Archive for April, 2016

The Lawton Memorial

April 30, 2016

One of Sugar’s cousins found a postcard for sale online. She wondered if anyone knew anything about the Lawton Memorial.

I know a bit, but first I’ll have to find Sarah Alexander Lawton’s will.

Here’s the postcard image.

The building is a Greek Orthodox Church now. We drove past a few weeks ago, and I snapped a photo out the passenger side of the rear of the church.


Large parking lot perfect for lots of parking. Family reunion perhaps?


Not long after I met Sugar, years ago, he took me on a little memory tour of Savannah. We went by his grandmother’s house on Taylor Street, to Laurel Grove, to Bonaventure, and to the Lawton Memorial. There’s a historical marker there, and I suppose I have a photo of it somewhere, but no worries, there are plenty of photos of the marker online. They’re just not *my* photos.

Here is Sarah Alexander Lawton’s will, with the images coming from ancestrydotcom. She addresses that she wants a portion of her wealth to go toward the construction of a memorial building, which of course became known as the Lawton Memorial.

Now to transcribe. Anyone up for the task?

George Mosse and the First Baptist Church in Savannah

April 24, 2016

In Savannah Dr. Mosse organized the Savannah Medical College and was a charter member of the Georgia Medical Society. In 1795 he became the first deacon of Savannah’s First Baptist Church which he helped establish. But he complained that he “made no dollars in Savannah” whereas he had “made pounds (sterling) on St. Helena’s and Hilton Head.”

Yesterday I posted about our day trip to St. Helena to see Mosse Road, most probably for Dr. George Mosse. 

Sugar found some papers at the Georgia Historical Society about George Mosse’s transition from the First Baptist Church before he moved to Robertville. I’ll have to wrest those papers out of his grip before I can post them here, then I’ll need to edit them by adding a watermark “Courtesy of Georgia Historical Society”. Until then…

We strolled over to the First Baptist Church in anticipation of the family reunion in June. I had talked by phone with a nice  lady at the FBC back in February who confirmed that George Mosse’s name was in the church history. 

Hey! Where’s the mention of our George Mosse?!

I’ve got to go to Sugar’s house and get those papers!

Dr. George Mosse: One Thing Leads to Another 

April 23, 2016

Doesn’t it, though? One pebble dropped in a pond creates infinite ripples.

We went to a tour of Datha Island. It’s a private community, with a guard and a gate, but we were able to secure a pass because we were part of a history group. I made lots of photos. Perhaps someday my path will wind back to posting those.

For now, I want to talk about George Mosse. I’ve talked about him before. Heck, I even named a dog after him. Not the first odd name I’ve done. I named a cat after Peter Tondee, who ran an inn in Savannah where the Liberty Boys met. The man, not the cat.

Islanders In History

From the Island Packet, Tuesday, June 29, 1976

George Mosse, Militia Surgeon, Lived Here, Mapped Island

By The Rev. Dr. Robert E. H. Peeples

A trim, versatile young Irish physician, kinsman of the popular Dr. Bartholomew Mosse of Dublin, arrived in Charleston in 1765. He began practicing medicine in the Parish of St. Thomas and St. Denis where he married Elizabeth Martin in 1767.

Following her death in childbirth he secured a small acreage on St. Helena’s Island, resumed his medical practice, opened a large general store and established a profitable tannery and leather manufacturing business. His 120oared barge made monthly deliveries of his merchandise alternately to Charleston and Savannah, returning with needed supplies. Several journeymen and apprentices augmented his work force of slaves. He planted benne from which sesame seeds were harvested for oil; he planted cane from which he manufactured sugar and distilled rum; he cultivated grapes and made wines commercially.

Dr. Mosse married again in 1771 Phoebe, younger daughter of aging planter Jonathan Norton. Her sister Sarah was the wife of Samuel Green of Hilton Head’s Fish Haul Plantation and they were frequent visitors here. They hired a resident male tutor for the seven daughters born to them, all of whom they raised; there were no sons.

From the 1775 outbreak of Revolution, Dr. Mosse and the St. Helena’s and Hilton Head Island planters were active patriots. The victory at Sullivan’s Island gave the state almost three years of respite from war. But the December 1778 fall of Savannah and the subsequent burning of Prince William Parish Church (Sheldon) by Royal Militiaman Maj. Andrew Deveaux, his wife’s cousin, brought war’s violence to Beaufort District. By May 12, 1780, when Charleston fell, all Georgia and Carolina had been lost through the bad judgment and worse military tactics of three Continental generals: Robert Howe, John Ashe and Benjamin Lincoln.

