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Letters From Rolla K. Dawson and Lee O.Dawson,
Author of
Through Three Centuries With a Dawson Family

These letters have been transcribed by Shirley E. Williams. and contributed for use by the MDGenWeb Project.

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by Shirley E. Williams

"The circumstances under which I received L. O. Dawson's book were really unusual. I wrote to Carol Dawson asking if she had any record of my Nathan P. Dawson. She replied that she did not and asked me to send her all the information I had. I did, and she answered and said she had made up hundreds of new reference cards on my family and would let me know if she ever ran across Nathan. It was a very pleasant exchange of letters, but she had no information for me on my family.

Then, in 1997, her daughter Kay wrote to me that her mother had died and she was cleaning out her things. On the L.O. Dawson book there was a card taped that said to see the note inside. Inside, Carol had instructed Kay that she wanted me to receive the book. Kay said that if I would pay the postage, she would send me the book. Naturally, I said yes, of course, and the book was mailed to me.

After a cousin sent me Nathan's son James' letter and could tie Nathan to his parents Abraham and Mary Dawson in Westernport, MD, the book became a real treasure.

When asked to lookup information, I got the book out and remembered that there had been folded pages of typewritten information and lots of notes still in the book when I got it. I had made a special file for them.

I got out my file and read the pages, and they include three letters from Lee O. Dawson and two from his brother R.K. who he says in his preface had helped him in the research on the book. Lee Dawson talks about the research he is doing for a revision of his book, but he says he is too old to write another book and will put all the information he finds (and many people sent him a great deal of information in response to his book) into a genealogical library somewhere for the benefit of all who might be interested.

Sadly, when L.O. Dawson died, upon the advice of the family lawyer, all 14 cartons of his revision research were destroyed. A surviving family member said that the president of a large national firm had taken exception to something in the book and had called with threats of lawsuits, etc., and it was deemed in the best interests of everyone for the material to be destroyed.

1090 Twentieth Avenue
East Moline, Ill. 61244
1 November 1984

Mrs. Carol Dawson
1014 East Grand
Eau Claire, Wisconsin 54701

Dear Carol,

I have been re-reading my original notes taken through the years when I was collecting Dawson Information. I wrote down all the Dawson information I could find and later determined whether that information pertained to my Dawson relationships. There was much of it I found and copied that at the time I did not believe it applied to my Dawson line. I have been finding in later years and further research that I had information in my note books that should have been used.

Just recently I have reread some of your letters and I have been wondering if I have information that pertains to your husband's history. From what I know of his history I do not know of any connection to my family that I have not found and his ancestors may be among that group of persons.

If you will send me his ancestry as much as you have I will be glad to include a research of my data to see if I can make any connection or if I have any information pertaining to him.

I have just read your letter of last June. You mentioned that he might have come from "maybe Hampshire County, Virginia." I have information on some Dawsons in Hampshire County and of many Dawsons in nearby Allegany County, and of a few Dawsons who married Ravenscrafts. If he knows the names of his Dawson a few generations back, where they lived, or when and where they married I will carefully review my notes and let you have any facts concerning him I may find if any.

As I told you some time ago, my revision of "Through Three Centuries With a Dawson Family" is being written but I am doing it very little at a time and it pertains to many parts of the book and the materials I am adding to the first book will be more detailed, will include many additional persons, and those changes will be scattered all through the old book and the data will have little meaning unless it is read in connection with the original, little meaning to any one but myself.

But if I can find any connection of your husband I will be happy to make the information available to you.

Lee Dawson (signature)

P.S. My wife and I just returned from about 3 weeks out in Vermont and New Hampshire so you see I am not rushing my genealogy interests.


1090 Twentieth Avenue
East Moline, Ill. 61244
22 June 1984

Dear Carol,

I was pleased when a letter came from you, and am glad you are still interested in researching the Dawson ancestry. I suppose when one spends a great amount of time on that subject it becomes almost impossible to lay it aside for very long.

That field of thought and activity occupies much of my time and I get much satisfaction and pleasure from it. Yes, I am working on a revision of Through Three Centuries With a Dawson Family, but I do not expect to publish another book. When and if I get the revision fairly completed I expect to place the information in some Genealogical Library for the benefit of any one who might become interested.

