John William “Will” McCauley was born Thomas Jefferson “Jeff” Lanier. He was the son of Joseph Smith Lanier and Nancy Jane Bennett of Chambers and Randolph Counties in Alabama.
Yes, there is a story there, but I’m not ready to tell it yet.
Will’s ancestors lived in Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and Virginia. His father’s line includes the surnames Cooke, Eaves, Jackson, Jordan, Lanier, Malone, Smith, and Washington. His mother’s line includes the surnames Bennett, Ewing, Finney, Gamble, and Munford.
Photo on right: John, Will holding David, Katie, and Verda
Lewis H. Bennett was born in South Carolina about 1804. He married Teresa (maiden name unproven). Several of their children were born in South Carolina before the family moved to Troup County, Georgia, prior to the 1840 census. Lewis' parents are unidentified. His son, John, was Will's maternal grandfather.
Henry Cooke's daughter Mary married James Lanier about 1746 in Brunswick County, Virginia. Mary was Will's 3rd great-grandmother.
Graves Eaves lived in Northumberland County, Virginia and Rutherford County, North Carolina. His son Burwell married Izza Malone in 1778 in Lincoln County, North Carolina. Their daughter Gracie married John Malone in 1800 in Rutherford County, North Carolina. Gracie was Will's 2nd great-grandmother.
Thomas Ewing died in 1800 in Laurens County, South Carolina. He probably lived in Pennsylvania before migrating to South Carolina before the Revolutionary War. His daughter Sarah married John Gamble, who was also from Pennsylvania. Sarah was Will's 2nd great-grandmother.
John Finney and Agnes "Nancy" Munford lived in Laurens County, South Carolina. John's father was probably the John Finney who was a Revolutionary War soldier from Laurens County. John and Nancy's daughter, Anna, married David Gamble in 1814. Anna was Will's great-grandmother.
John Gamble was a Revolutionary War soldier from Laurens County, South Carolina. His wife, Sarah, was the daughter of Thomas Ewing. The Gambles and Ewings came to Laurens County from somewhere in Pennsylvania. John's son, David, married Anna Finney. They left Laurens County before 1840 to settle in Heard County, Georgia. David and Anna's daughter Martha was Will's maternal grandmother.
Samuel W. Jackson was born in North Carolina, as was his wife, Lavinia Malone. They lived in Jasper County, Georgia in 1820, Meriwether County in 1830, and Heard County in 1840. Their daughter, Charlotte, married William Washington Lanier in 1835 in Meriwether County. Charlotte was Will's paternal grandmother.
Arthur Jordan lived in Surry County, Virginia. His daughter Elizabeth married Richard Washington there in 1682. Elizabeth was Will's 5th great-grandmother.
Will's 4th great-grandfather, Sampson Lanier, was the first in his Lanier line to be born in what became the United States. Sampson lived in Charles City County, Surry County, and Brunswick Counties in Virginia. His son James migrated to Pitt County, North Carolina. James' grandson, also named James (the son of Nathaniel Lanier) married Polly Smith in old Randolph County, Georgia in 1810. They lived in Jasper and Meriwether Counties in Georgia. James and Polly's son, William Washington, married Charlotte Jackson, and they moved to the Heard County, Georgia/Randolph County, Alabama area with her parents. Their son Joseph Smith Lanier was Will's father.
John Malone married Gracie Eaves in Rutherford County, North Carolina, in 1800. John's parents are unproven. John and Gracie settled in Meriwether County, Georgia, where their daughter, Lavinia, married Samuel W. Jackson. Lavinia was Will's great-grandmother.
Hugh Munford died in Laurens County, South Carolina, between 1802 and 1806. His parents and origin are unknown. Hugh's daughter Agnes married John Finney and they lived in Laurens County. Agnes was Will's 2nd great-grandmother.
David Smith lived in Jasper County, Georgia. His daughter Polly Y. married James Lanier there in 1810. Her mother is unknown. Polly was Will's great-grandmother.
Richard Washington married Elizabeth Jordan in 1682 in Surry County, Virginia. Their daughter Elizabeth married Sampson Lanier there about 1706. Elizabeth was Will's 4th great-grandmother.