Dr. Thomas Morrison Lawton was born on the 8th of July of 1856 in Port Stanley (Elgin County). He was the 5th of 10 children born to James Lawton and the former Margery Sinclair. Dr. Lawton’s siblings included; Mary Ann, George, John, James, Angus, twins Bella and Mary, Anna and another brother named John. In 1870, the Lawton family were farming on the 4th and 5th concessions of Howard Twp in Chatham-Kent. According to the 1881 census, Dr. Lawton is recorded as living with his parents and attending school.
He graduated from Chatham Collegiate Institute prior to attending Trinity College. He graduated M.D.,C.M. in April of 1884. That same year he graduated L.R.C.P. in Edinburgh. After graduation Dr. Lawton was a ship’s surgeon on a boat travelling between England and India.
In May of 1885, he took over the practice of Dr. John Stalker in McKay’s Corners. (Dr. Stalker moved to Ridgetown and continued to practice medicine.) According to the 1928 Ontario Medical Register, Dr. Lawton joined the College of Physicians and Surgeons on the 20th of February, 1885. Dr. Lawton appears in the 1886 Business Directory, as well as the 1889, 1895, 1897 and 1900 Business Directory in Harwich Twp. (Chatham-Kent).
He married Jane Green on the 22nd of August, 1885 in Ridgetown, Ontario. She was born in England on the 13th of January, 1868. Her parents were Sir George Green and the former Jane Haywood. She was the eldest of 9 children. Mrs. Lawton had 7 sisters and 1 brother.
Dr. and Mrs. Lawton were the parents of 6 children; George Morrison Lawton, James Frederick Lawton, Joseph Gladstone Lawton, Thomas Green Lawton, Shirley June Lawton and Margery Sinclair Lawton. Their 3 eldest children were born at McKays Corners and the last 3 children were born in Michigan.
Sometime prior to 1899, Dr. and Mrs. Lawton moved their family to Detroit, Michigan. In 1917 Dr. and Mrs. Lawton returned to Canada and Dr. Lawton practiced medicine in Ridgetown for 3 years before retiring in 1920. Dr. and Mrs. Lawton and their children Thomas, Shirley and Margaret appear on the 1921 Ontario census living at 79 Main Street in Ridgetown.
Mrs. Lawton died on the 31st of December, 1933 in Ridgetown. After the death of his wife, Dr. Lawton moved to Michigan and lived with his son Fred. Dr. Lawton died at the home of his son Fred, 1811 Wiltshire Rd., on the 19th of December, 1940 in Berkley, (Oakland County), Michigan.
Dr. and Mrs. Lawton are buried at Greenwood Cemetery at Ridgetown.
*His sons, James Frederick Lawton, George Morrison Lawton, Joseph Gladstone Lawton and Thomas Green Lawton all served with the United States Armed Services during WWI. His son, Joseph Gladstone Lawton also served with the United States Armed Services during WWII.
**Dr. Lawton’s son Fred and a friend Earl Vincent Moore wrote the fight song “Varsity” for the University of Michigan.
***Dr. John Stalker also appears on the Chatham-Kent Physician Tribute website.