Thomas Oregon Lawton, Jr. enlisted in the army after Pearl Harbor at the age of 17, was assigned to the 36th Infantry Division and fought in the Italian Campaign and in the invasion of southern France. After the war, Lawton entered Duke University where he received his B.A. in 1947 and his Juris Doctor in 1950.
He practiced law in Allendale for nearly 50 years and served as president of the Allendale County Bar, as attorney for the Town of Allendale for 36 years, and as attorney for the County of Allendale for 25 years. His practice was varied and general and gave him a remarkable knowledge of the people and places throughout the 14th Judicial Circuit.
His special interest throughout his life was South Carolina history, and he served as chairman of the Tricentennial Commission, which planned the state’s 300th birthday celebration in 1970. He was also a past president of the South Carolina Historical Society and the Huguenot Society. In 1976, he received the South Carolina Tourism Award for his work in developing and promoting the state’s history.
Lawton is survived by his wife, Bess Macaulay Lawton, and three children, Thomas, Margaret, and Angus.