Select Lawson Miscellany

Here are some Lawson stories and accounts over the years:

Early Lawsons in Northumberland

Lawsons were to be found at Bywell in Northumberland from the 1300’s.  Lawrence Lawson, a householder in nearby Corbridge, appeared in the subsidy roll of 1336. 

Thomas Lawton was said to have fought under Sir John Neville in France at the Battle of Agincourt in 1415. He survived the battle and a long time afterwards.  In fact he lived another 74 years and he was recorded as dying in 1489 (having lived through the War of the Roses from start to finish) at a great age.  He was buried at the family estate at Cramlington.

It was his grandson James who established the basis of the family fortunes.  He was a merchant at Male Street in Newcastle and served as the town’s mayor in 1529 and 1540.   He was also the King’s tax collector.  At the time of the dissolution of the monasteries he was able to seize and acquire substantial landholdings.  At the time of his death he held the manors of Byker and West Matsen and additional estates at Nesham, Cockfield, Little Burdon, and Dynshall.

His eldest son Edmund inherited the bulk of these estates on James’s death in 1544.  It was his grandson Ralph who was to carry the family fortunes forward from a new home at
Brough Hall in Yorkshire.  He married Elizabeth Brough, the heiress there, in 1565.  The Lawsons were to remain at Brough Hall (pronounced Broog) until 1949.

Lawson Covenanter List

The table below is a list of Lawson Covenanters in Scotland in the 17th century.  Those shown were born roughly between 1630 and 1670.

Covenanter Name
Archibald Lawson
Ratho near Edinburgh
James Lawson
James Lawson
Strathaven, Lanarkshire
Janet Lawson
Torthorall, Dumfries
John Lawson
Alyth, Perthshire
John Lawson
Strathaven, Lanarkshire
Mary Lawson
Woodhouse, Argyll
Michael Lawson
Roukine, Fife
Robert Lawson
Roukine, Fife
Thomas Lawson
Falkland, Fife
Thomas Lawson
Longshaw, Berwickshire
William Lawson
William Lawson
Coldingham, Berwickshire

William Lawson the Rebel

William Lawson at the age of 15 was in the vicinity of Culloden in 1746, but it is not known if he actually participated in the battle or was simply rounded up by the English afterwards.   He was moved around during his captivity, first at Clackmannan, then at Stirling Castle, and then at Carlisle in England. 

It was decided not to try him, probably because of a lack of evidence.  He was therefore given a conditional pardon.  This meant, however, that he would be banished to the colonies and treated there as an indentured servant.  

In July 1747 he was transported on the Gildart to Maryland where he was sold by the disreputable vessel owner in an indenture auction.  William was bound out to a plantation owner for a probable seven years of indenture. Family tradition holds that he was treated unkindly and that he ran away after a year or so.  Some reports have him hiding out in the Dan river area after his escape.  He appeared to have married his wife Rebecca in North Carolina sometime around 1760.

William disappeared from the records for many years.  He reappeared at the time of the Revolutionary War in Montgomery county, Virginia when he enlisted to join Daniel Trigg’s militia troops.  He was nearly 50 years old when he fought at the Battle of King's Mountain in 1780, once again resisting British rule.  A year later, he was recorded as “not fit” for further fighting

Lawson Arrivals in America

The following were the recorded Lawson arrivals in America, based on shipping records and points of departure:

Country of Origin

John Lawson, Halifax Merchant

John Lawson was born in Boston in 1749, the grandson of Lawsons who had immigrated to America from England in 1715.  His own parents departed for Halifax, Nova Scotia a year later while he was still an infant. 

By 1784 he had established himself as a successful merchant in the city, being particularly active in the cod fishing   During the Napoleonic Wars and the War of 1812, when greater quantities of prize (seized) goods were being brought in and sold at auction than the commerce of the colony could handle, Lawson signed a petition for permission to export to the United States the portions of these goods that were particularly adapted to the American market.  This he did so at a profit. 

At the time of his death in 1828 he owned shares in an iron manufactory, the Shubenacadie canal, and the whaling ship Pacific. 

Lawson in Japan

The Lawson name is everywhere in Japan.  It is the second biggest convenience store in Japan.  But how it got its name is curious. 

In 1939 a dairy owner named James Lawson started a store at his Broad Boulevard dairy plant at Cuyahoga Falls near Akron, Ohio to sell his milk.  The Lawson's Milk Company grew to a chain of stores, primarily in Ohio.   Lawson was bought out by Consolidated Foods in 1959.  Three years later James Lawson died in a car crash. 

In 1974 Consolidated Foods signed an agreement with the Japanese supermarket chain Daiei to open convenience stores in Japan.  The company established was called Daiei Lawson Co. and Lawson was and still is the name used for the stores (even though Consolidated Foods is no longer involved in the company).

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