Family Recollections

Family Recollections
Grace Eveline Lawton
1871 – ?

I have been told that the Lawtons came from England to Rhode Island settling in Portsmouth in 1638, which is two years after Roger Williams came to Providence, and a year before Newport was settled, if I have not forgotten those details.

It is said that there were three brothers, George, Thomas and perhaps Henry (?), I am not sure of the names. One branch settled in Massachusetts and still spell the name Laughton.

I cannot go any farther back than my grandfather, Henry Lawton, no middle name. He married twice. His first wife was, I think, a New Bedford woman and I think her name was Thomas. She had three living children. Asa Thomas Lawton, Gardner Thomas Lawton and Charles Lawton. I do not know the order of their ages. When young men they all moved away from Portsmouth. Gardner was first I think a captain of a whaler, and later made a good deal of money in the California boom, and eventually settled in San Francisco. He died about thirty years ago. He had a daughter Theresa who died not long after. He must have been well over 70 when he died.

Asa T. went to California in the gold rush of 1848, and eventually came back to settle in Newport, RI. I remember him as a fine looking man with iron gray hair when I was a little girl, a man old enough to be my father’s father instead of his half brother.

He married twice. First Anne —-, who left no children, and died about the time I was born. Then he married Abbie Lawton, daughter of Moses Lawton of Tiverton, RI, this may have been another branch of the family but too remote to be considered relatives. Asa Lawton died, the first of the three brothers, they were living in Newport at the time, and he left a young son by this second marriage, Herbert. They soon moved to Stamford CT, where Herbert eventually married when about thirty, and died some years later leaving a wife, and I think, two children. I have heard that they moved away from Stamford, but I do not know more of them. It must 25 years ago that he married.

Charles lived in Taunton, Mass, and had two daughters, one of whom died young and the other, Sarah, married Henry Blanchard and lived in Avon near Brockton, MA. They had one son, Henry Lawton Blanchard, who is now about 60, who married Marion Fox, daughter of Judge Fox of Taunton. They have one child, Beatrice, who is about 25, and they all live in Brockton, MA. It is possible that this man, could give more definite information of the genealogy of the family. He is much more interested in that sort of thing.

In Portsmouth there is the Lawton family cemetery where our ancestors are buried. I have not seen it, but my father was interested to see that it was kept in order, and my brother has been there, and also Mr. H. Lawton Blanchard visited it recently.

My Grandfather, Henry Lawton, married a second time, when his boys must have been pretty well grown up and away from home. This time he married a Portsmouth woman, Elizabeth Fish, of a Quaker family. He himself was an Episcopalian. They also had three boys, to whom my father grew up, George Parker Lawton. My grandfather died when my father was about 12 years old, and he and his mother came to Newport where his mother died when he was 16. He always lived in Newport.

My brother, Henry Lawton, has three boys, George Parker Lawton, about 25, married and at present living in Minnesota, Henry Gardner Lawton, living at home at present in Tiverton to which place my brother moved from Newport some years ago, and Lloyd Hummel Lawton, recently married and living in Fall River. These three boys are all between 22 and 26.

We have in the family a copy of the Lawton coat of arms. I do not know its history.

There is a family of Lawtons in Tiverton, RI who probably know much more about the original Lawtons. They also are too remote from us for us to know of any relationship. One is George Lawton, a prominent man locally, and he had a sister well known about there, Mrs. Richard Barker. I know not whether she is living or not. I recall that she was one of the early graduates of Vassar College, and then later she was interested in the genealogy of the Lawton family. … And now I have told you all I know.

I forgot to say that there are other Lawtons in Newport, of whom I know nothing. Some of them are Irish, and I assume the name was Irish as well as English, but I do not know.

Grace E. Lawton Hillside School, Norwalk, Conn. April 15, 1932