Since its original printing in 1952, the publication of the Handbook of Texas has been made possible through the support of its users. As an independent nonprofit, TSHA relies on your contributions to close the funding gap for the online Handbook and keep it a freely accessible resource for users worldwide. Please make a donation today to preserve the most comprehensive encyclopedic resource on Texas history. Donate Today »


Annexation Map
Proposed Texas Annexation Map, 1845. Image available on the Internet and included in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107.
Blockade Runner
Lawrence served as a blockade runner, the ship pictured is the USS Harriet Lane converted to a blockade runner. Image available on the Internet and included in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107.

LAWRENCE, JOHN WILLIAM BLOUNT (1815–1909). John William Blount Lawrence, lawyer and soldier, the son of Peter Payne and Ann Blount Lawrence, was born in Edenton, North Carolina, on August 8, 1815. He served as a cabin boy on a ship bound for the West Indies and at fifteen worked in a mercantile establishment. In 1837 he moved with members of his family to Mariama, Florida, where he lost his fortune speculating in cotton. In June 1841 he left on a visit to Tennessee, Alabama, and Mississippi and in October arrived in Houston, Texas. In March 1842, at the time of the Rafael Vásquez invasion, he joined a company of volunteers from Milam County and marched to Columbus. He subsequently studied law, was admitted to the bar, and left the state, serving for a time before 1844 as a deputy clerk at an Alabama county court. He came back to Texas in time to vote for annexation in 1845 and practiced law in Matagorda until 1847, when he moved to Houston and entered the employ of land agent Jacob de Cordova. Lawrence was later engaged by James Morgan to investigate land titles. Lawrence married Mrs. Louisa J. Tryon, the widow of William Milton Tryon, of Houston in 1857; they had one child. During the Civil War in 1862 he twice ran the federal blockade en route to British Honduras, and in 1864 he was captain of a company of Harris County home guards. Later, he supplied commissaries for Texas troops across the state line in Louisiana. In 1866 Lawrence was commissioned assistant assessor of internal revenue for Harris County but resigned when the "Iron Clad" oath (see RECONSTRUCTION) was required, and resumed his land business. He died in Houston in March 1909.


William S. Speer and John H. Brown, eds., Encyclopedia of the New West (Marshall, Texas: United States Biographical Publishing, 1881; rpt., Easley, South Carolina: Southern Historical Press, 1978). Vertical Files, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin.

Image Use Disclaimer

All copyrighted materials included within the Handbook of Texas Online are in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 related to Copyright and “Fair Use” for Non-Profit educational institutions, which permits the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA), to utilize copyrighted materials to further scholarship, education, and inform the public. The TSHA makes every effort to conform to the principles of fair use and to comply with copyright law.

For more information go to:

If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.


The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Handbook of Texas Online, "LAWRENCE, JOHN WILLIAM BLOUNT," accessed July 17, 2019,

Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Modified on May 9, 2017. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

Get this week's most popular Handbook of Texas articles delivered straight to your inbox