One more Continental effort was mad at Camden by Gen. Horatio Gates; his inefficient supply service left his men so hungry that they ate unripened fruit the day before the battle and were too ill to fight. Dr. Mosse served as a Militia surgeon during the battle and was captured by the British who marched him from the Camden battlefield to prison in Charleston.

Upon being paroled Dr. Mosse returned to his family. In May 1781 in contravention of the terms of his parole, the British arrested 129 of the leaders of South Carolina and confined them aboard the prison ships Forbay and Pack Horse in Charleston harbor. Hilton Head landowner and future S.C. Governor Benjamin Guerard and planter William Elliott of Myrtle Bank Plantation, whose wife was a close cousin of Dr. Mosse’s wife, were among those held illegally with Ddr. Mosse in the stinking, disease-ridden, overcrowded vessels.

Ddr. Mosse joined the others in writing on May 18, 1781 to Gen. Nathanael Greene, that “should it fall to the lot of any or all of us to be made victims agreeable to to the menaces herein contained, we have only to regret that our blood could not be disposed of more to the advancement of the glorious cause to which we adhere.”

A general exchange of prisoners was arranged, resulting in Dr. Mosse’s being put aboard ship for Philadelphia. As the ship passed the North Carolina coast the prisoners overcame their guards, seized control of the vessel and sailed her into port. From there, “after many perils,” Dr. Mosse made his way home safely.

In early 1782 Dr. Mosse supplied the S.C. military establishment with 115 gallons of rum and 300 pounds of “muscavado sugar” manufactured on his plantation. He became a Hilton Head landowner; his plantation adjoining that of his business partner and brother-in-law the Rev. William E. Graham and their nephew Capt. William Pope.

As the Treaty of Peace was signed in 1783 he was still shipping wine for the use of the Militia. Also in 1783 Dr. Mosse surveyed Hilton Head Island and made a detailed map, complete with names of concurrent property owners, dividing most of the island into plantation-sized lots for sale by Benjamin Bayley as agent for Henry Bayley, heir of original grantee Landgrave John Bayley in 1698.

Ten years later Dr. Mosse moved his family to Savannah in order to provide better educational opportunities for his daughters, the eldest of whom had settled there after marrying Capt. Patrick McKenzie, Revolutionary soldier from Maryland. His daughter Elizabeth married Capt. James Stoney and became mistress of Otterburn Plantation on Hilton Head the same year.

In Savannah Dr. Mosse organized the Savannah Medical College and was a charter member of the Georgia Medical Society. In 1795 he became the first deacon of Savannah’s First Baptist Church which he helped establish. But he complained that he “made no dollars in Savannah” whereas he had “made pounds (sterling) on St. Helena’s and Hilton Head.”

In May 1806 he bought a plantation at Robertville where several of his daughters had settled. There he died Feb. 17, 1808, and his wife six weeks later. They were buried in the plantation cemetery and the site of the grave of this Revolutionary War hero is now lost.

*More correctly, Dr. Mosse surveyed HHI for the SC Amercement Commission which had seized the Bayley property and sold it off for the benefit of the State Treasury. Dr. Mosse’s map bearing his signature is in the SC Archives in Columbia.

Our George Mosse was married 2 times. His first wife died in childbirth along with the child. His 2nd wife was Phoebe Norton, the daughter of Jonathan Norton who owned Warsaw Island, near Datha Island. The same Jonathan Norton who most probably deeded two acres of land for a chapel to be built, most probably the Chapel of Ease on St. Helena.

Continue along the road past the Chapel of Ease, and you will come to Lands End. It is truly a land’s end, because after all, we are on an island. It’s an old-style, mixed-housing beach community with private and public landings. It would be a bear to have to evacuate from those islands in case of a hurricane. But I digress…

One of the little roads in the community is named Mosse Road. Sugar remembered this from our last trip out this way, perhaps ten years ago. How does he remember this stuff?

So nothing will do except we make a day trip to Mosse Road.

Turn right onto Mosse Road, and you’ll see this:

It’s a sandy little track, not very long. That pip of light at the end is the light at the end of the tunnel where the road ends and you can see the river.

Sitting at the end of Mosse Road, you can look over and see the river a bit more clearly.

We turn left and head south. There are several public beach access points on the map, and we decide to drive along the first one we come to. It’s narrow, not even wide enough for two cars. We’ll have to back out because there’s no room to turn around. Problems like this have never stopped Sugar from driving down a lane.

Let’s walk out onto this trip hazard.

To the right:

To the left:

And straight ahead?

Parris Island.

*THAT* Parris Island. From a side that is rarely seen.

