[Home]The Lane Family of Calhoun County, Alabama

by Travis Hardin

William Macon Lane. Born about 1872. Died 1 Apr 1947.

This narrative starts with William Macon Lane -- the father of Lovia Lane who married Ausie White -- and works backward. Perhaps it was the hope of a land patent that attracted Macon Lane from Piedmont in Calhoun County, Alabama, to Hokes Bluff, about 20 miles to the west. There William Macon Lane met and married Jo Ella Johnson, the 12th of 13 children, in 1890. He was 18 and she was 17.

Jo Ella was the daughter of Thomas Marion Johnson. She had grown up in the Hokes Bluff area with an older sister presiding over the household after her mother, Susannah Jane Griffith,  died in February 1878. In 1880 when Jo Ella was age 7 the family lived in beat 9 of Township12 Range 7, or Hokes Bluff. A stepmother, Saphronia Mitchell, arrived in June 1881.

There is no existing 1890 census to record where Macon and Jo Ella Lane lived at that time, but by 1900 the couple lived in the Hokes Bluff precinct beside the Walter Alford family and had three children: Mamie J., Minnie F., and William -- age 8, 7, and 2 respectively. Macon patented forty acres at Mayes Crossroads, south of the Coosa River across from Coats Bend on 28 March 1906. That was to be his home into the 1930's, and it is where my grandmother Lovie Lane White, born in 1902, grew up.  Land grant 

Macon and Jo Ella Lane raised eight children. Jo Ella died in 1925 when her youngest, Dee, was but five. After Dee was married in 1940, Macon lived with them, perhaps as a dependant. I have a photo of a visit to Theoria White's house south of Gadsden on Lee Dairy Farm, Rainbow Drive, in 1943 by Macon, Dee, and May.  Macon, in his overalls, and with his daughters posed behind him, was photographed holding infant Jerry Hardin by his granddaughter Theoria. I scarcely remember it. I was two. Macon died 1 April 1947. Death certificate of Jo Ella Lane.   Death certificate of Macon Lane.

Minnie Lane Minnie Lane, born 1891, married Cleveland Alford and spent most of her life at Alford's Bend near Hokes Bluff, Alabama. This photo was relocated after the web pages were done, so it is put here in a temporary place. "Aunt Minnie" to my mother.

Siblings and Parents of William Macon Lane

In 1999, before looking on the Internet for other Lane researchers, I wrote down the names my mother had given me as the brothers and sisters of William Macon Lane: Fannie Lane, married a Crocker ?; Dovie "Gilly" Lane;  Sarah Nancy "Nan" Lane;  Emma Lane, married Will Bennet; Tom Lane; Quince "Quinn" Lane; Colley Lane; Minnie Lee Lane (who I looked up in the social security death index and found: born 18 Aug 1879, died 27 Jun 1968. Age at d: 88. She married a Davis, it was believed. The last listed was Nannie Lee Lane who I recorded, perhaps from the social security death index, as possibly married to a Flanegan, born 24 March 1890, died 12 Aug 1959, age at death 69. This information should yield to information from censuses and othere records  of the time.

Family Lore

I was told by my mother the story about an uncle of Lovia Lane, Tom Lane, having killed a Doctor Morris in Piedmont and then leaving the country. A second passed-down story had Lovia Lane's brother Uncle Bill Lane marrying a woman in Texas, then, deciding he wanted to act in Hollywood, went there, where he was killed by the son of a second wife or partner.

Finally, it was asserted that Macon Lane said he was an illigitimate son of a Cherokee Indian woman named Sarah. The claim was that the father was not married to the Cherokee woman Sarah. Other family tales came from other family: As I talked to a few second cousins in 1999 and occasionally over the next 13 years, descendants of Lovia Lane's brothers and sisters, I found they were enamored of the idea or the claim that Macon Lane practiced Indian customs. I have yet to find anything about Indians, Cherokee or otherwise.  I can't say the Indian connections are false. I just suggest that sometimes family lore is true, sometimes it's false, and sometimes it's mixed. Enough family has talked about Indian ancestors and ways and it could be based on truth. Or on making a virtue out of necessity. To explain, the Indians were feared, hated, and expelled from northeast Alabama in the 1830s. Those who remained were so few they were seen as exotic, even as they married into white majority families.

