Allen LANE (1758 to aft 1832)
and Esther GRANNIS (abt 1760 to aft 1792)

- by Alice Marie Beard

A preacher's poor handwriting caused this Revolutionary War soldier and his wife to be lost to history as a couple until I found the error.

Allen LANE was born 2-Sep-1758 Middletown Twsp., Middlesex Co., CT. He served in the Revolutionary War from Connecticut with Captain Shepherd's company. After the war, on 11-May-1780, the 22-year-old Allen married Esther Grannis who was about 20. They married in the Congregational Church, Cheshire, New Haven Co., CT, and the preacher entered their names in the church record. When he wrote the young groom's name, the preacher first wrote the last name as "Lain." Then, he wrote over it to change it to "Lane." Because of that writing over, the name was hard to read. One hundred years after the young Revolutionary War patriot and his bride married, and a copiest misread the surname as "Lewis," and the couple was lost to history until the error was found.

The Lane/Grannis connection took major piecing on my part to figure out. The standard sources show no marriage for Allen Lane, and they show Esther Grannis married to "Allen Lewis." However, an old researcher years ago -- when she wasn't quite so old -- found an older family member with an even older inherited Bible that noted a set of ancestors: Allen Lane and Esther Grannis, married 11-May-1780 Cheshire, CT. A search of original church records using LDS microfilm found the couple.

When I began trying to find the parents of the two, I found that the respected genealogist Donald Lines Jacobus listed Esther Grannis married to "Allen Lewis." WHY? Because 100 years after the preacher made the original record, a copyist hand copied the original record and misread the preacher's handwriting. When Jacobus did his research, only the copyist's record was available to him. In recent times, however, the church made the original records available to LDS for filming. When I looked at the original record, it was clear why the copyist had misread the preacher's corrected handwriting as "Lewis."

It was Jacobus who wrote, "If the genealogical bug once bites you, you are a doomed man." Jacobus (1887-1970) was the first person elected to the National Genealogy Society's National Genealogy Hall of Fame. As NGS wrote, "During his lifetime, Jacobus was widely regarded as the dean of American genealogists, and he is recognized as the founder of the modern school of genealogy in the United States. He was the editor and publisher of The American Genealogist for forty-three years, and he may have been the most prolific genealogical writer of any generation."

Allen Lane died after 22 Sep 1832 and before 17 Oct 1838 in Sullivan Twsp., Tioga Co., PA. He was residing in Smithfield, Lycoming Co., PA, in 1812. Esther Grannis was born about 1760 in Cheshire, New Haven Co., CT; she died after 2-Aug-1792. After Esther died, Allen married Susanna (last name unknown).

Thru his paternal grandmother (Anna Allen, 1677-1751), Allen descended from the family that produced Ethan Allen, of Vermont's "Green Mountain Boys." After marrying, Allen and Esther moved to Vermont, and at least three of their four children were born in Wells Twp., Rutland Co., Vermont (1784, 1787, 1792.) Allen and Esther's son Allen was born 1-Nov-1787 in VT; he married Hannah COOK, and among their children was their daughter Cilinda LANE, born 1810 in Tioga Co., PA.

Esther's GRANNIS was the great-granddaughter of the immigrant Edward Grannis, b. abt 1630 England, d. 10-Dec-1719 New Haven Co., CT. His second marriage (1662, Hartford, CT) was to Hannah WAKEFIELD, christened 29-Dec-1644 Watertown, CT; d. 1711 Watertown, CT. Hannah was the daughter of immigrant John Wakefield and his wife Ann. Some researchers think Edward Grannis may have been Flemish, from what is now Belgium (at the time, the Spanish Netherlands), part of the group exiled by the Spanish from Flanders.

In 1649 in CT, Edward Grannis was fined for not having with him his cleaning instrument for his rifle: "Fined 18 d for want of worme, scourer, and flints." That was the 17th century version of "gun control": Keep it clean so you can control it.

The original church record of Allen Lane and Esther Grannis can be found on LDS film number 007833639, image 195. LDS records are arranged geographically. Thus:
United States > Connecticut > New Haven.
For New Haven, there are church records for Cheshire. Specifically, there is this:
Church records, 1724-1917    Author: Congregational Church (Cheshire, Connecticut)

The LDS Family History Center's library catalogue is online. The listing for that film can be found here:
Church records, 1724-1917. Author: Congretional Church (Cheshire, Connecticut)
Volume 2 on that film is "Rev. John Foot's records of baptisms, deaths, admissions and marriages 1767-1813." 

As of 2017, Allen LANE is a DAR-established Patriot. His number is DAR number is A-212951.

Allen and Esther's ancestral lines can be found HERE.


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