Family Histories of Coleman County, Texas

John Albert Lawrence Family
by Michele Lawrence Manis

From A History of Coleman County and Its People, 1985
edited by Judia and Ralph Terry, and Vena Bob Gates - used by permission

John "Jack" Albert Lawrence first came to Texas in 1866 as a scout for a wagon train.  He was the eldest of four sons of Susan Beatrice (Wiggins) and Thomas Jefferson Lawrence, both born in Georgia, in 1827.  T. J. was elected 1st Lieutenant on his enlistment in Co. E., 19 Battalion Georgia Cavalry.  He died in 1865 about a month before the end of the war.  Jack spent five years in Texas capturing longhorn cattle and branding them "JAL."  In 1871, he sold his herd and returned to Alabama to marry his childhood sweetheart, Nancy Bush Beasley, and they returned to Texas settling in Henderson County where their first child, John Austin, was born in 1875.  The following year they moved to Brown County where their next four children were born at Brookesmith.

Jack bought some land and leased some and ran cattle to the river some ten to twelve miles away, on open range for the next nine years.  According to Jack, "When I first came to Coleman County, the courthouse was under a big liveoak tree up near where the courthouse stands now."  Jack made cattle drives over a period of years.  Nancy and the children accompanied him on some of these drives.  The family was permanently settled on the Trickham property in 1883.  Their children (the last six born in Trickham) were:  (1) John Austin, 1875-1959; (2) George Thomas, 1877-1951; (3) Emma Eleanor, 1879-1969; (4) Columbus Levinston, 1881-1966; (5) (twin) Vander Larkin died 5 days after his first birthday; (6) Amanda Fredonia, 1883-1932; (7) General Napoleon, 1885-1972; (8) Nancy Francelia (Celia), 1887-1970; (9) Homer Albert, 1889-1969; (10) Susan Celestia, 1890-1922; and (11) Chester Amos, 1892-1974.  Jack was a member of the school board at Trickham.  On one occasion, after a disagreement with another member, he took his children out and sent them to "Clabber Hill" for the remainder of the term.  They were returned after the dispute was resolved.

John A. Lawrence is buried in Trickham, as is his wife, Nancy, who died May 19, 1922 at Rockwood, several of their children and spouses; a sister to Nancy and her little son, Irene Missouri (Beasley) Mauldin and Samuel Mancil, age 5, who died in 1892.  The Mauldins had come to Texas from Alabama with Nancy's visiting parents, Eleanor Reed (Powell) and Austin Beasley; two brothers, Everett Bass and George Russell and his family; a sister, Sarah Elizabeth; and William Reed, Jr., son of Nancy’s eldest brother.  Her mother, Eleanor, Bass, and Sarah returned to Alabama within the year; Austin stayed on longer to see what the land looked like with rain.  Russ Beasley settled in New Mexico, however, two of his children, Eva and Amos were born in Trickham.

(1) In the late 1890's, Miss Mary Ann Sullivan came to Trickham to teach school and stayed with the Lawrence family.  She was the daughter of Nancy Rebecca (Paulk) and Benjamin Franklin Sullivan and was born at Camp Colorado.  Mary Ann taught all the younger Lawrence children and married the eldest, John Austin, December 1, 1901.  He graduated from Howard Payne College in Brownwood in 1900.  The first house they lived in was later used as the last post office in Trickham.  Their two daughters, Nancy Juanita and Doris Eileen, were born in Trickham.  John operated the Lawrence General Mercantile, part of which still stands.  Between 1905 and 1910, John bought a store in Rockwood and moved his family there.  Their son, Howard Glenn, was born there.  Besides running the store, John was a director in the Rockwood Bank and was a cotton and cattle buyer.  In 1916, he sold the store to Temple Richard Kennedy, husband to his sister Celia, and migrated to New Mexico.  Later, John sold his land in New Mexico and moved to Canutillo, Texas, and ran a general merchandise store there until his death.  Eileen was postmistress in Canutillo; served as postmistress 22 years, when she retired.  She married Phillip Flint and their children were Mary and Don.

