McCandles & Lawrence Families
Navarro County, Texas


Biography Index


McCandles & Lawrence Families
by: Carl W. Mathews
Submitted Nov 1999

Born 1750 - Co. Down, North Ireland
Died     1840   Maury Co Tenn

My wife, Elaine, and I spent five weeks in Ireland in late 1995 and discovered a reference to John

David McCandles

 McCandless, a name I had remembered from Dawson, Texas.    This John McCandless was born in County Down, an area adjacent to and south of Belfast in 1750 and named for his paternal grandfather. The family was said to have originated in Scotland.  His family had probably lived in North Ireland for one hundred fifty years when he sailed June 5, 1772 for America.   His voyage of eighty-two days landed him at New Castle, Delaware on August 26, 1772.    It was said that he left New Castle immediately and traveled to Baltimore, Maryland where he remained for a few Months.

The reference made no mention of John McCandless migrating with any siblings, but research has given rise to speculation that he may have had several brothers come with him.   David m. Catherine Wasson  Rowan Co NC  William m. Elizabeth Jordan who had lived at Isle of Wight, Virginia, moved to Orange Co NC  m. Hannah Baldridge in Rowan Co NC  Samuel m. Jennett Douglas in NC It was said that he was drafted into military service during the American Revolution and served with distinction for three years, 1875-1878.   He was, initially, a wagoner, but served later as a mounted horseman and attained the rank of sergeant.  John McCandless died in 1840 in Maury Co, Tenn.  He had been living on a pension of $23.33 per annum. Three John McCandless names were listed as having served in the revolutionary War and were provied pensions

JOHN McCANDLESS #1 Born Co Down, North Ireland
Arrived New Castle, Delaware June 5, 1772
Moved to Mecklenburg Co NC  1773
Moved to Blount Co Tenn 1799
Moved to Rhea Co Tenn 1808
Moved to Maury Co Tenn 1834

JOHN McCANDLESS #2 Born 1754   New London Co, PA
Lived Orange Co NC
Moved to Giles Co Tenn 1832
NOTE:  This reference may..probably is in error.   The William McCandless living in Giles Co Tenn   in 1850 was born in 1769 and this John McCandless would have been fifteen. JOHN McCANDLESS #3 Died Hardin Co KY   1827  m. 1785 Jane (Jinney) Mason of Greenbrier VA  (Now WV)
Brother:   John Mason
Sister:  Mary Burkes
1786 Polly
1785 Alexander
1792 William
0000 Cynthia

The name "Orange" has been given to numerous female members of the McCandless family through the years.   The name, no doubt, came from William of Orange who was and is a hero in the minds of loyal North Irelanders. William (1650-1702), son of   Mary, daughter of Charles I of England and husband of Mary, daughter of James II of England, deposed his father-in-law in 1688.    William of Orange and Mary were to rule England jointly, but William did most of the ruling.   He defeated his father-in-law, James II and an army composed of French and Irish at the Battle of the Boyne.   He sailed into the harbor of Londenderry, North Ireland when it was under siege after some teenage "Apprentices" closed the gates to the city and stirred the citizens to resist. "Orangemen" (Protestants of Ulster) organizations continue to exist to this day in North Ireland (Ulster).     John McCandless must have instilled the admiration for William of Orange to his family.

(Note of Interest:  Many of the early arrivals from North Ireland to America settled in Pennsylvania and, in time, moved south into the Shenandoah Valley.  Their allegiance to William of Orange prompted the nickname "Billy Boys."    Some of the Scotch-Irish settled in the mountains..the hills of the Shenandoah Valley, and were "Billy Boys who lived in the hills,"and the term 'HILLBILLY" was born.

No record of the first marriage of John McCandless has been discovered, but he had, at least, one child prior to his marriage to Susannah Farmer in 1782.  William McCandless was born in 1769, three years prior to the time John left Ireland.     William McCandless was living in Giles Co Tenn when the 1850 Census was taken, still married to Hanna Baldridge, whom he had married  in 1798. Kentucky records indicate that  John and William McCandless were living there in the period of 1787-1811. This is John McCandless #3 who lived at Greenbrier VA.  Many veterans of the Revolutionary were being given land grants in the Kentucky Territory in the 1780's.

