In Search of Sir Robert Lawrence of Ashton Hall Circa 1190 AD
I added this page in order to clean up the rumors running around about my 1100AD grandfather that he either didn’t exist or that the genealogy is wrong and I’m not his kin. I’ve spent a year looking for him and like Alex Haley – Robert Lawrence, I’ve found you!! So here’s the info all nice and neat. Enjoy!!! And it seems the ‘pedigree’ is ‘important’ by some folks, so it’s at the end of the article.
It all started a year ago with a white three ringed notebook with a cover page that entitled THE SMITH FAMILY TREE. My Uncle Larry, also known as Joe, had spent thirty years researching my family tree. He found knights and ladies, Lords, sheriffs, pastors, and farmers and of course, me resting in the annuals of time. But it was one name that stood out from the rest.
Sir Robert Lawrence of Ashton Hall circa 1190 AD.
Legend said that he was a crusader and rode along side King Richard the Lionhearted during the 1190 AD Third Crusade. Legend also claimed that he did a great deed in the name of the King and God and for this great feat, the King designated him a knight and granted him a coat of arms.
The deed differs depending upon the speaker, some claiming as the crusade neared St. Joan of Arce castle, Robert knowing the Muslim leader Saladin was nearing the castle, broke from the train of crusaders, grabbed the king’s flag and planted it on highest pinnacle, claiming the castle for Richard. Another legend states that the king was so impressed by Robert’s bravery that he gave him the grand duty of guarding the standard. Others say he, along with three other men, climbed the castle walls and opened the castle doors, allowing the crusaders to enter the fortress, thus destroying the enemy. Still another claims he was the first to raise the Christian flag outside Acre.
And yet others said Robert never existed and if he did, I was not of his family. His family seemed to have slipped through the fingers of time. Yet no one has stepped forward claiming to be his kin. As with all conspiracy theories, there are very large holes that can’t be filled, such as where are Robert’s descendents and why haven’t they stepped forward, claiming the current genealogy is wrong? Several people claim HG Somerby who documented the current genealogy lied about this family tree. Again, where is the original family? And why didn’t they step forward in the 1880’s or today? I have not found any documented proof either in newspaper articles or genealogical books that this genealogy is wrong. I have only found information on various private websites. Too many open holes for my writing bug.
Something deep inside told me he did exist and I needed to start my own crusade, a crusade for a knight. It all started with my writer’s intuition. Being a writer means you investigate everything for the sake of the story. An author writes lies based on the truth and it’s the truth that always leads the lie. Each lie must be supported by life’s tragedies and triumphs. Without these, the story dies and the characters perish. So I began with the names written on the papers of the three ringed notebook. Each name leading to a person who now lies in unmarked and marked graves. I started with Sir Robert of Ashton Hall or Grandpa Robert as I like to call him.
It was a punch into Google that I first saw the disappearance of my family. One website claimed that Grandpa Robert may not have existed or that I wasn’t of his tree. Another site claimed he came from a family named de Leicaster or de Lancaster. Yet Robert de Lancaster is a completely different person. Here is more info on him: De Lancaster Geneology
To add to the confusion, a couple of historians in Britain wrote the below article in the Victoria Historical Society in the 1900’s.
Here is the original quote from British-history UK
The second moiety was shared or inherited by the families of Stapleton (fn. 16) and Metham, (fn. 17) Thweng (fn. 18) and Pedwardine, (fn. 19) and appears to have been acquired by the Lawrences of Lancaster. Lawrence brother and heir of John son of Thomas son of Roger de Lancaster appears in 1292 putting forward a claim to land in Skerton. (fn. 20) Then in 1 317 Lawrence son of Thomas de Lancaster granted lands in Skerton, Ashton, Brantbreck, Grisehead, &c., to his son John Lawrence and Elizabeth his wife. (fn. 21) From this time Lawrence was used as the family name. John Lawrence in 1331 complained of trespass on his fishery at Ashton. (fn. 22) He in conjunction with Elizabeth his wife and Edmund their son held the Stapleton part of Ashton manor in 1338 for life. (fn. 23) The family then or a little later obtained, apparently by marriage, the estate of the Gentyl and Washington families in Carleton, Scotforth and elsewhere. (fn. 24)
Edmund Lawrence in 1357 made a feoffment of lands in Lancaster, Skerton, Ellel, Ashton and Preesall, (fn. 25) and in 1373 it was found that he held for life three plough-lands of Thomas de Stapleton by a rent of 20 marks. (fn. 26) He died at the end of 1381 (fn. 27) holding burgages in Lancaster and lands in Skerton and Overton, and left a son and heir named Robert, only ten years of age. (fn. 28) What holding was retained in Ashton is not clear, but in the reigns of Henry IV and Henry VI certain lands, in later times called ‘Lawrence lands,’ were demised to the family by the Methams. (fn. 29) Robert Lawrence, who was escheator of the county in 1404. and later, (fn. 30) complained of disseisin in 1407, (fn. 31) and it was alleged against him that Edmund had left no heir. (fn. 32) He was made a knight, (fn. 33) and had a son and heir of the same name who in 1429, having married Agnes daughter of Nicholas Croft of Dalton, received lands in Middleton, Heysham and Lancaster. (fn. 34) From: ‘Townships: Ashton with Stodday’, A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 8 (1914), pp. 50-56. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=53261&strquery=Ashton Hall, Lawrence Date accessed: 13 September 2011.
They even show a picture of Grandpa Robert’s Coat of Arms:
Yet they forgot to mention where this coat came from or that it is listed under Sir Robert Lawrence, 1191, in the College of Arms.
Lawrence : Argent, a cross naguly gules
No motto or crest
This is a very old and distinguished family whose ancestral
seat was Lancashire, England from a very early date.
This ancient English family is descended from Robert Lawrence , living
in Lancashire prior to the year 1200; therefore no motto or crest as
these had not come into use that early generally. Lawrence coat of arms
I found other evidence claiming Robert existed in a book published in 1910 by a man named Alfred Goodman. He began his search for his family tree in 1885. His information is the same as my Uncle’s and is the same on the other Lawrence research websites, starting with Robert Lawrence circa 1190 AD.
Memoirs of the Cross Family Now Mr. Goodman was documenting his family tree which has a branch to Robert.
ROBERT LAWRENCE, (evidently a combination of two Christian names). He was born at Lancashire. During the reign of Henry II, he arrived at manhood’s estate, and became a soldier. When Richard I. came to the throne he was about forty years old, followed his sovereign to the Holy Land. He distinguished himself at the siege of Acre, and was knighted by King Richard. Sir Robert Lawrence, of Ashton Hall. He wore across upon his shield to distinguish his family, “Ruguly, gules,” a rough cross hewn from a tree, and the branches tied in the shape of a cross.
Goodman, Alfred E. Memoirs of the Cross family (Kindle Locations 186-188). [Vancouver, B.C. : The Author.
Then I stumbled on this treasure that doesn’t follow the Sombry line. Mercy Hale wrote this in 1856.
Here is what Hale says about my family:A Genealogical Memoir of the Families of Lawrences
Mercy Hale. A Genealogical Memoir of the Families of Lawrences:
The descendants of Mr. John Lawrence, the first of the first of Watertown, Mass., have documentary evidence of descent in a direct male line, back to Sir Robert Lawrence, of Lancashire, a companion in arms with Richard Couer de Lion, who, in 1190, conferred on him a cross raguly Gules, for bravery in scaling the walls of Acre.
Mercy Hale. A Genealogical Memoir of the Families of Lawrences: With a Direct Male Line from Sir Robert ... (Kindle Locations 39-41). Printed for the author.
Mercy starts his genealogy at Sir Robert Lawrence (1399-1450) who married Amphilbis Longford. Nicholas was their third son. James is the eldest. Robert (surprised by the name?) is the middle child. I am related to James.
Hale’s genealogy deals only with Robert and Amphilbis’ third son, Nicholas, but links Sir Robert of 1399 to Sir Robert of 1190 AD.
Unfortunately, the Victoria Historical Society had very limited information on which to gather family histories, not what we have now. Others jumped on this bandwagon, claiming my family originated from the de Lancasters, yet no one could explain the coat of arms that the king granted to a Sir Robert Lawrence in 1190 AD or they claimed it was awarded to a Robert Lawrence, who was knighted in the 1400's. My records show that there was a Robert Lawrence (1350 - 1439), but I see no evidence that he was knighted in the 1400s. In fact, I see no evidence that he was knighted at all.
So the question now is who is right? Hale and Sombry or The Victoria County Historical Society? One has to be right and one has to be wrong.
So I dug deeper into the names, following whatever trail history offered me. That and many prayers to God, asking for His guidance and leadership through my self imposed obsessive compulsive quest.
The names led me to Sir Thomas Lawrence of 1539-1593 who claimed cadency over the coat of arms. (Please see below information under pedigree - Thomas Lawrence 1472 AD for possible reasons why Thomas claimed cadency.) Now according to the College of Arms, he had a coat of arms similar to grandpa’s, but it was made differently as was his rights, (Candency) not to mention it was the ‘in thing’ to do. He is listed in the Book of Knights by Metcalf, you can see it on Google books for free, page 33. In order for him to get his coat of arms, he had to prove that he was a descendant to the original owner. It was very time consuming and very, very pricey. Also folks guarded their coat of arms like gold and had the right to sue anyone who stepped over the line.
