Monday, August 8, 2011

Addendum on question if Lucy Slocum was George Dorrance Lawton's wife.

ADDENDUM:  I've since found out that a different George Lawton married Lucy Slocum.  I found on the 1880 U.S. Census for Warwick a Geoge T. Lawton, married to Lucy.  Wondering who this George Lawton was, I then turned to a widely distributed Lawton Genealogy, that draws upon the research of Elva Lawton, and I found that George T. Lawton b. 1817, son of Seth, son of Arnold, did marry Lucy B. Slocum, in 1840.  She was born in 1823.

Those ages and dates better fit the Lucy Slocum discussed above.  If her grandfather Abel was born in 1758 - that made him contemporary to Job Lawton, and suggests that Lucy's father Smith Pierce Slocum was more of contemporary to George Lawton.

The Lawton Genealogy is available in pdf format at URL:

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Did George Dorrance Lawton have another wife?

George Dorrance Lawton is my third great-grandfather.  His son, Thomas Cary Lawton – my second great grandfather – married the “Indian” Claramon Bates.  Their daughter Ella is my great-grandmother.  The more I can learn about Thomas’ ancestry and family life, the more I can understand his choices – such as in being a downright rogue and in choosing to marry Claramon.

I was searching for ancestors’ names on Google Books this week.  Google Books continues to add books to their online collection.  I googled for George Lawton AND Pawtuxet where he grew up.  I found a startling reference in the book, A short history of the Slocums, Slocumbs and Slocombs of America by Charles Slocum.  An excerpt on p. 102 provides the information that Lucy Slocumb had married George Lawton who was from Warwick.

Reading further, I saw that Lucy Slocumb’s family had lived in Pawtuxet for three generations.  The book did not provide dates for Lucy or her father Smith Pierce Slocumb.   The only dates provided were for Abel Slocumb, her grandfather.  Abel Slocumb had bought property in Pawtuxet in 1787, which is about the same time as George’s father Job Lawton had bought property there.  So it appeared this marriage might have occurred within a possible time-frame for George Dorrance Lawton’s youth.

George Dorrance Lawton had been born on March 20, 1793, probably in Warwick – probably in Pawtuxet.  The records on George show either a birth place of East Greenwich or Warwick.  His Lawton grandparents – Isaac and Rebecca – had lived in East Greenwich.  Isaac Lawton had been a well-to-do land-owner in East Greenwich and by occupation a cordwainer, which was a shoe-maker.  This Lawton family was descended from Thomas Lawton and Elizabeth Salisbury who established the Portsmouth Colony in Rhode Island during the early 1600s.  Isaac seems to be the first one in his line of descent to live outside of Portsmouth.  He married Rebecca Mott, who was from a Quaker family in Nantucket.  I understand that Isaac and Rebecca had been Quakers.

Isaac Lawton died young in 1759, leaving Rebecca a widow with two daughters and a one year old son – Job Lawton, George’s father.  Rebecca remarried within a couple of years (1761) to Daniel Brown, who was a barber in East Greenwich.  It appears the family remained living in East Greenwich until the late 1780s.  Daniel Brown died in 1784.  His probate record is found at the East Greenwich Town Clerk’s office.  Rebecca was administrator on his estate, as she had been the administrator on the estate of her first husband, Isaac Lawton.

Job had grown up with the Brown children, including the children from Daniel’s first marriage.  Daniel had a son, Peleg Brown, and this name is carried on through the Lawton family.  Job Lawton named a son Peleg Brown Lawton.  Then his son Job named a son the same name. 

On May 15, 1783, Job Lawton was married to Barbary Johnson by a Six-Principle Baptist elder.  Barbary was the daughter of Captain Elijah Johnson and Ruth Casey who lived in East Greenwich.  Barbary and Job had five surviving children, including:  Isaac (1783-1833) who lived in Exeter, Peleg Brown (1785-1879) who moved to Middleburgh, New York, Ruth (1787-1846) who stayed in Rhode Island (more on her later), Job (1790-1862) who moved to Griswold, Connecticut with George during the 18-teens, and George who had been the youngest, born in 1793. 

