The Gold Mine in the Closet: The Lawton Children

Edward Percival Lawton and Mary “Leslie” Basinger Lawton had 7 children.  One child, Helen, died young while they were living overseas.


First, 4 girls were born, then 2 boys, then the youngest was Sugar’s mother.


Margaret, Emily, and Leslie.


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Left to right: Emily, Margaret, and Leslie.


The girls: Emily, Margaret, and Leslie. The boys: William and Edward.

The youngest child, Mary Genevieve “Genette”, lived for a time with her brother Edward, who was employed by the Department of State.  She received an invitation to attend an event at the White House in 1935.

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Edward attended a school in Virginia, and Sugar found a school photo.  I’ve circled Edward in the photo.



Edward and William with their mother Mary “Leslie” Basinger Lawton, about 1910 in Switzerland.

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Mary “Leslie” Basinger Lawton, with her two sons, William and Edward, and an unidentified daughter with the dog. This is taken at their Topside Plantation in Puerto Rico.

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Edward Jr. went to West Point and graduated.  He had a military career, like his father.  At one point he was with the Department of State in Washington, D.C., perhaps around the early 1930’s.






November 2

Dearest Mother,

I have been lax about writing you,

but you have doubtless heard from both Betsy & Ge-

nette.  We have been very busy – I in the office &

Betsy with her mother.  Mr. Rounds comes tonight &

they both return to N.Y. Sunday.  Betsy will pro-

bably go down to N.Y. later in the month for a few

days.  Perhaps I will be able to get away at

Thanksgiving & go too.

No further news about my future movement.

I suppose I won’t know until it is about time to


Mrs. R. took us and Genette to a concert last

night at the Constitution Hall, & G. seemed thrilled.

Apparently she is having much work but little play,

with a congenial room-mate in the same fix.  We

have tried to broaden her circle, but know too few

people her age to be of much use.  She looks better

and her complexion has improved.  I received your

ten dollar check & gave her the proceeds.  G.

& her room-mate sit at a small table with Mr.

Ritchie which seems to please all of them.

Verne has a friend at his boarding-house

named Sears Garnett from Virginia, somewhere

near Norfolk.  Very nice.  He is a nephew of a

prominent local attorney named Leslie Garnett

— cousins, I suppose.  Verne & his friend &

Betsy and I went to Princeton to a football game

last Saturday.  As we were invited we could

not talk Genette.

Must close & get this off,

Love to all,



So many stories, so little time.


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4 Responses to “The Gold Mine in the Closet: The Lawton Children”

  1. Sharon Says:

    Wonderful photos, Ruth, treasures indeed. So they were in NJ at one point. Ever in Westfield? That was where my great-grandparents lived. They were not negatively impacted by the Great Depression and great-grandfather Hallenbeck was president of the tennis club there.


    • ruthrawls Says:

      Sharon, I don’t know of a link to Westfield, but I’ll keep looking. 🙂
      Did you realize that the father of these children, Major Edward Percival Lawton, was the 1st cousin of Corinne Elliott Lawton??


  2. Mary-Jo Lengnick Says:

    Ruth, do you know of the children of Edward, Jr.? My college roommate is a Lawton and her father and grandfather attended West Point. I have no idea what her ancestry is, but this would be a funny way to find out! And a very small world

    Liked by 1 person

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