Descendants of Nicholas Lanier


A Bit of Lanier History

The name of Lanier is derived from the ancient French tongue, and means of French descent, and is from the province of Gascony in southern France. However older records show a Tuscany family in northern Italy of the same name, and several genealogists claim that the family moved from Tuscany to Gascony after the Crusades.

The Laniers were Protestants, and left France to escape the early persecutions. Protestantism began in 1555, and the height of the persecutions was reached in the massacre of St. Bartholomew on the eve of August 24, 1572. It was in 1560 that the conspiracy began; one party hoped to enrich themselves by the estates of the heretics who were executed, or banished; and the other party hoped to gain the favor of the people by their punishment. The estates of those who fled were sold, their children who remained behind were exposed to the greatest sufferings. France lost thousands of useful and rich inhabitants whose industry, wealth, and skills found a welcome reception in foreign countries. To prevent the emigration of the Protestants, the frontiers were guarded with the utmost vigilance; yet more than 500,000 fled to England, Holland, Switzerland, and Germany.

The Laniers were Huguenots to London, and are well recorded in the books of the Huguenot Society of London; but could not be called Huguenots to American, having been naturalized Englishmen for three generations. However, their descendants are eligible to the Huguenot Society.

In 1561, the Earl of Hertford was visiting in Paris, and met there, young Nicholas Laniere, who had been in the Court of the late King Henry II; he was recommended as a good flute player, and also the cornet; was sober, honest, and born at Rouen. He was engaged to serve as messenger, and a replacement for Peter Guillaume, one of the Queen's flute players lately dead. Confirmation of his services under Henry II is to be found in the lists of "Chantres et autres Jouers d'instruments" of the French King's Chambers, which include Nicholas Lasnier for the years of 1559 and 1560. (Groves Dietionary of Music and Musicians, Supplement 1962, p. 255).

John Lanyer and Nicholas Lanier arrived in England in 1561. It is possible they were brothers. John, a musician, came with his wife, Joan, and two children. He was a native of Rouen, France and owned property in Crutched Friars, Parish of St. Olave, Hart Street, London. He died 29 November 1572 and had appointed a daughter, Barbara, as his executrix. He had no sons.

During the Civil War, the fortunes of the Laniers and others loyal to the Crown declined sharply. They had lost their appointments, suffered privation, even starvation, and often imprisonment. "In 1655, about fifty of those formerly in the service of King Charles, prepared a petition, after they had tried all other means in vain to get bread for themselves and their families, hoping to arouse pity for their plight. They only decided to take this last step after a number of their kin died of starvation." "Thomas Lanier (son of Andrea, grandson of Nicholas) petitioned King Charles II to be restored to his third post, which had been guaranteed him, and also his father, who had been jailed in 1643. They had given their all in the King's cause." .In Annals of English Court Music" by Willibald Nagel, 1863.


Nicholas Lanier

NICHOLAS LANIER was born in Rouen, France, and died ca 1611-12. He married Lucreece ----, perhaps the daughter of one of the Italian musicians in the Royal Orchestra. Lucreece was buried in East Greenwich on 4 January 1633-34. Nicholas left Paris for London in 1561. He settled in the Parish of St. Olave, London in 1561, when he first arrived in London. He later moved to East Greenwich, County Kent, where he was one of the musicians to the Court until his death in 1612. He was a very wealthy man, having extensive holdings in Blackheath and the surrounding country. This area was south of the Thames, about 5 miles east of the London Bridge. One of the many palaces was there, the Royal Hospital and many other buildings of early importance.

In early 1700, an old house was descried as being fitted up for a theater, probably by the Laniers who were musicians and dramatists. Nicholas, who was in the Court of King Henry II of France, the Court of Queen Elizabeth and of King James of England, was the founder of the Lanier family of musicians, and the ancestor of the American Laniers. Nicholas and Lucreece had six sons, all of whom were musicians to the Queen and Kings, four daughters, two of whom married musicians, and eight or more grandsons who became members of the Royal Orchestra, making three generations serving the Royal family. In 1604, Nicholas Lanier, Sr., was named "Musician of the Flutes", after his death, his son Andrea succeeded him "for life". Nicholas' will was dated 28 January 1611-12 and proved in July 1612 and left his wife, Lucreece, sole executrix.

References: "Lanier - A genealogy of the family who came to Virginia and their French ancestors in London" by Louise Ingersoll.

