William C. O’Driscoll, 1808-1878

Let’s take a moment to talk about all the papers in the Sarah Alexander Cunningham Collection of family papers in the Georgia Historical Society in Savannah.  Among the collection is a scrapbook kept by her mother Nora Lawton who married Henry Cumming Cunningham.  There are various clippings from the newspaper, I’m guessing the Savannah Morning News, things like poems, obituaries, wedding announcements, that sort of stuff.

There’s a clipping about a Mr. O’Driscoll.  I went to www.ancestry.com, and did a quick search on him so that I could learn his first name.  Part of the newspaper clipping says that he is the last male member of his family.  It’s something we all think about at some point in our lives, that carrying-on of the family name.  Sometimes, new online friends ask if I am a Lawton.  I’m not, and they seem surprised.  Why then, do I write about the Lawtons?

It’s not that I only write about the Lawtons.  I write a lot about random things that I think might be important to someone someday.  As the saying goes:  bloom where you are planted.

So with that, I give you the obituary of William C. O’Driscoll.

   Mr. O’Driscoll was born in Charleston in

1808, and was consequently in the 70th year

of his age.  During his early life we under-

stand he entered the medical profession and

subsequently was admitted to the bar,  but

did not practice in either any length of time.

In 1835 he removed to Savannah and entered

into commercial life as a cotton merchant

and conducted a very extensive business.  He

was for several years a Director and Pre-

sident of the Bank of Savannah, and was

also Belgian Consul at this port for a long


It is a little singular that Friday, the day

preceding his death, was the anniversary of

the sad drowning, at Beach Hammock, of

his son, Mr. Frank C. O’Driscoll, and that

to-morrow will be the anniversary of that

son’s funeral.

Mr. O’Driscoll was the last surviving male

member of his family.  He was a citizen

whose integrity was well known, and who

had the confidence of all with whom he had

business relations.  His funeral will take

place this afternoon at four o’clock from

Christ Church.

(In handwriting along the left side of the newspaper clipping is written “June 1878”.)

Sleep well, Mr. O’Driscoll.  You are not forgotten, even if it’s only in my tiny little corner of the internet.


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4 Responses to “William C. O’Driscoll, 1808-1878”

  1. leo Says:

    Oh, but Ruth, you are a Lawton, by virtue of your obvious interest in that family. How could the Lawtons not know and love you for all the wonderful knowledge of the family that you impart on these pages. Thank you, Ruth, for all of the time and energy you expend in this remarkable enterprise.


  2. Trooper Wife Says:

    Pulling the thread on Mr. O’Driscoll…he was the maternal grandfather of Frank O’Driscoll Hunter, a WWI and WWII flying ace and the namesake of Hunter Army Airfield here in Savannah.

    Liked by 1 person

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