logo Joseph Lawson


For this information I am very grateful to Brian Lawson who traces his descent from Joseph's older brother, James - he has traced back the Lawson family on the Island to James Lawson who arrived on the Island around 1600, probably at Ramsey as the family settled in Andreas.  

Joseph Lawson, unlike many other Mormon Converts, came from a fairly well off family - Joseph's parents were Edward Lawson & Margaret Cottier who had a bakery at 22 King Street. Edward died from drowning on 28 Oct 1850. His body was found at Groudle on 19 November that year.

Margaret took over the business and by all accounts ran the family with a more than firm hand, which could well explain why Joseph left home. while not wealthy, the family were certainly comfortable. At his death Edward owned 10 or 12 properties around Strand street & Drumgold Street Douglas.

His journal is in private hands - the extracts here are quoted by permission of Brian Lawson . Although mainly concerned with family matters they offer an otherwise unknown glimpse of the Island Mormon community post 1850 after whch date they received little notice in the press.


Obituary Deseret Evening News, 23 January, 1896 Joseph Hall Elder

Joseph Lawson Ogden, Utah, Jan. 23, 1896
Elder Joseph Lawson was the son of Edward Lawson and Margaret Cottier Lawson. He was born at Douglas, Isle of Man, December 9, 1824. His father was a miller and wholesaler in grain, flour, etc., and was the proprietor of a large corn exchange. He did an extensive business on the island and elsewhere. Joseph received his education in his native town, and was for a number of years his father's right hand man. He kept the books and conducted the entire business of the establishment, and thus relieved his father of much care and responsibility. After the fullness of the Gospel as preached by the Elders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints had invaded the island, Joseph Lawson became an attentive and earnest student of Mormonism. He was ultimately convinced that it was true and on February 27, 1844, was baptized by John Muncaster [? if same John Muncaster the watchmaker]. On December 9, 1845, he was united in marriage to Miss Eleanor Garnett [sic Garrett]. She was the daughter of Hugh Garnett and Catharine Christian Garnett. She was born at Douglas, Isle of Man, on November, 1823. In 1846 she was baptized at Liverpool by Joseph Hall.

Soon after their marriage they emigrated to the United States and settled in New Orleans, La. During one of the terrible scourges that visited that city Mrs. Lawson was prostrated, and on July 27, 1853, she succumbed to the yellow fever. She had scarcely reached the prime of life, being not 30 years of age when she died. There were no children of this marriage.

After the death of his wife Brother Lawson returned to England, and from there he went to the Isle of Man. He remained on his native island a little over one year doing what he could to convince his friends and neighbours that the fullness of the Gospel had been restored to earth by an angel sent from heaven for that purpose. On May 25, 1854, he was ordained an Elder at Douglas under the hands of J. W. Coward and James Cross. (He had previously been ordained a Priest Oct. 8, 1847). He labored in a local capacity in the ministry till 1855,

On March 31st of that year he embarked on board the large sailship Juventa, bound for Philadelphia with over 500 Mormons on board. From Philadelphia he went forward by railroad and steamboat to Mormon Grove, the outfitting point for that year's Mormon overland emigration. It was located about three miles west of Atchison, Kansas. He reached the "Grove" May 27, and remained there until June 7, when he commenced his overland journey to Utah. There were fifty-three wagons in the company, under the command of Captain John Hinley. He reached Salt Lake City, near sundown, September 4th, and on the 9th of same month he took to himself for a wife Ruth M. Greenway, the ceremony being performed by Bishop Abraham Hoagland. On Nov. 2nd, he with his wife came to Ogden, which place since that time they have made their permanent home. Here he engaged in agriculture; also in opening up canyon roads, building canals and other water courses for irrigation and mill purposes. He held stock in and assisted to dig out the Ogden canal. On June 23, 1857, he was ordained a Seventy and joined the Fifty-third quorum, which he faithfully magnified. He labored as a home missionary in the Weber Stake for several years, preaching the Gospel in the various settlements as well as in Ogden city.

At a general conference held at Salt Lake City, April 7, 1866, he was called to go on a mission to Great Britain. On the 17th of the same month he was set apart by President John Taylor and others, and on the 24th he started on his mission. He traveled on foot, being "being without purse or script" and suffering many hardships and often making the cold ground his bed a night, he reached Chicago, Ill., on June 21st, where, for lack of funds, he slept out of doors four nights. From Chicago he went to New York arriving there August 4th, still without money. Here he was compelled to sleep out nine nights. He walked in and around New York for some considerable time to earn means to enable him to further prosecute his journey to his destination. On September 26th he took passage on the steamship Palmyra, bound for Liverpool, England, where he arrived October 8th, and reported at the headquarters of the British mission. He labored in the ministry in Liverpool until the 16th, when he was appointed to preach the Gospel on the Isle of Man. There he continued doing missionary work until November 27th [This date should be the 17th - see diary excerpts], when he received another appointment to labor in the Welsh district, under the direction of Elder Abel Evans. Again, on December 21st of the same year, he was sent to travel and preach in the Pembrokeshire conference under the presidency of Elder William White. In the latter field his ministry was continued until June 10th, 1868, at which date he was appointed to preside over the Norwich conference. In addition to the above named places Elder Lawson did a great deal of effective missionary work in Worcestershire, Herefordshire and many other towns and villages in England, and wherever he went he made a host of kind friends.

