Posts Tagged ‘old wills’

The Will of Captain William Lawton

March 31, 2018

Recently I received a comment on the blog from a nice lady who wanted help in determining exactly where in England Capt. William Lawton was born so that she could have him recognized as a Patriot in the DAR.

I was confused on a number of levels. No one knows where he was born; oral tradition says that he is from an area of Cheshire called Church Lawton. He has been researched for decades, and if someone could have gotten him recognized as a patriot, it would have been done long ago. Was this person a brand-new researcher? Why was she focusing on this? Now most importantly: William Lawton couldn’t be recognized as a Revolutionary patriot by the DAR because he wasn’t a Revolutionary patriot.

There are some of us in the crowd that would disagree with my last statement.

But just like you can’t be a member of the Society of True Redheads (which is not really a thing) if you are not a True Redhead, you can’t be recognized as a Revolutionary patriot if you didn’t participate during the Revolutionary time frame (which is really a thing).

William died in 1757. The Revolutionary era is considered to have begun with the passage of the Stamp Act in 1765 and to have ended with the ratification of the US Bill of Right  in 1791, so about 25ish years. The military phrase was from 1775-1783.

Now this must have been disappointing to my new commenter.

At any rate, here’s the will of William Lawton.


Lawton P1



South Carolina. fs.

In the Name of God, Amen, the Ninth day of October, in the Thirty first year of his Majesty King George the Seconds Reign and in the year of our Lord, one Thousand Seven hundred and fifty Seven. I William Lawton of Edisto Island in St. Johns parish in Colleton County in the Province of South Carolina Planter being (blessed be God of Sound and disposing mind and Memory and considering the uncertainty of this Transitory Life and the certainty of Death in order  prepare my self for that Great Change, do make and declare this my last Will and Testament and do Constitute Ordain and appoint my loving Wife Mary Lawton Executrix and my Loving son Josiah Lawton my loving Brother Isaac Rippon and my Loving friend William Maxwell Executors of the same hereby Revoking and making Null and Void all and every other and former Will and Wills Testament and Testaments by me heretofore made or declared and declaring and Confirming this and no other to be my only last Will and Testament, that is to say, Principally being sincerely sorry for all my Sins and humbly begging pardon for the same I commend my Soul to the Mercies of God my Creator in and thro’ Jesus Christ my blessed Saviour and Redeemer on whom alone I trust for the pardon and remission of all my Sins and for Eternal Life and Salvation and my Body at Death I committ to the Grave to be interred in a decent and Christian like manner at the discretion of my Executors herein before Named, and as for and Concerning all my Worldly Estate and such Lands and Tenements Goods and Chattels as it hath pleased God to bestow upon me, my Will and desire is that the name and every part and parcel thereof shall be disposed of and bestowed, in manner and form herein after mentioned Respectively and not otherwise, Imprimis I will and desire that all my Just Debts and Funeral Expences shall be well and duly paid, in convenient time after my decease

Item I Give and Bequeath to my well beloved Wife Mary Lawton

Lawton P2

Nine Negroes Names as follows Viz: Harry, Cuff, Pompey, Will, George, Adam, Walley, Tamer, and Kate with their issue with their axes, Hoes and Reap hooks, also my Riding Horse Frisk and New Saddle to be Bought for her out of my Estate, also a Suit of Mourning likewise one fourth part of my Stock of Cattle, one fourth part of my Sheep one third part of all my Household furniture and the use of my large canoe and Sails during her Life and at her decease to my Son Josiah and his Heirs forever. I also leave her the use of my Plantation I now live on during the term of her Natural Life she paying one fourth part of all my Just and Lawful Debts and for ever Quitting Claim, Right and Title to all or any my Estate Real or personal in any shape or case whatever further than is herein given and devised, Item I give and Bequeath to my well beloved Son Josiah Lawton one Negroe Man Named Cyrus and the use of my large Canoe and her Sails till my Wifes decease and then to him and his Heirs for ever I also give him one large Silver Spoon and my Gun to him and his Heirs for every Exclusive of his equal part in my Estate, Item I give and Bequeath to my well beloved Son William Lauton one Negroe Man Named Abram, to him and his heirs for ever Exclusive of his equal part of my Estate, Item I Give and Bequeath to my well beloved Daughter Sarah Lauton one Negroe Woman Named Phillis and her Son Jacob and all her Increase, I also Give her, her Riding Horse and Saddle to her and her Heirs for ever, exclusive of her equal part of my Estate, Item I Give and Bequeath to my Well beloved Son Jeremiah Lauton one Negroe Man Named Amos to him and his heirs for ever exclusive of his equal part of my Estate, Item I Give and Bequeath to my well beloved Son Winborn Lawton one Negroe Boy named Peter one Mustizo Girl Named Chloe, to him and his heirs for ever Exclusive of his equal part of my Estate, Item I Give and Bequeath to my well beloved Daughter Mary Lauton one Negroe Girl Named Pegg and her Increase and a pair of Gold Sleeve Buttons I now wear to her andher Heirs for ever, Exclusive of her equal part of my Estate Item I Give

