THOMAS LAWRENCE, Jr., of the firm of T. Lawrence, Jr., & Co., merchants, of Belle Plaine, was born in Hamburg, Sussex Co., N. J., Sept 24, 1844, and is a son of Thomas and Margaret R. (Taylor) Lawrence. Thomas Lawrence, Sr., was born in Sussex County, N. J., Dec. 30, 1814, and is descended from an old colonial family, who emigrated from England in the early settlement of America, and whose connections embraced prominent historic characters of Revolutionary times. His grandfather was a son-in-law of Lewis Morris, a brother of Robert Morris, whose munificent and liberal contributions to the colonies in the darkest days of their struggle, saved their army from dissolution. Two of his ancestors were Mayors of Philadelphia under the Crown.
The mother of Thomas, Jr., was born in the North, but was reared on her father's plantation near Sparta, Ga. Her father was a Southern planter of Irish descent. His mother was descended from the Linns, a prominent family of New Jersey. Thomas Lawrence, Sr., and wife, were blest with eleven children, six sons and five daughters, and at this writing, 1886, the family circle has not been broken by death. During the late war Mr. Lawrence took an active part in encouraging enlistments on the side of the Government, and being a Democrat, enjoys the satisfaction in his declining years of seeing his party restored to power.
Thomas, Jr., was educated at the Model School of Trenton, N. J., of which he is a graduate. He began his mercantile career in 1862 as store boy, with W. H. Chardavoyue, of Warwick, N. Y., a branch store of R. E. Edsall & Co., of Hamburg, N. J. Two years later, in March, 1864, he came to Iowa for the same firm and spent three years as a salesman in their branch house at DeWitt, Clinton County. April 1, 1867, he was admitted to partnership, and was chosen manager of their branch house at Belle Plaine, which was established that spring, under the style of T. Lawrence, Jr., & Co. For nineteen years he has been at the head of the house at Belle Plaine, and the business has been very successful during that time. The house is one of the most important in Benton County. This company have four other large mercantile houses in the country, with the style of the firm varied for convenience.
Mr. Lawrence was married, at DeWitt, Clinton Co., Iowa, June 5, 1867, to Miss Louise M. Butrick, daughter of R. P. and Emily (Hobbs) Butrick. Mrs. Lawrence was born at Lockport, N. Y. Two children were born of their union — Margaret E., March 4, 1868; and Helen B., Aug. 23, 1877; both born at Belle Plaine.Mr. Lawrence is a Democrat, and like Iowa Democrats in general has not been conspicuous as an office-holder, still he has served several years as Town Recorder, and for fourteen years has been Chief of the Fire Department. In fact he might be called the father of that organization. He is a Knight Templar Mason, a member of Hope Lodge No. 175, A. F. & A. M., of Mt. Horeb Chapter No. 45, R. A. M., and of St. Bernard Commandery No. 14, K. T. Mr. Lawrence is a thorough business man, and is one of the leading men of the county.
Source Citation: "1887 Benton County, Iowa Biographies" [database online] Benton County IAGenWeb Project. <http://iagenweb.org/benton/>
Original data: "Portrait and Biographical Album of Benton County, Iowa." Chicago: Chapman Brothers, 1887, p. 348-349.
Transcribed by: Sue Soden. Submitted to the Benton County IAGenWeb Project on February 18th, 2009. Copyright © 2009 The IAGenWeb Project.