Upper St. Peter’s Parish

Ah, the book.

It’s “Upper St. Peter’s Parish and Environs”, by Thomas Oregon Lawton. He is deceased now, and the book is out of print. However, his son gave me permission to put a section here on the blog.

It’s an important section that has answers for some folks. Mr. Lawton gathered documents that had information linking slaves and slave holders. He seemed to think it was important to save this for posterity. At the time, people wondered why he was intent on saving information relevant to a painful time in our country’s history. Why, Thomas? Why?

Why? Truth is persistent, in spite of facts being difficult things.


I get frequent requests for information from those doing slavery research. I love a puzzle, and I get satisfaction linking people with places. The advent of dna testing links us to people and places that we didn’t expect.

And I’m a better person because of it.

2 Responses to “Upper St. Peter’s Parish”

  1. Winston Lawton Says:

    I started my journey through your blog to comment on Tom Lawton’s inclusion of slave records in his book. (In the course of that ordeal I discovered I am in possession of the France A.L. Morrison portrait.)

    Just as land records give some evidence of the social status of southerners, sadly slave ownership likewise helped to position southern families in their social level. Tom Lawton was my daddy’s 1st cousin, I knew him well, he did not have a racist bone in his body. I submit his inclusion of slave data, was purely his attempt, as an historian, to be as comprehensive as possible. To quote Sgt. Friday, ”just the facts”.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ruth Rawls Says:

      That was exactly my impression from talking with his oldest son. They didn’t understand why he was doing it back in the day, but with the advent of DNA and related research, more people want to trace their origins. For instance, a young man traced his ancestry to a woman named Bella who married Nelson Brown in St. Peter’s Parish. I ordered Nelson Brown’s USCT pension file, in which he stated he was owned by Joseph Maner Lawton. In Tommy’s book, there was a man named Nelson who was owned by Joseph Maner Lawton.


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