Posts Tagged ‘Lawton’

FlowerFest 2016: On To Bonaventure 

February 1, 2017

Annnnd our yearly hello to Dr. and Mrs. Tucker. Dr. Tucker christened Sugar at Christ Church years ago. 

Dr. and Mrs. Tucker are buried in the same lot as Albert Sidney Lawton. We don’t know the connection. 

I have no clue where the minister who christened me is buried. Now, that is devotion on Sugar’s part. 

Albert Sidney Lawton and his wife Tayloe Corbin Lawton.

Further along, we stop at the Basinger plot, which is across from the Starr plot. 

Y’all know these people. I’ve written about them every year, plus there are all the Civil War letters that William Starr Basinger wrote home to Savannah. 

Across the lane are the older generations of the Basinger family: the Starrs, more Basingers, and Anne Pearson who married William Starr. (Her sister “Polly” Densler is buried in Laurel Grove.) Connections surround us. 

See the “caution” tape along the left rear of the photo? The tape marks out hurricane damage still in evidence.

Our last stop at Bonaventure is the final resting place of Alexander Robert Lawton, his wife Sarah, and their descendants. 

A popular monument is Corinne Elliott Lawton. I talked, months ago, to a tour guide over the phone about some of the false stories that are still being told about these families. When I mentioned that Sugar and I feel like we have a special connection to this family, and that we’ve placed flowers for close to a decade, she said that she had wondered who was doing that. 

There’s an enormous old Sago palm which almost prevents my obtaining a photo. 

FlowerFesting is hard work. Pilgrims need food and drink. So off to The Distillery. 

We’re done for the day, but we are not done with the FlowerFest. There’s still more to be done in Robertville, which will have to happen the following week…


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. 

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!



Mary Robert Lawton

March 15, 2016

Sugar’s cousin Emily has a collection of research about the Lawton and Garrard connection. She loaned me a BOX of stuff. (Should I tell you that she gave me this box a year ago Christmas? Probably not. You might think I’m a slacker, but I’m merely a proCRAFTinator.)

So here we have 4 pages of newspaper articles. The first three are from the same article that wouldn’t fit onto one sheet, which reports her wedding on Thursday, July 14, 1887. The newspaper is The Morning News: Friday, July 15, 1887.

The fourth is her death notice, also from The Morning News: Saturday, October 11, 1902.


Christ Church the Scene of an Interesting Social Event.

Miss Mary Robert Lawton, daughter of Dr. W. S. Lawton, and Col. William Garrard were married at Christ church at 7 o’clock last evening, by Rev. Dr. Strong. The church was brilliantly lighted and decorated with a profusion of flowers and floral ornaments. Some time before the hour for the ceremony the guests began to arrive, and within a few minutes the church was nearly filled with the friends of Miss Lawton and Col. Garrard. The bridal party assembled in the rear of the church, and as the organist began the wedding march — from Tannheuser — the ushers led the way to the altar. Messrs. Thomas Screven and Josehp (sic) Cumming in front, followed by Messrs. A. Minis, Jr., and A. Boyd. Behind them were Misses Emmie Lawton and Maud Thomas, and they were followed at regular intervals of about ten feet by Messrs. Grimes and W. W. Williamson, Misses V. Minis and Gulie Lawton, Messrs. W. Cumming and S. A. Wood, Misses Bessie Martin and LeHardy, Messrs. George W. Owen and R. L. Mercer, Misses L. N. Hill and Ruth Stewart, Messrs. T. P. Ravenel and Edward Lawton. Misses Nannie Stewart and Elise Heyward, Messrs. A.M. Martin, Jr., and H. H. Thomas, Misses Viva Taylor and Clelia Elliott, and Messrs. W. N. Pratt and John S. Schley. Col. Garrard and Miss Lawton came last. As the bridesmaids reached the steps of the choir floor they separated, standing on either side, and the groomsmen continued on and formed a semi-circle around the outer edge of the choir floor. After the bride and groom had reached the altar the bridesmaids followed, and formed another semi-circle between the bridal pair and the groomsmen..Dr. Strong then proceeded with the ceremony, and Dr. Lawton gave away the bride. The ceremony being concluded, Col. and Mrs. Garrard led the way down the aisle, and the bridesmaids and groomsmen followed, the bridesmaids walking with their respective groomsmen instead of together as they entered.

