawls Says:

    There is an association of folks that raise money to maintain the cemetery. One of their fund-raisers is called the “cemetery dinner”. They raise money by selling dinner tickets for a meal. Apparently, they make a good bit of money.
    One story that was passed on to me by a woman who moved out of the area:
    She was visiting back in Estill, and saw an older woman who asked her to please move back because there was so much to do in the little town. “Why, just this weekend’s the cemetery dinner!” I think it’s charming how much those folks love their town.
    I suppose that the sign was put by the cemetery and not in the cotton field for practical reasons. Farm equipment might knock over the sign.

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  3. Simba Says:

    Okay! I didn’t realize the cotton field was across from the cemetery. I was thinking of houses or something there.

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  4. ruthrawls Says:

    Imagine this: you have traveled west of Estill approximately one mile. You come to a crossroads. You turn left, and you can see the cemetery in the distance on your right. You KNOW it is the cemetery because it is like an island of trees and headstones surrounded by the fencing. The fields surround the cemetery. The cotton field in the picture is directly across from the front of the cemetery. There’s a house back at the crossroads – that’s it – we’re in farm country.

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  5. A LawtonFest Family Reunion, June 10-11, Part 3 « Ruthrawls's Blog Says:

    […] As if that wasn’t enough excitement, we still had to tour the cemetery.  I’ve written about the cemetery before in this post. […]

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  6. Gerald Trowell Says:

    You’re in God’s Country yall. i grew up there and my Father and his Brothers are buried thwere on the backside….that will also be my final resting place…..so peaceful. Thanks for making this a part of your Blog Ruth. Jerry Trowell

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    • ruthrawls Says:

      Hello, Jerry, and welcome to the blog! Lawtonville Cemetery is a beautiful resting spot, and I am pleased that I was invited to attend the good-bye ceremony for someone that I hadn’t known for very long. That’s Estill for you.

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  7. Thomas Davant Johns Says:

    Ms. Rawls–thank you so much for your poetic description of Lawtonville Cemetery. I am a Davant and related to the Lawton’s. My wife and I will be staying at Hilton Head the week of Oct 21 to try and find some of the old family cemeterys, and Lawtonville is on our list. When my grandfather was living, we would periocically “pilgrimage” to Hilton Head and the surrounding country to visit the old resting places. At that time we had my cousin, Tom Lawton, who always graciously took us around to all of them. He was by far the most knowledgeable family–and SC–historian that I have ever known. Unfortunately, I did not ask enough questions or write enough down as a child to re-create his tour, but we will try.

    Thomas Davant Johns

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  8. ruthrawls Says:

    Hello, T.D.J., and welcome to the blog!
    Go to this link – http://www.gps.scgen.org/index.html – and search for your cemeteries!

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  9. R M Branim Says:

    I have just recently become interested in tracing my ancestors, and am a great great great granddaughter of Winborn Asa Lawton, who (I believe) is buried in this cemetery. I want to continue to search for the final resting places of my various Lawton ancestors so that I can plan a visit to see them. Thanks so much for posting this on your blog.

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    • ruthrawls Says:

      Hello, Ms. Branim, and welcome to the blog!
      There’s buckets of information on Winborn Asa! Who else are you looking for?

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  10. R M Branim Says:

    Well, Winborn’s daughter, Narcissa Melissa, was my great great grandmother. I believe she is buried in Oviedo, FL. I am interested in finding where her husband, Alexander Benjamin (Winborn Asa’s brother), is buried. Also, their parents, Benjamin Themistocles Dion Lawton and Jane Mosse Lawton. I am trying to put together a family tree of sorts, with as much information as possible, so that I can eventually share it with my other family members. Thanks for your help!

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  11. Christie Tyler Howard Says:

    I am the great great granddaughter of John T Morrison. The old school house is still on, what is now, my uncle’s farm. I spent a lot of time in and around it as a child. It holds a special place in my heart. Also, my Granddaddy, Edmund Morrison Tyler, is buried in Lawtonville Cemetery. It is a beautiful and peaceful place and I’m happy that his grave is surrounded by the countryside that he loved so much.

    Liked by 1 person

    • ruthrawls Says:

      Hello, Christie, and welcome to the blog! I did not realize that the schoolhouse is still standing! Perhaps a day trip for us…

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  12. Winborn B Willingham III. ( Tracy Willingham) Says:

    I believe Thomas Willingham is buried there. He is my relative.

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    • ruthrawls Says:

      Hello Tracy, and welcome to the blog! You are also possibly a Lawton!

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      • Winborn B Willingham III. ( Tracy Willingham) Says:

        I am a Lawton. Thomas Henry Willingham (son of Benjamin that build house in Alendale) married Sara Lawton.

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      • Winborn B Willingham III. ( Tracy Willingham) Says:

        Sorry, wife tells me that Benjamin was son of Thomas. Benjamin build Gravil Hill plantation in Alendale. Thomas build Willingham plantation in Alendale.

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  13. Winborn B Willingham III. ( Tracy Willingham) Says:

    We flew in there today and looked at both places. Very pretty!

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    • ruthrawls Says:

      Just a day trip?

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      • Winborn B Willingham III. ( Tracy Willingham) Says:

        Yes, we were coming home to Chattanooga from Beufort and stopped in to look around.

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        • ruthrawls Says:

          I sent a FB friend request to you, so that if you are interested you can join the group “Descendants of Capt. William Lawton”. I think that we do not have any descendants from Thomas Willingham and Phoebe Sarah Lawton.
          And yes, you are correct, they are buried at Lawtonville Cemetery. You can find them on findagrave.com.

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  14. The Lawtonville Cemetery in Estill, South Carolina – greatunclephilip Says:

    […] Source: https://ruthrawls.wordpress.com/2009/09/21/the-lawtonville-cemetery-in-estill-sc/ […]

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