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Author Topic: Lawrence Christopher (December 23, 1940 - November 10, 2012)  (Read 5569 times)


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Lawrence Christopher (December 23, 1940 - November 10, 2012)
« on: November 13, 2012, 12:48:35 PM »
Lawrence of Dalton was a personal mentor to me as I got serious about this hobby.  The key attributes were his willingness to share his deep knowledge and his trustworthiness.

I was working a lot in Atlanta back in the day and met Lawrence at the now defunct Jonesboro Show, but I reached out to him and he said to come up to Dalton and visit “the last, real relic shop.”  I drove up there after work, it was Halloween and kids were Trick or Treating from the back of a hay wagon being pulled through his neighborhood.  It was dark and not an easy place to find in those pre-GPS days.  Having to weave through the kids to get back to his place, burned that first visit into my memory.

Over the years I made a lot of trips up to Dalton to see Lawrence and buy from him.  Some were on the back end of trips and others were special when he called me to say he had gotten in a new collection. Among the scorres of interactions, 3 more stick out in my memory as I write this:

1)  I started out as a bullet collector, then a fuse collector and only after I had a little bit of disposable income, began collecting artillery.  I always wanted to own a cannon ball because I grew up in Connecticut where many were made.  About this time, In his unmistakable voice, Lawrence asked me how many artillery projectiles I had and I told him “7." Its worth noting that he knew these 7 were made up of 2 Hotchkiss noses and some common solid shot, in short, not much.  He did not look down on me and kindly and simply just said “seven’s a good number.”  Here we are about 400 later…
2)  The original building housing his shop collapsed under the weight of its contents.  While Lawrence was away at one of the revivals he went to often, his wife had the wreckage bulldozed.  Many of the relics from the shop were still in the debris and got spread across the newly graded sideyard.  About this time I came by on a visit back from seeing my parents and had my then young son, Teddy, in tow.  While Lawrence and I talked in his new shop and I arranged to buy some things, Teddy hunted the yard diligently with nothing but his eagle eyes.  He found quite a lot of bullets, gun parts, arrowheads and some miscellaneous other relics and was thrilled.  Lawrence had told him he could keep everything he found.  Teddy still has a Ryker case full of those finds after 10+ years.
3)  When Lawrence had his accident with the shell, I told Teddy and he was very sad owing to his fond memory of the kind man who had let him “hunt his yard.”  I was in Las Vegas and on my way into giving a speech for work.  Danny Spencer (Gator Bait on the old forum and Rouge Cru on this one but not active due to his failing eyesight) called me and told me things did not look good.  I was blown away and that made for a very difficult presentation.  Fortunately, I had a good opening because a Swinger’s convention happened to also be in town then and I started my speech to a bunch of technology people by saying I thought I was in the wrong place and had intended to present to the Swingers.  Still, I am sure my speech was not very good after that because what had happened to Lawrence was weighing on my mind.  I’ll never forget that day.

Lawrence was tough.  Besides the shell explosion, some of the challenges I know him to have overcome include being bitten by a copperhead, having his fingers mangled in a weaving machine, having cancer, and the sudden unexpected collapse and death of his wife Shirley.  I spoke to Lawrence several occasions around the time of her passing and recall he was headed out one day to spread her ashes at Rocky Face.  I noted from his obituary that he too was cremated and guess he will re-join her mortal remains there on the Civil War site he so loved.  He was a man of deep, almost child-like faith and with that and his long health battles that had him in assisted living for the last several years, I am sure he was well prepared, perhaps eager even, to move on from this life.
« Last Edit: November 14, 2012, 07:47:51 PM by emike123 »

R. J. in LA

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Re: Lawrence Christopher (December 23, 1940 - November 10, 2012)
« Reply #1 on: November 13, 2012, 06:15:31 PM »
Mike, I "knew of" Lawrence but never had the pleasure of meeting him.  Your eloquent post makes for a wonderful testament to Lawrence, well done.


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Re: Lawrence Christopher (December 23, 1940 - November 10, 2012)
« Reply #2 on: November 13, 2012, 06:41:10 PM »
I am so sorry to hear of his passing. I met him only once but talked to him on the phone a good bit. There never was a better man.


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Re: Lawrence Christopher (December 23, 1940 - November 10, 2012)
« Reply #3 on: November 13, 2012, 08:49:25 PM »
Mike, that is about as good a eulogy as a man could ever hope for.

I'm still a pretty novice collector in many ways, and remember Mr. Lawrence for giving me quite a bit of advice over the years.  Over the years, I purchased a few relics here and there from Mr. Lawrence that had ties to the Vicksburg campaign, and an once on a trip to Chattanooga, decided I'd call Mr. Lawrence out of the blue and stop in to see his "relic shop".  To understand how green I was at the time, I'd only been in a couple of relic shops in my life, and never to anyone's house to see their relics or relic shop.  Mr. Lawrence said "come on" and we spent a great afternoon talking relics and relic hunting.  As we were standing in his yard talking, I noticed several bullets and knapsack hooks lying on the ground. I mentioned someone must have dropped them, and got the story about the shed being bulldozed, and that he decided to leave a bunch of the relics "in the ground" for children who visited to find.  I never saw him again in person, but we had many long phone conversations until the time of the accident.  He was a fine man of deep faith, honest to a fault, and one of the true giants of relic hunting and relic collecting. 

Dave the plumber

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Re: Lawrence Christopher (December 23, 1940 - November 10, 2012)
« Reply #4 on: November 15, 2012, 07:32:28 PM »
   nice words Mike...


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Re: Lawrence Christopher (December 23, 1940 - November 10, 2012)
« Reply #5 on: September 20, 2013, 10:19:36 PM »