30 March 2012

Mortimer J. Lawrence



The Lawrence family was essentially split in two, financially speaking. One side had siblings that were farmers, nearly destitute, with several children to each family and visibly struggling. On the other was Uncle Mortimer, or "Mort" and Warren. Together, they owned, operated and edited The Ohio Farmer and other monthly publications.


Mortimer liked to travel, and there are several surviving letters and postcards from his journeys in the family archives today. There did not seem to be any tension between the farmers back in Nebraska and the well to do Uncle, at least none that is obvious from their correspondance. Mortimer especially kept in touch with his niece, Carrie Brown, daughter of Frances (his sister) and Oscar. 

Front Image

Postcard from Brazil
Mortimer James Lawrence was born 8 Dec 1843 in Springfield, Pennsylvania to John Horatio Lawrence, Sr. and Sarah Evans. By the 1860 census, the family was residing in Ohio, and this is where he enlisted for service in the 3rd Ohio Cavalry, Co. B. He was captured and served time as a POW in Andersonville Prison. In 1866, after the war, he attended Bryant & Stratton Commercial College in Oberlin, and spent several years working in the news industry in the Cleveland area. By 1887, he owned a home in Denver, Colorado, which had running water and electricity, and he was the President & Owner of the People's Savings and Deposit Bank.

On June 25, 1888, the Charter was issued to the thirty ninth Shrine Temple, the El Jebel Shrine, in Denver. During their first meeting, Mortimer suggested the name, "El Jebel", meaning "The Mountain" in Arabic.

On 20 Dec 1866, Mortimer married Hellen J. Mattison, of Cleveland, and they had four sons: M. Lyman, George Stone, Mortimer William, and Paul Terry.

Throughout his life, he resided in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Washington D.C., New York, and Florida, and had traveled to Brazil, the Bahamas, Europe, and sailed extensively throughout the Atlantic on his yacht. A few days before his death, his former business associate, W.W. Porter, dreamed of it happening. Mortimer passed away on 30 Nov 1922 in Washington, D.C.