Their father, Job Lawton, began to sell land from his father’s estate in East Greenwich in 1787.  There are two deeds in the East Greenwich land records for 1787 and 1791, in which Job Lawton of East Greenwich, yeoman, sold his father’s estate.  Isaac Lawton’s estate consisted of a town lot and property that ran from Post Road to the bay, along the town line with Warwick.  Barbara Lawton and Rebecca Brown also signed each deed – all three, Job, Barbara and Rebecca signed with their signatures, which indicates they had been literate.  I have not found a death date for Rebecca Brown.  The land deeds show she was alive at least until 1791, and she may have been living in Job’s household.

Job Lawton’s name is found on the 1790 U.S. census in North Kingstown (if this is him).  The household composition consisted of 1 male over 16, 2 males under 16, and 5 females.  The two males under sixteen correspond to Isaac and Peleg Brown, while Ruth would be one of the females as would Barbary.  In the future, I will make a trip to the North Kingstown Town Hall to see if Job Lawton owned land in that town. 

By 1800 Job had moved to Pawtuxet, which is in the northeast section of Warwick along Narragansett Parkway.  On February 19, 1800 Job Lawton of Pawtuxet, cordwainer, for $300 purchased from William Smith, mariner of Pawtuxet, the homestead of the late Captain Joseph Whitney, which was to the south of Captain James Whitney, east of the highway and north of Captain Solomon Thornton.  We see many mariners with these sea captains who lived in Pawtuxet in those olden days. 

George Dorrance Lawton, who was age seven in 1800, spent his childhood in Pawtuxet along the sea.  I can imagine how it was by the water in those days.  The sea life must have a played a role in the lives of George and his brothers.  Indeed, there are two records showing that George’s older brother, Peleg, was a seaman in his youth.  The records show certificates of Seamen’s Protection issued by the state of Rhode Island in 1800 and 1803 for a Peleg Lawton who had been born in East Greenwich. 

In those days boys typically began to learn a trade between the ages of 12 and 14.  Sometimes the boys would be bound out as apprentices.  George and his brother Job were destined to become shoe-makers in the tradition of the Lawtons.  And they did become shoe-makers.  But their father died while they were still young.

I had great trouble in finding a death record for Job Lawton.  I knew he had died before 1810.  On the 1810 U.S. Census it is Barbary Lawton who is listed.  Her household consisted of two males ages 16-25 (Job Jr. and George), one female age 16-25 (Ruth) and one woman over 45 (Barbary).  No father is found. 

The first time I went to the Warwick City Clerk’s office, I was told they do not have vital records that predate 1850.  I was told to go to the State Archives and look at the Arnold records.  If you have an membership, you have access to the Arnold records online, which I do. A death record for Job Lawton is not found in the Arnold records.  Job Lawton is not found on the Rhode Island Historical Cemeteries Transcription Project website, nor on the Find-A-Graves website. 

Over time I have learned a trick with doing genealogical research.  I learned that in many instances you can’t find a vital record, such as a death record, especially for the 1700s and early 1800s.  But you usually can find a probate record.  The trick is to look for the probate records!

I returned to the Warwick Town or City Hall a couple of weeks ago and I found Job Lawton’s probate records.  The first record is dated March 10, 1806.  This record shows that Job died in 1805 or very early 1806.  He died intestate – meaning, without a will.

Barbary was appointed as the administrator.  She declared that Job’s estate was insolvent.  The personal estate was insufficient to pay his just debts.  Job had been 47 years old at the time of his death.  One wonders if he had died from the stress that comes with the heavy burden of many debts.

