Hello C. Saunders,
Joseph Lawton is the name of the grandfather of of Alexander Robert Lawton a slaveholder in Beaufort, SC. Do you know if it is the same Joseph Lawton? Here is some info on Alexander that might help:
Manuscripts Department, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
ALEXANDER ROBERT LAWTON PAPERS, #415, #414, 1774- 1952
Largely correspondence among three generations of the Lawton family of South Carolina, chiefly pertaining to the military, political, and business careers of Alexander Robert Lawton. Financial and legal materials include documents relating to the hiring of slaves and freedmen (1774-1920), and a plantation journal recording the effects of sicknesses among slaves in planting, the provision of supplies to slaves, and slave duties on a plantation near Robertsville, Beaufort District, South Carolina (1810-1840). Correspondence demonstrates Alexander Lawton's financial philosophy in relation to the purchase of slaves (1839); Sarah Alexander Hillhouse Lawton's wartime concerns over the safety of her slaves (1860-1862); the hiring of blacks and whites for farm labor (1866-1867); and race relations in postbellum South Carolina (1866-1867). Several speeches attributed to Alexander Lawton, including "Our Relations with the Negro" (1925) and "The Negro Problem" (1926), reveal his views on race relations. Microfilm available.