The next-to-youngest son of James Chamberlain and Sarah Runnels Barton, two transplanted E. Tennesseans who married in Johnson Co., MO in 1841 and later relocated to TX in the late 1840s. Lawson married Susan Olive Frey in Caldwell Co., TX, in 1882 before moving northward to settle in Haskell Co. They were the parents of ten offspring: Marvin Terrell; Alvin Cleveland; Robert Pleasant (Pleas); Cora Pearl; Henry Lafayette (Fate); Dora Ethel (Dutch); Nell Ollie; Lonnie Lawson; Ara Burnice (Dink); and Alton Parker (Jack). When they finally retired from farming in the mid-1940s, Lawson and Ollie moved to Lubbock in order to live closer to several of their children.
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