Connected for some thirty-three years with the Newport Fire Department, Mr. Lawton has been its chief since 1927. Under his very able and efficient direction the Newport Fire Department has been maintained on a very high plane of preparedness and efficiency, and Mr. Lawton ranks high among the city’s public officials.
Joseph S. Lawton was born in Newport, February 22, 1871, a son of Edward N. and Frances (Wilson) Lawton. His father, likewise a native of Newport, was successfully engaged in the fishing industry. He is now living retired. He was a veteran of the Civil War, during which he served with one of the Rhode Island Volunteer Infantry Regiments. After the war he was for many years a popular member of Newport Post, Grand Army of the Republic. Mr. Lawton’s mother, still a resident of Newport, is a native of England. Mr. Lawton received his education in the public schools of his native city and, after leaving school, worked for two years in a local butcher shop. He then learned the trade of brick layer and plasterer, which he followed successfully until 1914. In that year he was appointed deputy fire chief for the city of Newport Fire Department, a position he continued to hold until 1927, when he was made chief. His offices are located in Fire Station No. 5, at the corner of Touro and Mary streets. Chief Lawton is equally popular with the men in his department and with the citizens of Newport in general and he has given his department an exceptionally able and faithful administration. He is a member of the International Association of Fire Engineers, of which he is State vice-president; the Rhode Island Fire Chiefs’ Club, and the New England Fire Chiefs’ Association, of which he is first vice-president. He also belongs to Excelsior Lodge, Independent Order of Odd Fellows; Newport Lodge, No. 104, Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks; and the Improved Order of Red Men; as well as the Newport Horticultural Society. In politics he is a supporter of the Republican party. His religious affiliation is with the Society of Friends. Throughout his entire life Chief Lawton has always been greatly interested in all athletics sports.
Chief Lawton married, in 1895, Eunice M. Albro, like himself a native of Newport. The Lawtons make their home in Newport. Chief and Mrs. Lawton have one daughter:
- Mildred E. Lawton, who married Theodore M. Stenholm, machinist, and a native of Newport, they have one child:
- Joseph Lawton Stenholm.
Source: Carroll, Charles. Rhode Island: Three Centuries of Democracy, vol 3 of 4. New York: Lewis historical Pub. Co., 1932.