Archive for April, 2014

Sunday Morning Turtles

April 27, 2014



Happy Sunday!







Easter Lilies for Bonaventure & Laurel Grove, 2014

April 22, 2014



After last year’s less-than-breathtaking lilies, we found these, of all places, at the Publix Supermarket.  Sugar decided that we needed five, and we went over the list again in our heads.  One for Laurel Grove, one for the Basinger plot in Bonaventure, one for the Starr plot, one for Dr. F. Bland Tucker in the Corbin plot, and one for Corinne Elliott Lawton.



We could probably have gotten many more, but we drew the line at five.

On Easter morning, almost a full week later, the lilies were well bloomed-out and glorious.  Sugar had been keeping them sheltered and watered.
















Now on to Bonaventure.  It’s windy and cold, and not many tourists are out yet.  We stop at the Corbin plot where Albert Sidney Lawton is buried, and we see that the same two graves that had flowers at Christmas have flowers again.  We wonder who has been here, and we see that the lilies have blown over, in spite of having been placed into a dug-out hole.




Sugar has forgotten his shovel but he makes do with a digger of sorts.  It’s really not a machete.  Really, not.





As we’re driving off, he notices yet another Lawton that we don’t know.  (He figures it out when he gets home because he has books and stuff, but we still don’t know why they are buried in this plot.)






She’s Lillian Lawton Haynsworth, and she’s buried with her husband James Henry in a Steinberg plot.






Over to the Basinger plot now, to see his great-grandfather, great-grandmother, mother, and brother, along with some other Basinger folks.







Now across the lane to the William Starr plot which is shared with their friends, the Peter Basinger family.




There’s a ready-made receptacle for flowers at the foot of William Starr Basinger’s mother’s grave.  She’s Jane Susan Starr Basinger.


One lone azalea blossom is protected deep into the bush from all the rain and wind.






Onwards to the river to see Corinne Elliott Lawton.



We consider that no one else has brought flowers.  No one.  Yes, it’s been cold, rainy, and windy.  But no one, not even the tour guides that make money off her “suicide” tale have honored her memory with a floral token.

Can I say that these were the best lilies ever, and each pot was only $5.99?  It’s true.  Magnificent buds and blooms graced each plant.  This does not mean that we are cheap, it means that we are astonished.









Hey, Corinne, we’ve got your back.







The far side of this plot has another threshold which we have never crossed. It’s for the Cunninghams.  Nora Lawton, Corinne’s sister, married a Cunningham, and it’s their daughter Sarah Alexander Cunningham who helped me solve the mystery of Corinne’s death.  It wasn’t suicide.





Good-bye everyone.  Sleep well.

Pete Packett’s Papers: A Letter from Alvis Lee Packett, October 28, 1966

April 21, 2014













Oct. 28th, 1966

5325 Rosebay Road Knoxville

Tenn 37918


Mr Pete Packett

Fort Myers Fla


Dear Mr. Packett:


Glad to hear from you

but I don’t believe that

I can be of very much help

to you.  My grandfather Packett

name was Vincent

he was born around 1835

some where in North Carolina

he had two brothers one

was John and the other

Gaines  John went out to

Kansas around 1866

some where west of Topeka

on a homestead of 160 acres

Gaines was a widower

had one sone 5 or 6 ears

older than me.  he moved

to Knoxville from Union

County in 1890 and I never

heard from him any more

My father sold out in

Union County in 1900

We left Knoxville April 5th

1900 for Joplin Mo in

4 or 5 days he landed a job for

both of us on a farm about

2 miles south of Galena Kans

We worked arout 20 day and

he bough a lease on 40 acres

in Oklahoma now about ½

mile from Mo line and ½

mile from the Kanses line.

I cut wood and plowed

corn for the neightbors

that summer.

