Saturday, July 11, 2015

Resurrected and Reposted

Pulled out of the archives from six years back. Minor editing.

Genealogy led me to this bit of family lore, which I have combined with a bit of historic information I have gleaned from various sources. My maternal grandmother's grandfather served in the USArmy under Winfield Scott during the Mexican campaign. It is said that Grandfather, Spencer Lawson, was with Scott during the incursion into Mexico. It is historic fact that Scott took Mexico City. What role Private Lawson played in this is unknown, other than the fact that he survived and returned to his native Hawkins County, Tennessee.

Prior to this war and on a visit to New Orleans in 1846, General Scott was defeated at chess by nine-year-old Paul Morphy. He lost two games to the boy.. Scott was not amused. Though Scott was a Virginian, he maintained his loyalty to the United States when the Civil War rent the nation. He is credited with the "Anaconda" plan by which the South was eventually strangled into submission.

Meantime, when the War Between the States started, Grandpa Lawson said, as did his general of the Mexican campaign, "I will not take up arms against the flag I fought under." It is said that he joined the Union forces; but while home on leave, he was betrayed by a relative, captured by the South and imprisoned at Andersonville. I visited Andersonville a few years ago and sought to verify this. While I found Lawsons from Hawkins County, there was no record of Spencer Lawson having been there. It is a known fact, however, that wherever he was held he was paroled due to illness, records of which I have obtained. He died in military hospital in Annapolis in 1864. His widow was eventually able to draw a pension for his service in the Mexican War amounting to twenty dollars a month.

Scott was the Whig Party nominee for President in 1852. He was defeated by Democrat Franklin Pierce. He died in 1866.

[Sources: Morrell-Palmer Family Records, National Archives, Wikipedia]

Word of the day: loyalty


Secondary Roads said...

An interesting story well told. Genealogy and family history can be fun, there is the down side, however. They warned me the county genealogical society that I might find unpleasant surprises up that tree. They were right.

vanilla said...

Chuck, yeah, well there are some crooks and cads up my family tree, too. We did not choose our ancestors, those no more than we chose the dukes and earls. The which I don't have, so far as I know.