Lawton, Louis Bowem, MAJ

 Photo In Uniform   Service Details
47 kb
View Time Line
Last Rank
Major (Infantry)
Last Service Branch
Last Primary MOS
8103-Judge Advocate or Judge Advocate General
Last MOS Group
Judge Advocate General (Officer)
Primary Unit
1898-1898, HHC, 9th Infantry
Service Years
1893 - 1903


Major (Infantry)

Two Overseas Service Bars

 Last Photo   Personal Details 

18 kb

Home State
Year of Birth
This Military Service Page was created/owned by the Site Administrator to remember Lawton, Louis Bowem, MAJ.
Contact Info
Home Town
Last Address
Auburn, New York

Date of Passing
Jul 09, 1949
Location of Interment
Fort Hill Cemetery - Auburn, New York
Wall/Plot Coordinates
Not Specified

 Official Badges 

 Unofficial Badges 

 Additional Information
Last Known Activity

Entered service at: Auburn, N.Y.
Birth: Independence, lowa.

Louis Bowem Lawton (March 13, 1872 ‚?? July 9, 1949) was a United States Army officer during the Boxer Rebellion who earned the Medal of Honor for his actions at Tientsin, China on July 13, 1900. An 1893 graduate of West Point, Lawton was a 1st Lieutenant at Tientsin. He was awarded the Medal of Honor on March 11, 1902.

Medal of Honor Citation: Carried a message and guided reinforcements across a wide, fireswept space despite being wounded three times.

He was appointed a Captain in the 26th Infantry on February 2, 1901, as Major in the Judge Advocate Corps on January 5, 1903, and retired on January 27, 1903 for disability from wounds received in Battle.

From 1901 - 1907 he served at Faribult, Minnesota as a Professor of Miltary Science and Tactics at Schattuck School.  He later was on Recruiting Service in 1917 - 1918, and finally at Colgate University commanding Students' Army Training Corps 1918 to demobilization.

He married Theresa K Kelsey Lawton (1872 -1945), and he became a dealer in Oriental rugs and the proprietor of an Oriental rug store in nearby Seneca Falls. The couple had two children: Josephine and Anne Marie.  Their grandson and West Point graduate Lt. Lawton Davis was killed at the Battle of the Bulge during World War II. 

The tragic story of their grandchildren can be found here and scrolling down the page.

He and his wife are buried at Fort Hill Cemetery in Auburn, New York.
The following is from The Post Standard; Syracuse, NY, Sunday, July 10, 1949.

Maj. Louis Bowen Lawton, U.S.A (ret), holder of the Congressional Medal of Honor, died yesterday morning at the home of his son-in-law and daugher, Mr. and Mrs. Thomas F. Davis of West Lake Rd., Skaneateles.  He was 77 years old. 

Known as the "Hero fo Tien-Tsin" he retired because of wounds received in the Boxer Rebellion, China, at the turn of the century where he received the highest honor bestowed by the government of the United States.  Maj Lawton was one of two CMH holders in Onodaga County, the other being Forrest Vosster, who received the honor during World War 2.

Maj Lawton also held the Silver Star with oak leaf cluster and the Purple Heart.  He was recommended by the British commander in chief for the Victoria Cross.

Thrice Wounded

According to the citation on the Congressional Medal of Honor he "carried a message and guided reinforcements across a wide and fireswept space during which he was thrice wounded."

One of Maj. Lawton's favorite quotations was: "The man who says he knows no fear in battle is either a fool or a liar."

Maj. Lawton on his return from China was presented a sword with gold encrusted mother of pearl handle by the citizens of the city of Auburn.  Dated Nov., 2, 1900, the inscription was "for gallant conduct," and was presented to him by Gen. William H. Seward, a descendant of Lincoln's Secretary of State.

Born in Independence, IA, March 13, 1872, he was a son of Albert W. and Mary Van Voorhees Lawton.  He was brought up in Auburn where his father was a prominant real estate dealer.

After teaching mathematics a year at the age of 15, he entered the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, and was graduated in 1893.  He married the former Miss Theresa Kelsey of Auburn soon after graduation.

Maj. Lawton served with the ninth infantry in the Spanish-American War and later with the same regiment in quelling the Philippine Insurrection and the Boxer Rebellion in China.

Residents of Auburn honored him for his brave conduct at Santiago, Cuba and at Zapote Bridge and Tien-Tsin, by not only presenting him with the pearl-handled sword but by forming the Louis B. Lawton Camp, U.S.W.V.

Headed Military School

On retiring from active service he served as commandant of cadets at Shattuck Military School in Faribault, Minn., and later held a similar post at Blees Military Academy, Mason, Mo.

Maj. Lawton then took up residence at Seneca Falls and entered the Oriental rug business.  He was recognized as one of the outstanding authorities in this country on Oriental rugs and he purchased many a rare rug from abroad for his personal collection and for resale.

In World War One, he served as recruiting officer in Syracuse.  And in 1915 Maj. Lawton was commandant of Colgate university when that school was turned over ot the military authorities.

Grandson Killed

Surviving are his son-in-law and daugher, Mr. and Mrs. Thomas F. Davis of Skaneateles; two sisters, Miss Florence Lawton of Syracuse and Mrs. Catherine Worden of California; a grandson, Thomas F. Davis, Jr.; a great-granddaughter, Miss Lawton Davis of Roanoke, VA who was named after another grandson, the late Lawton Davis, a member of the class of 1943 at West Point, who was killed in the Battle of the Bulge, Belgium.

The funeral will be conducted at 2:30 p.m. tomorrow in St. James church, Skaneateles, the Rev. Henry Scott Miller officiating.  Burial will be in Fort Hill Cemetery Auburn.

Active bearers will be G. Roswell Weeks, Brig-Gen. James C. Marshall, L. Harris Hiscock, Robert Dubuque, Frank Havemeyer, and C. Lindsey Nicholson.

Honorary bearers will be Nathan Delevan, T. Dean Howland, Sedgwick Smith, Roderick Benton, Melvin Weeks, Thorne Mollard, and Stewart Cushman.


Other Comments:

Cullum, George Washington; Biographical Register of the Officers and Graduates of the U.S. Military, Supplement, Volume VI-A 1910-1920; (c) 1920; Seeman & Peters, Saginaw, MI; P. 664

The Post Standard; Syracuse, NY, Sunday, July 10, 1949; Section III, Page 21 - 22.  This reference is incomplete at this time, but provides sufficient detail to locate the article.

 Photo Album   (More...

 Ribbon Bar

 Unit Assignments/ Advancement Schools
9th Infantry
  1898-1898, HHC, 9th Infantry
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1898-1898 Spanish-American War
  1899-1899 Moro Rebellion (Philippines)
  1900-1900 Boxer Rebellion (China Relief Service)/Battle of Tientsin
 Colleges Attended 
United States Military Academy
  1889-1893, United States Military Academy
Copyright Inc 2003-2011