Sr. Thomas Laurance Quarterly – 1 and 4, Argent, a cross ragulee Gules, 2 and 3, Argent, two bars and in chief three mullets pierced Gules, Crest A lucie’s tail proper.
I contacted the College of Arms and asked them if they could clarify a few things regarding the coats. Wouldn’t a descendant have to take his grandfather’s coat of arms? According to English law, one could be sued for taking another’s coat without permission. And according to the Victoria County of History, 1914, my family came from the de Lancaster family. Here is their coat:
De Lancaster coat of arms
See the difference? Huge difference. According to Timothy Duke, a very nice English Harold at the College,
As you know, there is no such thing as a coat of arms for a surname. Arms and crests are the property of particular families and individuals. To establish a right to arms by inheritance for your great grandmother Effie Maude Lawrence, you must prove her descent in a direct and unbroken male line from an ancestor on record here as so entitled. The first step is a search under the name Lawrence in the official registers of arms and pedigrees, in association with whatever facts you can supply about the paternal ancestry of your great grandmother, going as far back as possible. This information is best set out in the form of a simple family tree, with your great grandmother at the base, giving full names and dates/places of birth, marriage and death, with occupations and places of residence where known. The identity of her emigrant ancestor is all important.
So in order for the family to use any coat of arms, it must be of the de Lancaster coat, not Lawrence. There is no way the college would have given him the Lawrence coat if we came from the de Lancaster’s. And Grandpa Robert would have had to have taken the de Lancaster coat of arms instead of having one of his own.
But still I longed for that one piece of proof, a bone to chew on, so to speak. I can’t tell you how I found this only that I did. Here is that nail in the proverbial coffin.
On 1 November, 1356, the mastership being vacant, Henry duke of Lancaster gave the hospital to the nuns of Seton in Cumberland to relieve their poverty. (fn. 37) His generosity is said to have been inspired by his servant, Sir Robert Lawrence, kt., (knight) of Ashton, near Lancaster, a kinsman of the prioress. (fn. 38) The grant was conditional on the consent of the burgesses of Lancaster and on the nuns finding at the priory a chantry of one chaplain to replace that at the hospital and agreeing to continue its alms and dues at Lancaster. (fn. 39) From: 'Hospitals: St Leonard, Lancaster', A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 2 (1908), pp. 165. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=38361&strquery=lawrence Date accessed: 07 September 2011.
The only man knighted in the Lawrence family before 1356 was Grandpa Robert in 1190 AD. The other men after Robert were all squires, which meant they were gentlemen of some standing. Yet according to the Victoria County History, the only knight that came from the Lawrences was a Robert Lawrence circa 1400s. Big difference.
Here is another article for Henry’s donation:
Once again, on 1 April, 1357, Henry, Duke of Lancaster, discovering that the there were not enough fund to support the nuns, granted the nuns the vacant hospital of St. Leonard, Lancaster, with all its lands and possessions. http://monasticmatrix.org/monasticon/?function=detail&id=882#publishedPrimarySources
This was all I needed to prove Grandpa truly lived and was the first knight of Ashton Hall and that Sombry was right. (Sorry, conspiracy theorists. Go back to Area 51). Again, the folks at the Victoria Historical Society had very limited resources. They also complained there isn’t anything written about Grandpa in 1100 AD, no birth records, or fines, or land disputes, nothing. Folks seem to forget that 1100 AD was the end of the dark ages where no one thought it was necessary to document such silly things as fines, birth records, etc. These things were word of mouth. Most of the population couldn’t read or write, so documentation was a waste of resources. The only things documented were the monarchy, the more important nobles and the church.
So now that I had found my grandfather, I longed to know him. Yet how does one know a person who has been dead for over a thousand years? Easy, you look at what he left behind.
I started with his original coat of arms.
Now Richard would have given grandpa the above coat. The rest was added on by grandpa’s family such as the crest (the fish on the top), the helmet and any mottos.
So to break down each section tells me a little about him.
Grandpa’s wouldn’t have had the helmet and the fish. Those where added later by his children. Richard would have given Grandpa the first plain shield, but colored red and gray as the latter one.
But just so you know, here’s what the fish, laurel and helmet mean:
The gold mixed in the laurel leaves says he was generous and had a smart mind.
The fish on the top doesn’t mean he liked to eat at Red Lobster but that he had a true and generous mind; he was virtuous just because it was in his nature, not from his heritage.
The helmet, which the eye shield is closed, indicates whomever added this stuff to the crest was a squire. A knight would have had an open helmet eye shield. Robert’s kids were squires of Ashton, so they probably added this on to the coat. I’m guessing that maybe the kids meant to say Dad was virtuous, generous, ect. Or maybe they were virtuous.
Remember also Lawrence comes from the surname of Laurel. Notice the Laurel surrounding the first crest.
Now for Grandpa:
The silver, also called Argent, on the shield means he was peaceful and sincere.
The red also called Gules, said he was a warrior or a martyr and he had military strength and nobleness to him.
The Raguly (jagged) lines on the cross say he encountered many difficulties.
The cross means he was in a Holy War, the crusades.
Remember, the crusades ended around 1300AD. Sir Thomas lived in 1500 AD. Sir Robert according to Victorian Historical society was knighted in 1400s. It doesn’t make sense that the King would have awarded either one of them a coat of arms that dictated a man fighting in the crusades.
Things are now starting to come together, right? Now this doesn’t mean he didn’t have any faults and stood next to God, it only means he was a man of integrity; he meant what he said and refused to back down in the face of danger as is seen in all the Lawrence men that come from his line.
Now that I know who he is and that he existed, I longed to know what he did ‘over there’ in the crusades. So I followed more information that is spread over the web.
I came across the book Itinerarium Peregrinorum et Gesta Regis Ricardi, or The Third Crusade of King Richard, a book written about the crusades. Rumor had it that my grandfather’s name was in that book. So I hunted down a translated version by Helen Nicholson (1997) as the original was in Latin. I read the book cover to cover.
Now this is again is where it gets a bit confusing as if it’s not already confusing. Apparently there are four versions of Itinerarium floating around Amazon.com. The only one I could find and actually read in English is the one translated by Helen. The rest are in Latin, old Spanish or no longer exist.
A huge rumor, as if there isn’t enough of them, is that Grandpa Robert is referred to as Robert de Lancaster or Leicester. This is NOT Robert Lawrence, but is actually Robert de Breteuil often referred to as Robert de Leicester, Third Earl of Lancaster. Confused? I would love to know how all these rumors started. So many of them. My family is more exciting then the Hollywood stars. Gesh!!
I didn’t find the name, Sir Robert Lawrence listed anywhere in this book, (who knows, maybe he in the other versions?) but what I did find gave me Goosebumps. I found his legend brought to life.
The first question is did he really truly go? Every man who was able to fight from a teenager to an old man longed to go to the crusades:
An enormous number of people of various nationalities, especially French and English, were roused into putting their devotion into practice, taking the sign of the Holy Cross and hastening to help the Holy Land with all their strength. Like David, they burned to punish the Philistines who taunted the labouring hosts of the God of Israel with their Goliaths [1 Samuel ch 17.]
The supreme Pontiff diligently urged them to do this to obtain mercy for all their sins. By the authority with which he was endowed he absolved anyone who immediately undertook this pious and necessary work from their guild for past sins they had committed, maintaining that those whose more fervent zeal them to undertake the journey without delay would merit more blessings. . . . Hence people eagerly ran to receive the cross from bishops, with lively zeal and pious competition. Already it was not a question of who was wearing the cross, but rather who was not yet girded with such a pious burden. Chronicle of the Third Crusade, Nicholson, page 139 and 142.
So Grandpa went with the other crusaders in the year 1190, sailing for Messina, Italy, then to march to Jerusalem. He was forty years old. Seventy in our time. Remember they didn’t live long. Forty was an old man. (Yeah, get over it.)
It is in Messina that I finally realize where all the strange stories came regarding my grandfather. It seems some of the citizens of Messina, called Lombards, were jealous of the English King to the point that a scuffle turned into a brawl, then into a battle. Richard and his men chased the Lombards to their castle. This is where I find the first story of my grandfather. Remember this one?
Others say he, along with three other men, climbed the castle walls and opened the castle doors, allowing the crusaders to enter the fortress, thus destroying the enemy.
The above is incorrect. It wasn’t four men, but several.
On the landward side the attack was pressed most fiercely where the king of England was. He was uniquely skilled in warfare. Part of his army attempted to cut the hinges of the [castle] gates, but when they were not successful they climbed a high hill next to the city and went to a postern gate [think backdoor] which the king of England thought that the citizens had overlooked. He had noticed it on the second day after his arrival when he and two companions were going around the city spying out the land as a precaution against future need. They boldly made a great charge through this gate and entered the city, broke down the city gates and let the rest of the army enter. They either captured or killed any citizen who stood in their way or resisted them, and invaded the city in a body. Many of the Lombards and our people fell in that conflict. Chronicle of the Third Crusade, 163.
I didn’t find any instance of men climbing the castle walls of Acre and opening the castle gates, only this version in Messina, Italy. There were men who scaled the walls of Acre, only to be killed.
Now the names of the men entered the city were never mentioned, but the two stories are so similar and since this legend has been passed down from generation to generation, I can only conclude that one of the men was my grandfather.
Another legend states:
The king was so impressed by Robert’s bravery that he gave him the grand duty of guarding the standard.
Well, guess what?