In Dec he sold the lease

on the 40 acres and bought

a Farm in McDonald Co

Mo.  In 1903 I got married

and I went to Pittsburg Kans

and landed a job on the

Kansas City Southern

Knocking fires on the Pit as

I wanted a job of fireing

That is where I met

Harry Truman as he wear

working in the Razorback

Gang unloading a car of sand

at the sand house and I found

out that they were a job on the

pit that Knight for him to see

his foreman and get transferd

to the Pit and get a job of

Fireing that would be a better job than the

Razorback Gang.

he said we are moving to

Kansas city just as soon

as we well out in Lamar

Mo. and I am going to school

and and I will get in with

the Jews and I will have it made.

So read Matt 18:7 and you

will see what he is going to

get for fireing Gen


I stayed in Pittsburg around

a year and I found out that

it wear a better job on

the M. K. and T. at Parsons


and I went their and I

got out Fireing – 1906

In 1908 my mother waear

dying with a cancer

and I quit and went and

stayed with her.  After her

death I moved to Pasco

Wash. on the Northern

Pacific and I finished up

at Yakima Wash.  I had made

up my mind to come back

hear  I had sold my home

in Pasco, so I still had one

in Yakima Instead of staying

in a hotel at Pasco  So I

went to Yakima and taken

a switch engine in the

Yakima Yard so one day I

had no Fireman and the

Round house Foreman put

out an Englisman to my

Fireman and I had heard

my grandfather say that

the Packetts came to N.C.

From England and if he ever

knew any Packetts in

England  he said yes, that

he taken a paper from his

hometown and he saw

quite often about a

write up about them

in a bout 2 weeks he came

with a paper and it had

a write up about a Packett

had a fight and they had

fined him so much —  not so good

I have a cousin that

lives in Lakeland Fla

the last I heard from him

his name is Eston he is

66 this year

I came back hear to get

out of the winters out

their the coldest I have

seen wear 40 below.

About 10 below hear and

I do not last very long

I have a dandy little Farm

hear in Knoxville 7 11/100

acres.  I would like to sell

and get a way from

Knoxville but my Battle

Ax do not want to leave

Knoxville as we are going

to have hard times

in the near Future

and they are a possibility

of having it with the

negros.  I am enclosing

Washington Vision he had

at Vally Forge in 1777

It do not look very good

If you are ever up

hear and can look me up

I am still in good shape

and also if you can write I

would be glad to hear

from you.

With my Friendly greetings

and my best of wishes to you

I am Sincerely Yours

Alvis Lee Packett

P.S.  over

I would be glad if you

could subscribe for

the Destiny $3.00 a

year as they identify

the English as the house

of Israel see Jer 31:34-37

not the Jews  Read John

8:42-44 verse

Family records my mother

was a Bridges and

her mother wear a

Brantley  Both familys

wear from North Carolina

But I don’t know what Part

of North Carolina.

I have a International

Atlas of the World 1941 Edition

where I looked up the Kansa

Map.  Topeka is in Shawnee

Co and Wabaunssee co is

the first county west

With my best of wishes

and Frindly Greeting

Yours Respectiful

A. L. Packett


Pete Packett’s Papers: A Letter from Eston P. Packett, 1966

April 19, 2014

Packett Eston 1966 001

                                                                                November 16, 1966

Mr. Pete Packett

% Fort Myers News-Press

Fort Myers, Fla.

Dear Mr. Packett:

Received your letter and hope I can be of some help.

I knew your father and mother; they lived across the street from

my family when their first child was born.  They were living

with your Grandmother Webb.

Your dad came to see me in Knoxville about 1940.  Some of you

were in the service then.  He was pastor of a church in Lenoir

City at that time.

My father was Issac Henry Packett and my grandfather was Vinsent Packett.

Alvis Lee Packett’s father was Harbison Packett.  All

of this family was born and raised in Union County, Tenn.

My sister, Mrs. Della Morrell, who lives in Sevierville, Tenn.

has the old family bible with the records in it.  You can write

her:  Route 3 Sevierville, Tenn. 37862.

I have three children, all living in Lakeland, Fla.  My son Jack

Packett is with Publix – buyer for Gourmet Food and candy.  He

lives at 510 Lone Palm Drive.  My two daughters are Mrs. Roy Essary,

(Betty) and Mrs. Stephen Stith, (Barbara).

