Posts Tagged ‘Elizabeth Jones Lawton’

Little Bessie Garrard, the Daughter of the Battalion

March 23, 2016



Little Bessie Garrard, daughter of Col. and Mrs. William Garrard, was the recipient last night of a delightful serenade, a magnificent gift and a christening as “The Daughter of the Battalion.”  The Guards, to the number of 100, marched from the arsenal to the residence of Dr. W. S. Lawton on Lafayette Square by arrangement. The battalion formed in line on Abercorn street fronting the residence, the right resting on Macon street and the left on Harris street. The Union Cornet band rendered the serenade “Lullaby,” from “Erminie,” “Rock a Bye Baby,” “Bye Bye Baby, Bye Bye,” and ended with “George, Dear, Baby’s Got a Tooth.”

The battalion then marched by twos into the spacious parlors, where Col. and Mrs. Garrard gave each member a warm clasp of the hand and a hearty welcome. Hardly had the Guards been welcomed when Lieut. John M. Bryan disappeared and shortly after reappeared with little Bessie, the Col. and Mrs. Garrard’s infant, not quite 5 months old, in his arms, whom he introduced as “the daughter of the battalion.” She was rapturously cheered, and seemed to enjoy it, and during the speech making and cheers which followed she clung close to the lieutenant, alternately laughing or curiously examining the gay uniforms of the soldiery.

When quiet had been restored Gazaway Hartridge, Esq., stepped forward with a handsome cup, the gift of the battalion and said:

Colonel, the members of your corps wish to bestow upon your daughter a loving gift. If in the mysterious and oft-times disappointing movements of an all-wise providence your daughter had had the misfortune to be born a son, we would have taken no further interest in her beyond the mere fact of her nativity. Certainly we would not, as we have done, select a cup as our affectionate testimonial. We would not encourage those inherited instincts which might beset and betray the infant in his majority. But we feel safe in presenting this drinking vessel to your daughter. We are assured that it will never contain anything more injurious than cold, clammy ice water, and, perhaps, nothing less beneficial than five drops of paregoric, or six tablespoons of ipecac, administered every half hour, during that period of life when impositions are endured in unrelenting helplessness.

Colonel, we trust your fair daughter will treasure this gift as a precious memorial of the attachment which all her father’s command felt for herself and her parents. We hope she will not hoard it as a suggestion of her father’s unfortunate habits. If ever she is deprived of a parent’s affection, let her survey the corps and pick her choice. Certainly her option will range unconfined. What manner of man is not to be found in our ranks? From bristly Cyclops to downy dudes, what specimen is there missing from the cabinet? No man can tell you of the love we bear you and yours. If, in the course of eternal years, you should pass away, we solemnly pledge ourselves never to forget those whom you woke have us to remember. The arms of this corps are upon this richly chased vessel, but about the objects of your dearest concern the arms of every Guard will be stretched in time of emergency, waving wide, like the Cherub’s flaming sword, to bar access of every approaching evil, and strained to their utmost tension to uplift tenderly and sustain firmly those beloved beings whom you have most reason to surround with the comforting assurances and wasting anxieties of an everlasting love and affection.

Miss Bessie fastened her little fingers in the handle of the cup and carried it to her lips, but was most too young to speak for herself, and Col. Garrard taking the gift in his hand responded for her, for her mother and for himself. It was the second time, he said, that the battalion had shown its kindness for himself and family. When returning a year ago from a tour of travel, it welcomed them home; now it had seen fit to show its affection for his little daughter. He accepted the christening – she should be the daughter of the battalion – and among the first endearing names she will be taught to lisp, the colonel said, will be that of the battalion.

In conclusion, the colonel on behalf of himself, his wife and daughter, welcomed the battalion and invited the members to partake of their hospitality. The popping of champagne followed the speech-making, and to the music of the band the hospitalities were enjoyed amid general congratulations and well wishes for the hosts.

