On Christmas day, a rural North Carolina tobacco farmer brutally murdered six of his children, his wife and then killed himself. The horrific crime made the front page of the New York Times. It inspired a hit record and would conjure up rumor and speculation for generations to come. Some say Charlie Lawson just snapped while others believe it may have been centered around a troubled heart. But as brutal and bizarre as the murders were, what followed the funeral has become the stuff of legend. The crime scene became a tourist attraction with bloody photographs being sold as souvenirs. Why did a poor North Carolina tobacco farmer kill his wife, six of his kids and himself on Christmas Day, ?
Murderpedia has thousands of hours of work behind it. To keep creating new content, we kindly appreciate any donation you can give to help the Murderpedia project stay alive. We have many plans and enthusiasm to keep expanding and making Murderpedia a better site, but we really need your help for this. Thank you very much in advance. Classification: Mass murderer Characteristics: Familicide - Incest? Charlie Lawson's parents, Augustus and Nancy, lived in the unincorporated community known as Lawsonville, located ten miles from Danbury, the Stokes county seat. He was born there and, in , married Fannie Manring.
The murder of the Lawson family refers to a familicide which took place in Germanton , North Carolina , United States on December 25, , in which sharecropper Charles Davis "Charlie" Lawson murdered his wife and six of his seven children. In , Charles Lawson  married Fannie Manring, with whom he had eight children. The third, William, born in , died of an illness in In , following the move of his younger brothers Marion and Elijah to the Germanton area, Lawson followed suit with his family. The Lawsons worked as tenant tobacco farmers, saving enough money by to buy their own farm on Brook Cove Road. In , shortly before Christmas , Lawson age 43 took Fannie his wife age 37 and their seven children, Marie age 17 , Arthur age 16 , Carrie age 12 , Maybell age 7 James age 4 Raymond, age 2 and Mary Lou age 4 months into town to buy new clothes and to have a family portrait taken. This would have been an uncommon occurrence for a working-class rural family of the era, which has led to speculations that Lawson's act was premeditated. On the afternoon of December 25, Lawson first shot his daughters, Carrie and Maybell, as they were setting out to their uncle and aunt's house. He waited for them by the tobacco barn until they were in range, shot them with a gauge shotgun , then ensured that they were dead by bludgeoning them.
In , tobacco farmer Charles Davis Lawson made the unusual decision to take his wife and seven children into town for a studio portrait. The Germanton, North Carolina, father bought new clothes for his wife, Fannie, and their four daughters and three sons, to wear for the photograph. It was a highly uncommon thing to do for a working class family, and the secret behind the photo remained hidden for many years afterwards. But on the day of the photo shoot, no one apart from Charlie Lawson knew why he was spending money. Nor what was to come, his almost complete annihilation of his own family to protect a scandalous secret. Standing in the photograph at the back are year-old Arthur Lawson, his sister Marie, 17, and their parents. In contrast with Marie, who is staring directly into the camera, her father, Charlie, is gazing off to the left with a slight smile on his face. The Lawson family house where Charlie shot his wife, Fannie, daughter Marie, 17, and his three youngest children. On a seat in front of them are the younger Lawson children, James, 4, Maybell, 7, Raymond, 2, and Carrie, On December 25, , year-old Marie rose early to make a Christmas cake, baking two layers in separate pans and icing them ready for the family festivities on the farm, km northwest of the state capital, Raleigh.