I hope this helps you in your search.  My sister probably can

give you additional information.

PS  My father, Issac Packett had only one brother, who was

Harbison Packett – A.L.Packett’s father.  Issac Packett

died in Knoxville, Tenn. in 1938.  I do not know who

John and Gaines Packett were.


Eston P. Packett

2180 Colonial Ave.

Lakeland, Fla. 33801

And the first child that was born to my grandparents James and Ruth Packett?  That was my mother, Uncle Pete’s sister.

Back by Popular Demand, 2014 Style

April 18, 2014

This blog frequently gets visitors and commenters who are interested in the Lawton stuff.

Last year I dismantled the scanner and stored it away, clearly in a delusional state, because I thought that I had scanned everything necessary to mankind regarding my genealogy papers.  I need the space here, folks.  It’s kitten season, and I have three little babies in a crate, and space is at a premium here in the RV.

Guess what?  The scanner is back in operation.  I found Uncle Pete’s papers, and also the folks needing to know about the Lawton family reunion need their fix.

I’ve scanned the 2013 Christmas newsletter, and also the 2014 invitation for June 13 and 14.  I’m also trying something new for me and this blog – I’ve added a “contact me” feature at the bottom of this post.

See you in June!

LawtonFamilyReunion2014 001

The Lawton and Allied Families Association

135 Lamont Drive

Decatur, GA  30030

December, 2013

Dear Lawton Cousins,

Christmas greetings!  We celebrated our 2013 reunion jointly in June with our Robert cousins from Louisiana.  Our Friday night meeting was at Gloria Tuten’s childhood home at Robertville.  We enjoyed a great meal, caught up with our cousins from Texas and Louisiana and had a wonderful piano/organ concert by Gloria and her sister-in-law, Alene in the Robertville church sanctuary.

Saturday morning, we met at the Robertville Baptist Church for a presentation on the life and times of our common ancestor, Pierre Robert, based on Tom Lawton’s original research paper and read by cousin Marie McEntire.

Saturday afternoon, we visited the Old Robert Cemetery.  Thanks to Cousin Lawton O’Cain and your generous contributions, we have made much progress in keeping this important part of our history clear from the bushes and trees that would otherwise consume it.  Your contributions make the difference.

Plan to come to Robertville JUNE 13 and 14, 2014 for this year’s reunion.  We will celebrate Friday night at Davis’s swimming pool, which many of you, who were raised in the area, fondly remember.  On Saturday, we’ll be at the Robertville Baptist Church to hear Fred York’s talk about the Union army at Honey Hill.

I look forward to meeting you there!

Your cousin and friend,

Neale Hightower



LawtonReunion2014 001

The Lawton and Allied Families Associations
135 Lamont Dr.
Decatur, GA 30030

April 12, 2014

Dear Cousins,

We had a great time in Robertville last year – so great that we plan to do it again. Our Robert cousins aren’t meeting with us this year (they meet every other year), but we will have the opportunity to visit the Robertville church, the area, and the old Robert Cemetery. We’ll meet on June 13th and 14th.

On Friday night we’ll gather at Davis’s swimming pool to renew old friendships and conduct some informal business. Did you grow up in the Estill/Garnett area? Bring your stories to share about the Davis’s swimming pool!

On Saturday, our program will feature Fred York – a Columbia historian that has spoken to us briefly on several occasions in the past. Fred will tell us about “Victory at Honey Hill”. This battle preceded the Union advance on Robertville – and there’s a Lawton Connection as well. In the afternoon, we’ll travel to the Old Robert cemetery on Tye Branch Road.

Please send all registration forms and money for our meeting to Mary Catherine Plowden, 71 Wade Hampton Avenue, Walterboro, SC 29488. All events are listed on the registration form. Please check the events you will attend. If you can’t attend, please send in your dues. We must have dollars to keep up our mailing list. 

