The branch of the Lawton family so long resident in New Bedford, and in each generation active in public affairs, but recently represented by the late Charles H. and Horace A. Lawton, well known druggists, the former long prominent in the government of the town and an important factor in the financial and commercial life, is descended from George Lawton, a brother of Thomas and possibly of John also, all of Newport as early as 1638 or 1639. George and Thomas were among the twenty-eight signers of the Compact, April 30, 1639, for the formation of a “civil body politicke.” George Lawton was made a freeman in 1655; member of the Court of Trials, 1648; deputy, 1665-72-75-76-79-80; assistant, 1680-81-82-83-84-85-86-89-90. He and five other assistants, with the deputy governor, wrote a letter to their Majesties, William and Mary, congratulating them on their accession to the Crown, and informing them that since the deposition of Governor Andros the former government under the charter had been resumed. He seems to have been prominent in all the Colonial affairs of his time. He died Oct. 5, 1693, and was buried in his orchard at Portsmouth. He married Elizabeth Hazard, daughter of Thomas and Martha Hazard, and their children were:
- Isabel Lawton, who married Samuel Albro
- John Lawton, who married Mary Bloomer
- Mary Lawton, who married John Babcock
- George Lawton, who married Naomi Hunt
- Robert Lawton, who married Mary Wodell
- Susanna Lawton, who married Thomas Cornell
- Ruth Lawton, who married William Wodell
- Mercy Lawton, who married James Tripp
- Job Lawton, who died unmarried
- Elizabeth Lawton, who married Robert Carr
Robert Lawton, son of George and Elizabeth (Hazard) married Feb. 16, 1681, Mary Wodell, daughter of Gershom and Mary (Tripp) Wodell. He died Jan. 25, 1706, and she Jan. 14, 1732. He was made a freeman in 1684, member of the grand jury in 1688, deputy in 1690-98-1702, and assistant in 1691-1702-03. Their children were:
- Mary Lawton, born Feb. 20, 1682
- George Lawton, Sept. 1. 1685
- Elizabeth Lawton, Sept. 12, 1688
- Robert Lawton, Jan. 5. 1696
Capt. George Lawton, son of Robert and Mary (Wodell), born Sept. 1. 1685, married at Newport Feb. 26, 1707, Mary Gould, of Newport, the ceremony being performed by Gov. Samuel Cranston. They became the parents of the following children:
- Robert Lawton, born Feb. 4, 1707-08
- George Lawton, April 20, 1710
- Job Lawton, Dec. 28, 1712 (died Dec. 11, 1713)
- Job Lawton (2), Feb. 13, 1714-15
- Mary Lawton, April 26, 1717
- John Lawton, Nov. 5, 1721 (died May 24, 1740)
Capt. George Lawton died April 11, 1740.
Robert Lawton, son of Capt. George and Mary (Gould), born Feb. 4, 1707-08, married Nov. 11, 1742, Mary Hull, daughter of William Hull, and their children were:
- George Lawton, born April 12, 1744
- Mary Lawton, May 31, 1747
- Elizabeth Lawton, July 4, 1750
- Phebe Lawton, March 30, 1752
- Robert Lawton, March 14, 1754
- William Lawton, Dec. 26, 1755
- John Lawton, Nov. 4, 1757
- Ruth Lawton, May 23, 1759
- Job Lawton, May 8, 1761
- Parker Lawton, April 7, 1764
William Lawton, son of Robert and Mary (Hull), born Dec. 26, 1755, married April 24, 1778, Sarah Barker, of Middletown. To this union were born:
- Ruth Lawton, Dec. 10, 1779
- Parker Lawton, Oct. 21, 1780
- Job Lawton, Aug. 9, 1782
- Peter Lawton, June 29, 1785
- Phebe Lawton, April 16, 1787
- Sarah Lawton, April 16, 1787
- Parker Lawton (2), April 23, 1802
Peter Lawton, son of William and Sarah (Barker), born in Portsmouth, R. I., June 29, 1785, married Hannah Jones, of Seekonk, R. I., and their children were:
- Peter Lawton, born in Seekonk May 20, 1811
- Beebe Lawton, Mrs. Douglass
- Horace Lawton, who lived in Mansfield
- William Lawton, who went South, to Georgia, enlisted in the Confederate army, and received a colonelcy. He died in the South.
