I always enjoy a happy coincidence. This situation almost seemed too good to be true. On New Year’s Day, a good friend of mine saw me at our local Wegmans and greeted me. We chatted about the Historical Society of Moorestown. I asked if she would be interested in having me do a deed search of her house, a service provided by the Historical Society of Moorestown. I had a feeling her house was quite old. My friend agreed to have the search.
The research was complicated. The lot where my friend’s house is located had been part of a plantation, then a farm, and subsequently a nursery. Now, it is a private residence with a yard on a quiet street. The names I uncovered as I searched were typical Moorestown names of the day- Lippincott, Andrews, French, Haines – with several entries showing the property changing hands among family members.
Imagine my surprise when I encountered this deed listing: George French to Samuel Laning, house carpenter, May 24, 1803. Laning!
Here is a reference I made to John Laning in a previous post on The Ware Chair Makers on this Blog: "Elnathan Ware ( 1729? - ?) Maskell’s father, apprenticed Maskell at the age of 14 to chair maker John Laning. Laning’s chair making shop was located on Ye Great Road in Greenwich, New Jersey. It is quite possible John Laning learned his trade from master craftsman William Savery of Philadelphia. Thus, a high quality skill crossed the river and established itself in a then thriving community. Greenwich and Salem were busy port towns which resulted in a practical need for seating. Maskell and his sons, grandsons, and eventually great grandsons all provided for this need."
Could Samuel Laning of Moorestown be related to John Laning of Greenwich?
I quickly referred back to Sara Carlisle Watson’s book. There is a chapter on South Jersey Turned Chairs by Dr. Martin W. Sharp in which he discusses early chair maker John Laning. I remembered Dr. Sharp mentioned that John’s father David emigrated from Wales and settled in Burlington County, New Jersey. Could this be the same Laning family?
Here is a Laning Family genealogy:
John Laning ( b. before 1675- d. 1733) of England married Elizabeth:
Children of John & Elizabeth:
- John Laning ( born about 1700 at Crosswicks or Bordentown,NJ died 1759 at Chester Township, NJ AKA Moorestown) married Anne
- David Samuel Laning ( born about 1701 at Northampton Township, NJ died 1749 at Burlington, NJ) married Ann Kemble
- Mary Laning ( born about 1713 at Willingborough, NJ) married William Price
- Joseph Laning ( born about 1715 at Willingborough, NJ) married Mary Jaquatt
The children of John Laning ( 1700-1759) & Anne:
- Martha Laning ( born about 1720 at Burlington, NJ died after 1768) married Joshua Bishop
- Hannah Laning ( born about 1726 at Northampton,NJ) married Samuel Cripps
- Samuel Laning house carpenter ( born about 1737 at Chester Township, NJ aka Moorestown died 1824 at Moorestown, NJ) married Esther Gaskill.
The children of David Samuel Laning ( 1701-1749) and Ann Kemble:
- Samuel Laning (born 1735 at Moorestown, NJ died 1822 at Moorestown, NJ)
- John Laning chair maker (born 1737 Burlington, NJ died 1826 at Greenwich, NJ) married Wife #1 Rhoda Izzard and wife #2 Anne Ewing
According to Dr. Sharp, John Laning married Rhoda Izzard in 1774 and moved to Greenwich, NJ.
According to the deed book at Mount Holly, Samuel Laning and widow Esther Laning sold the property to Edward French in 1821.
Yes, John Laning chair maker of Greenwich and Samuel Laning house carpenter and husband of Esther Gaskill were cousins. So the connection is complete.
Incidentally, Samuel Laning, also a builder and the son of Esther Gaskell Laning was the first mayor of Camden, New Jersey from 1828-1830.