The cup is worthy to be called a “magnificent gift.” It is solid silver, gold-lined, elegantly frosted and chased with the coat of arms of the battalion on the cup which is shaped to resemble a snare drum. The handle is an infantry bugle, and the drum cords are of solid gold. On the bottom of the cup is the inscription,”Bessie Garrard, from Savannah Volunteer Guards, June 13, 1888,” the date of her birth. The design is by Lieut. Bryan and Sergt. Burdell, and the cup was made by the Gorham Manufacturing Company of New York. The serenade and reception of course were anticipated by Col. and Mrs. Garrard, but the presentation was a genuine surprise. There was quite a number of the lady friends of the family and the battalion present, and the occasion was an enjoyable one.


Little Bessie Garrard, named for her grandmother Elizabeth “Bessie” Jones Lawton, died the following year at age one. The cause of death was teething.

FlowerFest 2014: Poinsettias for Bonaventure and Laurel Grove

December 28, 2014

It started very simply.

Sugar wanted to continue a tradition whereby his mother would take flowers to her family’s gravesite at Christmas and Easter.

We started in 2009. That’s when we took poinsettias to his mother in Bonaventure and his cousin in Laurel Grove.

Then over time, we found more of Sugar’s relatives buried in both places. He bought more and more flowers every year.

This Christmas we were up to eight poinsettias, which represented not individual people, but individual plots with multiple relatives.

We asked a SugarCousin if she wanted to join us on our crazy train, and she did.


We three stop first at Bonaventure at the Corbin plot. Here’s a mystery: why is Dr. Francis Bland Tucker buried in the Corbin plot?

Albert Sidney Lawton, who knew Miz Florrie in Garnett, South Carolina, married Elizabeth Tayloe Corbin, a Savannah girl. Miz Florrie’s father, Walter Gant, worked for Albert Sidney Lawton, and when Albert Sidney moved to the Jacksonville area, Walter moved, too.








Leaving the Corbin plot, we drive further along the lane, and circle back on another lane so that Sugar can inspect some headstones. He thinks he knows these Lee people from when he was growing up.



We notice that Clermont Huger Lee has the same name as the girl that was in Sugar’s mother’s class at Pape School in 1925.

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Clermont Lee is on the front row, all the way on the right.



And just to the right, we find this stone, slightly hidden by the foliage. Perhaps we should add her to our floral list. No husband, no children.




Then on to the Basinger plot. I’ve written about this family a lot.

Back: Garnett, Mag, Will. Front: Leslie, Major Basinger, Walter, Mrs. Basinger, and Tom.

Back: Garnett, Mag, Will.
Front: Leslie, Major Basinger, Walter, Mrs. Basinger, and Tom.

We see that some little animals, chipmunks perhaps, have enjoyed a pre-Christmas acorn meal at the entrance to the plot.







This is James “Garnett” Basinger who married Nannie Screven. They had one daughter.

We step across the lane to the Starr plot. Sugar places the poinsettia in a permanent flower holder in front of his great-great-grandmother’s gravesite. She’s Jane Susan Starr Basinger.

Mary "Leslie", Tom, Elizabeth "Georgia", Jane Susan Starr Basinger, Walter, Margaret Roane Garnett Basinger, Major William Starr Basinger, Maggie, and Ate' the dog in Dahlonega, Georgia.

Mary “Leslie”, Tom, Elizabeth “Georgia”, Jane Susan Starr Basinger, Walter, Margaret Roane Garnett Basinger, Major William Starr Basinger, Maggie, and Ate’ the dog in Dahlonega, Georgia.

The Family Bible of Thomas and Jane Susan Starr Basinger.

The Family Bible of Thomas and Jane Susan Starr Basinger.




A little further along, we stop to visit Corinne Elliott Lawton.



Corinne Elliott Lawton

Corinne Elliott Lawton






Having finished at Bonaventure, we head across town to Laurel Grove.





The crape myrtles look like they could be cut back yet again.




Mrs. Dr. William Seabrook Lawton, in the late 1800's.

Mrs. Dr. William Seabrook Lawton, in the late 1800’s.



SugarCousin brought poinsettias for her parents and her aunt Mary.





