Albert Sidney Lawton, June 17, 1900 – September 1, 1987

One day, not long after we had met Miz Florrie, Sugar and I were sitting in her kitchen, just chatting.

Sugar asked her if she knew any of the Lawtons. She surprised us by saying, “I worked for the Lawtons.”

And when we asked who, she said, “Albert Sidney.”

Sometimes Miz Florrie doesn’t have her teeth in, and all the time it’s hard to understand her accent. So we asked her, “WHO?”

She said again, like it was one word, “AlbertSidney.”

And Sugar and I looked at each other, squinting our eyes and shrugging our shoulders, still with the “WHO?” on our faces.

Sugar said, “Who was his father?”

Miz Florrie: “Willie Lawton.”

Sugar: “Who’s Willie Lawton? Where did he live?”

Miz Florrie: “Ovuh there,” and she waved her hand in the general direction of the Pineland Plantation across the road.

Willie Lawton? Was she talking about a black Willie Lawton, because we didn’t know any white Willie Lawtons.

We finally figured out that she was talking about William Henry Lawton who did indeed have a son named Albert Sidney. On the 1900 census, Albert Sidney had just been born and didn’t even have a name enumerated on the census.

Miz Florrie said that she collected rents for Albert Sidney, and that he married a girl from Savannah, and moved to Jacksonville, Florida. He had lived in a house just south of hers, but it didn’t exist any more. It had been moved, “ovuh there”, so we’re just not sure what happened to the house.

Miz Florrie also said that one night when she was young, she was walking home, and passed by the house. There were “people” dancing on the porch, only they weren’t people, they were spirits. Miz Florrie ran home. In my mind’s eye, I can see couples in old-fashioned dress, waltzing round and round on the porch.

*****

We’ve always wondered what happened to Albert Sidney Lawton, and we presumed that he died in Jacksonville. Last week I was looking on the find-a-grave website, and did a search for “Lawton” in Bonaventure Cemetery. Near the top of the list was Albert Sidney.

Why didn’t we know that? Why didn’t we know that he was in Savannah? Where is he? Sugar guessed that he was buried with his wife’s family in the Corbin plot, so he called the cemetery office, and the nice office people told him how to go to the website, and do a search to find the plot.

You can do it, too. It’s a great resource.

http://www.savannahga.gov/;
leftclick “community”, you’ll get a dropdown box;
leftclick “cemeteries”; on the lefthand side of the page
leftclick “burial records”; then scroll to the bottom of the page.
Leftclick on the icon to do an online search, which will take you to a new page to enter your search terms.

I copied down the info, and we headed over to Bonaventure.

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Sugar suddenly realized that he knew this man, this Francis Bland Tucker.

Sugar was baptized by F. Bland Tucker. Why is he in the Corbin plot? Another mystery.

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It was really cold in the cemetery. The polar vortex was making its way south in anticipation of making my water connection at my well freeze and snap off.

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While we were driving around looking for the Corbin plot, Sugar saw someone else he knew from his childhood, so we backtracked to get a closer look.

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Of course we drove by the Lawton plot to see Sugar’s cousin Corinne, and today we drove past on the little lane that headed out of the cemetery. And here’s another Lawton!

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Jane Lawton McIntosh was from Garnett! And she was the grandmother of our friend Jean.

Lawtons are everywhere.

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