(2) George Thomas worked for two years, prior to his marriage, for his Uncle Russ on the Beasley Ranch in New Mexico.  He "batched" and rarely ever saw another person other than, occasionally, a Mexican passing through.  He learned to speak Spanish.  He married Stella Anna Beavers, December 20, 1904.  Their first four children were born on their place at Trickham: Ione; Carroll Welton; George Burnice; and Grace Estelle.  In about 1912, Stella had three of the children, Ione, Carroll and Burnice, in a buggy.  She stopped to open a gate and the horse started to run away with the children.  A neighbor, John McClatchey, was plowing his field and came to their rescue.  In 1916, they moved to their place in Brown County, six miles southwest of Zephyr, where Narvin Lynn was born and Dorothy Dean was born at their home in Zephyr.  Ione (Brewer) and Geo. Burnice (see G. B. Lawrence) live in Coleman. Narvin, a stock farmer, and his wife, Dava Lois (McCoy), bought a place and moved to Coleman County in January 1944.  They have four daughters: Margaret Ann Burkhart; Linda Lois Williams; Billie Jo Simpson (see W. T. Simpson); and Judy Nell Rowe.

(3) Emma Eleanor was given the name Emery Eleanor by her father, but since her mother did not like the name it was changed to Emma.  She was a school teacher, married George William Powell, September 16, 1880 in Alabama - December 2, 1962 in Rockwood on July 27, 1902.  They moved to Comanche in 1911 and in about 1952 George retired from farming and ranching and moved to Brownwood.  They had five children: William Lawrence, 1906-1909; Mayme Lorene; George Charles, 1912-1919; Nannie Geneva; and Velma Doris.  William Lawrence and George Charles are buried in Trickham.  Emma died October 13, 1969, both she and George William are buried in Brownwood.  (Other than George Thomas, who had his own place before he was 23, all of the sons lived in houses on the Lawrence place, at one time or another, after they were married.  Homer lived in two different houses, six years apart, and Chester inherited the last built house.)

(4) Levinston (Lev), married Mamie Lydia Mullis, January 25, 1903, daughter of Alice (Mayfield) and John Thomas Mullis of Trickham.  Lev worked in the Lawrence store (bought or built) by Jack Lawrence in 1889 or 1890 (and part still standing) until after his father died in 1916.  Lev also ran the telephone exchange in Trickham and Brookesmith until 1922 or 1923.  The family lived in a two-story house near the store where their two sons, Walter Vernon and Leonard Elvin, were born.  The family moved on to New Mexico.  Walter remained in Hobbs and married Emma Gladys Barron.  They had three daughters, Virginia Lugene, Mary Lee and Valetta Ruth.  Walter and Emma were into farming, ranching, ginning and horseracing.  Leonard and his parents moved on to California and are deceased.

(5) (twin) Vander Larkin died 5 days after his first birthday.

(6) Amanda married John Thomas Vollintine, June 16, 1901.  Amanda was postmistress of Trickham in 1914; the post office was in the front room of the house they lived in and was later moved to Santa Anna (still standing).  They had two children: Fannifaye and Homer Lee who had two daughters, Johnny Faye and Lisa.

(7) General married Ivy Myrtle Hunter, December 8,1907, in the Baptist Church in Santa Anna (see W. W. Hunter).  Three of their five children were born in Trickham before the family moved to Fort Sumner, New Mexico.  They are: William Albert; Elgene; Louise; Effie Vera and G. N., Jr.

(8) In a wedding on January 4, 1911, at the last built Lawrence home, Celia married Temple Richard Kennedy, son of Rebecca (Kirklin) and William Alexander Kennedy.  Their first home was on a ranch at Whon.  In 1912, Kennedy bought an interest in the Lawrence Mercantile and moved to Rockwood.  Their four children were born there: Clova Earl; Edna Eugene; Leman Brown and T. R., Jr..  Temp continued to buy cattle and kept them on his ranch in the Gouldbusk area.  In 1916, he bought out John’s interest in the store.  In 1929, the Kennedy family moved to Brownwood where the children attended college.  In 1930, Kennedy died of an accidental gunshot wound while climbing through a fence on his Gouldbusk property.  Both Celia and T. R. are buried in Trickham.  Leman Brown and his wife, Marian Louella (Bynum), live on and operate the Kennedy ranch at Gouldbusk.  They had four children, all born at Gouldbusk: Nancy Barbara (McDuffie); Leman Melton (see Coursey Family); Carolyn (Yeatman); and Pamela Sue (Freitag).  The Kennedy daughters, Clova and Gene married and moved away from Brownwood.  Each had teaching careers.  Gene married a McCaleb and has three children, lives in San Antonio; Clova married Lockett Adair Bryson, son of Annie (Williamson) and Edd Bryson, a pioneer ranch family of McCulloch County.  Lockett is deceased, but Clova is very active running their ranch at Rochelle and working with womens' organizations.  T. R., Jr., has an outstanding engineering career and owns and operates the Kennedy Registered Hereford Ranch; also raises and races Quarter horses at Georgetown.  He has eight children.

