More Thoughts on Francis Asbury Lawton

(Insert my commercial here, except I’m not selling anything excepts thoughts.)

Sugar has a book written by his cousin Thomas Oregon Lawton. Which one, you say? Do you mean which book, or which Thomas Oregon Lawton? Because there are six TOLs listed on findagrave as being buried in Lawtonville Cemetery. 

Before we progress on the book topic, in answer to your unspoken question, “What kind of name is Thomas Oregon?”, be advised that the father of the original TOL, in the spirit of expansionism, wanted to name him “Oregon Territory”. So that’s a relief. 

The book is Upper St. Peter’s Parish and Its Environs, published in 2001. Mr. Lawton was an attorney in Allendale, SC, and a great promoter of family, local, and state history. 

His grandfather was Francis Asbury Lawton. He writes of him in his book. Sugar has a copy, and I photographed relevant pages. Mr TOL is deceased, and I publish photos of his book here at the risk of breaking copyright. Sometimes I am a rebel like that. 

He is said to be a colorful personality with a mercurial disposition. If he is the father of Winnie Joe Lawton, there is no mention of any children born outside his marriage. And in this, we have no paper trail. Lineage societies require a paper trail. We’re familiar with the traditional paper trail for the traditional families. 

We have a new kind of paper trail called DNA. At this point, I don’t know how lineage societies will treat DNA proof, although it is clearly a proof. More people in this Lawton line need to take the autosomal DNA so that their data can be added to the database and help narrow the field of possible answers and candidates. Some of the descendants have been contacted and they reject the DNA findings. I understand that. It means that your people, your ancestors, are not the people you thought they were. I also understand that we are not in a bubble. We are all connected, and denial of historical events and scientific proof doesn’t change that. 

When I first started writing the blog, and I referenced the fact that Miz Florrie said that her father was “kin to the Lawons”, I wouldn’t write the word “Lawton”. I hid the name by writing “L*****”. Because I am afraid of the big Internet and haters. And I thought I was protecting her somehow. 

Her DNA test doesn’t reveal any Lawton matches, at least not yet, which makes me wonder if there were multiples candidates for her father’s paternity, and the most likely candidate was Lawton. 

I do know this: this story and others like it will never grow old to me. 

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5 Responses to “More Thoughts on Francis Asbury Lawton”

  1. Libby Lawton Hromika Says:

    Love your blogs, Ruth! While it is sad that there are questions we will probably never have the answers to in this life, we know that Francis Asbury was a fine man in many important ways. We don’t know the circumstances of Winnie Joe’s conception…..we never will. We don’t know anything about the dynamics of the relationships of the people in those families. We do know that there is not one among us who is perfect. And we do know that Winnie Joe raised a fine family and his life had great meaning. Of that we can all be proud. When we met Francine, we discovered that she is refined, well spoken, gracious and fun. I didn’t find anything about her that made me think my great-grandmother’s brother was not the man I read about in Tom Lawton’s book. I should hope that FA’s family will continue to be as proud of their ancestor as ever before, certainly once they meet Francine. I find the fact that “they” are open to knowing “us” as being evidence of the good people that they are. Barriers are often evidence of fear. There is nothing to fear here.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Winston Lawton Says:

    I have a charcoal portrait, signed “B. Lawton”. My mother, Sara Morrison Lawton, said it was my great- grandfather, Francis Asbury Lawton. Winston A. Lawton Jr. Estill, SC


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