Trained as a shipwright, George Lawley moved from England to Massachusetts in 1851 to seek a better life for himself and his family and was hired to work with East Boston ship designer Donald McKay.
Lawley opened his own yard in 1866 in Scituate, Mass., and when his son, also named George, joined the company, its name became George Lawley & Son. It was the start of four generations of Lawley shipbuilders and designers in the United States.
The company relocated to Boston in 1874 and prospered there. Lawley yachts Puritan and Mayflower won the 1885 and 1886 America’s Cups, and by 1908 the company had built more than 800 ships, including schooners, sloops, steam yachts and motor launches.
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The F.D. Lawley yard in Quincy, Massachusetts, built one of President John F. Kennedy’s favorite boats, a power cruiser named Marlin that was launched in 1930. This Soundings article has more about that yacht.