The breeze was delicious. We saw dolphins. And Sugar mused that this could be the spot where George Mosse put in his twelve-oarred boat.

Can you get enough of George Mosse? Well, that’s a good thing because we can’t, either. More Mosse fun to come.

Mary Robert Lawton Garrard’s House at 202 Gwinnett, east

April 20, 2016

Sugar and I have been tracking his great-aunt, Mary Robert Lawton Garrard, around Savannah. Our most recent discovery is that she lived at 202 Gwinnett, east. And since I’ve a bit of research to do for an out-of-state friend at the Georgia Historical Society, and we’re going to be in Savannah anyway, it’s an easy hop-skip-jump over to Gwinnett after lunch. 

Because lunch is important, and researchers need strength. 

As, of course, it turns out that we have driven by here several times in the past years. 

It looks like the house is occupied. There’s a light on in the downstairs. 

The house is directly on the sidewalk on both cross streets. We walk past the front of the house and around the corner. There’s a storage space under the front steps. 

Then at the back corner along the sidewalk, looking towards Gwinnett. 

Then at the back. The back of the lot is surrounded by a high brick wall. 

We don’t know if this is a single family dwelling, or if it’s been converted to apartments. 

But we do know that Mary Robert Lawton Garrard lived here. Out of her 6 children, 2 died before she died in 1902, and two died shortly afterward within a few years. 

Good-night, Mary. We’re thinking of you. 

A Great Blue Heron

April 17, 2016

There’s a stretch of road that I travel frequently. It runs parallel to a railroad track. The land is low and swampy in some places, and I’m guessing that the roadway and the base ground for the tracks were partially, if not wholly, created by large machinery digging ditches and using that earth for the base. At any rate, each side of the road has substantial ditches. 

I’m seen a Great Blue fishing along these ditches. There’s always standing water, and I suppose backwash from the swamp helps create a breeding ground for little creatures that a heron would want to eat. I’m always amused that this great, shy bird is hanging out fishing and wading in ditchwater. It doesn’t seem grand or fitting for him. 

On this particular day, Sugar was driving and I was daydreaming. We crossed on the little concrete bridge that goes over Bahama Swamp when he saw it. 

So he pulled a you-turn once and then again to go full circle so I could take some photos with my iPhone. At one point, the heron flew off, but only for a short distance. We could see what we believe to be white egrets in the background. 

And there’s your Sunday heron!


Gulie Lawton Read’s Passport Application in 1924

April 14, 2016

I throw lots of little tidbits out here, don’t I? It’s my way of making sure that I can find things later. I put things here, on, on Facebook, in Dropbox, and in the iCloud. 

Her address in 1924 is 215 Gwinnett east, Savannah. Since we were going to see where her sister Mary Robert Lawton Garrard lived, we drove over to see Gulie’s house, too. 

Are you serious? All the houses to the left, and right, and in the rear are standing. But Gulie’s? 

Is gone. 

The Chapel of Ease on St. Helena’s Island: Ten Years Later

April 14, 2016

Sugar and I went on a day trip to Datha Island. It’s a private community now, and a nice lady from a history group arranged a tour of Datha and also the Penn Center which is nearby on St Helena. 

Further along the road from the Penn Center is the ruins of the White Church, a Chapel of Ease. It’s a highly photographed spot, and it’s a readily accessible location. 

I took photos here probably 10 years ago when Sugar was following the trail of his ancestor Dr. George Mosse. We know that Dr. Mosse was part of an early congregation on St. Helena in the late 1700s, and we further know that Jonathan Norton donated 2 acres of land on St. Helena for the site of a church. 

A chapel of ease was a way for folks on the plantation to have church services when a trip to their church in town was too difficult. This particular chapel was located on an island over two hundred and seventy-five years ago, and it is not the closest island to the mainland. It’s part of a chain of sea islands along the coast. So, if you wanted to go to your home church in Beaufort, you’d have to go from St. Helena to Lady’s Island to Beaufort. These areas were isolated, and bridges weren’t dependable. Toss in travel by horse and buggy or wagon, and ferries or boats, and that makes for a long, possibly dangerous, trip to get to town in time for church. I can’t imagine keeping my frock clean during all this. I have a hard enough time finding clean pants. 

The “ease” part of all this was to indicate that it was easier to attend a religious service if travel to town was difficult. However, Chapel of Easy sounds cheap and impertinent, at least to me. The added bonus would be that having a chapel nearby would let you drop in for prayer or meditation or solitude, a way to ease your heart and soul. So Chapel of Ease could mean whatever you needed it to mean, in my book. 