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We’re not done. The Batesons need some poinsettias, too, especially when you stop to consider that this family has been in unmarked graves since 1855. Sugar had their marker made and installed this year after we learned that they were his cousins from Lancashire, England.





A few lanes over is the Densler mausoleum. Mrs. Mary Densler was Aunt Polly to Sugar’s g-g-grandmother Jane Susan Starr Basinger. This family died out. No one to bring flowers, except us.

So we do.







We got these flowers almost a full week before we could put them out. Sugar went back and bought a bonus one just in case we needed it. What to do?



Close by is the Alexander family. Sarah Alexander married Alexander Robert Lawton, and they were Corinne’s parents. These Alexanders were Sarah’s family. There are other collateral folks here: Gilmer, Porter, Houston, Read, Cumming, Van Yeveren…






On the way home, we swing by for one last look at the Jones-Lawton mausoleum. The rain has been misting on and off for a bit, but it’s on the way in earnest now.


Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!

The Gold Mine in the Closet: The Children of William Seabrook Lawton & Elizabeth Jones Lawton

November 12, 2014

Sugar’s mother’s father was Major Edward Percival Lawton, 1863-1929.

Edward Percival Lawton

Edward Percival Lawton


The back of the photo

Edward was the only son of Dr. William Seabrook Lawton and Elizabeth “Bessie” Jones Lawton.  We haven’t found a photo of Dr. William yet.

Mrs. Dr. William Seabrook Lawton, in the late 1800's.

Mrs. Dr. William Seabrook Lawton, in the late 1800’s.


Mary Lawton, 1864-1902, who married William Urquhart Garrard. This photo was most probably made at the Lawton House on Abercorn Street in Savannah, Georgia, about 1884.

After Mary Lawton Garrard died, William Urquhart Garrard married Mary’s sister, Emily Lawton Screven.

Emily Lawton Screven Garrard, 1862-1932.

Emily Lawton Screven Garrard, 1862-1932.

We find no photos of Guilielma Lawton Read, 1866-1929.  There may have been another child born to this family, according to a census in 1870, possibly named Ellen G., born about 1868.  There’s also a Jane G., born about 1866 or 1867 – I believe that this is Guilielma.

We do, however, find her obituary.


Was Well Known and Was Popular
With Many Friends.
The death early this morning of Mrs. Guilielma Lawton Read, wife of Abram C. Read, removes a widely loved Savannahian, who spent her entire life here and claimed a vast host of friends who grieve for her.
Mrs. Read was the daughter of Dr. William S. Lawton and Mrs. Elizabeth Jones Lawton. The latter was the daughter of the well-known Georgian, Seaborn Jones. She was also the niece of the late Gen. Alexander R. Lawton. During her youth she lived in the old Lawton home on Lafayette Square, which was one of the social centers of the community, well known for its representative gatherings. She claimed an unusually large circle of friends whose devotion increased during the latter years of her life when her long illness was a source of grief to so many.
Always cheerful and possessing a lovable and charming personality, she was especially admired for her cheerful spirit and fortitude during her illness. A communicant of Christ Church, she was a devoted and active member. She possessed a beautiful Christian nature.
Mrs. Read is survived by her husband, Aaron (sic) C. Read; one daughter, Miss Anne Read, and one sister, Mrs. Emily Lawton Garrard.
The funeral will take place tomorrow afternoon at 4 o’clock from the residence, 118 East Thirty-fifth street, with private interment in the Lawton-Jones vault at Laurel Grove Cemetery. Rev. David Cady Wright, rector of Christ Church, will conduct the services.
The active pallbearers will be Charles Ellis, Wymberley W. DeRenne, T. Mayhew Cunningham, Jr., George E. Cope, Charlton M. Theus and Frank S. Mackall.
The honorary pallbearers will be J. Randolph Anderson, W. W. Mackall, P. A. Stovall, J. Florance Minis, C. T. Airey and W. D. Judkins.

A little light sleuthing on shows us that her daughter Anne Read married Thomas Charlton, and that they lived at 118 East Thirty-fifth Street, the same address as in the obituary.  Do we drive by?

You already know the answer…