Gardner-Lawhon Cemetery Historic Marker also known as Marmaduke Gardner Lawhon Gardner near Beaukiss, Texas

The cemetery is located in Williamson County, just north of the Lee County line, between Beaukiss and Lawhon Springs. From Taylor, take TX 95 south and after you cross over the bridge over the railroad tracks, turn left (east) on Walnut (FM 112). Cross IS 79 and continues on FM 112 to the intersection with FM 619. Turn right (south) on FM 619 and continue about 14 miles on this road until you come to the Down Home Ranch on your right. Take the road into the ranch and go past the traffic circle and then follow the road north until you see the cemetery on your left.

This cemetery was created on land donated by Marmaduke Gardner, who, along with his wife, is buried in this cemetery.

The cemetery is maintained by Dennis Awbrey, who led me to the cemetery and is a descendant of both the Gardners and the Lawhons buried here. He has a wealth of information about the people buried here.

link of interest
photo by John Christeson


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GPS Coordinates:

Latitude 30.42719, Longitude: -97.26630

Marker text

(Buried 1/2 mile NW of here). Born in Tennessee on June 15, 1811. While very young learned the printing trade and worked at it in some of the principal cities of the United States. Came to Nacogdoches, Texas, in November 1835, in answer to pleas for volunteers for Texas army. Was pressed into service publishing the "Texas and Emigrant's Guide," with essential war proclamations. Also printed handbills, patriotic songs and legal documents. His newspaper was one of several printed in Texas during war for independence, 1836. In 1839, moved to what is now Jefferson County and engaged in cattle ranching. Served as captain of a ranger company. Was county's Chief Justice during the days of the Republic of Texas. Moved to Bastrop County in 1861, where he tried farming; then moved to Williamson County where he died February 14, 1884. As a newspaper publisher and printer for the Army of the Revolution (1835-1836), an Indian fighter, frontiersman and judge, he contributed much to the early development of Texas. In 1840, David Lawhon married Nancy Carr, a daughter of one of Stephen F. Austin's "Old Three Hundred" settlers. Their eleven children carried on their pioneering spirit and tradition.

Subject: David Ervin Lawhon --

DAVID LAWHON - - Fighting Frontier Printer

The tough Tennessean came to Texas to bear arms, but he fought his battles with type and newsprint instead.

The founder of the family name and fortunes in Texas was David E. Lawhon a native of Tennessee and a printer by trade. He came to Texas in the latter months of 1835, though he had stopped a short time at Natchitoches, Louisiana.

He joined the Texas Revolutionary Army, but when it was found that he was a printer, he was released from military duty in order to publish a paper on behalf of the proposed new Republic. This was issued by him at Nacogdoches and was one of the first newspapers published in Texas. About 1839, he moved to what is now Jefferson County. He lived in Jefferson, Orange, and Hardin Counties until 1858, when he moved his family to Bastrop County.

During his residence in Jefferson County, while Texas was a Republic, he served as chief justice of the County, an office corresponding to that of County Judge.

Soon after locating there, he married Nancy Carr, a daughter of William Carr, one of the earliest settlers of Jefferson County.

In the colony called Texas, the means of communication were painfully slow and dangerously unreliable. A printer could make the difference between organization and chaos. The authorities located an old press and a few fonts of type in the warehouse of a local merchant. They had been stored there since 1829, when a short-lived bilingual newspaper, The Mexican Citizen, had folded.

Private Lawhon repaired the ancient press, sorted the jumbled type, and became Printer Lawhon. His was the only operating print shop west of the Brazos River.


Before the month was out, he was publishing a weekly newspaper, The Texas and Emigrant's Guide.

This and Gail Borden's Telegraph and Texas Register, printed at San Felipe, would be the only Texas newspapers published throughout the revolution.

The printshop et Nacogdoches was in demand for many uses. Proclamations and notices from civilian and military leaders were printed for distribution throughout the Colony.

Handbills announced the visits of government buyers seeking horses, guns, corn, and supplies for the army.

Appeals for volunteers and funds were sent to New Orleans, Nashville, Cincinnati, and other U. S. centers of support for Texas. Even new war songs for the growing army to march by and to stir the populace were published in leaflet form.

David Lawhon set his type, inked his forms, and operated the cumbersome little press throughout the war. His was an important role in holding the people together until the final victory.

After the war he stayed on at Nacogdoches, abandoning his printing business to serve as a Captain in a ranging company fighting Indians on the frontier.

He was wounded three times, but never critically.

In 1858 Lawhon sold his Jefferson County lands and moved to Bastrop County, near Elgin, Texas. Later he bought lands in the Post Oak islands area of Williamson County. There he died in the year 1886. His grave is in a little family cemetery some fifteen miles south of Taylor, Texas.

supplemental on David Ervin Lawhon

David E. Lawhon. Few families have a longer or more distinguished record in Texas history than that of the Lawhon's, and they were among the pioneers in the southeastern section of the state in the vicinity of the now popular city of Beaumont.

The founder of the family name and fortunes in Texas was David E. Lawhon, a native of Tennessee and printer by trade. His arrival in Texas was in the latter months of 1835 or early in 1836. He had stopped a short time at Natchitoches, Louisiana, and while there was a member of the reception committee which entertained Col. Dave Crockett, when that celebrity passed through on his way to Texas, where he soon afterward met death in the Alamo. David E. Lawhon joined the Texas Revolutionary Army, but when it was found that he was a printer, he was released from military duty in order to publish a paper on behalf of the proposed new republic. This was issued by him probably either at Natchitoches or San Augustine and was one of the first newspapers published in Texas, the old Texas Telegraph possibly having antedated it. About 1839, he moved to what is now Jefferson County. He lived in Jefferson, Orange, and Hardin Counties until 1886, when he moved with his family to Bastrop County. During his residence in Jefferson County, while Texas was a republic, he served as chief justice of the County, an office corresponding to that of county judge. David E. Lawhon died in 1886

Soon after locating in Jefferson County he married Nancy Carr, daughter of William Carr, one of the earliest settlers of Jefferson County.