(9) Homer Albert married Kathryn Ellen Taylor, January 3, 1912, in Coleman. Kathryn was also called Kate, Katie or Kay.  I do not know when she met my father, but it may have been at a church revival meeting; both Lawrence and Taylor families were members of the Church of Christ.  My brother, Larry, (Elton Carl) was a mischievous youngster and still recalls getting "what for" for climbing on top of a shed near the house where I was born.  A clothes line had been attached from the shed to the back porch, and in a misstep onto the clothesline, he fell.  He had been shouting to a buzzard flying overhead to come back and get his baby sister (thinking it was the stork that brought her).  He had been prepared for my birth, but never quite forgave me for being a baby and a girl!  Our father had a barber shop in Trickham when he married.  Two days a week he went into Santa Anna to another shop, leaving the Trickham shop in the hands of an assistant.  Homer also worked in the oil fields and the family, prior to my appearance, were living in Burkburnett.  They came back to Trickham for my father to settle the estate, according to his father's instructions.  Larry was born near Mukewater Creek, October 6, 1912, and before they lived in Burkburnett.  My father delivered me at Trickham, but I didn’t learn this until I was about 35 years old.  Jack Lawrence died in Mineral Wells, where my father and one of his brothers had taken him for the mineral baths, in hopes they could make him feel better.  After the estate was settled and Chester and family were with Nancy, we moved to Ranger.  Homer worked in a refinery a short time then we moved to Rockwood, living there about 5 years, where he ran a garage and cafe.  From there we moved to Brady and he worked at an automobile agency.  He bought the Dodge-Plymouth-Chrysler Agency in Menard and a place at Calf Creek, between Brady and Menard in 1929.  After the crash in 1929, people stopped buying cars, my father moved to the place at Calf Creek.  My parents were divorced and Homer married (second) Mabel Corabelle (Baugh) Swaney of Menard; a sweet lady loved by all who ever knew her.  Homer is buried in Trickham.  Larry had finished school and was in college in San Antonio when our parents divorced.  I grew up with my mother in San Angelo, where she worked as a bookkeeper and part time teacher until I finished school.  She then established an infants' wear business in Odessa until her retirement in 1963.  She was extremely talented and personally designed all seasonal designs.  She died September 4, 1980 in California (see Lee-Sharp-Taylor).  Beside their two children, there are four grandchildren and three great grandchildren.

(10) Susan Celestia married Frank Wilson Jones, December 10, 1912.  He was in the oil business.  They had one child, Ruth. Celestia died in 1922, buried in Trickham.

(11) Chester Amos was born in the last house built in 1891.  (The five children before him were born in a house on Mukewater and a Mrs. Lindley had been midwife at the birth of his sister, Celia, and perhaps with the others as well.)  On January 8, 1913 in Winchell, Chester married Laura May Grantham, daughter of Ida (Chandler) and Daniel Webster Grantham.  These four, born in Trickham, are buried there.  Chester had left Trickham for the oil fields and their first child, ma Faye, was born in Winchell.  When the Lawrence estate was settled in about 1919-20, Chester inherited, as his part, the last built house, with improvements, and 160 acres.  They moved back to Trickham in 1920, to be with his mother.  A son, Jack Chester, and a daughter, Eleanor May, were born there.  Chester was not interested in farming or ranching and in 1927 leased the property and continued his life long career as an independent oil driller.

(Images to be added)

Mr. and Mrs. Homer A. Lawrence and Elton Carl (Larry), 1914

Katie (Taylor) Lawrence, daughter Kay Michele and Mrs. Nancy Lawrence

Standing: Amanda (Lawrence) Vollintine; seated: Thomas J. and John Albert Lawrence, brothers

George Thomas, Ione and Stella (Beavers) Lawrence - 1906.

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This page last updated July 17, 2007
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