Lawson Family Murders Museum (Madison, NC)

On Christmas Day 1929 in Germanton, Charlie Lawson killed his wife and six of his seven children before killing himself. The event was nat...

On Christmas Day 1929 in Germanton, Charlie Lawson killed his wife and six of his seven children before killing himself. The event was national news and 5,000 people attended the funeral. Lawson's brother Marion opened the house as a tourist attraction and charged visitors twenty-five cents. Over the years, songs were performed, books were written, and documentaries were filmed about the Lawson murders.

So it really shouldn't surprise anyone that there is a small museum/shrine devoted to the murders in Madison, North Carolina. While the upstairs museum at Madison Dry Goods doesn't hold much in terms of artifacts--you can see a photo of the family, a photo of Lawson in his casket, a photo of the hearses, and two newspaper clippings--it is the museum's location that makes it notable. You see, the second floor of Madison Dry Goods was the former home of T.B. Knight Funeral Home, where the eight members of the Lawson family were embalmed.

We dropped by Madison Dry Goods and owner Richard Miller showed us around the old funeral home and pointed out the embalming room, the chapel, and the viewing rooms. He also told us how he acquired some of the items in the museum.
I had heard about the Charlie Lawson tragedy years ago because I lived in Stokes County. When I came here, I didn't realize there was actually a funeral home upstairs on the second floor, T.B. Knight Funeral Home. They were the embalmers and funeral director so they provided a direct link to Charlie Lawson. In fact, when I first got here, a person brought me a picture with the bodies out in front of the elevator, rolled up. I didn't know the significance, so I wish I had the picture today for my display. Because there was an interest in it because they were embalmed here, people like this one gentleman who's deceased now would say, "You've got to have this newspaper." There's not many Winston Salem Journals out there.

Someone gave us the portable embalming table. It's not from Charlie Lawson, but it's from that era. It folds up like a suitcase. Someone gave us the pictures of him in the casket and the hearse.

Because the building was so old and was once a funeral home, I asked him if there were any ghosts.
Yes. A little girl. I've never seen her, but four people have seen her. One was a man. I was in here years ago and apparently she was looking out the window because the man wanted to know if my daughter was in here working with me. There's been three kids. One kids about three years ago grabbed his dad's arm and said, "I"m not going up there. There's a little girl standing there." I've had a couple kids who won't go down the hallway.

Which naturally got us talking about ghost hunters.
We had a woman who came in last week and she had just got back from Wilmington. She showed me the ghost on the ship. She wants to bring her friend up to take pictures of all the stuff.

The museum is free and is open daily. But if Mr. Miller is there and has a minute, ask him about the murders and have him show you around the place. Maybe you'll even see the ghost of the little girl!

What To Know Before You Go

GPS Coordinates: (36.387675, -79.960118)
Location: 104 West Murphy Street, Madison



Paranormal/Supernatural 4167725059606695776

Post a Comment

  1. FYI it’s “Germanton” :)

    1. Yes....It is Germanton......not Germantown....

  2. Thank you so much for doing the story about the Lawson family tragedy.Glad you liked our museum.
    We've had several people come visit since you posted your story.
    Thank you very much.
    Richard Miller
    Madison Dry Goods and Dry Goods Country Store.

  3. Thanks for this. FYI, the coordinates are actually 36.38773, -79.95987.

  4. I have always wondered as to why Madison was chosen for the funeral procedures and not Winston-Salem. Was there some family connection in Madison?

    1. I've heard that it's because it was the only funeral home in the area large enough to handle that many bodies simultaneously.

  5. I have heard about this story my whole life. My grandfather lived right down the road from the Lawson family. He one told me he remembered when they were killed.

  6. I haven't ever heard this story and I am from NC. So sad. Thanks for sharing. I might need to take a road trip to Germanton.

    1. I haven't heard this story myself. I'm just glad it's not the lawsons that i was in connection with.

  7. if anyone is interested on more detail a book was written about this called White Christmas Bloody Christmas. my mother told me this story when I was younger and apparently she was a 7th or 8th cousin of Charlie Lawson.

  8. also a second book A meaning of our tears is about the murders.

  9. My grandmother was related to the Lawsons, before her passing she had both books, and edited the book herself and added things into the psychical book in the columns. I still have these books!

    1. If you feel like sharing your grandmother's annotations, we'd love to see them! Please contact us at if you feel like sharing.

    2. My Grandmother and her siblings lived within eyesite of the the Lawson home and even played with the kids so it has special connection to me also. I would be interested in notes your grandmother made. Please contact me at



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