The family of William and Martha Lawhorn came to Texas from Scott County, Mississippi. They traveled by covered wagon and crossed the Mississippi River on a barge.

Thomas L. Lawhorn was five months old when they made the journey. After a short stay near Duck Creek in Dallas County, the William Lawhorn family moved to a farm in Rockwall County which adjoined the Sam Spong farm.  The Sam Spongs had a new baby named Virginia (Jennie) in 1887, and Mrs. Lawhorn went to see the new arrival, taking eight-year old Tom with her.

Tom must have had his future bride in mind from the beginning. It was the custom in their farm community to have a social meeting each Christmas with a tree and presents for everyone. Tom put an opal ring on the tree for Jennie when she was about twelve years old.


Portrait of Thomas L. & Virginia Lawhorn

After attending classes at Professor Well’s school in Rockwall, Tom went away to attend business school in New York, and Jennie spent a year at Carr Burdette College, a girl’s school in Sherman. Her main study was devoted to the piano, and she was rewarded for four hours of daily practice by receiving a medal while playing in competition with other students.

Tom and Jennie were married November 29, 1906, and they moved into their own home in Rockwall. Tom was a farmer until he learned the carpentry trade. In order to find work, he began to travel to Dallas, and in 1928, he moved his family to the city. He became a General Contractor and built many homes around the city of Dallas.

Thomas Lawson Lawhorn was born July 2, 1879, and died January 5, 1951. Virginia (Jennie) Spong was born September 4, 1887 and is still living.

Their children: Oliver, born 1907, married Jennee Warren Wright. Virginia Agnes, born 1922, married L. Walton Rice, Jr.
By Virginia Lawhorn Rice for Rockwall County Historical Foundation’s Rockwall County History.