Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Charles W Lawson (1893-1922): Killed in a Mine Explosion

Charles "Charlie" W. Lawson married Mary Frances Crockett on 31 August 1921 in McDowell County, West Virginia. He was 28 years old at the time of their marriage and she was 16. Charles worked as a coal miner and a few weeks before their first anniversary, he was killed by dynamite in a mining accident in Coalwood, a town in McDowell County.

It was a tragic story, but sadly not all that unusual as mining was one of the most dangerous occupations in the country at the time.

And then I found this article about Charlie in the Charlotte Observer:

From The Charlotte Observer, 12 August 1922, page 12


Tragedy Seems to Have Followed Two Generations of the Lawson Family, of Mount Airy

MOUNT AIRY, Aug. 10 -- The remains of Charlie Lawson arrived here Monday night and were carried to his former home in Virginia Tuesday for interment. The young man was killed in a mine explosion in Coalwood, W. Va. His death calls to mind the sad tragedy of the Lawson family, several years ago, about Christmas time, the elder Lawson, father of Charles, disappeared from his home and after an absence of a few weeks suspicion took form that there had been foul play. A search was made and the body found buried in a field near the home, the field had been plowed to cover signs of the grave. The father was a heavy drinker and was cruel to his wife when under the influence of liquor and the boy was tried for murdering his father. He was sentenced to 18 years in the penitentiary. About a year ago he was pardoned and went to West Virginia where he married. The people in the neighborhood petitioned the governor for his pardon, some feeling that he was not guilty, and if guilty there was great provocation.

Charlie's father was William Swanson Lawson and according to his death certificate, he was last seen on 23 December 1913. The cause of his death was a fractured skull and lacerated brain caused by murder. An article in the 19 January 1914 edition of The Robesonian stated that Charlie, aged 20, and his brother, Samuel, 17, confessed but said the murder was in defense of their mother.

Charles likely served 7 years in the state penitentiary before he was pardoned in 1921.

His wife, Mary Frances (Crockett) Lawson was pregnant at the time of his death and gave birth to a daughter, Naovea Claire, on 11 March 1923.

She married my third cousin twice removed, Theodore Roosevelt Barrett[1], in July 1926. They had four children together before Mary Frances died on 15 January 1936, at the age of 30, of puerperal sepsis, a postpartum infection following the birth of their youngest child.

Theodore married Mary Frances' sister, Marjorie Claire (Crockett) Jarrett, a widow, on 19 July 1939 in Buchanan County, Virginia.


[1] Theodore Roosevelt Barrett descended from our most recent common ancestor as follows: Benjamin Waldron >> Thomas Waldron >> Augustus Spotts Waldron >> Mary Jane (Waldron) Barrett. Waldron was most often spelled Walrond before the Civil War.

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