Just prior to the battle of San Jacinto, the settlers in East Texas became alarmed at the approach of the Mexican army under Santa Anna, and a large number of them fled to the East bank of the Sabine River. They remained there until they learned of the defeat and capture of Santa Anna and his army when they returned to their homes. William Carr and his family were among the settlers who were in this “Stampede” or Runaway.”

John c. Lawhon, a brother of David E. Lawhon, was also well known in Jefferson County and East Texas. The John C. Lawhon League in Jefferson County was granted to him prior to the Texas Revolution. The “Lawhon Woods,” the famous hunting ground, is located on this land and named for John C. Lawhon.

I. W. Lawhon, an attorney of Beaumont and member of the firm of Crook, Lord, Lawhon & Ney, is a grandson of David E. Lawhon.

Marmaduke Gardner

Birth: Aug. 8, 1812
South Carolina, USA
Death: May 4, 1879
Lee County
Texas, USA

1850 Census: resided in Clarke Co., Miss
Married: 18 Nov 1832 in Barnwell Co, SC
Several of his children married into the D.E.Lawhon family.

* * * *

The Reverend Marmaduke Gardner, known as Father Gardner, was born in South Carolina, August 8, 1812; was converted to Universalism by a traveling Irishman in 1830. His grandfather and father were both named James. The grandfather was a hatter in Dublin, Ireland, and came to America in 1770 and was a soldier in the American Revolution. The father was a farmer and helped fight the British in the War of 1812.

Rhoda Caroline Ussery was born in North Carolina, Montgomery County in 1814.

When a small child, her parents moved to South Carolina, where she met and married Marmaduke Gardner in 1833. She was eighteen; he was twenty when they started out, two children, we would say now. In 1836 they moved to Mississippi and lived there eighteen years.

Marmaduke Gardner had very few advantages of school but was very studious and read all the good books he could find. He was converted when he was twenty-two years of age. He joined the Baptist Church and studied to become a minister, but could not get reconciled to the teachings of eternal punishment of the wicked and not taking communion with all Christians. He worried and studied over the question, so it was feared he would lose his mind; then a traveling Irishman stopped for the night. The traveler had some literature on Universalism, and grandfather became interested. He stayed for two days and nights. They read and talked, and grandfather was converted. The Irishman's name may have been William Ives, a Yankee peddler, who was in North Carolina at that time.

In 1840 Marmaduke Gardner organized a Universalist Church in Mississippi. On September 17, 1848, he organized a church in Clark County, Mississippi. Some of the members' names giver were those of his brothers, his daughters, and their husbands.

In 1854 they moved to Texas, settling here on this land, one and a half miles from Lawhon Spring, known then as Sam Smith Spring, but later bought by Uncle David Lawhon and is now owned by Oscar Lawhon, his grandson. Grandfather organized the first church in 1855 at Lawhon, and on October 6, 1878, he ordained Rev. Joe Lawhon and Rev. J.S. Dunbar to preach Universalism.

Grandfather Gardner was a blacksmith, ginner, leather tanner, and shoemaker, repaired broken furniture and rigged saddles.

In reading you will find he was a Master Mason, Charter Member of his lodge, a good husband, father, preacher, and best of all a good Christian.

 You will find his Irish wit too as you read; once he was debating his belief with another preacher. They had a timekeeper to hold the watch. Grandfather spoke. First, The timekeeper got so interested that he forgot to tell time. Then Grandfather asked, "How much time do I have left?" The timekeeper looked at his watch and replied, "The watch stopped." Grandfather remarked, "I knew I was making a powerful argument but did not know it would stop a watch." Once Aunt Kate Lawhon went with him to preach, and they spent the night. On the way, they passed a peach tree in full bloom. He spoke of its beauty. On the way home, some animal had ruined it. He said, "There is a lesson - if we allow evil to overcome us, it can ruin the beauty of your life in one night." Grandfather made his sermons impressive by using illustrations that stayed with you. They had a family of nineteen children. Fifteen lived to be grown, five boys and ten girls who all raised families.

They had triplet boys named Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

Two died with stomach and bowel trouble in their second year. Isaac Gardner lived to be nineteen and the first buried in this family cemetery here at the old home. After living together for forty-six years, Grandmother passed away on July 30, 1878, in her sixty-fourth year, and Grandfather on May 4, 1879. He was sixty-seven years old.

Grandfather had a brother, Washington Gardner, who was a Greek scholar and helped him a lot with his studies. Grandfather was a huge man, grandmother average size woman.

Lela (Lawhon) Taylor
July 24, 1949

(bio by Cory Collins)

Family links:
Rhoda Caroline Ussery Gardner (1814 - 1878)
Amanda J. Jones (1837 - 1892)*

Frances Esther Gardner Barber (1839 - 1883)*
Rhoda Caroline Gardner Lawhon (1845 - 1917)*
Judith Ellen Gardner Lawhon (1852 - 1917)*
Isaac Gardner (1854 - 1872)*
Lucy H. Gardner Lawhon (1856 - 1907)*

*Calculated relationship
Marmaduke Gardner Cemetery
Williamson County
Texas, USA