John Jacob "J.J." Lawrence (1827-1893)

Col. J.J. Lawrence
John Jacob "J.J." Lawrence

"History of the One Hundred and twenty-fifth Regiment, Pennsylvania Volunteers, 1862-1863," 1906, Page 24

John Jacob "J.J." Lawrence was born on March 7, 1827 in Washington County, Pennsylvania.

Lawrence served during the Civil War. According to the History of the One Hundred and twenty-fifth Regiment, Pennsylvania Volunteers, 1862-1863,
"At the organization of the 125th Regiment, at Camp Curtin, Harrisburg, on August 16, 1862 he was chosen and commissioned major, which position he held until honorably mustered out at the expiration of service, May 18, 1863.

Lawrence was involved with paint and color manufacturing and was, for a time, a partner of Moses B. Suydam, also a member of the South Fork Fishing and Hunting Club. The parent factory was located on Rebecca (Reedsdale) Street. Originally engaged in the manufacture of Dutch-processed white lead, other products of the paint industry gradually were added as the firm expanded under a series of reorganizations. Successively it became W.G. Stockton and Company; Suydam, Lawrence and Company in 1878, M.B. Suydam and Company in 1885, and the M.B. Suydam Company in 1900. Each company in turn prospered and each served as the spring-board from which the next was formed. The paint products of the M.B. Suydam company were used by many of the largest bridge building firms in Western Pennsylvania, including, Carnegie Steel and Jones and Laughlin Steel.

Lawrence was a director of the Masonic Bank, along with South Fork Fishing and Hunting Club members Robert Pitcairn, E.A. Myers, Aaron French, and John Caldwell.

At the time of the Flood, Lawrence, was vice-president of the South Fork Fishing and Hunting Club. His cottage still stands and serves as a private residence.

Lawrence married Anna Elizabeth.

Here is their Allegheny PA household in 1880:
J.J. Lawrence – age 53 – Lead and Oil Manufacturer, born 1827
Anna E. Lawrence – age 50 – Keeping House, born 1830
W.W. Lawrence – age 21 – Clk Manufacturer
Teresa M. Lawrence – age 19, born 1861
Anna M. Lawrence – age 16, born 1864
J.J. Lawrence Jr. – age 14, born 1866
Mary S. Lawrence – age 12, born 1868

The following was published in Paint, Oil and Drug Review Volume 15, March 27, 1893 upon his death:
"Colonel John J. Lawrence, senior partner of the firm of W.W. Lawrence & Company of Pittsburgh died on the 27th inst. at his residence, Allegheny. He had been gradually failing since Christmas, and his death was caused by a complication of diseases.

John J. Lawrence, son of Hon. Joseph Lawrence, was born near Washington, Pa. March 7, 1827. He was a brother of Hon. George V. Lawrence, member of the legislature from Washington County. While a young man, Mr. Lawrence, removed to near Harrisburg where he entered into business and was married. When the war broke out he entered the service of his country as captain. He was mustered out as the lieutenant colonel of the Hundred and Twenty-fifth Pennsylvania Volunteers. In the battle of Bull Run he was wounded. After leaving the army, Colonel Lawrence entered active business life again. From 1869 to 1875 he was general manager of the Allegheny Valley Railroad. Previous to that time he was general superintendent of the old Erie and Pittsburg railroad. From 1877 until 1882 he was in partnership with M.B. Suydam. At the time of his death he was senior partner of the firm of W.W. Lawrence & Company. Colonel Lawrence was an active member of the Presbyterian Church. At the time of his death a director in the Masonic bank. He leaves a wife and five children; W.W. John J. Jr., Misses Annie and May Lawrence and Mrs. William R. Turner, of Baltimore."

Resolutions on the Death of Col. J.J. Lawrence:
A special meeting of Pittsburgh Oil, Paint, and Drug Club was held on the 29th of last month. Mr. M.B. Suydam, the President stated the object of the meeting was to take action on the death of a later member Col. J.J. Lawrence, whose demise occurred March 27, 1893. After appropriate remarks by the President, he appointed L.H. Harris, J.H. McKelvey and Chas. Zumpft, a committee of draft resolutions, who reported as follows.

Whereas, the members of the Pittsburgh Oil, Paint and Drug Club have learned with sincere sorrow of the removal of Col. J.J. Lawrence from a life of active usefulness.
And Whereas, Col. J.J. Lawrence was one of those who participated in the organization of the club, one whose wise council and hearty cooperation were highly valued at all times, and one whose many excelllent qualities of head and heart endeared him to all who came in close contact with him, eight in social intercourse or a business way.
Therefore Resolved, That the members of the Pittsburgh Oil, Paint and Drug Club desire to place on record at this special meeting called for that purpose, an expression of their high regard for the memory of Col. J.J. Lawrence, their deep sense of loss in his departure and sincere sympathy with the members of his family in their bereavement.
Resolved, That this minute be made a part of the records of his meeting and a copy be sent to his family.

Signed. L.H. Harris
J.H. McKelvy
Chas. Zumpft, Jr.

Lawrence is buried in Harrisburg.

Last updated: February 21, 2022

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