Some Notes on Early Lain Family History
by Sally Lain Roe

William, probably brought up by his mother’s sister in Deckertown (Sussex), NJ, was born in 1743 – the same year as Thomas Jefferson. Keziah Mather, (great great great granddaughter of Richard Mather, Puritan divine and author of the first book printed in the American Colonies), was born in 1749, the year Georgia was made a crown colony and Handel wrote “Music for the Royal Fireworks.”

In 1768, the same year that Boston citizens refused to quarter British troops being sent to keep them in line, William and Keziah Mather were married by Rev. Timothy Johnes, pastor of the First Presbyterian Church of Morristown, NJ.

In 1775 & 1776, William and Keziah bought two plots of land for the farm. The second was purchased June 28, 1776, just 6 days before Declaration of Independence was adopted. The Revolutionary War quickly followed, and William enlisted in the Third Regiment of Orange County Militia. In 1784, a year after it ended, they built new barns on their land; in 1785 they began to build the Old Stone House from the farm’s plentiful limestone. It was no doubt a welcome replacement for the log cabin where they had been living with their first eight children.

William died at 67 in 1811, just before the War of 1812. He had served as Highway Master, Collector, and Poor Master, and worshipped at the Baptist Church in Brookfield (now called the Old School Baptist Church in Slate Hill). Keziah died three years later, after living through the third war of her life. They are both buried in Loree Cemetary, just down the road from the farm.

William and Keziah’s had seven children who survived infancy. Jonathan (#3) and Sarah (#9) both married children of John and Martha Ogden Brundage – Jonathan married Sarah Brundage and Sarah married Abijah Brundage. Both couples moved north, into less settled parts of New York. Jonathan and his wife Sarah (Brundage) Lain were buried in Otisville, New York – twelve miles north of Westtown. Abijah and Sarah (Lain) Brundage moved to Thunder Hill, New York (a few miles north of Fallsburg NY). After Sarah (Lain) Brundage died, her husband married again and moved with their children further north to Neversink, New York.

Phebe (#2), William (#6), John (# 7), James (#8), and David (#11) are buried in the Loree Cemetary; it is likely they spent their lives on or close to the farm where they were born.

Many of their children, however, left the area. Just following the children of William Jr. (#6) gives us an idea of how quickly we Lains spread from our Westtown NY roots. William Jr. died in 1833– the year that Andrew Jackson began his second term as President of the United States. His wife, Deborah Alger Lain, lived another 15 years; when she died in 1848, the same year the Mexican-American war ended, she was buried in Barton New York, about 25 miles east of Elmira. She probably moved there with her son, William Alger Lain (#33), and his family four years after she was widowed, when her son purchased a hundred acre farm in Chemung, New York.
Son Lawrence (#37), also moved to Chemung County. Son Reuben (#32) and Daughter Frances (#31) moved west, but south of their siblings, to Luzurne County – near Wilkes-Barre – in Pennsylvania.

Son Isaac (#39) farmed with his father in Westtown until his father’s death in 1833, He then moved to the Chemung, NY area with his two brothers, William and Lawrence, to practice carpentry. In 1842 he moved to Wauseka, Wisconsin, just six years before Wisconsin became a state. In 1867, his sister Keziah (#35) joined him there, moving from Luzurne County PA where she had originally moved with her siblings Reuben and Frances.

The country was critically divided over issues that would lead to the Civil War when Isaac’s first child, Carrie (#222) was born in 1859. When the war began in 1861, Isaac was active in the enlistment process and was appointed a commissioner by the Wisconsin governor to purchase arms for Wisconsin recruits. The first Federal Income tax was passed by Congress, the Battle of Second Bull Run was fought, and Isaac’s second child, William Hubartis (#223) was born in August, 1862. Just weeks after the end of the Civil War, his last child, Keziah Bell (# 224) was born.

Before the Civil War, Isaac had become a prominent builder and contractor in Wisconsin. One of the homes he built in 1848 is now Eric’s Porter-Haus restaurant. The classical inspiration of the Greek Revival style so popular in the United States at that time can still be seen in the columns carved by Isaac Lain more than a century and a half ago. In addition to his construction career, he was also involved in real estate, insurance and manufacturing. Isaac died in 1896 after living a full life as a farmer, carpenter, pioneer, businessman and statesman, living in a state his grandparents had never heard of.

That’s as far as I’ll go at this point. But why think about all this ancient history? Many people search for their ‘roots’: our family is lucky, knowing our roots back to the 1700s. But putting those names in the flow of U.S. history can help us better understand who they were, who we are, and when we step into their lives be reminded that not one of us is the center of the universe. Like our ancestors, we each have stories to tell, sorrows to share, and accomplishments to be remembered. We keep our ancestors alive by sharing these stories, passing them on to future generations.

I would love to receive other family stories of your ancestors. We’d like our newsletter to have more information about our cousins whose ancestors moved to upstate New York, Wilkes Barre, the wilds of Wisconsin – and all those other places Keziah and Williams’ descendants made their homes, not just those of us who grew up right around the Old Stone House farm.

Sally Lain Roe (daughter of Lester T. Lain, #1869)
5733 Route 414 Canton, PA 17724 570-673-4126

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