Children of Nicholas Lanier and Lucreece ----
1. John Lanier, b bef 1565 d Dec 1616 m Frances Galliardello
2. Alphonse Lanier, d Nov 1613 m Amelia
3. Innocent Lanier, d 1625 m 1) Phrisdiswith Grafton and 2) Elizabeth Williford
4. Jerome Lanier, d 01 Dec 1659
5. CLEMENT LANIER, d 06 Nov 1661
6. Andrea Lanier, d 02 Nov 1660 m Joyce Perry
7. Ellen Lanier, d 03 Aug 1638 m Alphonse Ferrabosco
8. Frances Lanier m Thomas Foxe
9. Mary Lanier
10. Katherine Lanier
11. John Lanier, b ca 1565

Clement Lanier

CLEMENT LANIER died in November 1661. He married in March of 1627-28 at St. Margarets, Lee, England to Hannah Collett. Hannah's death was recorded in St. Alphege as "Mrs. Lanier buried December 22, 1653". Clement was a musician on the recorder, a type of flute, and was also a Gentleman of the King's Chamber. Clement and Hannah had 11 children. Some registered in a very old book of Greenwich and Lewisham, after 1637, others were recorded in the Parish of St. Alphege, and three are missing, John, Elizabeth and Charles. The will of Clement names Susanna and Elizabeth as not being of age in 1658, which would make them born after 1638, but the baptism of Susanna is given as June 10, 1633. Charles' death was January 14, 1651. From the baptismal dates of the other children, it seems that John was born about October, 1631. It is from Clement that the Laniers of Virginia and Barbados descend. Clement's will was dated February 1658-59, proved 3 Dec 1661 PCC, and registered 20 May 1662. He was buried on 6 November 1661 in East Greenwich. He mentioned in his will: sons, money to Nicholas, Lionel, and William, to John and Robert, money "when they shall come to demand the same of my Executrix", daughters, money to Elizabeth and Susanna, when they marry or come of age, and his oldest daughter, Hannah, his house and L40.

References: "Lanier - A genealogy of the family who came to Virginia and their French ancestors in London" by Louise Ingersoll.

Children of Clement Lanier and Hannah Collett
1. Hannah Lanier, m Thomas Swetnam
2. Nicholas Lanier
3. Lionel Lanier
4. William Lanier
5. Frances Lanier
6. Lucretia Lanier, d bef 1658-59
7. Robert Lanier, bapt 22 May 1642 m Rebecca
8. JOHN LANIER, b ca Oct 1631 Lewisham, England d aft 1683 Charles City Co, VA
9. Charles Lanier, d 14 Jan 1650-51
10. Elizabeth Lanier, b aft 1638
11. Susanna Lanier, b aft 1638

John Lanier, Sr.

JOHN LANIER SR. was born ca October 1631 in Lewisham, England, and died after 1683 in Charles City County, Virginia. He married before 1655 in England to Lucreece ----. They lived on the south side of the James River. In one of the fragments of Charles City Records, it shows that John and Lucreece Lanier were transported by Howell Pryce, who received his patent in April 1657 for 2350 acres of land for transporting 47 persons. Sometimes it was several years before these patents were recorded, in some cases as much as eighteen years, so the Laniers could have been in Virginia by 1656. We know by Clement Lanier's will, dated February 1658-59, that John and Robert had already left England. John's brother, Robert, had gone to Barbados before 1678 and at least two of his sons, Robert and Clement and possibly a third, Lemuel, emigrated to Virginia. Clement lived with his uncle John in Surry County, Virginia. In 1676, John and John Woodlief were sent by the men of Charles City to see Governor Berkeley about the defense against the Indians but were refused aid and were called "fools and loggerheads". He is said to have encamped at Jordans Point.

References: "Lanier - A genealogy of the family who came to Virginia and their French ancestors in London" by Louise Ingersoll, a manuscript in the Library of Congress, written by Thomas Matthews.

Children of John Lanier and Lucreece ----
1. JOHN LANIER JR., b 1655 England d ca 1718-19 Charles City Co, VA
2. Katherine Lanier, d 1665 Charles City Co, VA

John Lanier, Jr.