William McCandless married Elizabeth Jordan  of Isle of Wight Co., Virginia in 1794.    Elizabeth is dead by 1798 and William married Hannah Baldridge of Orange Co NC in 1798.    Ann Matthews, daughter of John and Margaret McKissick Matthews of Mecklenburg Co NC married Joseph Y Baldridge c. 1820.

David McCandless was born in Mecklenburg Co. NC  December 17, 1791.   Logan McCandless was born there in 1808.  Susannah Farmer may have been a widow with children when she married John McCandless.  The 1850 Tennessee US Census reported that Henry Farmer, age ten, was living with Logan and Martha McCandless.  It is quite possible that the father of Henry Farmer was a son of Susannah Farmer by her previous marriage and Henry's parents had died.

The Tennessee US Census of 1850 reported that William McCandless was eighty-one and blind.    Hannah, now seventy-two, listed her birthplace as North Carolina.    Mary McCandless resides with them and it may be assumed that she is their daughter.  Mary is thirty-five, born when Hannah was thirty-seven.   The census enumerator classifies Mary as "Idiot."

Thomas McCandless, aged fifty-five  (b. 1795) lives in Maury Co in 1850. His wife is Mary, aged fifty-three and born in North Carolina.    Two daughters are still at home.  Frances is twenty-nine and Susan is twenty. Both were born in Tennessee.

One McCandless family in the 1850  Giles Co Tennessee census is puzzling. Thomas McCandless is twenty-five and "Anner" McCandless is eighty-six. They live with the family of William S Samuel.   "Anner," no doubt Anna, is only fourteen or fifteen years older than John McCandless .    The possibility exists that one of John's first-born sons married Anna, a girls several years older.    Anna's husband had died and a daughter had married William Samuel.    Son Thomas, unmarried, continued to live with Anna.

Many of the veterans of the Revolutionary War were given Land Grants in Tennessee c. 1795 and many, many families living in Orange and Mecklenburg counties in NC made the move to Tennessee immediately before and after 1800.

John (b 1750) was said to have moved to Blount Co, Tennessee in 1799, but settled a few years later to Maury Co.  No McCandless families are found in Blount Co, but are found in counties surrounding Maury County: Williamson, Marshall, Lincoln, Giles, and Coffee.  John McCandless (b1750) lived his last years in Maury Co. on a monthly pension of $23.33 and died c.1840 at near ninety years of age. An 1825 land transaction in Maury Co. is of interest.   David and John McCandless, and Robert Richey purchased land in Giles Co, Tenn. from Sterling Clack Robertson. It was Robertson who became the Mexican Impresario who located many families from the Maury Co area in what became Robertson's Colony centered at Franklin, Texas.   McCandless and Richey families both settled in Western Navarro Co, originally part of Robertson's grant. Richey was settled in Western Navarro County in 1847 when Britt Dawson arrived with his cattle and settled on Battle Creek.  David McCandless did not begin settlement until 1856. William McCandless and Gideon B McCandless were listed among the signers of
a "Certificate of Character for Francis Slaughter" dated November 27, 1830 in Maury Co Tennessee.  Other signatures appearing on the Slaughter Certificate were: Robert and John Mack, early Tennessee pioneers; John and William K Hill; (John Hill McCandless MAY be related to these families) Nathan Coffee. The Certificate was required by the  Mexican government before permitting Americans to become citizens and becoming eligible for the Land grants available in Robertson's Colony in Texas. Francis Slaughter was associated with Sterling Clack Robertson.  His first wife died and in 1836 Slaughter married Minerva Catherine Matthews, daughter of Robert and Mary Ann Stewart Matthews of Maury Co. Tennessee.   Slaughter brought his bride and his three children to Fort Franklin, arriving there December 1, 1835.  Francis and Minerva had three children whose descendants still reside in Western Navarro Co.   Slaughter died in 1842 and Minerva married Dr. George Washington Hill in 1847.

David McCandless, born Dec 17, 1791, probably in Mecklenburg Co. NC.. died Jan 4, 1876 at Dawson, Texas, came to Texas, probably, in December 1835 and lived at Franklin.  A large group of settlers from the Maury Co. area of Tennessee arrived at Franklin on December 1, 1835 and included Francis Slaughter and his family.  Robert Harve Matthews, brother of Minerva Catherine Matthews Slaughter, , and some family servants, were, also in the group.  And..Martha Patricia Matthews (an older sister of Minerva and Robert Harve) and her husband, First Cousin .. James Matthews .. were, probably, in the group.

