Originally published 02/06/2004, updated 07/05/2009
Forrest Thomas, Barry’s father and Evan’s grandfather, is pictured at the top left of the page with 2 WWII Ford jeeps. Forrest is the first member of the family to drive and work on a jeep. At the time this picture was taken we’re sure he wasn’t thinking he’d be working on them with his son and grandson 60 years later.
Paul “PD” Lawson, Barry’s father-in-law and Evan’s grandfather, owned at least 3 “flat fender” jeeps, including one with a 3 point hitch and PTO. PD and the rest of the family can remember a yellow jeep, and we have color pictures of red and blue jeeps.
PD purchased all his Jeeps used including his first pictured 2nd from the top left of the page. Paula (age 4) at the wheel shows the Jeep bug bites early in the family. Of note to us are the side skirts on the rear wheels, the back seat and the column shift.The column shift dates this as among the earliest civilian jeeps, an early 1946 CJ-2A.
On Jeep number two, pictured 3rd from the top, you can just make out the Monroe 3-point implement lift in the bed. PD, Sally, Butch, and Paula Lawson pose with the inspiration of our farm jeeps. PD’s recalls the jeep with the Monroe lift being yellow. He also remembers purchasing this jeep from a manufacturing plant that had used it to pull a mower, but were not satisfied with the performance (the CJ-2A has a horrible turning radius compared to a tractor and implements pulled behind the jeep were very hard to see). At some point PD traded the jeep with the Monroe lift to the police department who wanted to use a rear mounted blade for snow removal for another jeep.
The red jeep, pictured above left, is the first color photo we have of the family’s jeeps. Paula, Sally, PD’s mother (Paula’s grandmother & Evan’s great grandmother), a little boy with his hand over his face, Butch, and PD are pictured. It is possible that the red jeep remained in the family until Paula’s high school graduation and a infamous jeep flip that sent four recent high school graduates flying.
The blue jeep, pictured above right, was in the family when Barry and Paula were married in 1968, and is the jeep Evan remembers from his youth. From left to right, Ruth, Frank, and Caroline Lawson are pictured.
Above left, Paula and Barry (circa 1973 using the Paula’s haircut dating methodology)
Above right, Maddie age 3 1/2 (circa 2008) ready to help her dad test drive the newly reassembled blue CJ-3A.
The family traditions continue in “Old Yeller” and “Ole Blue”
New Additions… to the family (and another jeep)
Evan introduced his daughter Madeline (age 2 weeks) in 2005 to the Willys at a family gathering while Evan’s wife Tammy could only look on shaking her head. Paula and Barry got into the act sharing the joy of jeeping with their first grandchild. As Paula pointed out, Madeline is the 5th generation of the family to be pictured in a jeep. Robbie joined the family in 2008 and is already showing signs of the jeep bug.
You may have noticed that most of the jeeps pictured have had the “Lawson” treatment applied: no windshield. The lack of windshields robs us of clues at to the model and year of some of the Jeeps. The jeep with the Monroe lift and the red jeep might have been 3As.
We considered including a family tree, but thought that it might just add to the confusion. The point is, this family likes its jeep!