Friday, April 16, 2010

Finding 17th century Origins

Joseph LawtonSt. Michael's Churchyard, Charleston, South Carolina. The lives of so many persons is told in graveyards when a loving member of the family inscribes personal details. This is what we are seeking. Oftentimes it is the tombstone that relates a person's contribution as a parent and to the community. It seems that the oldest tombstones provide the best details of past days. How else would we know that Joseph Lawton was a native of Saddleworth, England (Yorkshire) and that he spent his days in Charleston as a merchant? Downtown Charleston has a number of old churches and graveyards dating back to the 17th century. In those days slate was used, and this material is extremely difficult to read. The only way that I can read some of the letters is to trace my finger inside the indent and try to put together a name and date. Another problem, after time the slate breaks easily. Look around the cemetery. Even the best kept graveyards have buried stones or they are placed against the wall, fence, or somewhere nearby. The first settlers to Charleston is told in churchyards and it is here that the story is told.

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