A widow is entitled to her right of dower, which was one-third of the estate.  Probate records cover just the personal estate, not the landed property.  An inventory was done only on the objects of Job’s personal estate that was set off for Barbary’s dower.  These items included the following list:  a cherry tree desk, two round tables, one candle stand, one looking glass, a half dozen chairs, one large chair, one pair of dogs – hearth brush – and bellows, one pair of shools and tongs, two flat irons and candle sticks, one feather bed and bedding, another feather bed and three blankets, three pair of sheets and coverlets, five tablecloths and five napkins, one warming pan, one brass kettle, one iron basin, two iron pots and one tea kettle, one disk kettle and skillet, one frying pan, one tin roaster, some pewter-ware, tin ware, glass and crockery ware, one meal chest, a water pail, one wood axe, one p??? yards, one large and one small wheel and reel, one weaver’s loom, old barrels and tubs, one hoe, one shoe-makers work bench and tools – to be one-third of the tools, five teaspoons, one large spoon with knives and forks, and two boffers.  The probate case was closed on November 18, 1815. 

By 1816, George Dorrance Lawton had been living in the Preston/Griswold area of Connecticut.  His brother Job would move to Griswold with his family in the next few years.  Barbary with her daughter Ruth remained living in Pawtuxet, probably in their house.  Barbary “Laughton” is found on the 1820 U.S. census for Warwick, on the page showing the same neighbors they had in 1810 and 1800.  In her household there was a woman Barbary’s age (herself) and a female age 26-45, which would have been her daughter Ruth.  On January 7, 1821, thirty-three year old Ruth Lawton married widower Daniel Fenner of Providence (age 32).  The marriage took place in Providence and the marriage record shows Ruth was from Pawtuxet.  Meanwhile the Lawton brothers, Job and George, were building their lives in Griswold, Connecticut.

On June 16, 1816, George Dorrance Lawton married Mariah Andrews in Griswold, Connecticut.  Mariah had been born in East Greenwich.  Her Andrews family had been one of the old colonial families of East Greenwich.  Yet by 1814 Mariah’s family was living in Preston, Connecticut.  It is unknown whether George and Mariah met in Rhode Island or Connecticut.  When they married, George was 23 and Mariah 16 years old.  I had thought that Mariah was George’s only wife. 

I have also wondered how it came to be that George and Job decided to move to Griswold.  And now I wonder where does Lucy Slocumb fit into the scenario of George Dorrance Lawton’s early life.

Recently, has made available the applications filed for the Sons of the American Revolution.  I saw two such applications filed by descendants of Thomas Cary Lawton.  One application was filed by Peter DeSutter in 1958, and the other had been filed by Albert G. Rodgers in 1953 – both with the very same genealogical information.  They traced back their ancestry to Job Lawton, Sr. who they claimed was a revolutionary soldier, thru their grandfather Frederick Lawton, the son of Thomas Cary Lawton, the son of George Dorrance Lawton, the son of Job Lawton, Sr.  For Thomas’ death date, both DeSutter and Rodgers wrote in the blank that he died “at sea” with no date.  Thomas Lawton deserted his wife and children during the 1870s and he took off for the southern states.  Most likely Thomas Cary Lawton died in either North or South Carolina where he lived with the woman he ran off with when he deserted Claramon. 

Also both applicants asserted that Job Lawton had been a private and a “fifer” in the Revolutionary War.  The “fifer” was not Job Lawton but their grandfather Benjamin Andrews, the father of Mariah.  It is interesting to note how the history was passed down, albeit with mistakes, and how the descendants of Thomas and Claramon fitted themselves into the history.  Claramon herself had not been Thomas’s first wife.  Thomas never divorced his first wife (or the first wife had refused).  Although married with a marriage record filed in Thompson, Connecticut, legally Claramon’s status amounted to the stereotypical “squaw wife.” 

Was it in the genes?  My first reaction when I saw this excerpt on a marriage between Lucy Slocumb and George Lawton of Warwick was to think “like father, like son.”  But then upon deeper reflection along with a little research in which I could find no likely record showing that Lucy lived after 1816, I tend to think that it was simply an early marriage in which the bride died young.  I do think George Dorrance Lawton is the George referred to in this book. 

