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Amos Lawrence

Birthplace: Groton, Middlesex County, Massachusetts, United States
Death: December 31, 1852 (66)
Boston, Suffolk County, Massachusetts, United States
Place of Burial: 580 Mount Auburn Street, Cambridge, Middlesex County, Massachusetts, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of Maj. Samuel Lawrence and Susanna Lawrence
Husband of Nancy Lawrence and Sarah Lawrence
Father of Mary Means Lawrence; Robert Means Lawrence; William Richards Lawrence; Amos Adams Lawrence and Susannah Mason
Brother of Luther Lawrence; William Lawrence; Susan Lawrence; Mary Woodbury; Abbott Lawrence, U.S. Representative and 2 others

Occupation: Merchant and Philanthropist
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Amos Lawrence

Amos Lawrence

Lawrence was an American merchant and philanthropist. He was the son of Samuel Lawrence, a Revolutionary War officer, and the founder of Groton Academy (now Lawrence Academy at Groton), where Amos was educated.

In 1799, Lawrence became a clerk at a country store in Dunstable, Massachusetts. In 1804 he moved to Boston and founded a dry-goods mercantile, which became extraordinarily successful. In 1830, Lawrence established a cotton factory in Lowell, Massachusetts, and soon afterward became very ill. He devoted the rest of his life to philanthropy.

From 1831 until his death he gave over $639,000 (in 1840s dollars) to charitable causes. To Williams College, he gave nearly $40,000; to Groton Academy, which later changed its name to Lawrence Academy to honor both Amos and his brother, William Lawrence, he gave over $20,000; to Wabash College, Kenyon College, and the theological seminary at Bangor, Maine, he also gave sizable sums.

His private donations were innumerable--so great that several rooms in his house were used as offices to coordinate them. Among other things, Amos Lawrence donated libraries to academic institutions, established a children's hospital in Boston, and gave $10,000 for the completion of the Bunker Hill Monument (Lawrence's father had fought at the Battle of Bunker Hill).

At his death, his fortune was estimated at $8,100,000, making him one of the richest men in the United States.

Amos Lawrence's brother, Abbott Lawrence, founded Lawrence, Massachusetts. His son, Amos Adams Lawrence, founded the University of Kansas in Lawrence, Kansas, was responsible for the founding of Lawrence, Kansas (thus its name) through his work with the New England Emigrant Aid Company, and also helped found Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin. His grandson, Bishop William Lawrence, was the longtime Episcopal bishop of Massachusetts.
Death notice: "Amos Lawrence, Esq. Of Boston, who died suddenly of disease of the stomach, on Thursday night was a brother of Abbott Lawrence. The latter when a young man, was a clerk in his store, and subsequently became a partner. For 39 years he has been a leading merchant of boston, but for 20 years past has been in infirm health. During his life he gave donations to Williams College amounting to $25,000 and to Bunker Hill Monument $10,000, while his private charities were numerous and liberal. Not long since he appropriated $5,000 to purchase wood for the poor. The wife of Mr. Lawrence is an aunt of Mrs. General Pierce."

- The Nashville Union (Nashville, Tennessee) January 11, 1853

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Amos Lawrence's Timeline

April 22, 1786
Groton, Middlesex County, Massachusetts, United States
May 3, 1812
Boston, Suffolk County, Massachusetts, United States
July 31, 1814
Boston, Suffolk County, Massachusetts, United States
May 23, 1817
Boston, Suffolk, Massachusetts, United States
April 15, 1823
Boston, Suffolk, MA, United States
September 17, 1826
Boston, Suffolk, MA, United States
December 31, 1852
Age 66
Boston, Suffolk County, Massachusetts, United States
Mount Auburn Cemetery, 580 Mount Auburn Street, Cambridge, Middlesex County, Massachusetts, United States