King Richard led the vanguard and held supreme command. The Normans guarded the standard. (Remember, Robert was originally a Norman.) . . . It was custom to assign a force of elite knights to protect this implement, especially in the field of battle, so that it may not be broken down by hostile attack or knocked down by some injury; because if it happened to be knocked down by some accident then the army would be thrown into confusion and scattered because there would not be any rallying point. . . . The Normans and the English attended the Standard. (Page 237)
Of course Robert guarded the standard. Not only was he English/Norman, but also considered an elite knight.
Even the Lawrence motto, Be Ready is seen in the book:
The king, who was ready for anything, not to say reckless, went out to meet the arrivals in a small rowing boat, inquiring how they were and where they came from. (page 188)
Another website claims: daltondatabank.org/Chronicles/RDaltonBook/20.htm#lawrence
Another writer indicates that he was created a Knight-Banneret (a military Knighthood and the highest grade in the Middle Ages) and was allow to bear for Arms, “Agent, a cross ragulée gules,” a red cross of trunks of trees having pieces like couped boughs projecting from the side in a slanting direction, on a silver shield. This Arms is registered with the College of Arms in London, England.
This probably is true as when a knight receives the Arms, he is made into a Knight-Banneret.
Sadly enough, this is where the legends end. Sure there are a couple others: He planted the first flag on Acre, but I didn’t see anything that claimed a knight planted a flag or that he climbed the highest pinnacle and planted the flag before Saladin arrived. Richard arrived AFTER Saladin had taken the fortress. These were probably added on later by kinfolk.
I fear my grandfather never made it back to England and instead died on the shores of Israel as did most of the army. There was more fighting between Richard’s men and the Saladin army, much more. My uncle dated Robert’s death in 1191. The crusades ended in 1192.
More than likely, Robert’s relatives returned home and told his widow of his death and the king gave the land to Robert’s heirs. Which is another story.
1. Daddy Robert Lawrence 1125-1191 came from Normandy during the Norman Invasion in England.
2. Sir Robert Lawrence Crusader with King Richard the Lionhearted (1150 – 1191) Married a Trafford woman
3. Robert Lawrence (1170- 1216) married Anne Wallace
4. Robert Lawrence (1196 – 1265) married a De Trafford woman
5. James Lawrence (1224-1290) married Matilda de Washington
6. John Lawrence Squire (1255 – 1317) married Margaret Chesford
7. Sir Robert Lawrence Squire (1290 -1360) married Elizabeth Holt
8. Robert Lawrence (1350 – 1439) married Margaret Holden
9. Sir Robert Lawrence (1399 – 1450) married Amphilbis Lonford. Was a Sheriff of Lancashire under the House of Lancastor from 1418-1422 under King Henry V. See website: http://enc.tfode.com/High_Sheriff_of_Lancashire and http://www.tudorplace.com.ar/Documents/sheriffs_of_lancashire.htm.
I can’t seem to find any documented proof backing up the following claims, so it might not be accurate. If I find more information, then I will post it. I don’t believe this is true, but felt I needed to add it.:
“Sir Robert Lawrence was born in England in 1371. He was the third Squire of Ashton and married Margaret Holden. He not only inherited his father’s lands and manors, but added to those estates in Ireland and the manors of Southworth and Dillicar in County Westmoreland.
In 1402 he was appointed a commissioner to arrest “sedition mongers”. In 1403 he assembled knights and yeomen in Lancashire and brought them to the king to fight against the Earl of Northumbland in Scotland. He was appointed Knight of the Shire in 1403, 1406, and 1414.
A considerable contingent from Lancaster accompanied Henry V to France in 1415. John Lord Harcourt, bannert, took two knights, twenty-seven men-at-arms, and ninety archers; seven knights and two esquires, John Stanley and “Robert Laurence” each served with fifty archers. The campaign ended with the famous victory at Agincourt, and Robert was knighted in 1417 for his service.
In 1419 he was en charged to raise a loan for the King and in 1421 commissioned to bring 400 more archers to France as the Hundred Years’ War ground on. Robert died 8 September 1439 in England, at 68 years of age.
Update: I did find this information regarding Robert Lawrence 1399-1450 from the book The Thomas Book: Giving the Genealogies of Sir Rhys Ap Thomas by Lawrence Buckley Thomas:
“Sir Robert Lawrence aforesaid, who may have been Robert Lawrence, Esq., who, with two men at arms and six foot archers, was of the retinue of King Henry V, in 1417 (see Nicholas’s ‘Agincourt,’ p. 381), possibly m Margaret Holden, of Lancashire.”
10. Sir James Lawrence (1428 – 1490) married Eleanor Welles. I found a listing for James Lawrence knighted in 1482 from “The Knights of England. A Complete Record from the earliest Time to the Present Day of the Knights of all the orders of Chivalry . . . 1906 (The dates begin around 1300AD.) http://www.archive.org/stream/knightsofengland02shawuoft/knightsofengland02shawuoft_djvu.txt:
1482, Aug. 22.
Bannerets and Knights made by Richard, duke of Gloucester,
in Scotland at Hoton Field beside Berwick [ ? at the
surrendering of Berwick to the English, which took
place on the 24th Aug., 1482~\.
11. Sir Thomas Lawrence (1472 – 1540) married Mabele Redmain
12. Thomas (Redmain) Lawrence (1500 – 1576) This is where it gets a bit 'iffy', so bare with me. It seems genealogists seem to have the most problems with the Lawrence family pedigree no matter what branch during this time only. So let's investigate, but let's investigate in the light of history, (It seems genealogists seem to forget that pesky thing called history.)
Let's back up a bit. Robert Lawrence (1399-1450) died in battle, his son was James, (1428-1490) died in battle. Now James' eldest son, John also died in battle. The youngest of his sons was our Thomas Lawrence.
According to the English Courts, James' brother, Lancelot (yes I know.) became the head of the household as the eldest son was dead. All property and arms went to Lancelot and his family. As for our little poor Thomas SR, well, he upset King Henry VIII as Thomas was considered a 'recusance' meaning he refused to renounce the Catholic church and see the king as the head of the church and supreme ruler. Thomas had no choice but to race to Wales to escape prosecution. The king took everything from Thomas Sr, including his titles, lands, money, family line, heritage, property, leaving him as a nameless beggar.
The atrocities of King Henry VIII vary between 1000 people killed to 70,000 although there isn't a definite number. The king's spies were in every area of society and anyone speaking ill of the king or following Catholic faith felt his wrath. The king also had the right to take a dissident's land and give to those he considers loyal to him. So is it any wonder the Lawrence family tree during this time is full of holes? I believe the reason why the Lawrence pedigree is so inconsistent during this time is because some to the Lawrence members were loyal Catholics and many were persecuted, their names 'erased', were driven from their homes or executed. Again, it seems the professionals seemed to have 'missed' this.
(Imagine the president of the US erasing your social security number, birth records, marriage/divorce certificates, school/college/university records, credit cards/rating, home(s)loans/foreclosing on the house(s), bank accounts, car(s) loans,taking the cars, family name, work history, kids' birth certificates, erasing your past, taking everything you own, leaving you non-existent to the point your race to Canada to escape possible prison and execution all because you refuse to agree with his policies. And you can't get a job b/c you don't you can't produce that you even exist. Would you want your name and your children's name spread across town when the king had his spies everywhere?)
The king basically erased him. Years later, his family tried to petition the King Charles I for their father's title, heritage, etc, but they had fallen into such poverty that the king wanted nothing to do with them. unfortunately, I haven't been able to find any information on this family, but I do know there were Lawrence's that fell into deep poverty. They maybe Thomas' true heritage?
Thomas Sr had a son named Thomas Jr. He changed his name to Thomas L Yeland Redmain. In Lance's will, he calls Thomas Jr his heir and gave him some of his property. So I'm thinking TJ dropped the Lawrence name for safety reasons and took his mother's maiden name then lived with his uncle while his father fell into oblivion. There is no more information on Thomas Sr or Thomas Jr as both seemed to have 'disappeared'. Lancelot then took over Thomas Sr.'s family line. That is why this section in our family tree is so strange and inconsistent. It is a pity that many of these people's stories and now lost due to a crazy king.
Now Lancelot had two sons, one Edmund and the other Thomas. I believe Lancelot's son Thomas Lawrence carried on Thomas Sr's family tree in order to continue James' line and keep some of the property in the family. According to the following article:
Recent studies have suggested that the later medieval and early modern periods were character-ized by a trend toward better established family strategies among western Europe’s nobility, and more consistent patterns of property devolution and succession to offices and political privilege.These developments led to a greater emphasis on patrilineality—that is, the integral transfer of power, wealth, and status in the male line of descent. This view thus assumes a coevolution of,on one hand,marriage regimes, inheritance practices, and ideas of kinship,and, on the other, systems of property holding and political organization. The complex interrelatedness of these factors,explaining the interplay between individual choices and broader social change,is yet to be fully disentangled, particularly when taking into account regional institutional differences and variations in familial reproduction strategies among the late-medieval rural and urban elites http://www.academia.edu/1255114/Kinship_Property_and_Identity_Noble_Family_Strategies_in_Late-Medieval_Zeeland
You can read more of Thomas Sr's persecution and Thomas Jr changing his name in this online book: Herald and Genealogist it starts on page 214. Some of the evidence is written in Latin, but I put it through Google translator and it's mostly medieval lawyer mumble jumble. Evidence #19 tells of Lancelot's will and that Thomas is his son. So we are still related to the first Robert Lawrence, only they had a bit of a side track. I have found very little information about Lancelot and his family as they too were trying to stay below the king's 'radar'.
