Happy Saturday to my fellow lovers of all things historic! It has been very hot this week, with temps approaching 100 degrees and accompanied by summer’s ever-present humidity. Ice water and a cold salad for lunch never tasted more refreshing than it has this week.
While going through the recently donated papers of the Lawson family, I came across this photo and tribute to a man, Charles Lawson, who came from his native Sweden and worked hard to become successful in his adopted country of the United States. The photo is a formal portrait of Charles Lawson and his wife Christina (Johanson). He was born June 29, 1845 in Sotterby, Socken, Nabara, Sweden. She was born in Horreb, Socken, Nabara, Sweden on September 15, 1845. The couple married in Sweden on June 29, 1877, and eight years later came to North Easton, where Mr. Lawson took a job as a gardener at the estate of Cyrus Lothrop. You may know it better as the Parker Estate, or its historic name, Unity Close. Lawson spent the next forty-eight years working for Lothrop and Mr. and Mrs. Parker, retiring at the age of 86. Following his retirement, he continued to stay active walking daily to North Easton Center and enjoying automobile rides. When he turned 97 he was the oldest man in Easton. He died the following year, 1944 at age 98. His wife died eight years prior. The couple had nine children, some of whom you might know – H. I. Ingman of Salem, N.H.; Mrs. Ida Jacobson, Charles H. Lawson, Mrs. John Stromvall, Mrs. John Hanson, Mrs. Albin Anderson, Miss Esther Anderson, and Harry Lawson, all of Easton; and Ernest W. Lawson of Brockton. With such a long life came the pleasure of seventeen grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren. The photo was taken in the greenhouse or conservatory on the rear of the Unity Close property.
The writeup titled “An American From Sweden” is from an unnamed source, but may have been from a newspaper in Lynn, MA. where one of his sons, Ernest, was a publisher and general manager. The tribute speaks briefly about what he did, but makes more of a point about the character of the man. As an immigrant from Sweden, he worked hard to contribute to his new country, bringing with him “industry, integrity, health and strength and skill as a gardener.” He clearly did not want to be a burden to anyone. He appreciated the opportunities granted to him, and tried to make sure he could give more than he received. As the column notes in its closing, Charles Lawson passed onto his children the above-mentioned qualities, with son Ernest “carrying out the lifelong teachings of a father who was a gardener for 86 years and a good American to the day of his death.”
Charles Lawson is one story out of the many stories of those who came from Sweden to Easton to seek out a new life. He achieved the “American Dream” and worked hard for it. He made sure he passed that dream along to his children with an appreciation for what they had and what it took to get it. He was indeed a “good American.”
Until next week (and a week closer to fall!),
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Anne Wooster Drury