David McCandless and his son, John, were said to have served in the Texas Army during the struggle for independence, but were not participants at San Jacinto.  Sterling Clack Robertson's command, mustered at Fort Franklin, reported to General Houston at his training camp on the Brazos, but were ordered back to the Frontier to protect the settlers from Indian attacks. Robertson's group missed San Jacinto by ten days. A second son, Washington McCandless, was on his way to join Sam Houston's Army but drowned when he attemped to cross the Brazos River. A third McCandless name was mentioned in a party of Robertson Co. men who gave chase to indians involved in the 1838 Morgan's Massacre that occurred near the Brazos River above present day Marlin.   His name was Joseph McCandless.  Others in the group included William Fullerton, G W Morgan, Eli Chandler, Britton Dawson, R H Matthews. (NOTE:  The above is the only reference found on Joseph McCandless and was related many years after the incident by an individual well into his eighties.  There is a possibility that "John" was recalled as "Joseph."

The list of settlers arriving at Franklin on Dec 1, 1835 could well show more than two McCandless names.  That list is found in The McClean Papers at the Corsicana and other libraries The David McCandless family settled in Texas in a community known as old Nashville, located located on the Brazos River a few miles west of Fort Franklin. Tragedy lost no time in striking the family.  It was April 14, 1836 when the eldest son, Wash McCandless, drowned in the Brazos River.
Macca Orange McCandless Lawrence remembered that he was on his way to join Sam Houston's army. His Mother, Polly Gordon McCandless, was overcome with grief and died August 13, 1836. The family moved from Old Nashville back to Fort Franklin after the death of Polly Gordon McCandless.  A second son, John McCandless, who had joined Sam Houston's army with his father, drove a stage coach after San Jacinto between Franklin and Houston, contacted pneumonia on a trip and died June 11, 1844. Daughter Nancy Elizabeth McCandless married A F May in 1845 and died February 8, 1847.  Susan McCandless married William Boyles and died December 8, 1848.

David McCandless was left alone with his two remaining daughters, Mary Minerva (Nerve) and Macca Orange.  Macca Orange was the younger, but the first to marry.  Joseph Thompson Lawrence, son of John A and Jane Thompson Lawrence, had arrived at Fort Franklin c.1840 from Tennessee.  He had gone home in 1847, probably to receive an inheritance, and returned with a family of slaves, Henry and Malinda Caruthers and their sons, Calvin and Jeffery. Two years later, October 25, 1849, Macca Orange McCandless married Joseph Thompson Lawrence. Five years later, Mary Minerva had fallen in love and on  August 16, 1854, married William   M "Bill" Walker, son  of William and Elizabeth Walker who had migrated from North Ireland c.1820. A Walker daughter, Elizabeth, was the first wife of Brit Dawson.. Tradition states that they began their marriage by establishing   settlement in western Navarro County in 1854-1856 on the David McCandless 4400 acre grant David McCandless had received the grant acres from the Republic of Texas who honored the original grant from Mexico to settlers of Robertson's Colony.   David McCandless was given two additional grants in Navarro County.  One, 638 acres on August 4, 1846, and, another 388 acres on August 5, 1846.

The Robertson Co. Census of 1850 provides a glimpse of the David McCandless family and reports:
David McCandless 55 NC $5900
James Lawrence 25 Tenn      (This was a census name error)
Macca Lawrence 19 Tenn
John Moody 43 Blacksmith from Scotland
Tabitha Moody 34 Ill.