One needs to take into account, King Henry VIII hated this family (and any other Catholic family) as they opposed his request to be supreme ruler of the universe and break from the Catholic Church. The family was grounded and rooted in Catholicism. King Henry executed St. Robert Lawrence, a member of the Lawrence clan, in 1535 and Robert is considered one of the 40 martyrs of England and Wales (again, there is very little information regarding him as he was basically erased) and the king also erased Thomas Sr. as I am sure he erased thousands of other innocent men and women for the simple reason they refused to renounce their Catholic beliefs. So one must take into account the Lawrence clan tried to stay under the king's 'radar' which in my opinion explains why there is limited information regarding these people's birth/death/will records. One can also understand why Thomas Jr changed his name and slid under Lancelot's family. I personally believe there is more to this story than what is written here, based on Medieval history. The monarchy has the right to decide who can and cannot exist due to their loyalty to them. Unfortunately most of the Lawrence clan records during this time are now lost due to a crazy king's sexual perversions. Makes that pesky thing call the constitution look pretty dog-gone good, huh?
13. Sir Thomas Lawrence (Lancelot's son who took over James' line) (1539 – 1593) married Martha Cage
Lancelot had two sons: Thomas and Edmund. Thomas married Martha Cage. I took this from Sally'sfamilyplace.com http://www.sallysfamilyplace.com/Rayner/lawrentho.htm
Thomas Lawrence of St. Michael Bassishaw Parish married 22 July 1572 Martha Cage daughter of Anthony Cage and wife Elizabeth Dale of All Saints in Honey Land, London. The Harleian Society, Volume XXV, Allegations for Marriage Licences issued by the Bishop of London, 1520 to 1610 (London, 1887), page 53 (hereafter cited as Harleian Society, London Marriage Licences, 1520-1610).
This Thomas Lawrence also updated the family crest adding a little more to it as his father now took over Thomas Sr's line.
14. Sir John Lawrence (1589 – 1638) married Mary Gibbone - Knighted in 1609 "1609-10, Jan. 26 (23). JOHN LAWRENCE, of London (Iver, Bucks)
I borrowed this from another website regarding Sir John:
Sir John Lawrence made his will on October 18, 1638, and it was probated on January 21, 1638/9. His will reads as follows: [IT:I, Sir John Lawrence of Delefords and Iver, Bucks Kt. and Bt., desire to be buried in my Chapel at Chelsea. All my interest in the Parsonage of Dorking, Surrey, which I, with my brother-in-law Richard Colville, purchased of Richard Hollman, to my sister Martha Jackson, widow, and she be dead at my decease same to her daughter Martha. 300£ to my eldest daughter, Ann Lawrence ; 200£ to my second daughter Frances Lawrence ; bequests to servants; all my interest in 7010£ which long since I recovered my judgement of Anne Babington, executrix of Vry Babington, dec., in H. M. Court of Exchequer due me from the estate of Robert Bromley, dec. Of what can be recovered 1/2 to my eldest son John Lawrence and the other moiety to my younger children. 100 marks towards the finishing of my house at Iver. Rest of personal estate to my younger children, Anne, Robert, Frances , Grissell, and Henry, those age 21 to be paid soon as possible and the others to be paid at 21 or marriage. All portions of my younger children to amount to 900£ apiece and all my houses and land at Chelsea to provide this. * * * The settling of wife's estate has cost me more at this date than double the value of her inheritance, were it to be sold. The legacies of 5000£ which I have given her younger children is more than double the value of her estate after her decease. Wife Dame Grissell to sole extrx. provide she shall settle within 12 months after my death all her estate in lands and tenements on her eldest son John Lawrence and heirs male and in default of same to son Robert Lawrence , etc. Witnesses Pugh Flood, clarke; Samuel Forest, John Hynde, Martha Jackson, Rice Thomas.:IT][CI:106:?3:CI]
Hugh Buckner Johnston in his [IT: Lawrence Family:IT] manuscript relates the following concerning Sir John Lawrence : “Sir John Lawrence , Knight and Baronet, was a wealthy merchant of London. He purchased one share of stock in the Virginia Company in Virginia on June 23, 1620, a fact that may entitle his descendants to membership in the Order of the First Families of Virginia. In June 1632, Sir John Lawrence , “Adventurer”, and others, recorded their plans to transport three hundred colonists for agriculture, mining, etc., to Long Isle, about one hundred fifty miles north of Jamestown. On August 24, 1635, he was party to a suit in the High Court of Admiralty in London, (SEVENTEENTH CENTURY ISLE OF WRIGHT COUNTY VIRGINA by John Bennett Boddie, page 273-274 http://books.google.com/books?id=Z2AAvycdC94C&pg=PA273&lpg=PA273&dq=High+Court+of+Admiralty+in+London,+August+24,+1635&source=bl&ots=zn8vtWzoIv&sig=YUYvHnlPyJkN9EIGxG0qwBtC_tU&hl=en&sa=X&ei=BeDsUKXpGceOrQGY9oCYBw&ved=0CFYQ6AEwBQ#v=onepage&q&f=false) and his kinsman and factor, Richard Bennett, testified concerning goods sent to Virginia on the ship[IT:Revenge:IT].” He entered Oxford (St. John’s College) 27 May 1603 at age 14. He received a B. A. from Oriel College on 29 October 1604 and a M. A. from St. Edm Hall on 7 July 1615. John was knighted at Royston 26 January 1609/10 and was made a baronet on 9 October 1628.[CI:358:?3:CI] http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~molcgdrg/sur/1l/lawrence-notest1.htm
15. Robert Lawrence (1617 – 1682) married Elizabeth Adkinson
Notes for Robert Lawrence:
Justice for Nansemond County Virginia for 1659-60.
Robert entered Oxford University on November 4, 1631, and possibly studied law at the Inner Temple in the following year. Upon becoming of legal age and receiving his inheritance, he married and departed for the Virginia Colony with his wife, Elizabeth.(4)
Robert’s son, Robert Jr., was born about 1639. He was not used as a headright when Robert obtained land in Isle of Wight in 1642 for importing himself and his wife, therefore he was probably born after Robert’s arrival in Virginia.1638 migrated from Chelsea, Middlesex, England
On October 19, 1682, Robert Lawrence , the elder, witnessed the wedding of John Scott and Elizabeth Belson.
Robert Lawrence received two patents on August 25, 1642, in Isle of Wight County : 200 acres upon Lawnes Creek, adjoining the lands of Mr. Harding and the widow Bennett’s lands for importation of himself, Eliza his wife, John Backwell, and Edward Ison; and 100 acres on Lawnes Creek adjoining his own land and the land of Mr. Tooke for the importation of James Long and Margerie Aldrige.[CI:192:?3:CI] The patent for 200 acres was renewed on September 12, 1644. This land subsequently was conveyed to Daniel Washburne on July 8, 1652, witnessed by James Pyland and Robert Sabin.[CI:196:?3:CI]
On September 28, 1643, Robert received a patent for 150 acres near the mouth of Lawnes Creek adjoining John Stocker, Georg Hardie, and Thomas Gyer for the importation of Thomas Merrick, Wm. Penny, and John Pond.[CI:193:?3:CI]
On August 20, 1644, Robert Lawrence and Ellis Brown patented 400 acres in Lower Norfolk County upon the east Branch of Elizabeth River adjoining John Sidney and Richard Woster, 300 of the acres due by assignment of a patent dated May 22, 1637, from Thomas Sawyer, and the remaining 100 acres for paying the costs of importing two servants.[CI:195:?3:CI]
Robert joined other Puritans migrating to Nansemond County , Virginia prior to 1659. Robert was a justice of Nansemond County, Virginia in 1659-1660 for on March 14, 1659/60, he petitioned the Virginia House of Burgesses to have a “writ of ease granted him from his future officiating as a Commissioner in the County of Nanzemund.”[CI:191:?3:CI] He probably became a quaker about this time and was not in sympathy with the policies and actions of the Church of England and the Government towards the Quakers and Puritans residing in the County.[CI:197:?3:CI]
Early Quakers differed widely from the sedate, punctual, peace loving and well ordered society that we know in America today. Initially they assumed disorderly characteristics. They denied all respect to magistrates and under a zealous impulse they burst into churches, disturbed public worship and exhorted ministers and congregations with fervid railings and reproaches. They sought no offices, courted no parties, flattered no one in power, cared nothing for earthly vanities, refused to take measures for national defense and denounced war.[CI:226:?3:CI]
Testimonial given by Thomas Jordan at a Quaker meeting the 1st month, 1661, stated that he was “taken at a meeting at Robert Lawrence ‘s and bound over to the court of Nansemond” for refusing to take certain oaths prohibited by their faith.[CI:198:?3:CI]
On April 17, 1667, Lt. Col. John George patented 360 acres on Castle Creek adjoining Francis Place and Robert Lawrence .[CI:199:?3:CI]
Robert Lawrence probably was living as late as 1682 when Robert Lawrence , the elder, witnessed the Quaker wedding of John Scott and Elizabeth Belson.[CI:200:?3:CI] The exact date of death perished in the destruction of the records of Nanesmond County.