During the above named periods he labored incessantly, notwithstanding he had become much reduced physically. In the fall of the year 1869, he was honorably released from his mission to return home. On Sept. 22nd, he took passage on board the steamship Manhattan, with 200 Latter-day Saints, bound for New York. He was appointed to preside over the company. They arrived at that point Oct. 7th, and then proceeded at once by railroad for Utah. He arrived at Ogden city Oct. 16th, where he rested after his long and toilsome journey. On December 29th he was ordained High Priest by President Lorin Farr, and was secretary of the High Priests quorum of the Weber Stake for about seven years.

On May 25, 1889, Elder Lawson received another letter of appointment to fill a mission to Great Britain. This time he was accompanied by his wife. They arrived in New York about the 1st of June, and on the 4th sailed from this port on the steamship Wisconsin, and on the 18th landed in Liverpool. From there he was again sent to the Isle of Man; but in consequence of severe physical debility, he was unable to travel, and he held what was called fireside preachings in the houses of the Saints. While there he also was engaged in searching for the genealogies of his ancestors, in which he was successful. This mission was a very brief one, owing to his sickness.

On August 31st, 1889, he, with his wife, boarded the steamship Wisconsin and sailed for Liverpool for New York, ariving there September 14th. On their return trip, and when about four miles from Lynchbury, they had a narrow escape from death. The train was wrecked, several passenger were severely injured, but Elder Lawson and wife escaped uninjured. On September 23rd they arrived at Ogden again safely. For seven years previous to his death Joseph Lawson was confined to his house with palsy. He was completely paralysed and unable to help himself in any manner. In his sad affliction his faithful wife nursed him until his death affectionately. He passed peacefully away early New Year's morning, 1896, and was interred in the Ogden cemetery. He was a man in whom veneration for the Deity was strongly developed. He was a devout worshiper, and had the most implicit faith in the justice, truth and mercy of God. He was himself a just and upright man, beloved, honored and esteemed by all who knew him. He was true to his God, to his country and its institutions. He was devotedly attached to his family and was clearly beloved by them. He died in full faith that he would rise again on the morning of the first resurrection.

 Excerpts from "Pioneers and Prominent Men of Utah"


Born Dec. 9, 1824, Isle of Man, Eng. Came to Utah September, 1854, Bishop Hogland company.

Married Ruth M. Greenway (daughter of John Greenway and Elizabeth Price), who was born Dec. 6, 1826, and came to Utah with husband. Their children: Joseph b. Jan. 16, 1856, d. June 8, 1866; Brigham b. Jan. 18, 1858; m. Susan Poole; Sarah b. Dec. 6 1860, m. Lamoni Grix; Benjamin b. Jan. 17, 1862, d. June 15, 1864; Ephraim b. Aug. 16, 1864, m. Mary Scott; David Cottier b. July 6, 1866, m. Orrilla Ann Stephens Feb. 5, 1889; John b. May 18, 1871, m. Martha Trott March 7, 1895

Secretary of seventies 20 years and high priests 15 years. Black Hawk war veteran. Colonizer. secretary and treasurer of Ogden Bench canal 1858-66; secretary and treasurer David Heber canal 1873-94. Assisted in bringing immigrants to Utah 1866-69 from Liverpool, Eng. Farmer


The following excerpts are from the diary of Joseph Lawson during his mission to Great Britain, 15th October, 1866, to 10th of January, 1868. He left Salt Lake City on foot on the 24th of April, 1866, with no money or possessions, arriving in England some five and a half month later on the 8th of October.


Isle of Man, 1866

October 18

During my stay in Liverpool, I wrote to my sister & brother-in-law in Douglas. They came to see me on the 12th and remained until the 16th, on which day I went with them to Douglas. Previous to going, I spoke to brother O. Pratt who seemed pleased I should go and gave me a letter of appointment to Labour on the Isle of Man. Since I have been to Douglas I have visited some of the old saints who was pleased to see me. I have also visited my brother Thomas and family who have three children, two boys and one girl, who have treated me kindly. My sister and brother in law are kind. They have six, three boy and three girls. October 22 I have stayed with my brother Thomas and visited Braddan Church Yard and feel rather dull.

October 23

At my brothers and have visited Onchan Churchyard.

