The time and attention of Joseph M. Lawrence is devoted to the cultivation of an excellent farm of one hundred and ninety acres in Brushy Mound township, Macoupin county. He is a native of this county, his birth having occurred on the 24th of January, 1864, and a son of James P. and Sarah (Culbertson) Lawrence. The father was born in Yorkshire, England, on the 24th of February, 1836, and there he spent the first sixteen years of his life. At the expiration of that period he emigrated to the United States, locating in Carlinville, where he has ever since continuously resided. He has always engaged in agricultural pursuits, but has been living retired since 1903, he and his wife now making their home in Carlinville. The family of Mr. and Mrs. Lawrence numbered six, and in order of birth they are as follows: Emma, the widow of George Walton, a farmer of Brushy Mount township, who continues to live on her farm; William H., and John W., both of whom are deceased; James L., who is engaged in the real estate business in St. Louis, Missouri; Joseph M., our subject; and Martin P., a farmer and gardener of Phoenix, Arizona. During the childhood of the elder members of the family Mr. Lawrence was managing and living upon the Sunny Home Stock Farm, located east of Carlinville and the property of C. A. Walker. While residing there his eldest son, William H., who was then about eight years of age, was one day attacked by a buck in the deer park. The child' s screams brought his mother and sister Emma to his rescue, but before they reached him his skull had been fractured, both arms broken and his body badly bruised and cut. When the mother tried to shield her child the buck turned on her, but being a resourceful and capable woman, she seized him by the horns, clinging to them with almost superhuman strength until the faithful old shepherd dog "Trip" attacked the infuriated animal and killed it.
Joseph M. Lawrence spent his boyhood and early youth in Bird township, this county, where at that time his father was engaged in farming. In the acquirement of his education he attended the district schools in the vicinity during the brief winter terms, his vacations being devoted to the work of the fields and the care of the stock. He made the most of such educational advantages as were afforded him and applied himself to the thorough mastery of the common branches. With these for a foundation, by careful reading, keen observation and deep thinking, he has become a well informed man. He remained on his father's farm until he had attained his majority, and then began to set out for himself. Having decided upon an agricultural career, for three years thereafter, he farmed as a renter in Brushy Mound and Carlinville townships. At the expiration of that period he removed to Honey Point township and rented for ten years, going from there to Shaws Point, where he rented for seven years and then bought eighty-six acres in that township. He disposed of this land in 1906 and moved to Brushy Mound, where he bought the farm upon which he has ever since continuously resided. This property contains one hundred and ninety acres of land, thirty of this being in natural timber, located on sections 10 and 15. Here he engages in general farming and in connection raises good graded stock. Mr. Lawrence has one of the attractive and valuable properties of the community. His land is thoroughly cultivated, the improvements upon his place substantially constructed, ample provision being made for the protection of stock and farming machinery. The grounds are given careful attention and present a pleasing appearance to the passer-by, while he is most fortunate in having excellent drinking water. Everything about his home suggests thrift and the capable supervision that always bespeaks success.
Mr. Lawrence's plans for a home had their culmination in his marriage on the 24th of January, 1889, to Miss Florence E. Morgan, a daughter of Thomas E. and Harriet (Walton) Morgan. The father was born in Shropshire, England, where he was reared and educated, subsequently learning the carpenter's trade. When he was twenty-one years of age he left his home and emigrated to the United States, locating in Carlinville. Her he met the lady whom he subsequently married. Mrs. Morgan was a native of the state of New York and of English parentage. Up to the time of his marriage he followed his trade, but subsequent to this event he settled on a farm two and a half miles west of Nilwood. he continued to reside there until his death on the 2d of November, 1910. The mother also passed away on the homestead, preceding her husband about in 1895. To Mr. and Mrs. Morgan were born five children: Mary, the widow of John Cain, who is residing in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; William L., a farmer living on the old Morgan homestead in South Otter township; Minnie, the wife of Newton Johnson, a farmer of Carlinville township; Thomas E., who is a resident of Nevada; and Florence E., now Mrs. Lawrence.
Mr. and Mrs. Lawrence are the parents of six children: Martin S. and Fred J., both of whom are at home; Harry, who passed away in 1909, at the age of fourteen; and Edna May, Glenn O. and T. O. Morgan, all of whom are at home. Three years ago when the youngest son, Glenn O., was out in the pasture looking after the stock he had the misfortune to be shot, presumably by some hunter. Forty-seven shot entered the lad's arm, lung and side, only two of which the physicians were able to find, the other forty-five are still supposedly in his body. The entire affair is a complete mystery to the family, it never having been ascertained who committed the deed, as there were no witnesses to the act.
Mr. and Mrs. Lawrence and their three youngest children are all members of the Methodist Episcopal church of Carlinville. Mr. Lawrence is identified fraternally with the Modern Woodmen of America, belonging to the Womac Camp. Politically he has ever been an earnest supporter of the democratic party, and is now serving his second year as a commissioner of Brushy Mound township. He also served for one year as collector of the township of Honey Point, while for eleven years he was district school director in both Honey Point and Brushy Mound townships, his service in this capacity still continuing in the latter place. Mr. Lawrence is one of those men whose efforts in anything he may undertake are always so intelligently directed that his work is ever characterized by rare efficiently, this quality in itself invariably being indicative of success in any undertaking. Progressive in his ideas and methods, he is constantly striving to advance his community, and it is very largely due to his efforts that the telephone line was extended from Carlinville to Brushy Mound township. This extension was done in 1909, six miles of Bell Telephone Company wires being strung at that time, and has proven a boon to the entire community.