Lawton P3

and Bequeath to my well beloved Son Joseph Lauton one Negtoe girl Named Hannah and her increase and one Negroe Boy Named Tom my Silver Watch and Silver Shoe Buckles to him and his Heirs for ever exclusive of his equal part of my Estate, Item I Give and Bequeath to my well beloved Son Josiah Lauton one half of the Tract of Land I Bought from Mr. James Cuthbert to him and his Heirs for ever, Item I Give and bequeath to my well beloved Son William Lauton the other half of the above Tract of Land to him and his Heirs for eve, Item I Give and Bequeath to my well beloved Son Joseph Lauton the Tract of Land I now live on to him and his Heirs for ever, and Lastly I Give and Bequeath all the Remainder Rest and Residue of my Estate consisting of Negroes Horses, Cattle, Hogs Sheep Household Goods Plantation Tools &ca to be equally divided betwixt my Children or children that may be Born of my Lawful Wife within Nine Months after my decease and it is my desire that my Estate should be divided, as soon as possible after my Death and that my Sons Josiah and William should take the Charge of the parts of my other four Children, who Names are as follows Vis: Sarah Jeremiah, Winborn and Mary Lautons until they arrive at the age of Nineteen years or day of Marriage which shall first happen, In Witness whereof I the said William Lauton have hereunto Set my hand and Seal the day and year first above written.

Sealed published and declare. by Mr. William Lauton the Testator in the presence of us.

John Mikell

John Fry.

John Frach.


William Lawton (Seal)

One Wench Dianah the Sorrel Stalion to be Sold as soon as possible after my Will is proved.


Proved before His Excellency William Henry Lytleton Esqr 9th December 1757. at the same time Qualified Mary Lauton and Isaac Rippon Executors to the said Will.

Recorded in Will Book 1767 – 1771.

Recorded on Page 507.


These images come from

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?

Mary Robert Lawton Garrard

March 23, 2016

I feel badly about poor Mary Robert Lawton Garrard. I can’t stop thinking about her. 

She was probably about 37 years old when she died. She had lost her first child, Bessie Garrard, when Bessie was one year old. She lost a son, Lawton Garrard, when he was six years old. 

According to her obituary, which was provided to me by her great-granddaughter Emily, Mary had had an operation following 8 weeks of lingering illness. 

So now I need to know more. I found her will and two codicils on ancestry dot com. 


Most of the will is legalese about dispensing monies, real property, and personal property to the surviving four children. Perhaps her husband prepared this section since he was an attorney. 

The sections that you and I might find most interesting are the ones where she dispenses personal items to the children, Giulie, William, Emily, and Cecelia. It is in the 2nd codicil that she distributes silver, China, glassware, and jewelry. A diamond pin here, a ruby ring there. Mary accounts for everything beautifully. 

It occurs to me that the will is dated the 30th day of March, 1901, almost 115 years ago. Yet she doesn’t die until October 11, 1902, a full year and a half later. The obit says she has had a lingering illness of 8 weeks. 

What causes a young woman in her 30s to write at least one will? Because she does mention that all other wills would be made null and void. Perhaps she was ill for a long time. 

She could not know that two more of her daughters, Giulie and Emily, would die in childhood after she herself passed away. 

Good-night, Mary. Rest well from your worldly cares.