Looking for Francis Asbury Lawton

I was poking around on the Internet, and saw that Francis Asbury Lawton was buried in Lawtonville Cemetery, and there was no photo on findagrave. 

You know what this means, don’t you? Someone set the shot clock. 


Sugar and I headed out mid-morning, and after a quick trip to Bostick Cemetery, we drove to Estill. Because you can’t easily get to Lawtonville if you don’t go to Estill. 

The community of Lawtonville was burned by Sherman. Today all that remains is the cemetery, a crossroads, and a historical marker. We pulled into the cemetery and parked under a live oak to eat our lunch. And saw some other folks pulling in, too, in work trucks. Then we saw a funeral canopy through the trees on the far side of the cemetery. This might be a super-fast photo shoot, for as we walked closer to the funeral canopy to get to some Lawton markers, we saw that everything was ready for a funeral. The Lawton markers were not the ones we wanted, so we headed in the opposite direction, because it felt like we were intruding. 

We didn’t know exactly where Francis Asbury Lawton was buried, but we knew it would be an old marker dating back to 1899. 

First we found Elizabeth Thomson Lawton Tonge, daughter of F. A. and Annie B. Lawton, so we know we’re close. Yes, Thomson without the P. 

Then there was a blank spot, then Annie. 

Here Francis Asbury Lawton. The markers so far say “F. A.”, not “Francis Asbury”. Did they call him F. A.?  I wonder. 

Then Crawford Bryan Lawton, who is another child of F. A. and Annie. It’s a much more simplistic, modern style of marker, and it turns out that it is a replacement stone dating to 1996, 102 years after this person died. 

Annie and F. A. lost several children young. 


Dear little Annie

Annie’s inscription is facing the fence away from the grave, plus she has a footstone with her initials “A. B. L.”. This configuration is an old style like we saw in the Robert Cemetery for John Robert. 


Infant Daughter, January 16, 1887

“Blossomed but to die.”

Infant son, August 12, 1888

There were other stones of collateral relatives, which I did take shots of, despite the shot clock ticking loudly and the thought of a funeral taking place across the way. I won’t muddy the post with those; I’ll just add them to findagrave or wherever else looks like a good place. 

So why all the talk about Francis Asbury Lawton? 


DEE. EN. A. (Say that with a Southern accent.)

Let’s suppose we know of a certain brother of F. A. who had a known child of mixed race. This was after slavery times in the late 19th century. Let’s suppose that a modern day mixed-race black  person did a DNA test that linked him VERY STRONGLY to either the brother or F. A. 

At this point we cannot know conclusively which brother is the direct ancestor, so why are we pinpointing Francis Asbury Lawton? Because the child born to a Lawton man and Bella Brown named his first son… (wait for it)


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