Remembering Susan’s Mother on Mother’s Day

May 11, 2013 § 2 Comments

Susan Lawrence’s generous spirit and commitment to all segments of the community can be directly related to the example set by her mother Mary. Last week I described Mary’s involvement with the Lincoln Colored Home (Click here if you missed it). She was also instrumental in establishing the Springfield King’s Daughters’ Home for Women.  I explain in Chapter 7 of Susan Lawrence: The Enigma in the Wright House:                                                 

King's Daughters Organization Logo

King’s Daughters Organization Logo

 Mary Lawrence had been on the executive board [of Springfield King’s Daughters] which oversaw the purchase and establishment of the home on North Sixth Street in 1895.  With funds earned through bazaars, performances, and donations, the organization completely renovated an existing building with all the modern conveniences available to accommodate 20 women over 60 in their declining years.  The refurbished home was furnished by individuals and circles of women from churches in Sangamon County. Mary Lawrence equipped the kitchen with her own funds and donations from local hardware merchants.

When Susan and her mother opened their new Frank Lloyd Wright designed home to the community with nine days of gala events in December of 1904, the King’s Daughters were again beneficiaries of the Lawrence family.  A two day bazaar that included a country store, a Japanese tearoom, booths, and games was held in the Lawrence House.  The event netted $334 for the renovation of the King’s Daughters’ Home that had been struck by fire in 1902.

Mary died March 12, 1905.  I describe her funeral in Chapter 8 of Susan Lawrence: The Enigma in the Wright House:

A newspaper reported that the mourners “came from many walks of life and showed that Mrs. Lawrence in her dealings and charity drew no class or color line distinction, the gathering at the funeral being a lesson in the equality of man.” Residents of the Colored Old Folks’ and Orphans’ Home and the King’s Daughters” Home for Aged Women knelt at the casket beside members of the Springfield Woman’s Club and the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union.

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