December 6, 2021

Mrs. Rebecca Lawley

Mrs. Rebecca Jane Davis Lawley, age 83, of Franklin passed away at home on March 10, 2019.

A memorial service will be held March 23, 2019 at 11:00 AM at Salem Church, with the Rev. Lynn Peters officiating.

Mrs. Lawley was born May 25, 1935 in Heard County to the late Owen Cook Davis, Sr. and Pallie Heard Davis.

She was a graduate of Heard County High School (Class of 1953), where she was a member of the basketball team. Her diminutive size earned her the nickname “Peanut.” (She also answered to Rebecca Jane, Becky Jane and Becky.)

Rebecca earned a degree in nursing from the Georgia Baptist School of Nursing (now part of Mercer University), and met her husband, Joe, during her last year of studies. She was a registered nurse for many years and served in several hospitals around the country. After settling down with Joe in the Atlanta area, where they raised their daughters, she worked as a private duty subcontractor for Piedmont Hospital until she retired in 1997.

Rebecca and Joe opened a new chapter when they returned to her childhood home in Heard County and built a round house, their dream home, which she affectionately referred to as “Hillabee”.

Rebecca and Joe were active members of Friendship Force International (FFI), organized by President Jimmy Carter and Rev. Wayne Smith as an international exchange program to encourage cultural awareness and cooperation. Journeys with FFI took the couple to Australia, South Korea, Japan, and many other countries; in return, they hosted visitors from abroad in their home.

As a descendant of Heard County pioneers Joshua Davis and his wife, Martha Trammell, Rebecca had a passion for preserving local history. She was instrumental in founding the Heard County Historical Society and was appointed to the restoration committee for preserving the Old Jail as a museum. Later, she was instrumental in getting the Davis-Ridley Farm District (incorporating her old home place) added to the National Register of Historic Places.

Rebecca was the first editor of the Heard County Historical Society quarterly newsletter (“Heard and Scene”) and served from 1994 – 2008. She also served on the committee that published “Heard County History” – often referred to as the “Black Book” – and later helped compile stories for two other books published by the Society: “Chattahoochee River Stories” and “Highway 27 Stories”.

Rebecca continued her service to the Society by becoming a Museum Coordinator at the Old Jail Museum, a position she held from 2004 – 2013. While working in the museum, she was able to share her knowledge of Heard County and help others discover their family history through genealogical research.

Rebecca was a charter member of the United Daughters of the Confederacy (Heard County Chapter #2587), the Daughters of the American Revolution (James Stewart Chapter), and the William Wofford Chapter of Colonial Dames. She served in numerous leadership positions in these organizations through the years.

Survivors include her loving husband, Joseph Rhodes Lawley; two daughters, Lisa Lawley (George Nesbitt) and Cara Lawley Fields (Tracy); three grandchildren, Bowen Cheek (Matthew Eldridge), Euan Nesbitt, and David Nesbitt; two great-grandchildren, Richard “Peanut” Cheek, and Miller Cheek; beloved first cousins, Nelva Roop, Dorothy Jean Moore, Doyle Garrett, Minnie Jane Mojica, Randy Garrett, and Roy Garrett; as well as a large extended family.

In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by her grandson, Joseph Kolten Cheek; and three brothers, Bernard Clyde Davis, Owen Cook Davis, Jr., and Dock Heard Davis.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorial donations be given to the Heard County Historical Society or the Goizueta Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center at Emory University (online at or by mail – 1762 Clifton Rd, NE Suite 1400 Atlanta, GA 30322).

Those who wish may write memorial tributes at

Stutts Funeral Home of Franklin, GA, is in charge of arrangements.


  1. Becky was a loving and generous friend. She worked tirelessly to preserve Heard County history. Heard County needs to honor her contributions.

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