J. A. Lawrence was born October 18, 1856, in Smith County, Texas, and attended public school until eighteen years of age, after which he went to the Methodist Institute, Sulphur Springs, Texas, where he remained one year. Later he studied twelve months at the high school in Smith County, and commenced teaching the public school in Wood County, in 1878. In 1879 he began the study of law in Tyler, Texas, and in 1880 was admitted to the bar. In 1881 he located at Quitman, Wood County, and practiced law for a couple of years, when he was elected prosecuting attorney, which position he held for four years, having been re-elected in November, 1884. In 1886 he moved to Tahlequah, Cherokee Nation, and opened a general mercantile store, which he is still conducting. December 3, 1884, he married Miss Dora Wilson, a Cherokee, daughter of Ben Wilson, and related to the Thompsons, Adairs and Mayes families. Mr. Lawrence carries a stock of about $8,000 to $10,000, and does about $30,000 cash business per year. He has an improved farm of about 200 acres on Prior Creek, and a nice residence in Tahlequah. Mr. Lawrence is five feet eleven inches in height, and weighs 160 pounds. He is a gentleman of good address and pleasant, affable manners, and possessed of a good education, which he knows how to turn to the best possible advantage.
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