The third Lawrence, first of a two-ship class of 400-ton destroyers built at Weymouth, Massachusetts, was laid down 10 April 1899 by Fore River Ship & Engine Co.; launched 7 November 1900; sponsored by Miss Ruth Lawrence, great-niece of Capt. James Lawrence; and commissioned 7 April 1903, Lt. Andre M. Proctor in command.
Assigned to the 2d Torpedo Flotilla, Lawrence served along the East Coast and in the Caribbean for over four years, taking part in training and exercises off New England in the summer and out of Key West, Fla., in the winter. She decommissioned at Philadelphia 14 November 1906.
Recommissioned on 23 July 1907, Lawrence resumed operations with the Torpedo Flotilla out of Norfolk until the following spring, when the flotilla conducted a long voyage around South America to San Diego to support the circumnavigation of the world by the battleships of the "Great White Fleet." Arriving there on 28 April 1908 she helped escort the battleships into San Francisco Bay on 6 May.
Assigned to the 3d Torpedo Flotilla, Lawrence served on the Pacific Coast for nearly a decade, patrolling as far north as Canada and south to Panama. The destroyer served off Mexico during the summer of 1914, protecting American and foreign nationals during the unrest accompanying the Mexican revolution. Following the United States' entry into the First World War in April 1917, Lawrence moved to Central America, where she protected the entrances to the Panama Canal out of Balboa. This duty lasted until the end of May 1918, when she was transferred to Key West, Florida. Early in 1919, with the "Great War" at an end, she steamed to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where she remained until decommissioning 20 June. The old warship was sold to Joseph G. Hitner of Philadelphia on 3 January 1920.