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California Genealogy and History Archives

Sacramento County



An intimate association of thirty years with the business development of Sacramento has given to Mr. Lawton a comprehensive knowledge of property valuations in and near the capital city, also of commercial enterprises contributing to the local development and civic measures devoted to the general welfare. It would be difficult to find a citizen more loyal than he to the city of his adoption; its interests he has made his own, its welfare is ever dear to his heart and its progress is a theme of never-ceasing importance to him. To such loyal citizens the city owes its steady development in all that gives lasting value to its influence. That his citizenship has been appreciated appears in the statement that he was chosen president of the first board of trustees under the new charter of 1893 and at one time also was honored with being elected a director of the Sacramento Chamber of Commerce, in these positions giving evidence of earnest loyalty to civic growth and intelligent understanding of municipal problems. He was instrumental as early as 1892 in the building of the first macadamized street in Sacramento, which was the inception for macadam and asphalt streets there, and in 1894-95, when he was president of the board of trustees, the cement sidewalks were built, thus starting permanent work in that line. He was zealous in working for the interest of the city at all times, and it was entirely through his efforts that the city water works were saved to the city instead of passing into the hands of a private corporation. Descended from an old eastern family and himself a native of Lyons, N. Y., William D. Lawton has been a citizen of California ever since the year 1873 and therefore has given the intelligent ser- vice of manhood to the commonwealth of his adoption. Four years after his arrival in the west he was united in marriage with Miss Emma Grimshaw, of Sacramento, the daughter of a prominent pioneer family originally from Illinois; after coming to California her father, William R. Grimshaw, was for years identified with Captain Sutter and Sam Brannan and his participation in early history had a direct bearing upon subsequent progress. For little less than ten years after coming to the west Mr. Lawton engaged in the manufacturing business in San Francisco, but during 1882 he established his home in Sacramento, and here he has resided ever since. Practically ever since he came to the state he has been interested in mining to some extent. On several occasions he was engaged as an engineer in mines in this state and Nevada and while thus employed he bought personal interests in a number of promising claims. In addition to holding shares of stock in mines he has controlling water interests at a point in Southern Nevada and by means of his own private water system he supplies an abundance of water for irrigating and domestic purposes, as well as for the treatment of ores. He is devoting much time to real-estate and investments in the Sacramento valley. 

History of Sacramento County, California
Biographical Sketches of The Leading Men and Women of the County Who Have Been Identified With Its Growth and Development from the Early Days to the Present
History By: William L. Willis
Historic Record Company, Los Angeles, California (1913)

Transcribed by Peggy Hooper 2011