Fawcett:FAWCETT, Lyle Branson (1804 - 1838)

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More information can be found at: Person:FAWCETT, Lyle Branson (1804 - 1838)

Biographical sketch

LYLE BRANSON FAWCETT, the son of Joseph Fawcett and Lucretia Keyes, was born in Harrisonburg, Rockingham County Virginia on July 8, 1804. His parents provided him with excellent private teachers.

After growing up in Harrisonburg, Lyle clerked in the Engineer Department in Washington D.C. (1827-34), while living in Georgetown. Dan Bryan, a long-time neighbor and friend of the Fawcetts in Harrisonburg, moved to Alexandria to become the post master. His wife’s brother was the Secretary of War, and through this connection he obtained positions as clerks for Lyle and Willis Fawcett. At some point Lylee was commissioned a major, but no military record has been located. His parents and some of his siblings moved to Missouri in the spring of 1834, settling in St. Charles, Missouri in September 1835 without Lyle. Lyle left his job at about the same time to seek his fortune and to assist his family (Letter D Bryan to L Fawcett 4/25/1866).

Early in 1834, Lyle traveled south and spent the spring touring Mississippi and Alabama examining various business possibilities. He rejected Choccham, Yallobusha, and Manchester on the Yazoo River as being too sickly, and chose Gainesville. He also visited Clinton, Mississppi where his fellow Virginian, Robert Menefee lived. Menefee’s heavy drinking led Lyle to swear to abstinance. Briefly (1834-35) he lived in Courtland, Lawrence County, Alabama where he worked as a book keeper for Bierne & McMahon (1834-35 [Saunders 1969:213-214; Letters: W Fawcett to J Fawcett 5/24/1834, LB Fawcett to J Fawcett 8/1/1834]). The McMahons were neighbors from Harrisonburg. Lyle traveled to Philadelphia and New York in March 1835 to purchase supplies for the firm, doing some of his business through Willis’ friend, William C. Ellison (Letter LB Fawcett to J Fawcett 3/23/1835).

When Beirne & McMahon expanded to Gainesville in Sumter County in April 1835, Lyle moved there. Lyle Fawcett is listed in the 1831-39 state census of Greene County. In 1835 Lyle became the senior partner with Col. Robert Grattan McMahon in a mercantile where Col. Snedecor's Office was located in the 1870s in the river-port of Gainesville. He was joined by Willis Fawcett, and possibly E.R. Fawcett. Lyle Fawcett served as the post master of Gainesville. Lyle married the widow, Elizabeth R.C. Bell, on Jan. 9, 1837 at the residence of Mrs. Cooke in Greene County, Alabama. A son, Robert B. Fawcett, was born in 1837.

Early in March 1838, L.B. Fawcett became ill with fever. Major Lyle B. Fawcett died at 9 a.m. on Sunday March 25, 1838 at age 35. The next day, he was buried in the Old ("Confederate") Cemetery in Gainesville (Gainesville Reporter 3/25 & 28/1838 in R.G. McMahon Scrapbook, p. 59). His partner, R.G. McMahon, returned from Mobile on Sunday evening, after his friend’s death. Willis, was away, but another brother, E.R. Fawcett, was present with Lyle (Letter J.H. Thompson to J. Fawcett 3/29.1838). Lyle’s estate was examined in the Orphan Minutes (Book 1:78, 273) on Feb. 6, 1840 and April 1, 1841. His estate was distributed among Bierne(?) Fawcett, Daniel E. Harper, Elizabeth R.C. Fawcett, and Christopher Scott (Jenkins and Stegall 1962). His widow Elizabeth remarried for a third time on Nov. 9, 1841 to Col. Robert G. McMahon (Marriage Record 1B:194).


From A History of the Fawcetts and Related Families in America by William Bloys Fawcett. Used by permission of Dr. Fawcett.

This book was first published in 1996 and some of the information is quite dated. If you find errors or want to add updates, contact me, and I will add notes to the page.

Copyright © 1996, 2007 by William Bloys Fawcett, Jr. All rights reserved. No copies may be made of this document through any electronic, photocopying or other means without permission of the author.

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