Alfred Wilson Lawshe 1
- Born: 14 Aug 1845, Mt. Airy, Hunterdon County
ALFRED WILLSON LAWSHE, of Trenton, who for twenty-five years filled the office of deputy clerk of the supreme court of New Jersey, is a representative of a family which was founded in this country by three brothers, Johann, Johann Peter and Christian von Laaschet, who in 1736 arrived in Philadelphia from their native place, Creyfeldt, Prussia, whence they were driven by the wars then in progress. The second of the three brothers, Johann Peter von Laaschet, was the one from whom Mr. Lawshe traces his descent. The history of the von Laaschet family is closely interwoven with that of the German Baptist or Dunker church, of which they were faithful members. In the course of time the name assumed its present English form of Lawshe.
Aaron Lawshe, a lineal descendant of Johann Peter von Laaschet, was born in Hunterdon county, and married Cynthia Runyon. They were the parents of a son, Alfred Willson, of whom later.
Alfred Willson Lawshe, son of Aaron and Cynthia (Runyon) Lawshe, was born August 14, 1845, at Airy, Hunterdon county, and received his education in the Trenton Academy and the State Model School. He read law with Judge Reed, and graduated from the Poughkeepsie (New York) Law College. After his return to Trenton he became secretary to A. M. Burt, president of the Trenton Arms and Ordnance Company, and after filling this position for some time was chosen chief clerk to Captain F. H. Bates, Fourth Regiment, United States Infantry, who had been detailed by the United States government to take charge of a disbursing office in this city. This positon Mr. Lawshe filled until the close of the war in the most satisfactory manner. During his incumbency over six million dollars had been disbursed, and the greatest care was necessary in making up the accounts of the office. At the close of the war, when all the accounts of disbursing stations had been audited by the authorities at Washington, it was found that that of the Trenton station was the only one in the United States to which no exception was taken, thus showing Mr. Lawshe's ability in such matters, and also his great care and strict integrity.
After the close of the war he took an extended trip on horseback through the south and west, and upon returning accepted a position in the court of chancery, which position he occupied for only three months, having entered his name to read law with Judge Reed. In six months, however, he was appointed deputy clerk of the supreme court under Charles P. Smith, which office he assumed June 9, 1869, being then twenty-three years old. At that time W. J. McDonald was state comptroller, W. P. McMichael state treasurer, H. H. Conger secretary of state and Barker Gummere, Senior, clerk of the court of chancery. In March, 1872, B. F. Lee was appointed successor to Mr. Smith, and some months later Mr. Lawshe was reappointed deputy clerk, his application having the endorsement of every member of the bar of New Jersey and the signature of every member of the central committees of both political parties. For twenty-five years thereafter he held the office continuously, and during that period would many times gladly have relinquished the arduous duties of the position had it not been for his friendship with Mr. Lee and the understanding between them that so long as Mr. Lee should be clerk Mr. Lawshe should be deputy. When Mr. Lawshe assumed the position the supreme court office was in the northeast corner of the State House, in a one-story wing, the senate chamber being where the governor's room now is, and the assembly chamber on the spot now occupied by the state board of assessors.
After the fire in 1885 the office was moved into the old Dickinson house opposite, from which it was moved back after the rebuilding of the State House. Notwithstanding all this confusion not a paper or memorandum was lost, so great was the care taken by those in charge. When Mr. Lawshe entered upon the duties of his position there was but little system and only two clerks were employed, but he so systematized the work and added to the clerical force as to effect a great change in a short space of time, the office being divided into departments, and the head of each department held responsible for the work of his own division. When Mr. Lawshe completed his twenty-five years of service all but two of the clerical force then employed had entered the office as boys and had been trained by him into competent and thorough men. During Mr. Lawshe's incumbency the work of the office increased greatly, but in all that time not an error had been made, notwithstanding the confusion caused by the fire and the numerous removals. Such a record reflects the greatest credit not only upon the head of the department, but also upon the clerks and assistants trained under his management. Mr. Lawshe is now manager and treasurer of the Trent Tile Works, of which B. F. Lee is president. Politically Mr. Lawshe is an Independent. He attends Trinity Protestant Episcopal church.
Mr. Lawshe married Angenette Smith King, born in Paterson, New Jersey, and they have one son, Charles Perin Smith, who is the practical man in the Trent Tile Works. Mrs. Lawshe is a daughter of Daniel Van Horn King, who was born in New York City, and was superintendent of Rogers' Locomotive Works at Paterson, New Jersey. He died in 1858, at the age of forty, and is buried in Cedar Lawn cemetery, Paterson. His wife was Margaret Randolph, born in New Brunswick, New Jersey, daughter of Henry Cotheal and Mary L. (Stites) Smith, of Plainfield, New Jersey. Mr. Smith died in 1878. Daniel Van Horn King was a son of Aaron E. King, of New York City, a cotton manufacturer, running large mills at Paterson, New Jersey. He married Martha Van Horn, a native of Pennsylvania. 1
Alfred married Living