Records existing in other locations prove that he left four sons, but it is impossible to prove the names of any daughters.[CI:107:?3:CI]
Robert Lawrence , son of Sir John Lawrence , Merchant of London, appears to be the first of this Lawrence family in virginia.He obtained a patent of 100 acres of land on Lawne’s Creek,Isle of Wight,and another one of 200 acres “adjacent to the widow Bennett and Mr.Hardy , August 25,1642″. He was a justice of the peace for the county of Nansemond in 1959-60. his wife was named Elizabeth.(17th century page 491) . See Nicholson’s Herald & Genealogist; vol.1V, for a more detailed and complete study of this family. Dates in Historical Southern Families Vol.1 page 181 by John Bennett Boddie 1958
William, John, Robert,and Giles Lawrence make their appearance on the ancient records of Colonial Virginia at about the same time and in the same locality.Every indication points to them being brothers.Source is Brøderbund WFT Vol. 5, Ed. 1, Tree #2828, Date of Import: Apr 23, 1997,Frank H Phelps 1680 Columbia Dr.,Englewood,Fla.34223-2518 941-475-5364 The Lawrence Familt exerpt from probably Library of Congress,Pages 613-614
Robert Lawrence belonged to the Quakers, or else was a Quaker sympathizer, because in a deposition by Thomas Jordan,the famous Quaker minister,made in July 1661,he declared he had been persecuted.” by six weeks imprisonment for being taken at a meeting in my own and released by a King’s proclamation.Secondly , taken at a meeting at the house of Robert Lawrence and bound over to the court at Nansemond County.And , He adds, taken by distress by Sheriff Thomas Godwin.
. My estimated birth date for Robert is 1617. He married Elizabeth in England prior to imigrating. I have no surname for Elizabeth. What is the source for the surname ADKINSON? His son Robert was born circa 1639, who married Jane (or Joane) Gay, a widow, based on a deposition he made in March 1707/08 where he stated he was born in 1639 (source Boddie:17th Century Isle of Wight). Robert (Sr.) received a headright in 1642 for importing himself and wife Elizabeth. His son Robert was not mentioned for the headright therefore it appears that he was born after they arrive. Therefore it is estimate that Robert and Elizabeth imigrated circa 1638 probably shortly after his father Sir John died. Robert the Elder (believed to be Robert (Sr.) witnessed the Quaker wedding of John Scott and Elizabeth Belson in 1682 therefore his death date is after that.
There was another William Lawrence in Queens County at this time whose family migrated to Monmouth County, New Jersey. The Lawrences’ who came on the ship Planter were the St. Albans Lawrence ‘s. There was also a Henry Lawrence in MA who was an original immigrant not connected to the St. Albans Lawrence ‘s. Also a George Lawrence in MA. A John Lawrence from Wisset, England. A Robert Lawrence in Virginia of Ashton Hall, England. Numerous “Laurens” whose name transposed to Lawrence over the years and a Johannes Lorentz from Germany whose descendants changed there names to Lowrance and Lawrence .There are quite a few more who could be original immigrants and not connected to any of the above. “Dennis A. Lawrence ”
Occupation-Justice for County of Nansemond
16. Henry Lawrence (1644 – 1739) married Isabella Purcell
17. Michael Lawrence (1676 – 1754) married Susanna Larcomb
Michael Lawrence, along with sons John, Thomas and Henry were mentioned in the Eliz Edey will of 27 Sep 1739 (See below.).
George Lawrence’s land adjoining that of Henry Lawrence in Nansemond County, Virginia was processioned on March 4, 1747/8 (1). His line adjoining Michael Lawrence was processioned on February 8, 1752/3 (2). His line with Abraham Riddick was processioned on September 13, 1755. (3) On March 10, 1756, George Lawrence’s land was processioned by Moses Darden and Joshua Gardner. (4) On February 2, 1760, his lines adjoining James Norfleet, John Lawrence, and Paul Lawrence were processioned. (5) The processioning on March 8, 1760, indicated that the land lay between the Blackwater and Notoway Rivers. (6)”
Source: (1. Wilmer L. Hall, Editor, The Vestrey Book of the Upper Parish of Nansemond County, Virginia, 1743-1793, Richmonds, 1949, p. 31. 2..Op. Cit., p. 70. 3. Op. Cit., p. 116 4. Op. Cit., p. 108 5. Op. Cit., p. 148 6. Op. Cit., p. 151)
Michael Lawrence in his 1754 “will” (See below) has a Paul Lawrence as a witness. This is probably the same as:
Paul Lawrence & John Lawrence 16 Feby 1771 Nansemond County, 163a. On the East side of Blackwater river. Surplus land found within the bounds of a patent for 830 acs. Granted to George Lawrence, Apl 27th 1686 Patents 39, p. 264
It appears this Paul is a son or even grandson of George, as may well be the above John, and even George. George referenced to above was possibly the same as was living in Bertie Co.; if not, this George was probably a Michael Lawrence cousin.
Could John and Henry listed above be Michael’s sons?? Does the 1754 land covenant mean that John is coming of age (and therefor not the above), and that the covenant is his inheritance – perhaps other land was given to Thomas and Henry earlier, and the records did not survive.
Note Riddick and Norfleet connections, which occur with Lawrences elsewhere.
Michael Lawrence Wife: Susannah Gave son John land on 4 Jul 1754.
To all people to whome this Writing shall come that I Michel Lawrence of the upper parrish of Nansemond County Send Greeting know yee that I the sd Michel Lawrence for the good Will and Natural Love which I Bair to my son John Lawrence of the same County & Parrish aforsd hath given & granted & by these presens doth Give Grant & Confirm unto my Sd Son John all that plantation pease or parcell of Land Whereon I live & all the apertunences thereunto belonging with all my stocks of cattell horses Hogs Housell Stuff & all the Rest of my Estate which I am now percestd of To Have & To Hold the sd Land ( ) goods & chattels to the sd John Lawrence his hairs Exrs ads or asigns for ever to him & there proper use & behoof forever freely & quietly without any Matter of Challing Claim Whatsoever In considerration that the said John Lawrance for himself his Hairs Exrs Ads or Asigns Will maintain his above father & mother & keep them with Good Serfishant meet drink washing & Login well clothd & keep them from all manner of wont whatsoever in sickness and health dureing Both there Natural lives and for the true performance of this Righting I do put My sd son Infull percestion of all the above premisses to him ( ) forever. In Wittness I hearunto Set My hand & seal this fourth day of July 1754.
Mikill Lawrence Sind Seald & deliverd In the presents of T Jethro Durden P Poul Lawrance Joshua Gardner (recorded July 8, 1754 Nansemond Co.)
Source: Lawrence Family of Nansemond County, L.H. Hart
NOTE: This does not appear to be a will, but a covenant for a transfer of property in exchange for lifetime care of him and his wife by son John. http://wc.rootsweb.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/igm.cgi?op=GET&db=jmljr&id=I16585
18. Henry Lawrence (1725 – 1767) married Elizabeth Standley
When Henry moved to Louisa County in 1764, he bought land along the ridgeline that served as the boundary with Hanover County. This was in the southern corner of the parish of Frederickville. There were many tobacco plantations in this area, but what records are available indicate that Henry was not slave owner. This could indicate a Quaker upbringing, though church records show that Henry and his family were members of St. James-Northam parish of the Church of England. There are several entries for this family in the records kept by the Rev. William Douglas, beginning with the birth of son William in 1765. (Steve Lawrence)
Notes from “A Lawrence Legacy” by Charley Moore, Charlottesville, VA:
On December 19, 1763 Henry Lawrence purchased 220 acres in Louisa County from Joseph Walker and apparently moved his wife and children into the Gum Springs area on the waters of Owens Creek.
Henry wrote his will on July 31, 1767, and it was probated on April 11, 1768. (Will book 2, pages 22-23, Louisa Co., VA.) “In the name of God Amen & etc. I henry Laurance of the Parish of Frederickville and County of Louisa . . . First I recommend my soul unto the Hands of Almighty God who gave it hopeing by the merits of my Blessed Redeemer to Receive Salvation thereby & my Body I committ to the ground to be Decently buried at the Discretion of my Executor hereafter mentioned . . I will that one Hundred Acres of Land part of this land I now live on be sold at Publick Auction or otherwise, to Discharge my Debts Due to Joseph Walker . . . I Lend unto my Dear & Loveing Wife Elizabeth Laurance one hundred Acres & the Plantation I now Live on with all the Privileges & appurtenances during her natural Life.
“I give and bequeath unto my loveing Wife Elizabeth Laurance all my Furniture & Utensills & all my stock of Every kind whatsoever & My other Estate as well Real as personal being it of what Kind soever During her natural Life & after my wife’s deseas to be Equally Divided amongst my Children also one mare.
“I likewise appoint my Dear & loveing Wife and John Laurance my whole & sole Executors of this my Last Will and Testament . . . this 31st day of July one thousand Seven Hundred Sixty seven.”
It was signed by Henry Laurance and witnessed by William Sharp Smith, Sarah Hatcher and Lilly Ann Smith. Elizabeth the widow, entered an inventory in will book 2, pg. 43, showing Henry’s estate on May 7, 1768 valued at 37 pounds, 14 shillings, 2 pence. Included were cows, sow and shoats, a mare, parcel of old books, moneyscales, shoemakers tools, spinning wheel and a womans saddle.
When Henry died, the oldest son, John was 18 and with the help of his brother Henry, 17, they were able to to help their mother keep the family going.
Henry, Sr. was buried on a corner of the plot of land that was sold in 1797 by Elizabeth (by then remarried to David Powers), and the children of Henry. It was located on Three Chopt Road at the Goochland County line.