Louisa Wells Lane

That was the state of my knowledge in February 2013, before I began to locate a few Lane trees on Ancestry.com and Rootsweb Worldconnect containing the names of Lane siblings I had previously been told about. One of those trees by "germanoca", found at http://trees.ancestry.com/tree/819751, appearing to be the prototype of several others, had a good many supporting documents, and significantly, some photos of Minnie Lane born about 1881 who married Joe Davis. They lived in Piedmont, Alabama.

Minnie Lee Lane and her sister Nannie Lane were fathered by Michael Murther Kiernan, it was claimed by germanoca. Kiernan was a Piedmont grocer, an Irishman born in 1830, who in 1880 already had a wife and a large family.  No verification was published. It is implied that the mother of the Lanes, named as Louisa Wells,  had illigitimate children before or during her knowledge of Lane. I can't find him in records, but the father of John Quincy Lane and the younger Lanes was named John Quincy or John W. Lane. The parents' names with variations show on the death certificates of Frank Roland Lane and Dovie Lane at familysearch.org. The fatherhood of earlier children, including Macon Lane born around 1870, is an open question as I write this.

Reply from ewelch3024 about Louisa Wells Lane 
via ancestry.com on March 7, 2013 about her tree "Henry W. Woolf, Jr." similar to "germanoca":

Travis: Most of the children's death certificates do not list their parents. However, Frank Roland Lane's certificate shows his parents as John Q. Lane and Louisa Wells, and Dovie Lane's death certificate shows her parents to be J. W. Lane and Lou Wells. This information is from familysearch.org; I have not looked at the actual death certificates and do not know who the informants were. To complicate matters, James Collie's death certificate has Sam Lane as his father.

On the 1900 census, Louisa Lane reports having had 11 children, 10 living. I have never been able to find this family in the 1870 or 1880 census records. On the various obituaries for the children, they lists each other as siblings, but I really am not sure if they all have the same parents.

I have Michael Kiernan in the family tree, but I do not have any information regarding him as the father of some of the Lane children.

Elizabeth Welch
Birmingham, AL

Overview of the Louisa Lane Family

As with researcher Elizabeth Welch, I have not located the Louisa Lane family before 1900. But at the census enumeration on 19 June 1900 Louisa Lane was in Piedmont, precinct 9 of Calhoun County, Alabama. She was a widowed head of the family and lived with six children: Minnie, Nannie, Fannie, Thomas, Frank, and Dovie, age 18 to age 1. The census- taker recorded Louisa was born January 1860 in Alabama; both her mother and father were born in Georgia (other answers say Alabama);  and that she had been the mother of eleven children, 10 of them now living. Besides the six children living with her, the others were John Quincey, James Collie, Emma (married a Bennett and lived in Anniston), Macon, and, according to Germanoca,  Thelma. I guess Thelma is the one who died before 1900. Since William Macon Lane was born no later than 1872, then either he was the firstborn of a twelve-year-old mother or the mother was older than she stated in 1900. Since Emma Lane, among others, is show as born 1871 or before, it is reasonable to believe Louisa was at least somewhat older than she claimed in 1900.

Birmingham.  Sometime before the census of 1910 (germanoca says 1910) the mother of the Lanes, Louisa, died. John Quincey Lane had married about 1898 and presently moved to Birmingham, where he took a job as a locomotive engineer for Birmingham Southern Railroad Company. When his mother died, John Quincy Lane took in his existing unmarried brother and sisters at his home in Birmingham, five children from Nannie age 23 to Dovie age 11.There is documentation of the family in Birmingham from World War I draft registration cards to obituaries. See the master GED file for further details. A number of Lanes lived and died at Fairfield in Jefferson County. The older children and a few of those raised in Birmingham after 1910 made homes in Piedmont, Calhoun County, Alabama.

Uneventful Lives.  It is believed and hoped that the rest of the Lanes not described under "Trouble with the Law" lived happy and ordinary lives. From my point of view, my grandmother Lovia Lane White was the sweetest person imaginable. 

Here is an undated, handwritten poem by Lovia Lane White that was kept by my mother -- a bit melancholy -- called What Will Tomorrow Bring?

Trouble with the law