Henry Ware Lawton
born: Manhattan, Ohio, March 17, 1843
died: San Mateo, Luzon, Philippine Islands, December 19, 1899
Henry Lawton enlisted in the Union forces at the outbreak of the Civil War. He received the Medal of Honor for heroism at Atlanta. He was discharged November 25, 1865 with the brevet rank of colonel.
Lawton rejoined the army in 1867 and served throughout the Indian Wars. In the spring of 1886, he was selected by General Nelson A. Miles to lead a select group of troops into Mexico in pursuit of the Apache Chief, Geronimo, who he captured after three months (September 1886).
At the beginning of the Spanish American War in the spring of 1898, Lawton was sent to Cuba as a brigadier general, and was made a major general of volunteers on July 8, 1898. He was in command of the 2nd division of the 5th Army Corps before Santiago, distinguishing himself by the capture of El Caney and providing backup support for Teddy Roosevelt and his Rough Riders in their charge on San Juan Hill.
At the close of the war, he was sent to the Philippines, arriving in Manila in March, 1899. There, Lawton took command of the 1st division of the 8th Army Corps and began active operations against the insurgents. He captured Santa Cruz, a Filippino stronghold, and San Isidro during his first three months. On June 10, he began his Cavite campaign which pushed the insurgent line far back from Manila on the south. A successful campaign against the main force of the insurgent leader Emilio Aguinaldo began in October.
Lawton was killed, however, at the Battle of San Mateo by the forces of Licerio Geronimo on December 19.
Lawton, Oklahoma, incorporated 1901, was named for General Lawton. The city is near Fort Sill, US Army Field Artillery Center, where Apache Chief Geronimo is buried and where he spent his last years as a prisoner.
General Lawton as he appears on a 1920 50 pesos Philippine banknote