We park under a giant live oak between the road and the chapel. My back is to the road, and I’m almost standing on the pavement to get all of the tree in the shot. The things I do for you people. 

Look up, from whence cometh my help. 

I posted these photos on Facebook. I think that the bricks in the photo of the front wall are a patch job. One woman commented that tabby was the stucco of the day, and that tabby had been applied over the building which was brick underneath. My thoughts are NO. NoNoNo. I do not want that woman laying any bricks for me, even though she might be an expert. (Rolls eyes here)

A close-up of the tabby in the window with a perpendicular wall in contrast.


More window.


Just inside the front door looking ar the rear of the building.


The tabby building material is stuccoed over and pointed to look like individual blocks.


So many tabby ruins. So little time. 

The Lawton and Allied Families Association Reunion: 2016

April 14, 2016

Lawton people! Here’s your 2016 reunion!

Even if you can’t attend, send in your annual dues, which goes in part toward good works, like the repair of the cemetery wall at the Lawton-Seabrook Cemetery on Edisto.

But really? Savannah! You know you want to!


Cats on the Poach

April 13, 2016

Sugar has a collection of cats. They like his poach. 

Usually there are only one or two per chair. This day, he squeeeeeed at me to come and take a photo. 

Sugar: “Come look! Take a photo! It’s so perfect!”

YoursTruly: (looking at iPhone) “I took some photos the other day.”

Sugar: “Not like this! They’re all three in the same chair!”

YoursTruly: (looking at photos of cats on the iPhone) “Alright. Awright aw right AwRight!”

Sugar: “Shhhh! You’ll wake them up! Look through the window…”


Best photos ever. 

Martha Mann Bateson, Born in Eltville, Germany

April 13, 2016

Oh, Martha Mann. I love her story. Perhaps you remember a bit of it. 

She first shows up in this country as a child in the 1850 census with her parents Daniel and Agnes in Beaufort, South Carolina.  Incidentally, there is also a man named Joseph Mann living nearby. Related? Possibly. At this point, I don’t know. 

*I don’t know.* I find myself saying that so much. Because how can I know everything about the world? I’m afraid I’m going to run out of time before I get all my answers. At any rate…

 Later census records show this family reporting that they are from Baden. 

Do you know anything about Baden, Germany? I don’t either, and I poked at the Internet to see if I could figure out more. Oh, Germany, you are complicated. 

Plus there’s that thing about not speaking or understanding German. My German experience is completely derived from “Hogan’s Heroes”. 


Earlier this year, Sugar’s cousin Walter wrote a nice email to a woman in the Savannah Chapter of the UDC. Just a friendly little email to say hello and to inquire if there are resources to learn more about Martha’s husband Thomas and his brother Christopher Bateson. The replies he got were astounding, for the nice UDC lady found military records using Fold3 online, and since the graves were not marked, she knew the process of obtaining military markers. 

And she proceeded to initiate that process. 

After the markers are placed, she will arrange a ceremony. Which has to do exactly what with Martha Mann Bateson?

It turns out that the location of each grave is known. And it’s in a gigantic database. 


Sugar and I are headed to the Georgia Historical Society. Laurel Grove Cemetery is on the way. From our approach, we can see way across the graveyard that the markers have not been installed. Sugar, the best spotter ever, sees that the office is open, so he pulls into the lot.  We chat with a nice man in the office who is the cemetery conservator, and he produces a printed copy of the occupants of Lot 322. 

I have so many requests now for this poor man. The Spears plot, the Ebbs plot, the Tilton plot. Sugar, patiently impatient, thinks I’m being needy, and I resolve to get the answers another day. 

In the meantime, we have learned that lot 322 is a 12-space plot. The numbering of the individual spaces starts at the rear left corner with number one, and works its way across to end with number four. The next row moving forward is 5-8, then the last row is 9-12. The last row is what I might call the front row, because it’s the nearest one facing the aisle.

Mr. Conservator Man drew a little chart on a sticky note. 

The printout he gave us has the locations for who is buried where. 

Are you ready for this? It also has the nativity if known. 

I suppose my eyes grew very wide when I spotted that Martha Mann Bateson was born in Ettville, Germany. 

I asked the big internet where Ettville was. It asked me back, “Are you talking about Eltville?” I suppose I am. 

I also found some documents on which most probably relate to Martha’s father Daniel. But they are, of course, in German, and my German-speaking friends tell me that this is a household enumeration, plus a travel pass for one Joseph Mann, a butcher, to practice his trade in the area. 

Sometimes, some of our answers are right there, if we only knew where to look.