Lawson is a city in Clay and
Ray counties in Missouri. The history of Lawson begins with the arrival of the
first settlers from Kentucky, Virginia, Tennessee, and North Carolina. The
migration began in 1822 and continued for more than a third of a century.
Numbers came from the four states east of Missouri, and from New York. There
were even a few from across the Atlantic.
As in every frontier community, churches were the first organized bodies, and
schools and towns came next. Lisbonville formerly stood near the center of the
very earliest settlement made in the northwest part of today's Ray County. It
operated south and east of today's Elmira. John Fields of Kentucky, Samuel
MeGee of Tennessee, and John Taylor of Virginia took out that wooded territory.
It lay north of the middle fork of Crooked River. Early businesses which still
remain today in Lawson include The Lawson Bank, the oldest institution of the
kind in Ray county, established in the spring of 1883. The local lumberyard is
the next oldest business firm in Lawson, coming into the present family name in
1888, when J.M. Morrow bought out Grizzel and Maggery's business and opened
under the name, J.M. Morrow Lumber Company. The first issue of the Lawson
Gazette was published on April 8, 1881. This paper was operated by the Lawson Publishing
Company, but the editor's name wasn't given. In 1899, W.L. Bales bought the
paper and changed its name to The Lawson Journal. Sometime around 1896 or '97,
a second paper, The Lawson Leader, was started in town. C.D. Weakley and a Mr.
Thomas bought both papers and combined the two papers under the name, The Ray
County Review. On March 16, 1916, Sam Halstead bought the Ray County Review and
immediately changed its name to The Lawson Review, which is still published