Two names, many shared histories
In October 1837 ‘The Gleaner’, a local Canadian newspaper, published an account of the events surrounding the shipwreck of the Canton, that month.
the information had been forwarded to their offices from “our correspondent at Harbour Maison, Magdalen Islands, 28th October”. This correspondent writes the account as a first hand witness; he had also interviewed survivors of the shipwreck.
The following is the account:
“the brig Canton, of Whitby, Garbutt, master left Gaspe, Oct 19, with a cargo of deals*,homeward bound, and struck on the west end of Brian Island. The Captain,accompanied by the boatswain, carpenter, and two seamen, left the wreck in the gig to land his wife and child on Brian Isand, since which they have not been heard of.
About an hour after the gig left the brig, the mate, three seamen and 2 boys, left with the jolley boat, but could not effect a landing at Brian Island – but did here in safety.
On the following morning the brig was driven over the east side of this island, laying among the breakers, where I left her on Wednesday last.
On returning from the wreck I observed a boat on the shore, which induced me to land, and it proved to be the gig with Canton on her bows; it had been picked up by the inhabitants, with four oars and a trunk of wearing apparel,etc.
As the mate informs me that nothing was taken in the gig when she first left the brig, I am led to suppose that they first effected a landing and returned, when in endeavouring to reach the shore a second time, the boat must have upset, and all hands perished.
I have dispatched a vessel to Brian Island to bring off any person that may be there.
29th – Since yesterday the bodies of two seamen have been picked up on the beach, and I am now using every means to obtain the remainder- Keefler’s Reading room”
A brief gravestone message, some rather battered Regency indentures and a watercolour miniature: all these have led to an historical exploration that has taken me back to both Whitby, Yorkshire, and Canada in the early nineteenth century, and may yet lead me back to the time of Captain Cook.
High up on the windswept cliff which is St Mary’s churchyard in Whitby there is a now totally eroded gravestone that stands as an 193 year old record of a local family, the Lawsons. One later descendant of this family, a workhouse master who styled himself ‘Sir’ John Lawson, lost his son to the sea in 1910, as the gravestone starkly commemorates. His great-great grandfather, Philip Lawson, born in 1729, who died at the remarkable age of 104, is also buried on this spot. It was the Lawsons buried or named here, that led me to a journey of discovery about my own great-great-great grandfather, Captain William Garbutt, master mariner of Whitby.
JOHN LAWSON, 1st BARONET of Brough Hall, died 1698. Inherited from his brother Henry. He was a Captain of horse in the Royalist Army. His Estates were confiscated by the Parliamentarians after they had won the Civil War and he went into exile with his family. Upon the restoration of the monarchy his estates were restored and he was made a baronet in 1665 by Charles II.
Married Catherine Howard, (1637-1668), sister of Charles Ist Earl of Carlisle.
They had many children but only two surviving sons who married and had issue:
ZACHARIAH Garbutt (1752-1805) mariner of Whitby, father of Cpt William Garbutt
ELEANOR Garbutt (1764-1819) wife of above and mother of Cpt Wm Garbutt
Surviving Children of the above couple with spouses:
1.Zachariah Garbutt (1791-1833) eldest surviving son of above, brother of Cpt Wm Garbutt
Mary Lawson (1799- 1883) wife of above, sister in law of Cpt Wm Garbutt.
Children of this couple: several, including John Lawson Garbutt, seaman, born 1829, died in 1859, lost at sea on ship ‘Rosshire’.
The Lawson family history is complicated and has been subject of disputes over the centuries ( see post ‘Discord over Inheritance’). This first list indicates the line of the Lawsons who inherited estates and property and who were given the status of baronets which had been recognised ‘officially’.
EDMUND Lawson , Died 1551 Esquire of Byker & West Matsen manors in Northumberland & Durham
Married Margaret Swynhowe
Son and heir:
RALPH 1547-1623 Heir to above estates.
Married Elizabeth, heir to Manor of Burgh ( Brough) near Catterick, Yorkshire. Knighted by James I in 1603
Son & heir: