My Great Grandfather

Written by: Leo Lawton

Without trying to be too boring is it okay to recall that by early 1639 Thomas Lawton immigrated to the New World Colony of Portsmouth, later to be a part of Rhode Island. Now comes the boring, but necessary to a genealogist, part.

Thomas had a son Daniel, who had a son Benjamin, who had a son Benjamin, who had a son Oliver, all while yet living in Rhode Island. However in 1789 Oliver and his wife Ann struck out across the forested wilderness stopping when they got to an area that would one day be known as Fairfield, Herkimer County, New York.

Among other children Oliver and Ann had a son named Benjamin, born in 1790, who was in New York with his parents. In 1807 Ben and Mary had a son, also named Benjamin. A few years later Ben and Mary moved northward to help settle Jefferson County. Their children, including Benjamin jr., traveled north with their parents. In 1833 Ben jr. and his wife Betsey had a son named Joseph.

Why do I care about all of this? Because Joseph was my grandfather Will’s father. This of course means that all of the above were my ancestors. Joseph married a fine young lady named Jane Wilson on her 21st birthday in 1856 when he was 23. The married couple had eleven children between then and 1877 all of which lived to adulthood except one.

Joseph apparently had many talents as at times he was a farmer, a storekeeper, a furniture and casket maker, an undertaker, and a carpenter. At one time he owned a complete business block in downtown Philadelphia, New York. As the 58 year old Joseph died in1891, 47 years before my birth, I never knew him, but he must have been a fascinating man.