According to researcher Steve Lawrence, Henry and Elizabeth were probably Quakers. He based this opinion on the fact that most of their documented associations were with other Quakers. Henry and Elizabeth came to Louisa County from Hanover Co. A 1763 indenture between Henry Lawrence and Joseph Walker refers to him as “Henry Lawrence of Hanover Co.” Most early Hanover County records were destroyed by a fire, so there are no records to show how long he lived there, or what relatives may have lived nearby.
More About HENRY LAWRENCE: Burial: Louisa Co., VA
Notes for ELIZABETH STANDLEY:
According to Charley Moore’s book, “A Lawrence Legacy,” Elizabeth Standley/Stanley came from an English Quaker background, and her parents probably were Richard and Ann Stanley, whose child Elizabeth was christened on July 29, 1727 in Prince Georges County, VA. Quite likely they were from the Cedar Creek Meeting House.
After the death of her husband Henry Lawrence in 1768, Elizabeth remarried on July 18 1775 to David Powers. This was likely a marriage of necessity since there were still four children to raise. Elizabeth was still living in 1797, when the land they were living on was sold.
It is believed that she died around 1800. Most of her children left the county around this time.
More About ELIZABETH STANDLEY: Burial: Louisa Co., VA
Marriage Notes for HENRY LAWRENCE and ELIZABETH STANDLEY:
Henry Lawrence and Elizabeth Standley marriage in 1749 reported in Ancestry.com U.S. and International Marriage Records 1560-1900. The record shows Henry’s birth as 1726 and Elizabeth’s as 1718. No location.
19. Thomas D Lawrence (1761 – 1835) married Abigail Gough
Excerpts from article “Thomas Lawrence, Soldier, Miller, Pioneer and Farmer” by Charley Moore, Charlottesville, VA. :
Thomas Lawrence was born in 1761, according to his Pension Application, presumably in Hanover Co., Va. He grew up on a farm where tobacco was likely the main crop. Neighbors were the Hudsons, Parrishes, Slaydens, and Underwoods. Thomas was a true patriot, when his country called, he answered and served her well. In February, 1777, he joined Col. Charles Lewis’ 14th. Virginia Regiment of the Continental line (Regular Army), where he served in Capt. Moses Hawkins’ company. They received their uniforms and equipment in Alexandria, VA, then marched to Philadelphia and joined Washington’s army. Brandywine, Germantown, Valley Forge, and Stony Point are all familiar names on his service record. The new unit was quick to earn their colors under enemy fire. Marching to Baltimore to intercept the British army, the forces met at Brandywine. The next battle was at Germantown, PA. Thomas was promoted after each battle.
Capt. Hawkins was killed at Germantown and Thomas’ unit was combined with Capt. Overton’s company that included James Lawrence of Louisa County, Va., probably a cousin, son of John Lawrence. His service record placed Thomas at Valley Forge, PA during the latter part of that fateful winter of 1777/1778. He was one of 1350 hand-picked men selected by Gen. “Mad Anthony” Wayne for the battle of Stony Point, but was not one of the 300 gallant men who stormed the stronghold and captured the fort with a loss of only 15 lives.
Thomas was discharged at the completion of his term of service, in Philadelphia on January 20, 1780. He was married shortly afterward to Savarah ________ , and they started raising a family, settling back in Louisa Co., VA. His occupation is thought to have been farming and milling. He possibly operated a tobacco warehouse. Other Lawrences are known to have operated a tobacco warehouse in that area of Virginia.
Kentucky became a state in 1792, and Thomas moved there about 1798, settling in Mason County. He appeared on the tax rolls of Mason County in 1799, then moved, showing up on the tax records of Logan County in 1800. The family could have come down the Ohio River from Pittsburg; or as an alternative, overland along the New River through what is now West Virginia, since Mason County would lie along that route. Savarah, his wife died around this period, shortly after daughter Martha was born in 1787/98. Thomas married his second wife Abigail Gough on March 21, 1802 in Logan County.
Back in 1787, Thomas had purchased 100 acres in Goochland County, VA for 1000 pounds — quite a sum for those times — which would indicate that there must have been a business of some type, probably a mill. A biography of his grandson, Thomas Newton Lawrence in Johnson County, IL, states that his father had been a miller from Virginia. This was incorrect, in that Thomas Newton’s father was Henry G. Lawrence, who was born in Butler County, KY. Quite likely, it was referring to his grandfather, Thomas D. Lawrence.(Note by RDG: Henry Lawrence, Thomas Newton’s father, DID have a mill on his farm in Johnson County, IL, though he was born in Kentucky, not Virginia.) Eventually, Thomas was unable to pay the taxes on his property in Virginia, and they were forgiven in 1792. He sold the land later that year for $75 to John Dickason. His father, Henry Lawrence, had died by this time and Thomas, his mother and brothers and sisters sold the remaining parts of his father’s estate. Some of his family remained in Virginia, while Thomas, Henry, and William migrated to Kentucky. William eventually moved on to Mississippi. Henry settled in Clark County, KY, and Thomas in Logan County.
Records show that in December, 1798, Jesse Lawrence (relationship unknown) entered patents no. 2814 for 200 acres for Thomas, and no. 2815 for 100 acres for himself. Thomas had been issued land office Military Warrant for 200 acres on May 21, 1783 as a reward for his military service. The land turned out to be second-rate sandy soil, which he exchanged for a better parcel. Thomas settled in that part of Logan County, which later was separated and became part of Butler County.
Thomas filed on August 10, 1832 for his Revolutionary War pension, file no. S-31205. In a letter from George Robards of Harrodsburg, KY dated 1832, George addressed Thomas as “Dear Brother Soldier.” George was also from Louisa County, VA and relates how he filed for his pension listing questions and answers. Thomas and George served together at the battle of Brandywine.
In 1807, Thomas was appointed Justice of the Peace. He was granted 200 acres in 1807, and 160 acres in 1820. He purchased 500 acres in 1824; and was to accumulate over 1200 acres of land before his death in 1835. In 1817, he was appointed trustee of the Sandy Creek Baptist Church. His days of being unable to pay his taxes were far behind him. Thomas died in 1835, 74 to 76 years of age, and a hard worker to the end. That spring, his plow shares were sharpened by A. McKinney who also “shewed” a horse for Thomas in September of that year.
After his death, Thomas’ estate included a “lot of wild hogs at $15.00 to the widow provided they can be caught. . .” They were apparently caught, since they appear on the sales record. His daughter, Susan and husband Stephen Step remained on the home place with her mother, Abigail (Gough) Lawrence. Abigail apparently died before the 1850 census was taken. The early history of Sandy Creek Baptist Church indicates Thomas’ children as faithful members.
Thomas D. Lawrence affidavit for pension from national archives, record no. S-31205:
State of Kentucky
On this 10th. day of August, 1832 personally appeared before the county court of said County, Thomas Lawrence of Butler County, and state aforesaid, aged about 71 years, who being first duly sworn according to law, doth on lhis oath, make the following declaration, in order to obtain the benefit of the provisions made by the act of Congress passed June 7th. 1832. That he enlisted in Louisa County, Virginia, in the army of the United States in the year 1777, and in February of that year, for three years, with Lt. George Holland a regular officer and served in the 14th Virginia Regiment commanded till a short time after the battle of Germantown by Col. Charles Lewis, and in a company commanded by Capt. Moses Hawkins, who was afterwards killed at the said battle of Germantown. During his continuance in said Company and Regiment, he acted part of the time in the capacity of Corporal and part of the time as Sargent. He rendezvoused at Col. Johnson’s in said County of Louisa and was from there marched to a small town on the Maryland side of the Potomac River called Colchester, and there was annoculated with the small pox. From thence as soon as the troops were sufficiently recovered they were marched as well as he now recalls through Alexander on the Philadelphia and from there proceeded after drawing clothing & to join the main Army under the command of Gen. George Washington, then posted somewhere near said City, but the precise place not now particularly remember. (Words missing) . . .Washington at the battle of . . . (words missing) . . . Capt. the said Moses Hawkins when he was shot in the head and died instantly. After this last mentioned engagement, the 14th. and 1st. Virginia Regiments were made to compose one which was commanded by Col. William Davis, and then the said Lawrence was enrolled in a company commanded by Capt. John Overton. This Regiment was then attached to the Brigade commaded by Gen. Muhlenburg. After this, they were detached as a reinforcement to the troops commanded by Gen Wayne in his storming Stony Point, but he was not in the assualt from that place being kept in reserve and in readiness near for any emergency. Muhlenburg’s brigade took charge of the prisoners taken on that occasion. From thence, they were marched and joined the main army and it was not very long after this he was marched to Philadelphia and there his three years enlistment having expired, & he was having served its full term, he recieved his regular written discharge from an officer whose rank is not now recollected by the name of Chrisopher Lebarger if his name is rightly recollected, but this discharge he has lost or mislaid. He then returned to Virginia and after living there some years, he moved to Mason County, KY and then to Butler, where he now resides.
(Words missing) . . . roll of any agency of any state whatever. Sworn to, and subscribed this day and year aforesaid. (Thomas Lawrence “X” (his mark).
And the said court do hereby declare their opinion that the above named applicant was a revolutionary soldier and served as he states. (Asher W. Graham, Judge of Logan Circuit Court)
Later records show that Thomas Lawrence was awarded pension certificate #1389 issued November 3, 1832 in which he was granted a pension of $120 per year, starting March 4, 1831.
