William Lawson was born 26
June 1731 at Monstrose, Scotland. He was the only son of a widow lady (1).
No information is available on his father. Some believe his name was Robert
and may have been killed during the Scottish uprising which culminated in
the fatal route and disperson of the followers of Prince Charles Edward
Stuart, "the Pretender" to the throne of Great Britain at the Battle of
Culloden on 16 April 1746.
At this battle the British
army, under the command of the Duke of Cumberland, killed 1000 of the 5000
Scottish troops in less than an hour and pursued the fleeing rebels,
persecuting and prosecuting them and members of their families (2). William
Lawson was one of many young Scotsmen arrested and placed in prisons in
Confined at Chester and
Carlisle, the scottish rebels became a threat to the English crown. On 25
September 1746, one Richard Gildart of Liverpool signed an agreement with
the English Treasury to transport these prisoners to the plantations
(American Colonies) at the rate of 5 pounds per head. Nearly 200 prisoners
were transported to the Colonies (3).
On 5 May 1747 104
prisoners went aboard the "Johnson" and arrived 17 July 1747 at Port Oxford,
MD. The Captain was William Pemberton. William Lawson and 80 other
prisoners went aboard the "Gildart" and arrived 5 August 1747 at Port North,
Potomack, MD. The Captain was Richard Holme(4) These prisoners were bound
out as apprentices (slaves) to various plantation owners in which the
Captains of the ships were paid handsomely in tobacco.
William Lawson was bound
out to a Virgina planter. After about a year he ran away from his
enslavement. This put a price on his head and he had to seek refuge
somewhere. It is assumed by this writer that William had relatives here in
the Colonies and he sought refuge with them. The Lawson family was already
established in Virginia and North Carolina that were of Scottish origin. It
is assumed by this writer that William was offered sanctuary with his
cousins that came before him.
During this period of
refuge, William Lawson met and married Rebecca. Her maiden name might be
Travis. They had several children. All known children were born in North
Carolina(5). They were:
1. William Lawson II b,
1763 m. 4 Jan 1788 to
Nancy Baker, Montgomery County, VA.
2. Travis Lawson b. ca 1766 m. 4 Jan 1788 to
Maysie Simpkins, Montgomery County, VA.
(note: William and Travis were witnesses to
to each others marriage along with one Thomas
Mallett who might be a brother-in-law.) (6)
3. Sarah (Sally) Lawson b. 1770 m. 14 Aug 1794 to
4. Robert Lawson born before 1774 m. 4 Mar 1794 to
5. Betsy Ann Lawson m. 5 Aug 1789 to William
6. Rev. Jeremiah Lawson b. 1773 m. 3 Mar 1799 to
(1) Matilda Wiggins (2) 1811 to Hannah Chanslor.
Jeremiah helped pioneered the Methodist movement
in wilderness Kentucky, Missouri and Ohio.
Possible children were:
7. Rhoda Lawson b. before 1780 married John Wilson.
8. Catherine Lawson b. in the 1770s married Jessee
9. A daughter that married Thomas Mallett.
There may be other children.
William Lawson never
realized that one day hew would be facing the Brittish army again, but this
time, in a new and different land. The Declaration of Independence set him
free and facts are established that he swore allegience to the state of
(Virginia) and the American cause on 13 Sept 1777 as a member of Captain
Daniel Trigg's Company of the Montgomery County, Virginia Militia. This
service connection eventually led the Scottish Rebel to face the Brittish at
the Battle of King's Mountain in South Carolina 7 October 1780.
William Lawson lived a
long and turbulent life. He died in Scott County, Va on 18 April 1826.
Rebecca followed him in death on 16 January 1827(7) Both are buried on a
beautiful Knoll in the Snowflake community near Gate City, Va. Some of his
children lived in Scott County, Virginia. Some moved to Kentucky and to
Tennessee. Descendants are scattered from coast to coast.
(1) Wood Family in Virginia
by M>B> Wood published in
1893 by J.B. Lippincott Co., Philadelphia, PA
(3) National Archives, Washington, D.C. and National
Genealogy Society, 1975 Quarterly Publication
(5) Census Records and other sources.
(6) Montgomery County, VA mariage records.
(7) Wood Family Bible Record.
Other sources are court
records in Russell County, VA and Scott County, VA