I look forward to meeting each of you in June. Let me know what we can do to make your time enjoyable. Send me an email –

Your cousin and friend,
Neale C. Hightower
Lawton and Allied Families Association



From Uncle Pete Packett

April 16, 2014






From my mother, Nov. 1, 1966:

“Well, little Mandy and I went last Wednesday to see Lonie Rodgers

to see if she knew any about the Packetts.  She was Grandma Packett’s

neice (sic).  Grandma Packett was a Rodgers….  I don’t know if you remember

Bob Yearout here.  Well they are related to the Webbs.  I knew that but

didn’t know how much.  They said my grand mother’s name was Rodie

Webb, which I always thought was Sarah.  I didn’t know my Grand-

father’s name but they said it was Cart.  Mrs. Yearout told me Sunday

night at church they were going to Wildwood Springs soon to see his

sister and she would know something.  I think he knows what he is

talking about because when I was very small we lived in Wildwood

Springs.  My father had a country store there and my mother owned

two houses.  I very well remember when they sold them…  My father

was Dr. L. D. Webb.  My mother Henry Etta Collins.”

Uncle Pete went on a letter-writing campaign in 1966.  This letter from his mother, who is my grandmother, shows how little she knew for certain about her grandparents.  Her father’s father was Lynch Webb, and his wife was Sarah Couch Webb.

“Little Mandy” is Amanda Packett.  “Grandma Packett” is my grandfather’s mother, Lily Rogers Packett.  “Lonie Rodgers” married Sam Rodgers/Rogers, the nephew of Lily Rogers Packett.


(More from Uncle Pete)

Henry Etta or Henrietta Collins Webb died May 3, 1934.  Lynch Delisha

Webb died when my mother was about 12 or 13, about 1906 or 1907.

My father’s parents were William Packett, who died about 1906 also,

and is believed to be buried in Dalton, GA, and Esther Lily Rogers

or Rodgers Packett, died in the early 1930s, and buried in Lenoir


I also can recall as a child going to Wildwood Springs Cemetery with

mother and dad to trim up and decorate Grandfather Webb’s grave in

Wildwood Springs.  (My note:  no one knows today where his grave is, although I can find a death certificate.)

My father, James Packett, was born in Loudon County, TN Sept. 5, 1891,

and mother Ruth Jeanette Webb in Blount County, TN, March 25, 1894.

Letter from Mrs. (Douglas) Marie Hurst, Sevierville, TN, Jan. 8, 1967:

“I am Mrs. Marie Hurst, daught of Della P. Morell.  I am sending her

dad’s birth: Isaac Henry Packett, March 27, 1860.”

Jan. 20, 1967 (More from Marie Hurst)

My grandmother’s maiden name is Mary Catherine Allbright, July 3, 1868,

at Union County.  Her dad’s name was Jasper Allbright, her mother’s

was Betty Wilson before her marriage to Jasper.

The rest of the births in the old Bible are grandmothers and grand-

father’s children.

Della Packett Morell, August 19, 1888

Leonard V. Packett, Dec. 18, 1889 (deceased)

Cora Lee Packett, Oct. 9, 1891 (deceased)

Martha E. Packett, March 11, 1894

Edgbert Packett, Oct. 23, 1897

Esten P. Packett, Oct. 28, 1900 – this is Betty Essary’s dad.  (Handwritten:  Cousin of Alvis Lee Packett of Knoxville.)

More letters to follow!



Lunch in Atlanta

April 16, 2014

We on our way home!  It’s been a lovely trip.  We were hungry on the way, so we had lunch in Atlanta.

We didn’t actually stop the van.











It is unwise to stop in Atlanta unless you are not in a hurry to get anywhere.

Soon, we’re home.  William Starr Basinger would be pleased.

Another Hike, For Tomorrow We Drive

April 16, 2014

After the trip to the Natural Bridge, we returned to Sugar’s cousin’s home.  The dogs were ready for a walk.  Really, they go on a long walk every evening.  At least they call it a walk.  Other people would put on a backpack and carry water, for it’s a hike.

At the edge of the plateau, we stopped, and I snapped a photo of the opposite ridge.



On the way back to the house, there were interesting rock outcroppings everywhere.  Sugar stops to look back to make sure I’m still hiking along.