The 1850 Census places David McCandless exactly where he was supposed to be, but no mention is made of Mary Minerva who did not marry until 1854.  Was
she on a visit to Tennessee?   The birth dates for "Jmes" and Macca are correct.     Who were John and Tabitha Moody?   Another John Moody (c1890) married one of the Hill daughters in Dawson and had a son, E L Moody. Several other McCandless families ( any relationship to David is unknown) received land grants in Navarro Co., at unknown locations.    These included:
Sam F McCandles 1476 Ac June 11, 1850
W V McCandles 1476 Ac June 11, 1850
William W McCandless settled at Tellico 1857, a community on the Trinity
River east of present day Ennis, Texas.
J O McCandless 320 Ac Jan 28, 1870

David McCandless had chosen a site on the headwaters of Richland Creek located approximately one hundred miles north of Fort Franklin.  The land was rich prairie soil that surrounded stands of timber, and most importantly, there was an abundance of water. David McCandless, eventually, deeded the grant to his two daughters, Macca Orange and Mary Minerva. It was in 1856 that David McCandless made a decision to begin efforts to settle the property himself. Covered wagons were assembled and with Macca Orange and her husband, Joseph Thompson Lawrence; and the Caruthers family, David McCandless moved from near Wheelock, Texas to his new home.  He was near his old friend from Maury Co Tennessee, William Richey.  William Richey had preceded David McCandless to the area.  He had married the Widow Cannon in Tennessee.  Her daughter, Susanna, was said to have gathered the bones of the men who died in the Battle Creek episode in 1838 and placed them under the old oak where the monument now stands.  She married Britt Dawson in1847 David McCandless lived almost twenty years more on the Mexican grant that had finally become his home.  He died on January 4, 1876. 1876 must have been a bad year on the headwaters of Richland Creek.  It was on November 25, 1876 that Mary Minerva McCandless Walker died. She and William Walker had borne two girls. Both Mary Minerva (Nerve) and William Walker are buried at the Spring Hill Cemetery near their daughter, Mary E Walker Berry. Mary E Walker had married George M Dallas Berry and became the mother of twin boys, Otho and Sparton.  Mary E. died in 1776 and after her death Otho and Sparton went to live with their grandparents, William and Mary Minerva Walker.   Otho Berry died in 1882 at age ten and was buried at Spring Hill Cemetery.   The surviving twin, Spart Berry, inherited half of the original grant to David McCandless, and lived many years in Dawson.

Alice Orange Walker  married William  G. Martin Oct 18, 1866.  A marker at Spring Hill Cemetery records "Homer Martin  son of WG, bd 1866."     Another son, Robert Martin, was born at Spring Hill in 1868.   Other children born to William and Alice O Walker Martin were Berta (1870), Maud (1873, and Mary (1876).   The Martin Family, apparently, left the area at some point near 1880.


One of David's relatives settled in West Texas.  An "Uncle John" McCandless often visited the Lawrence and other families in Dawson in the early 1930's.
  "Uncle John" would show up about once each year and his visits were filled with excitement for small boys who were fortunate enough to listen to his tales.    "He Said" that he had been a Texas Ranger…and his might have been.    He related as how every teengage boy wanted a revolver to carry on his hip, that the cartridges placed into the cylinder were not always sized to fit the cylinders.   He always wore cowboy boots and a big hat and looked the part of the tales he told. One interesting McCandless family lived at Jewett, Texas, a community a few miles east of Franklin.  James Alexander McCandless married Mary Frances Reeder March 14,1861.  All children with the exception of John (1868) were born in Leon County, Texas.  Son John was born to "James Alexander McKandles and Mary Francis Reader" at Celina, Clay Co. Tenn, Sept 2, 1868. Celina is approximately 50 miles northeast of Nashville.  Two sources were used to identify John (1868) and Bunk (1871).  The fact that their ages are close and that "John Bunk McCandless" was found in West Texas suggests that they MAY have been the same person.  (Point: There was a relation between the McCandless family and Clay Co.) The family could well have returned to Tennessee on a visit when the child was born. Children of James Alexander and Mary Frances Reeder McCandless :
Zelda 1862 m. 1887 Wm Bethel Durant
Florence 1863
Pocahontas 1865   m. 1888 Myrabeau Eugene Coley
John Bunk 1868 (Prob. THE John who visited Dawson)  m. Dora May Couch
d. Rachael b. 1900
Clifton 1873
Webb 1876 m. Mary Emma Morrell
da.. 1902 Zelda Runnells Co
Mary 1878
Joe Johnson 1880
Stonewall Jackson 1880
Gen. General Lee 1883 See Below
Sidney Johnson 1886
Gen. General Lee McCandless    Wingate, Runnells Co. TX  m. 1st Olivia Holly Date unknown
s. James Custer 1904
s. Jackson Gascal 1906
m. 2nd Lillie Mae Miller Memphis, Hall Co., TXNov 7, 1914
d. Sylvia Lee 1925 Electra, Wichita Co. TX
Miscellaneous Co. McCandless Marriages were: Tenn County
1891 -b Ruth Joel Wheeler Marian
1818 Catherine Robert Pickle Davidson (Nashville)
1854 Marshall M Rebecca E Green Marshall
1857 Andrew Telitha E Sharp Marshall
1858 Susan Ann Martin Fields Davidson
1861 M S Sarah C Hammond Marshall
1861 Robert Malinda House Marshall
1864 Sarah J Leroy Smith Coffee
1864 Thomas Tennessee Johnson Davidson
1865 B F Mary E Clark Giles
1866 Madora A Wm C Jordan Marshall
1867 Stephen Mary N Bass Giles
1867 S H Miss L W Phillips Marshall
1868 Julia Green B Evans Lincoln
1869 M J James M Layton McNairy
1871 L J Miss Addie Griffis Lincoln
1871 James S F J Allison Lincoln
1873 Nathaniel L Margaret Carriger Hamblen
1874 Mary J W M Hamilton Maury
1875 Martha Joseph M Creecy Giles
1875 S M Ellen Britton Giles
1877 John G Leora G Nelson Maury
1880 W S Ms M A Samuel Giles
1883 S C Ms W B Helkmick Marshall
1885 Cordelia A Isaac G Hardin Maury
1877 J W Miss L E Parsons Giles
1879 J W Annie Poarch Marshall
1887 Lizzie J T Smith Marshall


