Nicholas Lanier

Portrait by Anthony van Dyck 1632


The Laniers were Huguenots living in France but left their country to escape the early Protestant persecutions during the 16th century.

Musicians John Lanyer and Nicholas Lanier arrived in London from Paris in 1561. Both were musicians to the Queen.

Nicholas Lanier, who was in the Court of King Henry II of France, and also the Court of Queen Elizabeth, and King James of England, was the founder of the Lanier family of musicians, and the ancestor of the American Laniers.

During the Civil War in England (1642-1649) the fortunes of the Laniers were lost. They lost their appointments, suffered deprivation and starvation, and often imprisonment. After petitioning the King some were restored to their positions, but many migrated to the United States and Canada.

The branch of the Lanier family of particular interest is rooted in Robert (grandson of Nicholas) and Rebecca Lanier who left England. They migrated to Barbados where they lived a number of years and probably died there.

The ancestors of John Lanier lived in the mountains of North Carolina — some were farmers, preachers, and schoolteachers.

Our interest here is John (son of Benjamin and Anna Lanier) who came to Cowley County, Kansas in 1872. The simplified chart below shows his descent from Nicholas and Lucreece Lanier.

Nicholas Laniere (married Lucreece)


Clement Lanier (married Hannah Collet)


Robert Lanier (married Rebecca)


Clement Lanier (married Sarah)


Nicholas "The Red Head" Lanier (married Mary)


Clement Lanier (married Hannah)


William Lanier (married Elizabeth Christine Garner)


Benjamin Lanier (married Anna Stuart)


John Lanier (married Nancy C. Morris)

settled in Cowley County in 1872

John and Nancy


Their children:

1. Sarah Ann 2. Massey Emaline
3. Laura Ellen 4. William Benjamin
5. Mary Marinda 6. Effie Florence
7. Arthur Aristobulus 8. Otha Herbert



John Lanier was the son of Benjamin and Anna Stuart Lanier. He was born in Davidson County, North Carolina on 11 June 1830. He married Nancy C. Morris (daughter of William and Sarah Morris) on 24 March 1850 in Randolph County, North Carolina.

In October 1850 the Davidson County census lists John and Nancy Leanir. Their first child, Sarah Ann, was born in Davidson County in 1854 and Massey Emaline "Emma" was born in Winston County, North Carolina in 1856. John and Nancy continued their twenty-five year treck which ended in Cowley County, Kansas.

Evidence indicates that the family spent some time in Brown County, Illinois. During the Civil War, John joined the 12th Regiment, Illinois Cavalry at Chicago and military records show he was stationed at Collinsville Tennessee, and Napoleonville, Louisiana. He was honorably discharged at Springfield, Illinois 27 February 1866.

In 1870 the family was in Lawrence County, Missouri; they moved to Kansas in 1872.

Family tradition holds to the story of how John and Nancy brought their children to Kansas. They left Carthage, Missouri with a span of oxen pulling their wagon. One of the animals foundered on cane seed and died, delaying the trip. The father, mother and six children, including six month old Otha, pre-empted land six miles west and one north and one–half back east of the present town of Atlanta in what is known as the Prairie View community. Census records show John, Nancy, and family in Richland Township in 1875, 1880, and 1885.

Sometime after 1885 John apparently felt the urge to be on the move again but Nancy would not go with him. He went to the Oklahoma Territory and was there until 1908; meanwhile Nancy was living alone in Richland Township.

While living in Enid, Oklahoma John purchased a tract of land in 1907 for $850. In 1920 his heirs sold the property for only $325.

After Nancy died in 1908 John returned to Kansas and lived in the homes of his children. John had the reputation of being cantankerous and difficult to get along with. The story goes that on a day when neighbors were helping his son-in-law there was no room for him at the dinner table. He threw a tantrum and insisted he had to have bananas. So Floyd, his young grandson, rode a horse six miles to Atlanta to buy some for him. John ate all the bananas at one sitting — that night he became ill and died.

John Lanier died (at age 82) 29 Dec 1912 and Nancy Lanier died 18 February 1908. They are both buried in the Wilmot cemetery.

Their children were:

Sarah Ann Lanier


b. 7 Feb 1854, Davidson Co. NC, d. 2 Jul 1938 in Arkansas City KS, marr. Charles H. Bing 15 Jun 1873.  They had 8 children.

Massey Emaline "Emma" Lanier

b. 3 Jun 1856 Winston Co. NC, d. 20 J  1942 in Winfield KS, marr. John Shields 13 Jun 1880.  They had 7 children.

Laura Ellen Lanier b. 14 Apr 1859 IL, d. 6 Sep 1859 IL.
William Benjamin Lanier


 b. 13 Aug 1860 Carthage IL, d. 14 Dec 1940 in Winfield KS, marr. 11 Sep 1890 to Eliza Belle Wolfe.  They had 3 children.

Mary Marinda Lanier b. 17 Apr 1863 IL, d. 9 Oct 1863.
Effie Florence Lanier

b. 26 Nov 1866 Carthage, Hancock Co. IL, d. 2 Sep 1955 in Winfield KS, marr. William Venable 17 Nov 1887.  They had 4 children.

Arthur Aristobulus Lanier


b. 19 Feb 1869, Carthage MO, d. 2 Aug 1956 in Atlanta KS, marr. 28 Feb 1894 to Ida May Kinkaid.  They had 4 children.

Otha Herbert Lanier

b. 3 Apr 1872 Carthage MO, d. 18 Mar 1959 in Winfield KS, marr. (1) 30 Aug 1894 to Anna Volkman, marr. (2) Aug 1944 to Mary Backus.  Otha and Anna had 6 children.

  Submitted by
  Joyce Lanier Krehbiel
1. Louise Ingersoll, Lanier Genealogy, Goetz printing Co., 1981

Joyce Lanier Krehbiel, LANIER, The Descendants of John Lanier and Nancy C. Morris 1830-2002, Gregath Publishing Co., 2002

3. Research by Pauline Kennedy Jones





Belle Wolfe Lanier married Willian B. Lanier 11 September 1890.




Mr. & Mrs. Arthur Lanier.

Arthur Lanier married Ida Kinkaid 28 Feb. 1894

Parents of Cecil, Bernice, Belva, Lloyd.




Family of Arther and Ida Lanier about 1914.

Back:  Belva, Cecil, Bernice

Front:  Arther, Lloyd, Ida.



Family of Otha and Ann Lanier

Back:  Nellie,  Jesse,  Laura

Front:  Otha,  Emery,  Mabel,  Anna



Shields family home on Rock Creek

L to R:  John, Emma, Delbert, Mattie (Florence),
Sidney, Bertha, Ray, Nora.
William and Eliza Belle (Wolfe) Lanier
at their home near Atlanta Kansas.
Emma (Lanier) Shields.
Sarah Lanier married Charles Bing 15 June 1873.