More About THOMAS LAWRENCE:
Burial: Big Sandy Creek Baptist Church Cemetery
Census: 1820, 2 M 10-15, 1 M 45+, 1 F 10-15, 2 F 16-25, 1 F 26-44
Military service: February 1777, Enlisted in the Continental Army at age 16, under Gen. George Washington. Promoted to Sgt. in one year.
Notes for SAVARAH LNU:
At least one internet researcher has said Savarah’s surname was Smith. No documentation found.
More About SAVARAH LNU:
Burial: Logan County, KY
More About ABIGAIL GOUGH: Burial: Big Sandy Creek Baptist Church Cemetery
20. Henry Grandison Lawrence (1807 – 1861) married Sarah Sally Bbaucom
HENRY GRANDISON3 LAWRENCE (THOMAS2, HENRY1) was born September 17, 1807 in Logan Co., KY , and died March 14, 1861 in Near Reynoldsburg, Johnson Co., IL. He married SARAH (SALLY) BAUCOM Abt. 1825 in Butler Co., KY, daughter of ISHAM BAUCOM and ALEY PENNEY. She was born 1805 in Wake Co., NC, and died 1887 in Near Reynoldsburg, Johnson Co., IL.
Notes for HENRY GRANDISON LAWRENCE:
Excerpts from “Portrait and Biographical Review” of Johnson Co., IL, supplemented by R.D. Garrett’s notes:
“Henry G. Lawrence a farmer in Illinois who had mills on his farm. (A steam mill was later sold to James B. Morray (see note below RDG). He was born in 1807 in Butler County, KY. His father, Thomas D. Lawrence was a native of Virginia, and served as a soldier in the Revolutionary War. (Thomas’ grandson) Lemuel Lawrence has a relic of those olden days in the shape of a pair of very long stockings, made at home from the flax grown on his grandfather’s farm, that the worthies of those days were in the habit of wearing with their knee breeches. These hose weigh nearly half a pound and tell the story of his great stature. He (Thomas) was twice married, and had by the two wives two sons and six daughters, of whom Henry G. Lawrence was a son by the second wife (Abigail Gough). Thomas D. Lawrence died in Kentucky, at an advanced age, his widow living some years afterward and dying in 1852.”
(RDG) Henry G. Lawrence was a well-educated man and taught school in his early life. He married Sallie Baucom, a native of North Carolina. After the marriage, which occurred in Kentucky in 1825, he lived in Kentucky for twenty five years, moving from Butler Co. where he was born, to Graves County, Ky, where he appears on the tax lists from 1833 to 1845. In the spring of 1850 he emigrated from Kentucky to Illinois with his own team and covered wagon, bringing with him all his sheep and cattle. Mr. Lawrence bought a squatter’s claim of one hundred and twenty acres of land, and also other lands, until he owned in the aggregate three hundred and twenty acres, the patents to which our subject (grandson Lemuel Lawrence) still has in his possession. When Henry G. Lawrence moved to Illinois from Kentucky, he had but limited means, and brought with him his wife, seven sons and three daughters.
Henry Lawrence was a large man of fine figure, being six feet tall and weighing two hundred and ten pounds. He died on his farm on March 14, 1861, and was buried at Reynoldsburg Cemetery. His widow survived him many years dying in 1887 at the age of 82.
(From Steve Lawrence) — The Butler County Debating Society was formed on April 27, 1822, according to the Benjamin McReynolds file in the Kentucky Library of Western Kentucky University. The society met monthly at the Court House in Morgantown. The questions debated dealt primarily with civic and political views. At the meeting of Saturday, September 16, 1824, 78 members were listed, including William Lawrence and his brother Henry Lawrence, at that time 17 years of age.
– From MARSHALL COUNTY DEED BOOK 1842-1848, Marshall County, KY, Page 40:
6 November, 1849 Grantor James Martin & Wife 100 Acres on Clarks’s River to Grantee Henry G. Lawrence.
– The 1850 U.S. Census for Marshall County, KY lists the family of Henry G. Lawrence as follows:
Household # 331: Lawrence, H.G. 42 Farmer $350 b. in KY
Sally 41 (Illit) b. in NC
G.C. 18 Farmer b. in KY
Eliz. S. 15 b. in KY
Benj. F. 13 b. in KY
Lemuel 11 b. in KY
H.H. 9 b. in KY
Sarah A. 7 b. in KY
Mary E. 1 b. in KY
Judith Stanley 9/12 b. in KY
– Patents for land purchases in Johnson County, IL from the U.S. government land office at Shawneetown, IL:
4-16-1851 40 acres @ $1.25 in section 35.
4-6-1853 40 acres @ 1.25 in section 34.
12-2-1853 40 acres @ 1.25 in section 35
10-2-1854 40 acres @ .13 in section 35.
10-2-1854 80 acres @ .13 in section 34.
10-2-1854 80 acres @ .13 in section 35.
– Henry Lawrence also owned property in Simpson Township, Johnson Co., IL described as follows: the southwest quarter of the northeast quarter of Section one (in Simpson Twp). Upon the northwesterly two acres of this land was a steam mill, probably a sawmill. On July 21, 1857, Henry sold part of this property to James B. Morray, including the 158 ares and a half interest in the steam mill. Following is a copy of the bond he gave to J.B. Morray:
“Know all men by these presents, I, Henry Lawrance of the State of llinois and county of Johnson am held and firmly bound unto James B. Morray of the county of Williamson and State of Illinois the penal sum of two thousand dollars lawful money of the United States of America for the true payment & the said Henry G. Lawrance bind myself, my heirs, and administrators and Executors, or assigns, jointly and severally by these presents this July 21st. 1857.
The condition of the above obligation is such that, whereas I, the said Henry G. Lawrance, has sold and contracted to the Said James B. Morray a certain tract or parcel of Land, known as the South West fourth of the North East quarter of Section one in Township Twelve South of Range four East with one half of a certain Steam Mill situated on said Land, also one half of two acres of land upon which the said steam mill stand and except also one quarter (acre) more or less in the North West corner of said land, begin at said North West corner and running 9 poles East with said line thence South 5 poles, thence West 9 poles thence 5 poles to the beginning. I, the said Henry G. Lawrance bargains and sells unto the said James B. Morray one Hundred and Twenty acres of land known as and bounded as and described South half of the South East and North West quarter of the South East quarter of Section thirty Six township Eleven Range four East making in the amount of land one Hundred and Fifty Eight acres more or less for which I the said James B. Morray am to pay the sum of one thousand dollars unto the said H.G. Lawrance two hundred dollars in hand, one two horse waggon, the first of March in the year 1858; one yoke of oxen one hundred and twenty paid in money at the first of March; and five hundred dollars the first of April in the year 1859 unto the said Henry G. Lawrance. Now when the said James B. Morray well and truly pays or causes to be paid the above named amount of money and property, then I the said Henry G. Lawrance stand bound by this obligation to make or cause to be made to the said James B. Morray a good and valid title to the above named tract or parcel of land in compliance of the same, then this obligation to be void, otherwise to remain in full force and virtue in Law, this day and date above given.”
/signed/ Henry G. Lawrance (Seal)
/signed/ J.B. Morray
There was a problem with the execution of this transaction. Apparently, James B. Morray paid for the property by August 1, 1859. Henry Lawrence died in 1861. On July 23, 1865, Morray sued the estate of Henry G. Lawrence, claiming that Henry Lawrence owed $217.91 plus costs of $69.00 and interest of $25.82 for a total claim of $312.73. At some point Morray apparently owned the mill outright, since it is shown among his assets in the administration of his estate in 1875. The outcome of the lawsuit is unclear from the records that remain.
– HENRY G. LAWRENCE WILL, dated March 12, 1861:
“I, Henry G. Lawrence of Johnson County and state of Illinois, do hereby make and declare this my last will and testament in manner and form following, to wit: First, it is my will that my funeral expenses and all my just debts be fully paid. Second, after the payments of such debts and expenses, I give and bequeath unto my beloved wife, Sally, the one-third part of my entire estate, both real and personal. Her third part the Reality to include and be so situate(d) as to imbrace the home and premises in which we at present reside.
Third, it is my will that my children, to wit: Thomas Newton Lawrence, William Marshall Lawrence, Granderson Catlette Lawrence, the three children of my daughter, Susan Elizabeth Wallace, deceased, my sons, Benjamin Franklin Lawrence, Lemuel Lee Lawrence, Henry Harrison Lawrence, my daughter Sarah Abigail Lawrence, my son Stephen Clay Lawrence, and my daughter Judah Standly Lawrence, home and equal divisions of the remainder (that is to say, forasmuch as my sons, Thomas Newton, William Marshall, and Benjamin Franklin Lawrence resided with and gave unto me the benefit of their manual service untill they were severally twenty-one years of age, I have already given each of them a horse, saddle and bridle worth one hundred and twenty-five dollars each. And forasmuch as my sons Granderson Catlette and Lemuel Lee Lawrence and my daughter Susan Elizabeth Wallace, deceased, severally left to labor themselves considerably before they were twenty-one years of age, I therefore let them take the time they failed to serve with me instead of their several horses, saddles and bridles. It is my will therefore, that all my children share equal according to the foregoing arrangements made, given and done by me toward these specially named children and the portion falling to my three grandchildren, to wit: Sarah Jane Wallace, Sally Ann Wallace, Elizabeth Caroline Wallace to be by my executors let to interest and give to them severally as they gain their majority or marriage. And I hereby constitute and appoint my two sons Thomas Newton and Lemuel Lee Lawrence as the executors of this my last will and testament, which I hereby make, declare and establish, revoking all others not herein made, declared and established by me.