The beginning of the revision begins with Thomas Dawson who settled in Virginia, a part that later became Maryland, and helped Claiborn settle the Island of Kent, even before Lord Baltimore sent his people to begin the Province of Maryland.

This Thomas's first son Ralph was born on Kent Island in 1632 and other children came along, but I have not been able to select all of them. I am certain that besides Ralph he had a son John, the one with which I started the book originally, and a daughter Elinor.

Therefore, there are others in what was the first generation of John in the book. The descendants of Ralph who remained on the eastern shore of Maryland for many years add much to the revision. Then I have obtained a quite complete history of another son of John, Charles. That addition has increased the number of people involved a great deal.

In addition to these additions I have received from people who bought the book additions to their families, dates, marriages, etc. When they wrote in I filed every addition so all of that is available and will be added as I come to the proper places. I had a few corrections but almost none really. I do not know whether the ones who bought the books were trying to be kind or whether they did not know if errors were possibly there.

I wish I could help you with your James Dawson. I have several Ravenscrafts in the family, but there is not one by the name of Kessiah. And I do not find any James who married a Ravenscraft nor one who was killed by Indians. If I come across any such connections or possible such connection I will get in touch with you. The Ravenscrafts I have are of Hampshire County, Va. or Allegany Co., Md.

Lee (his signature)


1090 Twentieth Avenue
East Moline, Ill. 61244
19 July 1984

Mrs. Carol Dawson
Eau Claire, Wisconsin

Dear Carol,

Your letter about Robertta Slagel arrived some time ago and I just tonight got to answering her letter which I received recently. From her letter it was readily seen that she is one of the Dawsons included in my book. But I had to tell her that there are no books left. They have been gone for quite some time.

Of course the revision I am working on now is not in any order that parts of it could be sent to her. I referred her to DeMoines, Iowa and to Salt lake City Libraries where there is a copy of the book. However she has about all of the information included in the book. Just the parentage of Nicholas is not there.

You have suggested that perhaps there are some data I could have zeroxed and send to you that would be helpful in your work. But really my data is not in an arrangement that I could make copies for you. And when I get it put together it is between other data listed in the book and, of course, the numbering is entirely different and would not be of any benefit to you if I copied the new part. Furthermore, the additions will be too great that I could not spend the time to put it in shape so that copies could be zeroxed. That would be as difficult as rewriting the book.

I am sorry to have to say that, because I would be gland to send you anything possible. Another thing, perhaps, I should say, I do not work as fast as I once did.

Good luck to you, and thanks for the information you have sent me from time to time.


Lee (his signature)


L. O. Dawson had this to say in his preface about his brother's contribution to his book: "Rolla K. Dawson, brother of the author, participated in the research that made this family record possible. He not only assisted in gathering the materials but was very active in helping analyze and organize the data. His helpful criticisms and suggestions have been greatly appreciated. Our work and study and travel together for some thirteen years have been most enjoyable")

**There is no indication on the letters who "Ruth" is.**

Williamsport, Indiana
14 October 1984

Dear Ruth -- received your letter a few days ago, and glad to hear of your visit to Denver and your visit with your cousin there.

Concerning the Elizabeth Dawson she has some record on. Our records of the earliest ancestor in our Dawson Fimaily was Henry Dawson, who lived at Breedon, in present day Leicester Co. I understand that Leicester Co. was formerly a part of Yorkshire Co. This Henry Dawson had 4 sons and no doubt also had daughters, but we did not get their names. These 4 sons were - John, Thomas, William and Griffin. Griffin being the eldest. Griffin remained in England, but Thomas, John and William migrated to Virginia. John settled in Henrieco Co, Va., Wm. settled in Isle of Wight Co, Va. Thomas was living in 1632 on Kent Island in the Chesapeake Bay (then a part of Va.) Thomas was with Clairborn the trader there at that date and his son Ralph was born there in 1632. (Archives of Maryland.) Of course about this date this part of Virginia was given to Lord Baltimore for the new colony of Maryland. This Thomas is our first Dawson ancestor in America.