JOHN LANIER JR. was born in 1655 in England, and died ca 1718-19 in Prince George County, Virginia. He married (1) in 1677 in Charles City County, Virginia to ---- unknown ---- and (2) ca 1685 to Sarah Edmunds. Sarah was a widow of Edward Edmunds, by which she had a daughter, Elizabeth. John was a participant in Bacon's Rebellion. In 1683 John and Peter Wyche patented 1,482 acres in Charles City County for transporting 30 persons. When Prince George County was formed in 1702, this land was in the new county where John was listed as having 700 acres in the Quit Rent Rolls of 1704. John was in Prince George County when he wrote his will, dated 5 January 1717, recorded 14 April 1719, and appointed his son, Nicholas, to be executor. John mentioned his sons, Robert, John, Sampson and Nicholas, daughter, Sarah Brewer, and grandson, John, son of Nicholas. A wife was not mentioned.

References: "Prince George County, Virginia Wills and Deeds 1713-1728" by Benjamin B. Weisinger III 1973, and "Lanier - A genealogy of the family who came to Virginia and their French ancestors in London" by Louise Ingersoll.

Children of John Lanier and 1st wife
1. Robert Lanier, b 1678, Charles City Co, VA m Priscilla Washington
2. John Lanier, b 1680 m Elizabeth Bird
3. Sampson Lanier, b 1682
Children of John Lanier and Sarah --- Edmunds
1. SARAH LANIER, b ca 1686 Charles City Co, VA d ca 1724-29 Surry Co, VA
2. Nicholas Lanier, b ca 1690 m Mary Shepherd

Sarah Lanier

SARAH LANIER was born ca 1686 in Charles City County, Virginia, and died ca 1724-29 in Surry County, Virginia. She married in 1705 in Surry County to George Brewer, son of John Brewer. George was born ca 1670-1680 in Brunswick, Isle of Wight County, Virginia, and died ca 1741-1744 in Brunswick County, Virginia. Sarah had ten children and died before 1730. Sarah's father, John Lanier and George's father, John, were involved in Bacon's Rebellion. George's second wife was Alice Burnwell. In George's will, he mentiones his wife, Alice, and our young children. All of George's children were born in Surry County, Virginia. In Prince George County: 13 July 1714, George was a witness of a deed, 28 Feb 1723 survey of property, 100 acres, on lower side of Reedy Branch, and 30 March 1725 survey of property on south side of Stony Creek. At a Court held at Merchants Hope for Prince George County, 14 Feb 1720, George Brewer made oath he attended 10 days as evidence for Joshua Irby who was to pay Brewer 400 lbs. tobacco. He was a Mason. His will was dated 13 July 1741 and was proved in August 1744. His executors were his wife, Alice, and his son, Hoel. George Brewer and Sarah Lanier are probably buried in the family cemetery at Rattlesnake Creek.

References: "In the House of Brewer" by Edward Denton Brewer, "In the Ambrose Brewer Family" by James F. Bowman & Dr. Clinton Congleton, "Lanier" by Louise Ingersoll, "Prince George County, Virginia Wills and Deeds 1713-1728" by Benjamin B. Weisiger III, "Magazine of Virginia Genealogy" Volume 24, May 1988, Number 2 Prince George County, Virginia Court Orders & Returns of Executions 1714-1720, "Magazine of Virginia Genealogy" Volume 24, November 1986, Number 4, "Brunswick County, Virginia Court Order Books, 1737-1749: an Every-Name Index Copyright by T.L.C. Genealogy, "Brunswick County, Virginia Wills, 1739-1750" Copyright by T.L.C. Genealogy, "Brunswick County Virginia Will Book No. 2 with Inventories & Accounts 1739 - 1785" Brunswick County Courthouse, Lawrenceville, VA.

Children of Sarah Lanier and George Brewer
1. William Brewer, b ca 1706 d ca 1773 Surry Co, VA m Ann ----
2. Oliver Brewer, b 1708 d 1792 Chatham Co, NC m Rebecca Smith Revolutionary War S-3085 NC
3. Henry Brewer, b 1710 d 1778 Chatham Co, NC m Mary ----
4. Nathaniel Brewer, b 1712
5. Sarah Brewer, b 1714 m ---- Vick
6. Lanier Brewer, b 1716 m Joanna ----
7. George Brewer, b 1718 d 1757 Northampton, NC m Mary ----
8. Nicholas Brewer, b 1720 Surry Co, VA d ca 1782 Brunswick Co, VA m Sarah ----
9. John Brewer, b 1722-24 d 1763-67 Chatham Co, NC m Mary ----
10. HOWELL BREWER, b 1722-24 d Western TN m 1) Rebecca Willis and 2) Marian May
Child of George Brewer and Alice Burnwell
1. Burwell Brewer, b 1730 d 1799 Wilkes, GA m Elizabeth Patrick

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