John Lawrence was born in Hertfordshire, England in 1618 and came to America with his family in 1635 on board the ship The Planter. Although they landed in Massachusetts, the family later settled on Long Island, in the Dutch colony of New Netherland. By grant of the Dutch Director-General Willem Kieft, Lawrence and others acquired large tracts of land in Hempstead. Lawrence was also granted land in Flushing. A prosperous merchant, Lawrence settled in New Amsterdam in 1658, and was appointed by the Dutch to negotiate with the English over the boundaries between New Netherland and New England. Following the English conquest, he became one of the first aldermen of the City of New York in 1665. He was appointed Mayor of New York in 1672 and again in 1691. A member of the Governor's Council from 1674, he was a judge on the special session of the Court of Oyer and Terminer convened to try Jacob Leisler on charges of treason. Lawrence was appointed to the Supreme Court of Judicature on April 3, 1693. Due to his advanced age, he was removed from office by Governor Bellomont in 1698. He died in 1699.
Hamlin, Paul M., and Charles E. Baker. Supreme Court of Judicature of the Province of New York, 1691-1704. New York, 1959.
Lawrence, Thomas. Historical Genealogy of the Lawrence Family. New York, 1858.