In witness whereof, I, Henry G. Lawrence hereunto set my hand and seal on this twelfth day of March in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-one. Signed in presence of us: David Dalton and W.F. Vancleve /S/ H. G. Lawrence
(Henry G. Lawrence died two days after signing his will)
– An appraisal was done of Henry’s personal property on April 18, 1861. It included such items as
“1 lot of log chains, $4.50; diamond plains, shovel plow and colter, a pump and appendage for $5.00; weeding hoes, grubbing hoe, a cow, calf and bell for $12.00; 1 yoke of oxen, yoke, ring and steeple for $30.00; loose lumber estimated to be worth $49.00; 1 lot of bacon for $25.00; 1 lot of old barrels; an equal share of a cross cut saw for $3.50; saddles, mans and womans – $13.00; 8 head of hogs $10.50; Rifle gun and appendage $8.00; Beds, bedsteads, bedding, and feathers; a sugar trunk; and a lot of books, magazines and etc., estimated at $6.00.” The total personal property appraisal was $575.00.
– Henry’s family had been listed in Page 132 1860 U.S. Census for Johnson County, IL as follows:
Lawrence Henry 53 Farmer 4000/2350 (value of property) b. in KY
Lawrence, Sally 54 Housekeeping b. in NC
Lawrence, Henry 20 Farmer b. in KY
Lawrence, Sarah 18 b. in KY
Lawrence, Stephen C. 13 b. in KY
Lawrence, Judith 10 b. in IL
Lawrence, Mary 12 b. in KY
This census showed Henry living in Simpson Township. Actually, he lived just across the Township line in section 35 of Burnside Twp.
James Morray and William Wyatt, who did live in Simpson township are shown as nearby neighbors.
– A memorandum of preliminary settlement was filed with the Johnson County Court by Henry G. Lawrence’s administrator on July 18, 1864:
“Received of J.B. Morray $234.84
Received of Widow 100.00
Received of T.N. Lawrence 254.34
Received of (unreadable) 5.00
Received of Justin’s costs 1.66
Adm. paid out sums cost settlement:
To T.N. Lawrence on order $254.34
Costs of Morray suit for deed 10.00
______ Adm. fee 2.50
Adm fee all costs of making deed 10.00
Costs in Morray suit 35.00
Adm. 5 days on Estate business 10.00
Per cent on $595.64 35.73
Due each heir — 10 heirs $23.42
(A later final accounting brought an additional balance of $450.36, with $45.03 for each of ten heirs.)
– Heirs listed for the above settlement of Henry G. Lawrence estate:
Thomas N. Lawrence
William M. Lawrence
Grandison C. Lawrence
Minor children of Susan E. Wallace (Lawrence)
Lemuel L. Lawrence
Henry H. Lawrence
Sarah A. Farless (Lawrence)
Stephen C. Lawrence
Judah S. Lawrence (Judith Stanley)
(This list failed to include the name of son Benjamin F. Lawrence, though he probably received a share, since the total amount was divided so that each beneficiary received one-tenth. At this time, Benjamin was James Morray’s son-in-law, having married Morray’s daughter, Amanda in 1857. Apparently daughter Mary, born 1848, had died some time between June 1860 and March, 1861, since she was not listed in Henry’s will, and there are no subsequent records of her.)
More About HENRY GRANDISON LAWRENCE:
Burial: Reynoldsburg, Cemetery, Johnson Co., IL
Census IL State: 1855, 1 son under 10; 3 son 10-20; 4 dau.
Elected: Abt. 1855, Justice of Peace in Johnson Co., IL
Notes for SARAH (SALLY) BAUCOM:
Sally Baucom Lawrence child of Isham Baucom of Butler Co., KY. Henry and Sally Lawrence appear as Grantors on a deed for land from the estate of Isham Baucom to William McKenney of Butler Co., KY dated November 9, 1853. Butler County Deed Book G, page 443.
More About SARAH (SALLY) BAUCOM: Burial: Reynoldsburg, Cemetery, Johnson Co., IL
21. Thomas Newton Lawrence (1826 – 1907) married Mary Feezor
THOMAS NEWTON4 LAWRENCE (HENRY GRANDISON3, THOMAS2, HENRY1) was born October 24, 1826 in Butler Co. KY, and died May 10, 1907 in Massac Co., IL. He married (1) MARY TEMPERANCE FEEZOR November 29, 1849 in Marshall County, KY, daughter of GEORGE FEEZOR and UNKNOWN WIFE. She was born August 9, 1830 in Bedford Co., TN, and died January 22, 1875 in Pope Co., IL. He married (2) NANCY WOOTON May 4, 1875 in Pope Co, IL. She was born February 25, 1847, and died November 19, 1911 in Pope Co., IL.
Notes for THOMAS NEWTON LAWRENCE:
>From MARSHALL COUNTY WILLS, VOLUME 1, 1848-1893:
14 February, 1848: T.N. Newton, James D. Martin, Asher Gough, and Josias Short were witnesses for the will of James Martin. James Martin sold 100 acres of land to Henry G. Lawrence the following year.
T.N. Lawrence is mentioned in HISTORY OF MARSHALL COUNTY by Freeman and Olds, 1933:
“George Feezor came to Kentucky in 1830 and settled in Graves County, and two years later came to Marshall County. His children were John Nathan, George, William, Eveline, wife of William (Robin) Crowell, Martha, wife of Isaac Shemwell, Mary, wife of T.N. (Newt) Lawrence, and Jane, wife of Rufus Stafford. Stafford and Lawrence went from Marshall County to Illinois.”
T.N. Lawrence family listed in the 1850 U.S. Census for Marshall County, KY as follows:
Household #300: T.N. Lawrence 23 Farmer $66 b. in KY
Mary 19 b. in KY (Married within the year)
From Thomas Newton Lawrence biography, BIOGRAPHICAL REVIEW OF JOHNSON, MASSAC, POPE AND HARDIN COUNTIES, 1893:
“They arrived November 25, 1850 in Johnson County, and Christmas day of that same year they removed to Pope County, to the bay at Rich Point, where Mr. (Thomas) Lawrence, in company with his brother William, bought an improvement for $30, for which he borrowed money. This improvement they sold for an eighty-acre land warrant, which they laid out on land in Johnson County, and afterward traded for forty acres in Pope County, and $20 in money. . . .”
The 1870 census shows the family living near Eddyville next to the Wooten family. The family of William T. Wallace lives nearby. William was married to Thomas’ sister Susan until her death in 1858.
The 1900 census for Union Township, Pope County Illinois, shows the family as follows:
Lawrence, T.N. Oct. 1826 Farmer
Elizabeth (wife) Feb. 1847
Minnie Aug. 1882
Hershal Nov. 1884
Albert June 1880
Mary (dau. in law) July 1881 (Samuel Albert’s wife).
More About THOMAS NEWTON LAWRENCE:
Burial: Zion Cemetery, Pope Co., IL
Residence 1: 1849, Marshall Co. KY
Residence 2: 1850, Moved to Pope Co., IL
More About MARY TEMPERANCE FEEZOR: Burial: Pope Co., IL
Marriage Notes for THOMAS LAWRENCE and MARY FEEZOR:
Source: Marshall County Marriage Records, Volume 1 1842-1863 by Marshall County KY Genealogical: Lawrence, Thomas N. of age 30 November, 1849. Mary T. Feezor, verbal consent of father. By H. Gilbert, Surety: George Feezor.
Notes for NANCY WOOTON: Nancy Wooton Harris was a widow and married Thomas Newton Lawrence after the death of his first wife Mary Feezor.
More About NANCY WOOTON: Burial: Zion Cemetery, Pope Co., IL
Marriage Notes for THOMAS LAWRENCE and NANCY WOOTON: Nancy Wooten was previously married to a Harris.
22. George Lawrence (1854 – 1935) married Mary Ann Bastion
Sorry, no notes. Although I do have a picture of Mary Ann in a kind of checkered pioneer style dress.
23. Effe Maude Lawrence (1887 – 1956) married Silas Lee Smith
Effe Maude is where my line ends with Sir Robert Lawrence and goes on with Silas Lee. I never met Effe Maude, but I have pictures of her. She looked like a queen. Silas Lee worked in a Poultryman with the Kastein-Chelsea company and owned the Knoxville Egg & Poultry Company of Knoxville TN.
24. Lawrence Lee Smith (1913 – 1966) married Gladys Evelian Brown
I never met my grandparents as they died before I was born. But my mom says the entire family worked on a share-cropper’s field and lived near Knoxville, TN. My grandfather was a bit of a rebel and made illegal moonshine right in Al Capone’s backyard. His father-in-law, Gladys’ father named Mack Brown aka Daddy Mac was a preacher and a revenue man who pursued the moonshiners. But because of Gladys, he never prosecuted my grandfather. Lawrence worked as a dishwasher repair man and along the route sold his moonshine. When my mother was in her teens, Lawrence packed up the family and quickly moved to Illinois. My grandfather had ‘unmentional’ connections and my uncle thinks this had something to do with them having to leave so quickly. It’s become the family joke: We went from royalty and Lords, Ladies, and knights to Hillbillies. LOL!!
25. My mom and dad. (I don’t think they would like their names thrown across the internet.)