This Is The Year: Part Two

It takes a lot of cooperation and concentration to make a meeting happen. 

We found out that Jordan’s great-aunt Francine was coming to South Carolina to visit some cousins on her father’s mother’s side. We hoped that she was willing and able to find time with her father’s father’s side. 

She did, and brought a Tolbert cousin from her father’s mother’s side who was fascinated with the story. 

Francine is soft-spoken and reserved, but she volunteered during the course of the evening that her grandfather, the Lawton descendant, could not read or write until he was grown and married, and his wife taught him. He was born in 1881 and couldn’t go to school with the whites and was shunned by the blacks. He and his family moved to Savannah sometime between 1910 and 1920, and he had a general merchandise store, but he lost it all because he couldn’t count and make change. 

I showed Ftancine this document:

Where Winnie Joe Brown signed his name. 

What did we talk about during dinner? I only remember snippets. I was too busy enjoying the evening. And taking some stealth photos. 

 After dinner we posed for photos. 


Standing: Arthur Gilliard, YoursTruly, Libby Lawton Hromika, Francine Brown. Seated: Leslie Lawton Bateson.

Do y’all love this story as much as I do?


Thanks to Dennis Richard Hromika, the ever-patient and enabling photographer. Thanks to Jordan Carroll, the persistent genealogist, and to those Lawton cousins who welcomed him. Thanks to Francine Brown for visiting from NY and submitting the DNA test. Thanks to Arthur Gilliard, Francine’s Tolbert cousin, for his enthusiasm. Thanks to Libby Lawton Hromika for her gracious hosting. But mostly, thanks to Sugar Bateson for letting me come along for the ride.


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5 Responses to “This Is The Year: Part Two”

  1. Libby Lawton Hromika Says:

    I was there and I still love this story! It was just a fun night with friends and family! From all that I have read, Francis Asbury Lawton was a fine man. I’d like to believe that he was smiling down on us and enjoying the fact that times have changed and this could happen in 2015!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Audrey Bateson Says:

    Great story!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Sharon Says:

    Loved this story, Ruth. Wonderful historical connections and social context of the times. I especially liked the ending which is real a beginning. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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