November 2

Got a conveyance of stock that was given by my mother to George Mc Neil, and recopied and recorded the same; by which I will get a little money to help me.

November 5

Got a large family Bible that was my father's, from my sister and gave it to me.

November 6

Went from Douglas towards Ramsey. Got as far as Ballajora to visit my cousin Ellen Cottier, married to John Corkill. They have seven children. They appeared glad to see me, insisted on my stopping overnight, which I did but didn't like it very well. They have sufficient to make them comfortable if they know how.

November 7

Called this morning to see my cousin Thomas Cottier. He was not at home, therefor didn't stop. Continued my walk on to my Uncle's. He lives about four miles beyond Ramsey. He didn't know me at first, but soon recognized me and was glad to see me.

November 8

Walked back into Ramsey. Called on the way to see my cousin Catherine Cottier. She has been dead near two years, married to a man named John Sawar. My Uncle Thomas Cottier was more comfortable than the rest I have spoken of, but he and his wife have no children to trouble them.

November 9

Spent this morning at my sisters and in the afternoon visited my Aunt Catherine. Had a great chat with her in talking over old affairs.

November 10

Spent this morning at my sisters, and in the afternoon went to see some new houses my brother-in-law has built, and is finishing in Duke [St]. They have also moved, having purchased the late Andrew Croughow's house and premises in Duke St. I have thought of visiting my wife Ruth M. Greenway's friends in South Wales, and think at present to go there next week.

November 13, 1866

Wanted some money from our sister Mc Neil, as much as £10 and could only get borrowed £30 from my brother which he was willing to do without a note therefor, and could have mustered £100. I was proud to see him have so much, but respecting my sister and brother-in-law, I don't feel so well.

...then follows Welsh trip


Isle of Man, 1867 June 22

I received another order to send the money to my wife for which I sent her last fall which she failed to receive. Brother Benson agreed to visit the Isle of Man with me and we left for there at noon. We arrived after a pleasant passage of five and a half hours. On Douglas pier we have kindly been received by my brother Thomas Lawson. After tea we had a ride on the Crescent. After which we had a walk and visited my Aunt Catherine, who was glad to see me. She has been ill all winter and wished us to administer in the laying on of hands according to the order of the church. We did so, Brother Benso[n] being mouth and prayed for her. We had a good bed provided for us by her, but we preferred stopping at the Crescent.

June 24

Today we visited Peel and the ruins of the old castle. I though the country poor and getting worse. We had dinner with John Kelly. After we returned, we called on my sisters in Circular road. McNeil and her daughter Margaret was from home. Went to father Cowens and had tea, after which we walked around the town and returned to the Crescent. I will here say we have enjoyed ourselves pretty well.

June 25

Today we visited and had a settlement of affairs with McNeils middling satisfactory. We also had tea and remained until about 9:00p.m. McNeil presented me with a pair of shoes and a pair of slipper to brother Benson. I will also mention sister Quinn, and Margaret Cannell gave me and brother Benson some contributions.

June 27

Brother Benson is not well this morning and has not got up from his bed. I have been engaged in writing and prepared writing for a settlement with William McNeil and also for my brother Thomas by which my brother upon payment of £30 came into possession of my sisters half of Logh quarry property as an offset against rents due my sister as executing to my mother's on my brother Edward's. Half which has been given to Thomas by Edward. Engaged in conversation and had tea at my sister's. She gave me three pairs of sox and a pocket handkerchief, I also received money on account of what was due me. McNeil, my sister and their children seem to be quite attached to us and we remained until a late hour this evening.


Isle of Man- 1868

November 21

This morning at 8:30 left per steamer for Douglas, was 5¾ hours from port. After landing visited brother Cowins for something to eat. Also my sister and stopped at my brother's in a new house built by him in the Lough Quarry.

November 22

Remained at my brother this day, it being Sunday. Afternoon visited and had tea at sister Robinsons and remained in conversation some 4 or 5 hours.

November 23

This day attended the sale of my half house, which after a competition it was knocked down to a Mrs. Sanaghem, widow. She having occupied it for a number of years. Sold for £64-11s-0d

November 24

Visited my sister, but felt rather low, having no inclination to visit much.

November 25

Visited Mrs. Moore's my brother wife's mother and a sister of my brother's wife with whom I spent some three hours in conversation.

November 26

Received £10 deposit according to the conditions of the sale for three months credit and practised some in writing a bill of sale.

November 27 Returned to Liverpool per steamer

 Mormon Immigration CD ROM has several entries

1850 Josiah Bradlee (Feb) & Argo (March) - Deposit returned; travelled on the Olympus March 1851. Also travelled back to USA on Juventa 1855. Noted as President of company on Manhattan 1869;

Manx Note Book      [Genealogy Index]

see Mormon Converts

Any comments, errors or omissions gratefully received The Editor
HTML Transcription © F.Coakley , 1999