c1775 David b.
1782 John m. Susanna Farmer
1794 William m. Elizabeth Jordan
1795 James M b. David Monroe & Katy Wasson McCandless
(David & Katy had son. David L  b.   Watauga, Boone Co  1839
(Catherine Wasson is ALSO SHOWN to have married Joseph
McCanless, and had a son whose name was Napoleon
Bonaparte b. at Gold Hill, Rowan Co. NC 1851)
1798 William m. Hannah Baldridge
1806 Samuel m. Jennett Douglass
1856 Durell m. Jatsy Smith

1833 Julia b. James M & Selina C Alexander McC
1836 James Alex. b. "
1828 David Colbert  b. "     Iredale, Statesville
1839 David L b. David Monroe & Katy Wasson McCandless
1851 Emily Verdurine m. James Hartley
1854 Jas Wellington b. James Alex & Sarah Franklin McCandless
1857 Mary Jane b.    "
1855 Clingman b. David Colbert & Mary Green McCandless
1858 Elizabeth b.     "
1859 Juliva Victor b.     "
1860 William M b. David L & Mary McCandless


1795 James M m. Selina C Alexander
1833 Julia
1836 James Alexander
1861 m. Mary Frances Reeder   (Clay Co Tenn)
1828 David Colbert
1855 Clingman
1859 Juliva Victor
1858 Elizabeth

c1830 Robert b
1850 Ann b. Robert McCandless


William McCandless, listed in Orange Co. NC as having married Elizabeth Jordan in 1794 is, also, listed as marrying her at Isle of Wight, Virginia 7 Jan 1794.  This connects the McCandless from Virginia to Orange Co. NC. McCandless records at Greenbrier VA now Greenbriar WV
1785 John McCandless married Jenny or Jane Mason
1786 Polly  b.
1789 Alexander b.
1792 William b.
1796 John b. to  John & Jane Mason McCandless
1805 Timothy Mason b. John & Jane Mason McCandless
1806 Cynthia b.

Thomas F McCandless    wit. Frank Matthews
d. Mary
s. Nathaniel

Logan 1808 Martha 1821
Henry Farmer 1840
Thomas 1795 NC Mary 1897  NC
Frances 1821 TN
Susan 1830 TN
Thomas 1825 TN Anner 1764 NC
Live with William S Samuel (??Dau of Anner)
William 1769 NC (Blind) Hanna 1778 NC
Mary 1815 TN  (Idiot)

John Bunk McCandless was born Maury Co 1837 to John Bunk and Margery McCandless.   John G. McCandless was married in Maury Co. to Leora G. Nelson
Oct 24, 1877.  Mary McCandless married W H Hamilton Feb 18, 1874 in Maury Co.