Isn’t that remarkable?  All the rocks.  There are no rocks at all where we live, only sandy soil, because apparently we were underwater once upon a time.

The visit draws to a close, after a meal with more oysters, and we get ready to leave early in the morning.

Because vacation is almost over…

The Sewanee Natural Bridge, Or: In Which Pictures Tell the Story

April 16, 2014























I learned that Sugar is afraid of heights.  He hid it pretty well, until I was crowding him on the bridge…

Onward to Sewanee

April 11, 2014

The path from Dahlonega to NearSewanee takes several hours to travel.  Part of it is interstate highway travel.  The end of the journey involves a climbing mountain road to arrive at the top of the Cumberland Plateau.  Road signs and directional markers become fewer and homemade.  I had a handwritten set of directions, which were effective until near the end, when the directions said to turn on the left road right after the sharp right turn.

We never found the sharp right turn, but instead ended up at a stop sign.  Sugar considered going on, but I countered that the stop sign was not in the directions, and that we should backtrack.  He countered that we never went through a sharp right turn.  I settled the matter by saying, “I’m from Tennessee, and we need to go back”.  We would go back and retrace our steps, and ignore the “sharp right turn” part.

This involves driving down every road until we found a mailbox with an address on it so that we could know what road we were on.  When I was growing up, there were no road signs outside the city limits near where I lived.  You simply told someone how to get to your house.  Go about 1 mile from town, turn right sharp downhill, go across the creek and take the left fork, second house on the right.  It’s on a hill.  You can’t miss it.

We finally found our road, and fortunately I had copied the address.  We don’t have GPS, so everything is part of the adventure.

Sugar’s cousin greeted us warmly, and we settled in.  We had done it!  We delivered oysters that had been on ice for three days, so were possibly about 4 days harvested.  We talked about what to do with these oysters for dinner.  Oyster stew, fried oysters, what?  It seemed that the dogs needed a walk and the food decisions could wait.

The four of us, being myself, Sugar, his cousin, and her husband, plus the dogs, set out to walk the property.  Apparently they thought we were spry enough, and I hoped my knees would prove this to be true.  It’s hilly, and there was a little stream to cross.  This proved to not be a walk, this was a hike for most sorts of folks, but we did it, and no one blew out a knee or twisted an ankle.  It was remote, yet populated, territory, and at the correct geologic area for caves, which is why they live here, for they are cavers.

No, we did not go caving.

Then we had raw oysters on saltines with sauce.  In anticipation of oyster stew, which SugarCousin made from scratch with milk and a stick of butter. Mouth watering now.



The next day we set out for sightseeing.

(Insert apologies here.  There’s more than 70 photos.)



SugarCousin’s husband works at a FireTowerLookOuty Place.




Here’s a shot of the tower and a bird that’s catching some early morning sunshine.



On the way to Green’s View.  No view of terrain, but the early morning fog was spectacular and worth the trip.










Ice!  Still a bit left from the storm Titan.








Now, onward to Sewanee to the Archives.  Closed!  Until the afternoon.  So, yeah, we’ll be back later.

Sugar’s paternal grandfather went to school here in the 1880’s.  It’s now the University of the South, which went through severalhistorical twists and turns to become what it is today.





Yes, this is taken out the window.



One of the highlights of this campus tour is the chapel, which is now indeed much grander than a chapel, and is quite cathedral-like.  See what you think.










IMG_6204 IMG_6205



























We leave the chapel and head over to another overlook, still on the campus.














Now we head down into the town of Sewanee for some lunch, and to kill time until the archives are open.

We chose The Blue Chair.  The food was great, and fresh, and there was a friendly lunchy atmosphere.  I don’t even remember what I ate – a Greek salad? – but it was delicious – I have a delicious memory that the experience was delicious.

When we got back to the archives, the gentlemen in charge of the archives told Sugar that he had located a record of Sugar’s grandfather showing that he had matriculated in 1883 or thereabouts, but that was all.  We were not allowed to look at any records, which was a disappointment.

We press onward to the Sewanee Natural Bridge, the subject for another post.  It’s quietly spectacular.