“Midsummer’s Night Dream” was played as the party moved from the church and entered the carriages. The programme was beautifully arranged and successfully carried out. The bride’s dress was of white silk, trimmed with pearls and lace. On her head she wore a wreath of orange blossoms and in her hand she carried a magnificent bouquet of white rosebuds. The bridesmaids were all in white, their dresses being of mull and their sashes of watered silk.

At the residence of the bride’s parents, Dr. and Mrs. W. S. Lawton, on Lafayette square, the reception was held. The parlors were filled with friends and a delightful evening was spent. Many elegant toilets were noticeable. The wedding presents were numerous and exquisite, and many of them very costly. The most beautiful of them all, perhaps, was the punch bowl, waiter and ladle, presented by the Savannah Volunteer Guards. The set is of sterling silver, from original designs of the most elegant and artistic character. The bowl, holding two gallons, stands upon a convoluted base, the graceful outline continuing to its edge, a graceful curve, meeting a frieze four inches wide, the surface of which was worked up by hand into a procession of infant Bacchuses celebrating a vineyard feast. The beautifully turned edge of oxidized silver meets the lining of gold.The waiter has a satin-finished surface and an oxidized silver edge two inches wide, and in the centre is the coat-of-arms of the Guards. The ladle is the crowning piece of artistic work. From the bowl springs a vine, and upon the handle sits Bacchus himself, holding this, his goblet. The gift was made here in Savannah by Theus & Co.

The bride and groom withdrew from the reception at 8:30 o’clock to prepare for their wedding tour. They will be entertained this morning by Col. Garrard’s mother, at a wedding breakfast at her home in Columbus, Ga. Their wedding tour will include Chicago, Denver and other Western cities, and may extend to California. They expect to be absent about four months.



The End Came at an Early Hour This Morning.

Mrs. William Garrard died at 3 o’clock this morning at the Savannah Hospital from the result of an operation, after a lingering illness of eight weeks. The end had been expected for some time, and yesterday all hopes for her recovery were lost, when, in the morning, she began to sink rapidly.

Mrs. Garrard was a daughter of the late Dr. W. S. Lawton, her maiden name being Mary Lawton. Fifteen years ago, in Christ Church, then 22 years of age, she was married to Col. William Garrard. She was a devoted member of Christ Church. She manifested deep interest in patriotic societies, being a daughter of the American Revolution and a Colonial Dame.

Mrs. Garrard was a woman whose lovable disposition made her near and dear to all who knew her. Of sound sense and judgment, and possessing great energy, she won friends by her true heartedness and genial disposition wherever she moved. She was generally loved by all who knew her, and her death is a sad shock to the entire community.

Mrs. Garrard leaves a husband and four children. She also has living a brother, Capt. Ed. Lawton, U. S. A., who is at present detailed to military duty at one of the military schools in Pennsylvania, and two sisters, Mrs. Thomas Screven and Mrs. Carrington Reed of Nashville.


Mary Lawton – 20 years old. Most probably taken about 1885. Photo courtesy of Sugar’s Gold Mine in the Closet


The Will of John Seth Maner

March 1, 2016

Any Maner people out there? You already know that he mentions the Lawtons. 

These images are from a self-published book. The author is deceased, but I’ve written to a relative to see if there are more books available in a stash somewhere. If not, maybe we can get permission to reprint. 

Good-night, Mr. Lawton, and thank you for publishing your book. 


More Thoughts on Francis Asbury Lawton

January 12, 2016

(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. 


This Is The Year

January 1, 2016

2015 was an amazing year. There were undreamable moments that came true. There were unbelievable people that emerged. There were worries and issues. 

This year might just explode. In a good way. I hope. 


Once, when I was a little girl, my mother was talking to her friend about learning more about her family. Like making a family tree, back when it was hard, and there weren’t many resources. 

“Oh, you don’t want to do that,” her friend said. “You might not like what you find.” Because the liking was an important part of the search. 

Someone she knew had done such a thing, and they were changed forever. They found that they were mixed race. She went on to tell us that when she and some other ladies would work a blood drive (which was in another state but could have been anywhere), they marked the collection vials with “W” or “Co”. Because we don’t want a blood transfusion of the wrong blood when we are bleeding to death. Which today reminds me of the old saying that one drop of colored blood means that you are colored. 

I’m not even going to rant about that and use up valuable energy that could go towards good. 


Y’all know that Sugar took an autosomal DNA test. The day came that the test confirmed what we had already learned from other distant cousins. 

