This is the mysterious "Mary upon the Dan".
The abstracted will of Mary Lawson, 1751, Dan River, Lunenburg county, Va.
Lunenburg county Deed Book 1, page 36
Oct. 15, 1749, I, Mary Lawson, upon Dan River in Lunenburg county, being very sick and
weak in in body
– To my son Francis Lawson – 20 shillings. To his [Francis Lawson’s] daughter Mary Lawson
– 20 shillings.
To John Boyd and his wife, Margaret – 5 shillings.
To David Sheerer and his wife, Ann Sheerer – one half of my body close [sic] and 5
To John Lawson – a colt called Ball.
To Alexander Irwin and his wife – 10 shillings, and to his daughter – 10 shillings.
To my daughter Mary – the other half of my body close.
To my three sons, John Lawson, William Lawson, and David Lawson – the rest of my worldly
goods, to be equally divided between them.
To Isbel Boyd – one two year old heifer and my saddle.
Executors – sons John Lawson and William Lawson.
Signed – Mary Lawson [M her mark]
Witnesses – James Dalhate, Mary Evan [her mark], David Graham.
At April 2, 1751 court, the will of the deceased was exhibited , and proved by the oaths
of the witnesses, and ordered to be recorded.
Edwin's note: This lady has been an enigma for many years and her identity has been
argued for decades. I have read many theories as to her origins but most of them seem
unproven. Who was her husband? William Lawson? John? Francis? Was she the mother of
Margaret who married John Boyd? Who did her daughter Mary marry? If Mary upon the Dan was
married to one of the Lawson brothers, what was her maiden name? Douglas? Graham? Boyd?
Irvine? Where did she come from? Did the Boyds, Lawsons, Irvines, and Douglasses come to
Virginia together? Did they come from Ireland together? There are many questions--very
little proof. Is there anything new on her?