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Frank D. Lawrence


Posted By: Roger A Cox (email)
Date: 5/5/2008 at 20:48:48

SOURCE: “Montana: the land and the people,” by Robert George Raymer; pub. Chicago: Lewis Pub. Co., 1930, 2579 pgs.

FRANK D. LAWRENCE, clerk of the District Court of Rosebud County, was a county official in his native state of Iowa before coming to Montana. He has been identified with the development of Rosebud County as a farmer, public official and a leader in religious and civic affairs.

Mr. Lawrence was born near Corning, in Adams County, Iowa, December 11, 1873. His people on both sides were pioneers of the great State of Iowa. The Lawrence family came from England and were Colonial settlers in Maine. Mr. Lawrence’s great-grandfather, Zachariah Lawrence, was a sailor in early life. During the War of 1812, he and six other men in Maine, having sighted an English vessel, got into a small boat, boarded the ship and captured it and took it into an American port as a prize. The Government afterwards gave him a land grant for this service, and it was eventually used in Adams County, Iowa. Zachariah Lawrence was a minister of the Church of the Disciples, and lived to be about ninety years of age. His son, Thomas H. Lawrence, was born near Belfast, Maine, accompanied his parents west to Warren County, Ohio, where he married Patience Devol, and later he moved to Iowa. He was a brick mason and farmer and helped build the first brick house at Corning.

Clark D. Lawrence, father of Frank D., was born in Warren County, Ohio, near McConnellsville, December 2, 1839, and was a youth of seventeen when, in 1856, the family moved west to Adams County, Iowa. There were no railroads in this section of Iowa at that time and the family went through all the experiences of pioneering in a new country. Clark Lawrence who served in the Civil War from 1860 to 1864, became a substantial Iowa farmer and in many ways was a community leader. He died in 1903. His wife, Sarah Clarke, was born in Henry County, Iowa, March 1, 1845, and died in 1922. Her father went to Iowa when it was still a territory, and died in Henry County, and after his death her mother moved to Adams County, in 1856, and subsequently was married to a Mr. Baldwin. She died in 1895. Three members of the Clarke family still occupy the old homestead in Adams County. The children of Clark D. Lawrence and his wife were: Thomas H., a salesman living at Klamath Falls, Oregon; Horace, whose home was in Los Angeles, where he died of the influenza in November 1918; Manly, who died at the age of ten years; Frank D.; Presberry, who died when four years old; Walter E., who died at the age of fifteen; Ralph B., who died in Los Angeles in 1919; and John L., a plumber at Compton, California.

Frank D. Lawrence was educated in country schools in Adams County, Iowa, attended high school at Corning, and in September, 1891, before he was eighteen years of age, began teaching. For several falls and winters, he taught in rural districts, working on a farm during the summer. He was a student in the Lincoln Normal College at Lincoln, Nebraska, in 1895-96. After his marriage, he engaged in farming for about five years near Corning, for two years was with the Baker Medicine Company at Shannon City, Iowa, in the fall of 1902 returning to Corning, and the next January became cashier and bookkeeper in a local store where he remained four years. Following this came another four years of farming experience, and in 1910 he was elected clerk of court of Adams county, holding that office two terms. He was in the real estate and insurance business at Corning until he came to Montana in 1917.

Mr. Lawrence was a farmer near Forsyth until elected county clerk and recorder, and was chosen to that office three times, resigning during his third term to accept the office of clerk of the District Court by appointment of the county commissioners. In the fall of 1928, he was elected for a four year term as District Court Clerk. Since coming to Montana, Mr. Lawrence has been deeply interested in church extension work. He was a Baptist and teaches a Bible Class in the Presbyterian Sunday School at Forsyth. He is president of the Rosebud Parish, an organization of Christian churches for the purposes of extending religious influences among the rural people of the county. He is also a member of the church council at Forsyth. Mr. Lawrence is a Republican, is a past grand of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, and a member of the Masonic fraternity.

He married May 19, 1897, Miss Leathie Barker of Corning, Iowa, daughter of Melchi and Eunice (Victor) Barker. The Barker family moved to Iowa from Ohio, and the Victor family came originally from New Jersey, but lived for some years in Ohio before going to Iowa. Her mother is still living, at the age of eighty-six. Mrs. Lawrence attended school in Adams County, Iowa. She is a member of the Missionary Society and Ladies Aid of the Presbyterian Church, the Forsyth Woman’s Club, the Farm Home Makers Club, W.C.T.U., and the Rebekahs. Mr. And Mrs. Lawrence became the parents of nine children: Prentiss, now living on a ranch near Forsyth, married Aneita Preston, of Corning, Iowa, and has four children, Batty Jean, Robert Glenn, Harriet Ann and Dale; Gladys is the wife of R. D. Pemberton, a Forsyth rancher, and their children are Raymond, Doris Jean, Leo Carl and Lois Irene; Charlotte Lillian, Deputy Clerk of the District Court of Forsyth, is the widow of Charles William Van Horne, Jr., who died October 29, 1928, and he left one son, Alan Clarke; Leona Elsie is the wife of Ralph Maxfield Lundahl, a bookkeeper at Miles City and has a daughter, Patricia Maxine; Clarke, whose home is at Cody, Wyoming, married Miss Jeannette Davidson of Dillon; Ralph B., who married Jessie Reinecke, is in the automobile business at Forsyth; Frank Laverne, Jr. is at home with his parents; Verda died in 1918; and Rowena Eleanor died in infancy. (end)


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