Mary (Mamie) Lawton,
("Mrs. Walton"), was born Mary Craig,
March 31,1855 in Louisville,
KY. Since the late1860's the family
lived in Pewee ("Lloydsboro") Valley at
Edgewood. Mamie married
Henry Ware Lawton on December 6, 1881. A devoted wife, she insisted
on following her husband wherever he went to serve,
from the Indian Wars until his death in the Philippines in late 1899. She was
devastated by his death in battle, and continued to wear the black of
mourning for the remainder of her life.
While on her "tour of duty" with the General, she was already known
as a writer and somewhat a war correspondent back at home in the
United States with her frequent letters from the front published in
newspapers across the country. Life well could have continued
for her in this manner if General
Lawton had not become the only General of the Spanish American
War to have died in combat. We may never have known her as the
"Mrs. Walton of the Little Colonel books.
When Mrs. Lawton returned to the
United States in 1900 in relative poverty without the General's
income for support, and to pay off the debt for their home in Redlands, California,
she moved to
Louisville (and a house that is
a center for much of the story of
The Little Colonel's Holidays.)
A national subscription for the family of the fallen hero helped pay
off the debts and for a new home, The
Beeches, in 1901. Because of the close knit circle of
friends and relations in Louisville and Pewee ("Lloydsboro") Valley,
Mrs. Lawton became a close friend of Annie Fellows Johnston and with
her charm and imagination, a significant character and contributor
to the stories.
Mrs. Lawton later in life, in 1928, Annapolis, MD
From The Sunday Herald Post
December 23, 1928
Photos by Standiford
lived at "The Beeches" until 1911 when she
sold the house to Annie Fellows Johnston and moved
with her family to Annapolis, MD.
She died on January 5,
1934 in Annapolis. She is buried next to General Lawton at
Arlington ( Section 2, Grave 841).
More on Mrs. Lawton can be found in the following Links:
Mrs. Lawton at Home,
an article from Harper's Bazar, April 28 1900. This appeared a
few months after General Lawton's death and just before Mrs. Lawton was
introduced to us as Mrs. Walton in The Little
Colonel's Holidays. In fact, some of the pictures in the
article might give a pretty good idea of the decor of the "Home of a Hero"
described in Chapter 12 of the same book. Mrs. Lawton would not remain
long at Redlands. Soon she moved to
Louisville, where she stayed for about a year until "The
Beeches" was completed.
In her own
Letters from Mrs. Lawton ("Mrs.
Walton") to Annie Fellows Johnston
Family & Group
Photos showing Mrs. Lawton:
Group Photo near Fort Huachuca, Arizona, 1880s,
includes the ladies. This photo is from a private collection of
General Lawton's great granddaughter, and is used with her
gracious permission, and is thus to be found nowhere else in
With her daughters in the Philippines
(on one of
these, General Lawton actually posed the children)
General and Mrs.
Lawton, with son Manly, at
Calamba, PI, the morning after the city was captured
The Family in Mourning. Taken
in Louisville, 1900, shortly after their return from the
course, you can read all of the Little
Colonel books from The Little Colonel's Holidays to The Little
Colonel's Knight Comes Riding. In each of those the
fictionalized version of Mrs. Lawton, aka Mrs. Walton comes
alive with much the same personality she had in real life.