Marshall County, Illinois and the Lannings

Contributed by Dean Thomson



The George Lanning family


Alfred George Lanning age twenty, sailed from Bristol, England on the ship Mary Ann Peters & landed in NYC on May 27, 1850.

The passenger list also includes the name George Lanning, age forty, being his father.

Fredrick Vincent age 19 (relationship unknown) also came with them.

Fredrick Vincent married his wife Sarah in New York City on February 1, 1855 moving to Sparland, Illinois about a year later in March.

Fred and Sarah next show up in historical records on the June 1, 1860 census in Steubentown, P.O. Sparland, Marshall county, Illinois with his wife Sarah and 3 children, Anna, Ed and Ida.

Fred registered for the Civil War draft in June 1865 but by that time the war was over so there was no need to serve.

His trade of blacksmithing continues after moving to Sparland as evidenced by the federal census from 1860 -1900 and of course he retires in 1901, never to work on another horseshoe.

Perhaps the reason Fred Vincent came to Sparland may never be known, but many settlers of Steuben township area have their roots in Steuben County, New York, it is said, so perhaps this had something to do with his choice.

Fred had worked & lived in the south of New York in his early years so if he was in Steuben County it is entirely possible for him to have been influenced by some local people.

George & Alfred George Lanning did return to England at some point, this we know, as Alfred George married Augusta Lodder June 9, 1859 at Stour Provost in the county of Dorset.

Interestingly, Thomas Lanning, his grandfather, signed the Marriage Bann as a witness at age 85.

After their marriage, Alfred George & Augusta went on to have at least two children, Thomas & Vincent John.

The 1861 census of Kington Magna shows Alfred & Augusta living with their one year old son Tom and a boarder, Job Lanning age 44, unmarried & a butcher.
Beer perhaps, was the beverage of choice in the mid-nineteenth century England and could have been the reason why that Alfred Lanning managed a beer house as a business in the 1861 census.

Their son, Vincent John was christened March 16, 1864 and perhaps Augusta passed away in the mid1860s for family records state that Alfred George Lanning went to Syracuse, NY where he married Leah Kimber Roberts July 17, 1868.

Having decided to become a farmer, Alfred, his two children and new wife, Leah, soon left New York and started living in Marshall County, Illinois awaiting the birth of a new daughter & sister as they settled into a new life.

The 1870 federal census shows the Alfred Lanning family at Henry, Illinois with the family now grown to five with the addition of Jennie.

Alfred Lanning and his wife were at Saratoga, Marshall County, Illinois for the June 1, 1880 federal census.


Thinking it was time to declare his allegiance to the United States, Alfred Lanning became a naturalized citizen on Sept. 20, 1880 at Lacon, Marshall County, Illinois.

Job Lanning family comes to America


There were 13 children in the family and historical records show six children emigrated from their home in England.

George was the first, coming to Boston in 1862, where he was allowed to join the US Navy as a British subject under the name of George Herridge.

At this point we need to go back in time a little bit!

Marriage records of Dorset show that George had married Sarah Jane Hannam on February 5, 1861 with his original surname of Lanning and, so goes the family history, there were family problems of some kind that caused George to wish to change his surname which was shortly done.

This change of names would have had to occur between the day of the wedding and his departure for Boston in September 1862.

The story continues on that grandparents by the name Herridge raised him and he was grateful.

However, one problem, George had no Herridge grandparents, but his uncle, Luke was married to Hannah Herridge, so perhaps her parents had something to do with raising him.

When his term of service with the Union forces was completed he returned safely to England to be with his family.

The family continued to live in their English homeland until moving to Halifax, Nova Scotia in 1874.

However, something was drawing them further South and they moved.

Could it have been family?

The1880 census of Marshall County does show George Herridge & family with the address of Sparland.

Brothers, Thomas & Charles had come together to America on the steamship Belgian on the 14th of April, 1866, but nothing seems to indicate that these guys had a desire to put down roots in Marshall County.

The Luke Lanning (Sr.) family


The year 1869 had beckoned some else by the name of Lanning to come to America when we find Luke & Charlotte Lanning disembarking from the S.S. City of Cork and soon make their way to Marshall county. Luke was a cousin!

Guess what, they made it in time for the 1870 federal census!

Continuation of Job Lanning family events


Brother William Lanning had traveled on the ship Java and arrived in New York on April 4, 1872 leaving his wife Eliza to come with the children on the ship Calabria exactly six months later.

There is no indication that Sparland was where he wanted to go since he settled in Lafayette, Onandaga County, New York, those six months were probably spent getting ready for the family. They are in the 1880 census of Onandaga!

Rose Lanning sailed on the Algeria and landed on American shores the 26th of October 1872 and appears to also have stayed in New York.

Sarah Lanning, the last of the Job Lanning family to arrive in the Land of the Free and Home of the Brave came with her family October 30, 1872, sailing out of Liverpool, England on the S.S. Italy.

So, it is no surprise that Sarah & her husband William Caddy & family soon boarded the train and came to Marshall County, Illinois and, why not, her relatives were there!


The 1880 census of Marshall County identifies……

William & Sarah Lanning Caddy
Luke & Charlotte Lanning
Alfred G. & Leah Kimber Lanning
George & Sarah Hannum Lanning


They migrated to Sparland in different years but all the families were probably at Sparland for the years 1874-1882 when they again became restless and began another migration further West.

The destination-Otoe county, Nebraska and the town of Palmyra

William & Sarah 1882
Alfred & Leah 1883
Luke & Charlotte 1884


However, George Lanning Herridge & family lived at Sparland until 1895 when they left their neighbors & friends in Sparland and moved to a farm east of Grand Junction, Iowa.

All were close relatives & all had a Sparland, P.O. though they may have been at Saratoga, Lacon, Henry or Sparland & I believe, it could be said they all lived at Sparland !

The family tree in Dorset, England goes into the distant past for many generations but for practical purposes only a portion of it will be shown.

Thomas 1773-1859 & Rose White 1764-1820

Luke 1796-1852
Luke & Charlotte
1830-1904-1836-after 1910

Job 1804-1875
Sarah & William -George & Sarah
1837-1901/02-1829-1894-1839-1915-1841-1920

George 1810
Alfred George & Leah
1830-1904 --- 1836-after 1910


The Thomas Lanning family consisted of nine children

The Luke Lanning (SR.) family had six children

The Job Lanning family had thirteen children

The George Lanning family had one known child (there could have been more)

The great migration story of the Lannings seems to have started with Fred Vincent who came to these shores for reasons unknown.

Questions we might ask: did George & Alfred George Lanning accompany him in 1850 just to make sure he got here safely & got established? While not starting out at Sparland, Fred Vincent eventually did succeed at Sparland.

Was Fred a relative of the Lannings ? Don't know, but he could have been.

One of the children of William & Sarah returned to Sparland with her husband and there are descendents of theirs that call Sparland home to this day.
Maybe someone has the answers!

Are there any errors in this story? I hope not, I tried to accurately present things from family stories & historical records but if there are questions consult the historical records, I guess!

Dean Thomson

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