Alexander Robert Lawton papers, 1774-1952 (bulk 1839-1896).

Creator: Lawton, Alexander Robert, 1818-1896.
Collection number: 415
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Abstract: Alexander Robert Lawton of Savannah, Ga., was a lawyer, Confederate brigadier and quartermaster general, president of the American Bar Association, Georgia state legislator, and U.S. minister to Austria-Hungary, 1887-1889. Correspondence, chiefly 1839-1896, relating to the military, political, and business careers of Alexander Robert Lawton and to members of his family. Included are a personal and plantation diary, 1810-1840, of his father, Alexander James Lawton (1796-1876); a few items relating to A.R. Lawton’s wife, Sarah Hillhouse (Alexander) Lawton (1826-1897); and some materials relating to the law career of his son, Alexander Rudolph Lawton (1858-1936). Correspondence related to Alexander Robert Lawton’s Civil War activities include letters from Robert E. Lee, Varina Howell Davis, Jubal A. Early, and Jefferson Davis; also of interest are battle notes by Stonewall Jackson. Family correspondence includes a number of letters exchanged between the women of the Lawton family revealing their perceptions of the antebellum political and subsequent military conflict. Of particular interest is correspondence discussing sectional conflicts and related matters. Postwar materials include several items pertaining to the development of railroad companies in Georgia. Also included are a letter book, 1887-1889, of Alexander Robert Lawton in Vienna; correspondence, 1921, between William Howard Taft and Alexander Rudolf Lawton, including two holograph letters from Taft; an account of an 1887 sea voyage to Liverpool by Sarah Lawton; a journal of a seven-day walking tour through Georgia and North Carolina; an 1892 diary kept by Sarah Lawton of her social activities, a record of the proceedings of the trustees of Blackswamp Academy, of which Alexander James Lawton was secretary, in 1818; images of Alexander James Lawton; and a signed carte-de-visite of Robert E. Lee.

Repository: Southern Historical Collection

Collection Highlights:  Financial and legal materials include documents relating to the hiring of slaves and freedmen from 1774-1920 (Folders 29-31), and a plantation journal recording the effects of sicknesses among slaves in planting, the provision of supplies to slaves, and slave duties on a plantation near Robertsville, Beaufort District, South Carolina from 1810-1840 (Original journal in Folder 32a; typed transcription in Folder 32b).

Correspondence demonstrates Alexander Lawton’s financial philosophy in relation to the purchase of slaves in1839 (Folder 1); Sarah Alexander Hillhouse Lawton’s wartime concerns over the safety of her slaves from 1860-1862 (Folder 3); the hiring of blacks and whites for farm labor from and race relations in postbellum South Carolina between 1866-1867 (Folder 5).

Several speeches attributed to Alexander Lawton, including “Our Relations with the Negro” (1925) in Folder 38 and “The Negro Problem” (1926) in Folder 41, reveal his views on race relations.