The family of Barbary Lawton was the only Lawton family living in Warwick during that time period.   They lived in Pawtuxet the same place as the Slocumbs.  What I find particularly persuasive is the history on how these Slocumbs had a sea-faring tradition.  From p. 100 in the book – “Abel b. 1758. … He was a sea-farming man; became a master mariner and was lost at sea in 1817.” 

I think it likely that George and his brothers at young ages worked as seamen in order to clear off their father’s debts.  On the Register of Seamen's Protection Certificates from the Providence, Rhode Island Customs District, 1796-1870 (found on, there are two listings for the name “George Lawton”.  The first is for a brown-complexion George Lawton born in Rehoboth, Massachusetts – the place of birth and probably the complexion are wrong – but the age and dates nearly match George Dorrance Lawton.  The second listing for George Lawton is in 1835 for a George Lawton light in complexion and born in Warwick, RI.  It could be there was a mistake made in typing this copy from the original certificate book. 

In reading through the names on the seaman’s register I saw a Thomas Cary.  His certificate had been issued by Rhode Island on March 2, 1811, and Thomas Cary was age 19, and he had been born in Windham, Connecticut.  He was nearly the same age as George Dorrance Lawton.  If George worked as a seaman, then he might have worked on a ship with Thomas Cary and later named his eldest son for his seaman buddy.  It is also to be noted that Cary was from Windham County which is next-door to the place where George Lawton would be living by 1816.  In fact, George and Job became active members of the Packerville Baptist Church in Plainfield which is in Windham County.

It seems likely the Lawton brothers earned cash from seamen jobs during their youths.  George Dorrance Lawton making a marriage with a girl from a sea-faring family also seems a likely occurrence.  However, until further records can be found, it cannot be said for certain that this was their history.  These speculations can only provide directions for further research.

George’s brother, Job, met and married Margaret Marsh who was from Rehoboth.  They married on January 25, 1812 in Rehoboth.  Job and Margaret seemed to live back and forth between RI and CT during the next few years – the birth records of their first two children provide evidence of this.  Job Lawton and his family had been devout Baptists.  During the 18-teens they were members of the Baptist church in Providence.  From the Historical Catalogue of the Members of the First Baptist Church in Providence, Rhode Island, we can see that Job Lawton, Margaret Lawton, and Mary Marsh (her mother) were received in the church on February 26, 1818. Then they left the church on October 12, 1819 when they moved to Jewett City, Connecticut (which is Griswold).

It is a certainty that by the late 18-teens both brothers had chosen to make their homes in the newly founded town of Griswold.  They began to establish their lives there and working in their trades – George as a shoe-maker and Job as a tanner and currier (leather-work).  By the late 1820s, they were made freemen by the town of Griswold, and they helped to establish with Daniel Packer the Packerville Baptist Church in nearby Plainfield. 

In 1826, George and Job traveled to Rhode Island to sell their father’s homestead in Pawtuxet.  When they returned to Griswold, they brought their mother Barbary to live with them.  They bought neighboring farms in the area near Hopeville Pond State Park.  During that time period, where they lived on Bitgood Road was called “Lawton Village.”  Alternating Baptist church services had been held in their homes during the 1830s. 

Barbary Johnson passed away on July 17, 1830 in Griswold.  She is buried in the Pachaug Cemetery on Route 138 (the Voluntown Road – at the junction with Campbell Road).  Job and his family would be buried in nearby graves. 