So, in our ancestry it runs like this using just first names:
Henry, of England
Thomas, of Kent Island, Chesapeake Bay
John who married Rebecca Doyne - lived in Charles Co, Md.
Nicholas who married Mary Done, and lived in Prince Georges Co, Md.
George, who married Eleanor Lowe, lived in Fayette Co, Pa.
John, who married Elizabeth Harrison (Rev Soldier) died in Urbana, Ohio.
Henry, who married Mary Stotler, lived in Morgan Co, Va. (later W.Va.)
Thomas, (Confederate Soldier) m. Catherine Hovermill, came to Ill, 1867.
Christian, b. 1833 - in Va. married Lucy Aulabaugh - came to Ill in 1872.
Thomas S, b. 1860 came to Ill. 1872 - married Ellen Droke. Lived Macoupin Co.
R. K. Dawson, b 1901 - Macoupin Co Ill. married Frances Knight - came to Ind '42.
Thomas K, b. 1930 Married Helen Dotaon, lives in Warren Co. Ind.
Children - Robert, Ellen and Diana. All live in Warren Co. Ind.

It would seem possible, if not probable that Elizabeth Dawson b. 1595 in England might be a sister to the boys named in that family of Henry of England. It seems that she would be of about their age, and she did come to America evidently about the time they came. We have never found when Thomas of Kent died, but his son Ralph married twice and lived in Talbot Co, Md, filling up that area with a lot of Dawsons Descendents. There are just hosts of Dawson on the Eastern Shore we found. Also we found much mention of Talbotts there to, and they were mainly Quakers then and did leave records in meeting records.

We have had a gloomy damp week now, and are hoping to see the sun pretty soon. I hope you are keeping well, and that Thomas Talbott is doing OK now. We have heard that he was better now, and hope can continue that way. Wilburn I believe remained much the same - and not much improvement.

Thanks for writing - I'm glad you are still interested in hunting your ancestors, and can visit cousins in different places.

R. K. Dawson


Williamsport, Ind.
9 Dec 1985

Dear Ruth - your Christmas letter and card came a few days ago. Glad to hear from you and what all you are doing. Thanks too for sending the info on the Edward Dawson lines, as the lady in Bloomington has in her book of records. I had corresponded with Mrs. Audry Sanson of Frankfort, Ind, and also with Mrs. Eileen Dawson of Decatur, Ind, some years ago and they supplied me with their lines. Mrs Rubright of Lafayette, and also Mrs. R Booher of Lafayette have given me the same information concerning the Edward Line. Mr. Rex Dawson of Maumee, O gave me his recording of that family too (he's a descendent) and they all match up very well. Rex does not say probably that Edward Dawson was born in Dawsonville, he says he WAS born in Dawsonville. I believe the Edward line is pretty well verified, but of course there perhaps are a few items of contention.

Weather is still pretty messy, isn't it? They say here that we had 10.95 inch of rain in Nov. October was nice tho, so most harvesting was finished I believe and much of the fall work. Its been an unusual year - the earliest spring, perfect growing summer, record crops, lowest prices, wettest November, and now are we to have the snowiest winter? I hope not. Snow isn't nearly so nice as it used to be.

Louise came over and spent Thanksgiving with us. I think she is doing well, and looks better than for awhile. She said she will spend Christmas with her sister-in-law Eula Rose Martin at Jamestown, Ind. I believe Eugene is OK now too and seems to feel much better.

That was quite a flood in Parsons, wasn't it. So many places have had floods, hurricanes, etc. and earthquakes - so guess we have been some lucky, anyway. We were in Parson, Thomas St. George etc. and along the Cheet River Valley a couple times. Its a beautiful country. We went up on Saddle Back Mts and were above the clouds. A good many of our Dawsons lived in Randolph Co, and around Elkins. Of course western Allegany Co Md was half Dawson at one time I believe. Have you read or seen Ruth Allman's books "In Tucker County" or "Canaan Valley" Both give a good picture of life there. Then the book "Annals of Blackwater" by Brown - tells of the life of the first immigrants there when it was wilderness.

Tom and Eldora stopped by for a few minutes visit some time ago, as they returned from The Covered Bridge Festival, and it was good to see them. They both seemed to feel better than when I last saw them.

Glad to have the statistics of Berniece's death, and the names of children (twins) belonging to son Robert. Will list them with Bernieces' page. In your 4 hours of sticking patients with that needle - you were really going after them to get over 100 stuck. Did any of them stick back?

Hope you are keeping well, and won't get snowed in at Christmas time.

R.K. & Tom & Helen (signature)


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