Archive for September 7th, 2019

Catherine Maner Lawton and Her 1840 Plat

September 7, 2019

Let’s talk about Catherine Maner Lawton. She was the daughter of William Maner and Jane Aseneth May, and I have the dates of her birth as 1777 – 1842. She died at Black Swamp, South Carolina.

She married William Henry Lawton, the oldest child of Joseph Lawton and Sarah Robert Lawton. He died in 1827, so Catherine was a widow for about 15 years. Oral history says that the property didn’t start off as Lawton property, but was given to Catherine Maner by her father as a wedding present.

For some reason, in 1840 Catherine requested that a plat of her property be prepared. The following image come from the South Caroliniana Library at the University of South Carolina in Columbia. It is a thing of beauty.

from the Lawton Family Papers

Courtesy of the South Caroliniana Library, University of South Carolina, Columbia, S. C.

South Carolina

St. Peter’s Parish, B. D.

The above Plat represents a tract of land composed of various tracts and parts of tracts of land belonging to Mrs. Catharine Lawton by whose request I have resurveyed it and find it to contain in all Eleven Hundred & Eighty Eight Acres, & to be bounded North by lands of B. T. D. Lawton & J. J. Robert, East by Black Swamp, lands of R. G. Norton & B. Jaudon, South by Dr. Harris, Saml Maner & J. J. Robert, and West by J. J. Robert, and to have such natural & artificial marks as are here represented.

R. T. Lawton, Surveryor

December 16th 1840

Samuel Maner was her uncle.

J. J. Robert was James Jehu Robert, her husband William’s mother Sarah’s brother John Robert’s son.

B. T. D. Lawton was Benjamin Themistocles Dion Lawton, her husband William’s brother.

R. G. Norton was Robert Godfrey Norton, her husband William’s brother Alexander James’s wife Martha Mosse’s sister Sarah’s husband.

B. Jaudon was Benjamin Jaudon, and he is her husband William’s mother Sarah’s relative, somehow. Sarah is descended from a Jaudon.

The Audebert Tract had most probably belonged to John Audebert, another relation on Sarah Robert Lawton’s side.

The Allen Tract I might guess was, belonging to an Allen family that married into a Thomson family that married into a Lawton family.

The Grimball Tract is possibly belonging to her husband William’s father Joseph’s mother Mary Stone Grimball Lawton Fickling’s children by her first marriage. She was married 3 times.

The Kingsley Tract? It must be formerly belonging to Loyalist Zephaniah Kingsley, and the land was confiscated in 1782, a full 58 years earlier. Kingsley referred to the property as Black Swamp, which leads me to believe that the property didn’t really change in name, only in ownership. Sometimes we give directions based on where something used to be but is no more. “Do you know where the big tree used to be out by where so-and-so used to live?”

R. T. Lawton the surveyor is Catharine’s husband William’s brother Benjamin Themistocles Dion Lawton’s son Robert Themistocles Lawton, who owned Lawton Place in Savannah, Georgia, and Blockade Place in Screven County, Georgia.

I don’t know who Dr. Thomas Harris is.

*****

Two points of great interest to me: the “Meeting House, Grave Yard, and Academy”, and the “Settlement” at Black Swamp.

The Meeting House was known as the Black Swamp Church and is the present-day Robertville Baptist Church. The Grave Yard is where we take poinsettias every Christmas. The Academy is the Black Swamp Academy which I wrote about earlier this year.

Now, the Settlement. We have been to the steps before, the remainder of the plantation house. But now I see that the plantation house is surrounded by outbuildings, 7 to be exact. What could they be? A kitchenhouse, a smokehouse, a barn, what else? Y’all have to help me here.

When we have been to Black Swamp before, there are large live oaks in front of the steps and to the south. To the right near the road are massive cedar trees. The first time I saw those trees, I said, “Something used to be there”. The undergrowth was such that we didn’t venture far. Now I see that in the general vicinity of those cedars are 8 small rectangles, most probably indicating slave housing.

Remember when we were looking for Lawton Cemetery? I wrote about that in September 2013. Leslie and I were sure that the Lawton Cemetery couldn’t be where Mama Florrie and her daughter Rose told us where it was, because we thought that was Robert land. The plat of 1840 proves that Mama Florrie knew what she was talking about, because the Black Swamp Plantation included land across the main road, exactly where the Lawton Cemetery is.

So now we have wound up our little local history lesson into a neat little package.

Or have we? There’s a summer house across the way from the main house. But that is not the location of The Pineland, which is said to be the summer house of William Henry Lawton. The summer house is going to have to wait. There are more plats to request.