George Dorrance Lawton had the same problem with debts as his father.  By 1840 he sold out his landed property in Griswold.  George and his marital family returned to live in Rhode Island.  They lived in Providence and some years in Cranston and Johnston.  In Providence, George operated a retail store on Pine Street.  In later years George was a book agent (selling books and stationary) in Cranston and Johnston.  He never owned a piece of land again.  I could find no probate record on him in Providence where he died on August 20, 1880.  His widow Mariah lived with their daughter Caroline Fenner in Johnston, and she died on March 6, 1886.  Where they are buried is unknown (but it’s not Pocasset Cemetery).  My guess is that George and Mariah are buried in unmarked graves in Locust Grove Cemetery in Providence, which is the cemetery where their youngest son William is buried. 

Post-script:  I just returned from swimming at Hopeville Pond.  It is a beautiful summer in eastern Connecticut and a lovely drive through the country-side in Griswold to get to the state park.  It makes one wonder how George and his family could have left such a lovely place.   I thought about it as I swam.  Loveliness like this is an easy luxury nowadays.  George probably could make a better living and support his family in the big city of Providence.  What do you think?

ADDENDUM:  I've since found out that a different George Lawton married Lucy Slocum.  I found on the 1880 U.S. Census for Warwick a Geoge T. Lawton, married to Lucy.  Wondering who this George Lawton was, I then turned to a widely distributed Lawton Genealogy, that draws upon the research of Elva Lawton, and I found that George T. Lawton b. 1817, son of Seth, son of Arnold, did marry Lucy B. Slocum, in 1840.  She was born in 1823.

Those ages and dates better fit the Lucy Slocum discussed above.  If her grandfather Abel was born in 1758 - that made him contemporary to Job Lawton, and suggests that Lucy's father Smith Pierce Slocum was more of contemporary to George Lawton.

The Lawton Genealogy is available in pdf format at URL: 

Monday, August 1, 2011

First blog - How my search for native ancestors begun

Years and years ago, when I was twenty years old, my grandmother told me that her grandmother was an Indian.  I just took what she told me and tucked it in the back of my mind.  My grand-parents have passed and no one else in my family knows much about this native ancestry.

About four years ago, I became interested in finding out about my native ancestors.  I started to build trees on  I took an autosomal DNA test.  I moved to eastern Connecticut and began to go to town halls here and in Rhode Island, in order to trace out the steps in the lives of my father's ancestors.

The native ancestry is on my father's side of the family - the Hawkins, Taylor, Drake, Lawton, Andrews and Bates families and others, that lived here in southern New England.  All of my father's ancestors are either immigrants who came to America by the mid-1600s, or they are the people who were here before.

My autosomal DNA test - which covers your entire genetic profile - showed that 25% of my genetic make-up originates from the Americas.  Yet aside from what what my grandmother told me about her grandmother being an Indian, there are no identifiable Native Americans in my recent ancestry.  The 25% AmerIndian genes came from many people who were part Indian.  It seems as though people who were part Indian married other people who were part Indian, such as my paternal grand-parents.

I am a descendant of the old Anglo-American families of southern New England, with names such as Hawkins (my paternal grandfather) and Drake (my paternal grandmother).  Yet each grand-parent had a hefty amount of Native American genes and ancestry.

In my search for Native ancestors, I also discovered French Huguenot ancestors, Scottish ancestors, ancestors from Wales and the Isle of Wight, and even a 1600s immigrant ancestor who came from Germany.  All was not English!  Only a few had been Puritans.  

It has not been an easy search.  The majority of the Native ancestry seems to consist of women - of grandmothers - who married white men.  I'm using the descriptor "white" according to convention.  It is not a good convention.  "White" is a racialized term.  I'm not even sure back then in the 1600s and 1700s that it was the same kind of race issue as Americans think of "race" today.

I have been to many town halls.  It has been particularly depressing to not be able to find vital records.  There are so many holes in my ancestry trees, that seem impossible to close.  Because the records are just not there.