It turns out that none of the black cousins had ever met the white cousins, at least not since 1881. On December 26, 2015, we made history. 


Standing: Elizabeth Lawton Hromika and Leslie Lawton Bateson. Seated: Francine Brown.

A big part of this meeting is the fact that conversations were started and maintained. Sometimes one race won’t talk to another race, even online which is where the conversations start, once race is revealed. 

Francine’s great-nephew is the one who took the DNA test, and when he reached out, people responded. The connections got bigger and bigger. 

So people? Start the conversation. Go make some history.  


FlowerFest 2015: the Lawton Folks at Black Swamp Baptist Church

December 30, 2015

Can you believe it? We’re at the end of our FlowerFest, even though  we actually finished it on December 9, 2015. I get the blues at Christmas. I probably should finish sending out my Christmas cards, since tomorrow is New Year’s Eve. 

So before I finish the photos, I’ll say that Sugar and I were talking about all the planning and activity that’s involved in a FlowerFest, and I mentioned how all the photos I have of him show him acting with purpose. Deliberately striding. Carefully digging. Turning the poinsettias to their best angle. He agreed that our ritual has purpose, especially to him, because it’s an offering of peace and reconciliation. We don’t know half the people we leave flowers for. We only know OF them because of family history. 

Now to Black Swamp Baptist, which is now known as Robertville Baptist. It’s on Highway 321 on the south side of the Black Swamp, which is written one word – Blackswamp – on some of the early tombstones. 

We meet up with another do-gooder, but we don’t know who it is. Someone has placed a stone for Capt. William Lawton’s third wife, Mary Stone Grimball Lawton Fickling. At this past summer’s reunion on Edisto, we saw some papers related to the inventory made after her death. 

Who did this magnificent marker? Somebody please step up and take credit. 


The church is behind me to my right.



Behold your Lawtons.


Before our FlowerFest started, back in the planning stages, Sugar called his daughter in another state to see if she would put a flower at his father’s grave.  It turns out that she and her family live about 30 minutes away. 
And she did. 

And another generation carries the torch. 



FlowerFest 2015: a Visit with the A. R. Lawton Family

December 14, 2015

Sugar and I had already driven by the plot of the Alexander Robert Lawton family, and there were tourists there. We weren’t ready to visit unless we weren’t on display. Even though I always want to shout at people, “See that guy?! He’s a Lawton!”

Because I am cool like that. 


Hey Corinne, I’ve got your back.


Our friend Sarah Alexander Cunningham, who was Corinne’s niece, and the keeper and donater of Lawton artifacts


  • To live in the hearts of our loved ones is not to die. 


Nora is Corinne’s sister.


Henry is Nora’s husband.

There is a Sago Palm in the left front corner of the Lawton plot that is enormous. A couple of close-ups are necessary.  

Let’s go see some new folks, at least new to you and me. They are another connection of Sugar’s. 

Surprised? I know I am. I thought we’d met them all…


FlowerFest 2015: On to Bonaventure 

December 10, 2015

Sugar and I are out and about to the cemeteries taking the poinsettias for his people. 

I don’t have any people here, although I have been made an honorary Lawton and an honorary Bateson. I’m along for the ride, because the stories, oh, the stories are fascinating. 

We’ve finished up at our first two stops at Laurel Grove and on 36th Street West. Lunch!


the Sentient Bean

We’ve been eating here for years. I can probably count on one hand the other restaurants we’e eaten in here in Savannah.  Be prepared, though. It’s vegetarian. Seriously, you don’t even miss the meat. Their main premise is as a coffee shop. For a long time we didn’t go in here. We were afraid we weren’t cool enough. We’re probably still not cool, but nobody seems to care about our chill factor. 
Then next door to Brighter Day Health Food store. 

It’s time to go to Bonaventure, and on the way, we see the Lawton memorial on our right. It was built in memory of General Alexander Robert Lawton and his daughter Corinne Elliott Lawton by A. R.’s wife, Sarah Alexander Lawton. 


It’s a church now.


Our first top in Bonaventure is at the Corbin plot. Sugar honors the memory of Dr. Tucker and his wife. Dr. Tucker baptized Sugar. Strangely, the Tuckers are buried in the Corbin plot along with Albert Sidney Lawton and his wife Tayloe Corbin. 

The sun is behind us, and we make shadows on the stones. I resolve this by standing on the other side of the stone.

What’s this? We still have lots of flowers, because this day is not over.