Mary Lou (4 months)
On Christmas day in 1929 Mr. Lawson led his family to town to buy them new clothing and to have a family picture taken. This was considered odd behavior because they were not a well-off family. Little did his family know that these would soon be their burial clothes.
Shortly after arriving home Mr. Lawson’s two daughters Carrie and Maybell decided to go to their aunt and uncles house. Their father way waiting for them to pass by their tobacco barn. When they were within range he shot them with a shotgun. Then to make sure they were dead he beat them. He then put the bodies in the barn.
Then he returned to the family cabin where his wife Fannie was sitting on the porch and shot her. His daughter Marie was inside and screamed when she heard the shot that killed her mother. Also inside was Mr. Lawson’s sons James and Raymond. The two young boys ran to hide when they heard the gun shot. Charles shot Marie next and then found the two boys and shot them as well. Lastly, and the saddest part of all this bloodshed is when Mr. Lawson killed four month old Mary Lou. It is believed that the baby was beaten to death.
After the bloody massacre Charles hid in the nearby woods. People began to gather at the Lawson residence after hearing about the tragedy. A few hours after he killed his family the gathered people heard one last gunshot. The gunshot where Mr. Lawson took his own life.
Officials found letters near Charles that he had written to his parents. They also saw where the grass had been trampled in a circle going around a tree near Mr. Lawson’s body. It is believed that he had been pacing around the tree before taking his own life.
The bodies of his family were found with their arms crossed over their chests and rocks underneath their heads.
The only survivor of the Lawson family was the oldest son, Arthur, who Mr. Lawson had sent on an errand right before the killing started. Arthur lived until 1945 when he was killed instantly in a vehicle accident. He was survived by his wife and four children.
Many years later, in 1990, a book was being published about the murders. Among the people interview was Stella Lawson who was the cousin of the Lawson children. Stella admitted to overhearing her mother and other extended members of the Lawson family talking at the funeral about how Fannie had mentioned before her death that she had been troubled about the relationship between her husband, Charles, and their daughter seventeen year old daughter, Marie.
It was also later found out that weeks before Christmas Marie had shared a secret with a close friend, Ella May. She told Ella May that she was pregnant and that it was Charles’ baby. Ella May said that both Charles and Fannie knew about the pregnancy.
There are still things left unanswered after all these years after this horrible event. What did the letters that Charles had written to his parents say? Why did Charles position the bodies the way he did? Why did he spare the life of Arthur?
We will probably never know.