Williamson Co.  Tenn   McCandless Marriages were:
1809 William Sally Goff
1821 Sarah Allen Duffill
1823 James Nancy Pomroy
1823 Catherine Willis Pomroy
1841 William Esther Roller
1846 John Mary E Morris
1847 John Phebe Ann Walker
1865 Carroll Miss E L Coleman
1872 J S Sally H Hart
1879 Alice James Davis
1879 James Maggie Hamilton
1880 James C Mattie T Coleman
1883 Jennie M T Gray
1884 William M Betty Gentry
1885 Ardenia M Wm Henry Johnson (Ardenia b. 1868)
1885 D B Millie D Gentry

Carl W Matthew's
POB 454
Roswell GA   30077

770 587 4350

Western Navarro County, Texas

See the Joseph Thompson Lawrence Biography


Joseph Thompson Lawrence

Joseph Thompson Lawrence (b. 1825) was eighteen when he arrived at Wheelock, Texas in 1843. He had, according to one story handed down, experienced a "Family Problem" at his home in Tennessee and had "Gone to Texas," probably, accompanied by his brother, William, who was two years older. Home, for the Lawrence boys, had been Rutherford Co., Tennessee, located forty miles or so South of Nashville.

Samuel and Mary Lawrence lived on Craigs Creek, Augusta Co. Virginia in 1762. Their sons were John, James, William, and Robert Lawrence. James Lawrence had married Frances. William married Mary and lived in Botetourt Co Virginia in 1770. John Lawrence was killed by Indians in Tennessee in 1787, the same year that Lawrence Thompson married Kezia Hart in Tennessee. A Thomas Lawrence had wandered off to North Carolina, but rejoined the family in Tennessee.

Joseph Thompson Lawrence and William Lawrence were the sons of John A. and Jane Thompson Lawrence and the maternal grandsons of John and Grizzelle Ellis Thompson. (Lawrence and Thompson families must have been close for many years by virtue that they lived in the same area and the Thompsons named a son Lawrence.) No record has been discovered concerning William Lawrence in Texas, but a William Lawrence married Agness Dement in Rutherford Co Tennessee and had a daughter whose name was Lesenby.

Whatever the "Family Problem" Joseph Thompson Lawrence returned to Rutherford Co. in 1847 and returned to Wheelock with a family of slaves, Henry Caruthers, his wife, Aunt Malinda, and sons, Calvin and Jeffery. The return to Tennessee may have been prompted by the death of the parents and the distribution of inheritances. William may have returned to Rutherford Co. married Agness Dement, and had a daughter, Lesenby, in 1849.

Joseph Thompson Lawrence's return to Texas in 1847 may have been influenced by his interest in the daughter of David McCandless. Two years later, October 25, 1849 at Wheelock, Texas, Joseph Thompson Lawrence married Macca Orange McCandless (b.1831).
The David McCandless family of Giles Co. Tennessee had arrived at Fort Franklin in Robertson's Colony on Dec. 1, 1835. Francis Slaughter, who had married Minerva Catherine Matthews the previous summer, and his three children had traveled with the McCandlesses. Minerva's brother, Robert Harve Matthews and two family servants, were, also in the group.

David McCandless obtained a lst Class Headright Certificate from the Mexican government (honored by the Republic of Texas) that entitled him to one league of land (4428 acres) plus one Labor (177.l acres). Certificate holders were permitted to select from any unclaimed land in the Republic and David McCandless made his choice on the headwaters of Richland Creek in what is now Western Navarro county. He received his patents to the property on August 4 & 5, 1846. The land was rich and water, a necessity, in abundance.
David McCandless informed his two remaining daughters they would each receive one half of the property, but that whoever settled first could choose their half. Mary Minerva and her husband, William Walker chose the "Bottom Land" and settled there in 1856.

Macca Orange and her husband, Joseph Thompson Lawrence, moved by covered wagon to the McCandless land in 1858 and never left. They brought with them the family of Uncle Henry Caruthers whose members would become like a part of the Lawrence family. Together, they worked to improve the land and make a good life for everyone. They built cabins, dug wells, tilled the soil, raised a few cattle. The good life was beginning to become a reality in 1860 when cannon roared at Ft. Sumpter in South Carolina and began a terrible conflict that would divide the United States for almost five years and leave scars that would never go away.