Peter Lawton, son of Peter and Hannah (Jones), born May 20, 1811, married in Bristol, R. I., Aug. 12, 1839, Nancy F. Simmons, a native of Bristol. They had three sons, two of them being Charles H., born May 11, 1840, and Horace A., born Dec. 14, 1843. Peter Lawton, a cabinetmaker, removed from Seekonk, Mass., to New Bedford in 1843, and at one time was a manufacturer of pianofortes. He died July 24, 1869, at his home in New Bedford, No. 80 (now No. 198) Kempton street.
Charles Henry Lawton, son of Peter, was born in Warren, R. I., May 11, 1840, and came to New Bedford with his parents when he was three years of age. His education was received in the public schools of the city, terminating after two years in the New Bedford high school, in 1856. He then entered the employ of Thornton & Gerrish, apothecaries, where he remained until Jan. 1, 1873. At that time, with his brother, the late Horace A. Lawton, he formed the firm of C. H. & H. A. Lawton. They purchased the business of E. Thornton, Jr., who owned two stores, and for twenty-three years continued in the drug business, at the corner of Union and Purchase streets, and at Union and North Second streets. On July 1, 1896, Mr. Lawton and his brother retired from active business, settling their affairs, and selling their interest to the C. H. & H. A. Lawton Drug Company. Charles H. Lawton, however, continued to have an interest in the business and daily visited the store even after his retirement. His great success was due entirely to his own efforts.
Mr. Lawton later became interested in public affairs, and was the alderman of Ward Four in 1898, 1899, 1900, 1901 and 1904, up to the time of his death, five terms in all. He was a Republican in politics. He was trustee of the New Bedford Institution for Savings, a director of the Five Cents Savings Bank, the Merchants National Bank, the New Bedford Gas & Edison Light Company, and the New Bedford Towboat Company. He was a member of the Wamsutta and Country Clubs. His fraternal connections were with the I. O. O. F.; Eureka Lodge, A. F. & A. M.; and Sutton Commandery, K. T. He joined the New Bedford Protecting Society in 1867, and continued a member during the remainder of his life, almost continuously serving as a director of this organization. He was a member of the Veteran Firemen’s Association until his death, which occurred Sept. 11, 1904; he was buried in Oak Grove cemetery.
On March 29, 1865, Mr. Lawton married Mary E. Rugg, daughter of Ephraim and Charlotte (Goss) Rugg, of Montague City, Mass., the former a native of Lancaster, Mass., the latter of Montague City, where she passed most of her life. Mr. and Mrs. Lawton had one child, that died in infancy.
Horace Allen Lawton, son of Peter, was born in Bristol, R. I., Dec. 14, 1843, and was brought by his parents from Bristol to New Bedford when an infant. He was educated in the public schools of New Bedford. When seventeen years of age he left school and took a clerkship in a dry goods store, first in that of F. H. Whitcomb and later in that of E. B. Whiting. He then entered the employ of Thornton & Gerrish, apothecaries, where he remained until Jan. 1, 1873. At that time, with his brother, the late Charles Henry Lawton, he established the firm of C. H. & H. A. Lawton. They purchased the business of E. Thornton, Jr., consisting of two stores, and for twenty-three years carried on the drug business at the corner of Union and Purchase streets, and at Union and North Second streets. On July 1, 1896, Mr. Lawton and his brother retired, settling their affairs, and selling their business to the C. H. & H. A. Lawton Drug Company. Unlike his brother, Mr. Lawton was in no way active in politics, though a strong Republican. He was a member of Eureka Lodge, A. F. & A. M., and Sutton Commandery, K. T. He joined the New Bedford Protecting Society in 1867 and continued a member during the remainder of his life. He was an attendant of the Trinitarian Church, and a member of the Wamsutta Club at the time of his death. In the strictest sense of the term Mr. Lawton was a self-made man. He was essentially domestic in his tastes, fond of reading and well informed. He died April 26, 1899, and was buried in Rural cemetery.
On Jan. 5, 1871, Mr. Lawton married Clara P., daughter of Capt. Jacob and Hannah Mendell (Blackmer) Taber, granddaughter of Joseph Taber, great-granddaughter of Jacob Taber and great-great-granddaughter of Stephen and Phoebe Taber. No children were born to this marriage.