The reason I am starting this blog is to get this genealogical information and history out there, so people can relate to it, and provide me their input.  There may be people from these families who also wish to explore this Native ancestry.  They may know important information that fill in some of the gaps in the trees I have created.  Here are the lines of descent I am researching:

On my grandfather's side:

Hawkins - originates with William Hawkins and Margaret Harwood who settled in the Providence Plantation with Roger Williams during the 1630s, including the lineage of his son John Hawkins married to Sarah - William Hawkins married to Mary - Jeriah/Josiah Hawkins married to Amey Olney - Charles Hawkins married to Sarah Olney - Jabez Hawkins married to Sarah Briggs - Charles Hawkins married to Naomi Brown - Smith Brown Hawkins married to Susannah Young Taylor - Ethan Ballou Hawkins married to Anna Tufts (my great-grandparents).

In this lineage the gaps exist with Sarah the wife of John, Mary the wife of William, and Sarah Briggs the wife of Jabez.

Brown/Tefft - the gap here exists with the wife of Elder Rufus Tefft, the grandfather of Naomi Brown who married Charles Hawkins.  The only information I have on Elder Tefft's wife is her name was Sarah.

Taylors - originates most likely with a Scottish prisoner-of-war who had been sent to America during the 1650s to work in the Saugus Iron Works.  The first identifiable Taylors lived in Scituate, Rhode Island.  There is a legend written in the history on Scituate about "Swamp Taylors" who were poor whites and Indians and lived on an island in Pine Swamp.  There are many gaps in this lineage with women from unknown families, including Sarah Smith the wife of Knight Taylor (1743-1814) and Phebe the wife of Abner Taylor his son.  Phebe and Abner are the parents of Susannah Young Taylor who married Smith Brown Hawkins.  I have a photograph of Sarueh Hawkins, the daughter of Susannah and Smith, that clearly shows a person of Native American descent.

Tufts/Whitaker/Randall - my great-grandmother Anna Tufts is also said in my family to be part Native American.  The most recent gap in her ancestry exists with the mother of her grandmother Rhoby Randall Whitaker (1799-1850).  Rhoby's father was Henry Randall, Jr. of Johnston and Cranston, RI.  Rhoby is his daughter by his second wife, Mary.  Mary's family is unknown.

On my grandmother's side -

Drake/Bancroft - my grandmother's father was Artemas Bancroft Drake and his mother was Eliza Bancroft.  Most of the native ancestry seems to have existed on the Bancroft line of descent.  So far I have been able to identify the grandmother of Eliza Bancroft - who was Sarah Stowe and married to Enoch Bancroft - as a Mohawk Indian.  There is another maternal line of descent that has been traced on ancestry trees to Rebecca the daughter of Tarramuggus, the son of Sowheag or Sequeen who had been the sachem of the Mattabesic or Connecticut River Valley Indians.

Andrews/Lawton/Bates - this is my grandmother's maternal line.  She had told me her grandmother - Claramon Bates - was an Indian.  Claramon married Thomas Cary Lawton in 1848.  I have researched these lines of descent the most.

Bates - Claramon was born in Webster, Massachusetts in 1832 and her parents were Elhanan Winchester Bates and Mary Polly Douglass.  I have a theory that her father, Elhanan, had been adopted by the Bates family of Thompson, CT/Webster/Dudley.  It is the only way I can make sense of his life - which was much different from his Bates brothers.  The ancestry on Mary Polly Douglass has proved, so far, impossible to trace.  Elhanan and Polly married in 1822 in Mendon, Massachusetts, when intermarriage between whites and Indians was still illegal in the state of Massachusetts and much against the social customs of the time period.  Claramon's family by 1850 came to live in Packerville in Windham County, Connecticut.

Lawtons/Andrews - the paternal line of Thomas Cary Lawton seems to be almost solidly European.  Thomas's mother was Mariah Andrews, the daughter of Benjamin Andrews and Mary R. Kenyon.  A gap exists with the mother of Benjamin whose name was Mary.  The Andrews lived in East Greenwich, Rhode Island.

I am throwing these names out there in Cyberspace.  I hope that fellow descendants will pick up on the blog and help close the gaps.  As my blogging proceeds, I will do blogs on each individual family line.