Joseph Thompson Lawrence was thirty-five when the Civil War began and he enlisted October 28, 1861 as a Private. Capt. A .F .Moss had recruited him for Company "K" of the Texas Dragoon Volunteers. He was described as six feet four inches tall, florid complexion, blue eyes and dark hair. His occupation was "Farmer."

He was at Little Rock, Arkansas on May 25, 1962 when he was given a discharge signed by Lt. Col. R, B. Burleson, Commander. The discharge was according to "The provisions of the Conscription Law."
Joseph Thompson Lawrence, apparently, re-enlisted and served until well after Appomattox. CSA Special Order 136, dated Houston, May 16, 1865, transfers Joseph T. Lawrence from Mann's Regiment to Co. "I" Watson's Regiment. The Order was signed by Robert J. Samuel for Maj. General J B McGruder.
Joseph T Lawrence had served the Confederate States of America long and well, but his cause had lost. The bitterness of defeat never left his mind and he was resentful of the Yankee soldiers who strutted the streets of the nearest town, Spring Hill, Texas. Some described Joseph Lawrence as one who, "stood for all that was right for the progress of his country and the good of his family." Another stated that, "He seldom expressed himself but was most emphatic and adamant when necessary."

Bates Savage, eighty-five in 1994 and living in Hubbard, Texas with his wife of more than fifty years, the former Jo Evelyn Berry of Dawson, remembers well his Grandma Savage telling of an incident that occurred at Spring Hill.

The date was sometime after the Civil War had ended, but Yankee soldiers were still encamped near Spring Hill. Darkness had arrived and Joseph Lawrence was the single patron in one of several saloons located at Spring Hill. He was well acquainted with the bartender and they were engaged in friendly conversation when three uniformed Yankee soldiers walked into the saloon. The three soldiers began to make fun and pick at Joseph Lawrence tipping his hat, making remarks about the South losing the war, and, as Bates Savage expressed "probably goosing him."

The bartender knew Joseph Lawrence well and took one of the Yankee soldiers aside and expressed his concern for the outcome of the situation that appeared to be developing. He stated that Joseph Lawrence was a good natured individual, but one who would not long put up with the kind of treatment he was receiving at the hands of the Yankee soldiers.

The warning by the bartender went unheeded. Joseph Lawrence told the soldiers to "let him be." The irritating actions and comments continued until Joseph Lawrence had his fill and with that he whipped out his six-shooter and shot one of the soldiers. The man fell dead on the saloon floor and his two companions, both bearing arms, fled through the rear door of the saloon without any attempt to draw their weapons.
Joseph Lawrence mounted his horse and rode quickly the several miles to his home. He dismounted and was met at the door by his wife, Macca. "Momma, I killed a Yankee!" John Lawrence gathered a few clothes and some food, told his wife that he was headed for the heavy timber of the Richland bottom, and where he would be at a later date so she could bring fresh clothes and food.

His friend, George Washington Savage, had one of the fastest horses in Navarro County and had loaned the horse to Joseph Lawrence during the Civil War. Joseph Lawrence had returned the horse to Savage, but now he needed the horse once more and rode that horse into the heavy timber of the Richland Creek bottoms.

Bates Savage recalled that, "Grandpa hid out in the timber or five years. He knew that the Yankee soldiers would not look for him there, but would watch to catch him when he came to the house which he never did."

When the Yankee soldiers had long since left Spring Hill and when there was little chance of having any witness to the killing other than the bartender, Grandma Lawrence gathered her children in the family wagon and headed South toward Franklin. She noticed that a lone horsemen had begun to follow the wagon. The horseman remained far behind the wagon and when Grandma Lawrence stopped the horseman stopped. She decided that the horseman was her husband, John, but he, unable to recognize her or the children, was fearful of making contact.
She was wearing a bright red petticoat which John had given her. She knew he would recognize the petticoat. Off came the petticoat and she began to wave it high above her head. The horseman came toward the wagon at a gallop.
The Lawrences hired a lawyer in Corsicana to take the case and Grandpa Lawrence turned himself into the authorities. The only remaining trial witness in Texas was the bartender who told the court what had happened and Grandpa Lawrence was adjudged "Not Guilty!"

Grandma Savage Ann Elizabeth Lawrence who married George W. Savage in 1874, was going to school at Tehuacana when her father's trial began at the courthouse in Corsicana, but had not learned the outcome.
Two men had arrived one evening from Corsicana and spent the night at the school which, apparently, served as a hotel and restaurant for travelers. The following morning the two men were seated at the long dining table when the students arrived for breakfast. Grandma Savage related to Bates Savage that she overheard the two men talking about a trial at the courthouse in Corsicana. She listened intently. Finally, one of the men asked, "What happened in the trial of 'Old Man Lawrence?" Her heart jumped into her throat as she heard her Father's name mentioned.

"Why, they turned him loose." said the other man. "They didn't have any witness except for that bartender and he told the judge how those Yankee soldiers had intimidated "Old Man Lawrence" and that Lawrence did everything he could to avoid conflict, and the Judge found 'Old Man' Lawrence Not Guilty."

Joseph Thompson Lawrence had ridden fast horse owned by George Washington Savage for more than a decade and had become attached to the animal. When the trial was completed he approached Savage with a proposal to trade one of his fine young horses for the old horse he had ridden so long. Savage agreed.

Grandpa and Grandma Lawrence lived out their lives on their ranch. Seven of their nine living children married. Most established families in or near Dawson.

John D Lawrence married Anna Dawson, Daughter of Brit Dawson, and their children were Joe, Jim, Vic, Roger, Clint, Carrie, Salley and Susan.

Ann Elizabeth Lawrence married George Washington Savage and their children were John, George, Sarah, Carrie, David, William, Joseph, James, Karl, Henry, Frank, and Thelma.

Mary Jane Lawrence married Milton Long and their only son, Leroy Thompson Long who died in WWI.

William J. (Uncle Billy) Lawrence married another of Brit Dawson's girls, Emily, and their children were David (Mack), Fannie, Ella, Frank, Hester, Laura, Nannie, Billy, and Brit (Coonie).

Carrie Lawrence never married

Sarah Medorah Lawrence died young.

James O Lawrence married Lenora Wright and their children were Winnie, Othello, Rozelle, Joe, Bob, Louis, W P (Doc), and Jimmy.

Fannie Lawrence married Jim Sowell and their children were Charlie, Beatrice, Macca, and Annie.

George Lawrence married Carrie Dempsey and their children were Curtis, Floyd, and Edna Macca.

Joseph Thompson and Macca Orange McCandless Lawrence were buried in the Lawrence Family Cemetery located just off Farm Road 709 Northwest of Dawson. Joseph


William Lawrence b. c1802 m. 1825 Judith Edwards
Elizabeth Lawrence b. 1826
Katherine Lawrence b. c1800   m. 1821 Zadoc Bell
James Lawrence b. c 1790
m. 1st Joanna b. 1799
s. Martin Lawrence b. 1815
s. Thomas Lawrence b. 1818
m. 2nd Sarah Jane Thompson
s. William Lawrence b. 1823
m. Agness Dement
d. Lesenby Lawrence
s. Joseph Thompson Lawrence b. 1825
d. Sarah Catherine Lawrence b. c1834
m. 1864 Tom Carton
d. Nancy Tennessee Lawrence b.1839 m. 1851 John Jackson

The John (b.c1773) & Grizzelle Ellis (b.c1773) Thompson family structure (unproven) may have been b. 1793 Jennette m. 1814 Wm McKissick of Maury Co
b.c1796 Henry m.1816 Susan Smith
b.c1797 Jacob m.1817 Temperance Crawford
b.c1801 Sarah Jane m. c1824 James Lawrence
b.c1803 Eddie m. 1823 George Warren

b.c1808 Wm L m.1828 Martha Johnson
b.c1814 Anna m. 1834 Mr. Jones
b. 1815 Salley
b.c1817 Willie B m. 1837 Eliz Collins
b.c1819 Elizabeth m. 1839 William Lewis
m. 1842 Mr. Blivins


Navarro County TXGenWeb
© Copyright March, 2009
Edward L. Williams & Barbara Knox