Lawrence Oscar Garner was born in Coventryville, Chester County, PA, on October 29, 1896. He was the eldest of the ten children of Nathan Moyer Garner and his wife Alice Bertha James. His siblings were Elizabeth, Anna, Frank, Sarah, twins Harry and Charlie, Laura, Mary and Leonard.
When he was a young child, Lawrence was sent to live with his father's cousin, Flora (Moyer) Epright. Flora and her husband J. Hiliary Epright had no children of their own, and they treated Lawrence as a son. At first he lived on their farm in East Coventry. He later moved to Pottstown.
Lawrence attended Pratt Institute of Technology in Brooklyn, NY. He graduated from there in 1923, earning a degree in mechanical engineering. On September 5, 1923, he married Ada Elizabeth Evans. They got married in Bethlehem, PA, which is where Lawrence was working at the time. However, they only lived in Bethlehem for a short time before moving back to Pottstown.
Lawrence and Ada had eight children. The first child was a daughter Doris, who died when she was only 2 months old. They went on to have three sons and four more daughters. Lawrence died May 1, 1961. He suffered a fatal heart attack while driving his car near Emmaus. Luckily the car drifted off the road and came to rest in a field. His passenger, a friend and business associate, was uninjured.
Lawrence worked for Wilbraham Green Blower Works and its successor, Pottstown Blower Co., from 1930-1943. He then worked for Joos Equipment Company, Bryn Mawr. At the time of his death in 1961, he was a sales engineer. He was active in local Republican politics. He was Pottstown Borough Treasurer from 1950-55 and 1958-time of death.
Click here to see a pedigree chart for Lawrence Garner.
Paternal Ancestors of Lawrence Garner
The immigrant Garner ancestor of Lawrence was a John Garner who lived in Bucks and Montgomery Counties, PA, dying in Gwynedd, Montgomery County in September of 1827 at over 90 years of age. He is buried in Line Lexington Mennonite Cemetery. He might be the 12-year-old John Garner who immigrated with his father Hans Georg Garner in 1749. In any case, John was a Mennonite of German descent. He was first married to Mary Lewis, with whom he had Samuel, Elizabeth, Mary, George, Catherine, John, Henry and Peter. Mary died about 1800, and he married a much younger woman, Regina/Rachel Reinwald. She was of the Schwendfelder faith. They had at least one child, Anna (a.k.a. Nancy).
On March 12, 1795, there is a marriage recorded between a John Garner and a Magdalena Longacre. It is believed that this is the marriage record of John Garner II, son of the first John Garner. His wife, who is refered to as Mary in other records, is believed to be the daughter of Jacob and Julianna Longacre of Pikeland Township, Chester County, PA. Jacob and Julianna were probably originally from Montgomery County in the vicinity of Mingo. At the time of his death, John Garner II owned a farm in Warrington, Bucks County, PA. He died about 1805, leaving three children: Jacob (age 10), John (age 5), and Anne (age 2).
John Garner III was born about 1800 in Montgomery County, PA. After his father's death, he most likely lived in Chester county with his Longacre grandparents. About 1824 he married Mary Pennypacker, daughter of Henry and Susanna (Zublin) Pennypacker. Henry was the son of Harmon and Barabara Pennypacker. His great-grandfather was Heinrich Pennabacker, who emigrated from Holland about 1699. Heinrich's wife was Eve Umstead. Susanna Zublin was the daughter of David Zublin and his wife Susanna Frick. Her maternal grandparents were Jacob Frick and Elizabeth Urner. Susanna (Zublin) Pennypacker, John Garner III and Mary (Pennypacker) Garner are all buried at Vincent Baptist Churchyard in Chester Springs, PA.
Among the children of John Garner III and Mary Pennypacker was a David Garner, born in 1831. He married Margaret Youngblood, daughter of Isaac and Sarah (Whitesides) Youngblood. Margaret was born in 1836. During the early part of their marriage, David and Margaret moved from Chester county, to Berks County, and eventually returned to Chester County and settled in the town of Phoenixville. Their children were Sallie, Ella, Ada, John Howard, Nathan, Harry, Eli and Flora (who died as an infant). Possibly due to health reasons, their son Nathan was sent to live with Margaret's sister Eliza and her husband Nathan Moyer. They lived on a farm in East Coventry township with their children Flora and Isaac. Nathan probably viewed his cousin Flora as an older sister, which may partially explain why his son Lawrence would later be sent to live with her and her husband.
Many of the Garners and related families mentioned above are buried in various Chester County cemeteries, including Brownback UCC Cemetery, Morris Cemetery (in Phoenixville) Mount Zion (in North Coventry), and Vincent Baptist Burial Ground in Chester Springs. Their memorials can be viewed at FindAGrave .
Maternal Ancestors of Lawrence Garner
The immigrant ancestor of Alice James, mother of Lawrence Garner, was John James, who was presumably from Wales. His wife was Lettice. They lived in Vincent, Chester County, PA. Their children were Eleanor, William, Elizabeth, John and Mary. William married Hannah Williams, daughter of Evan and Ann. One of their children was Evan James, who was born in 1756. Evan was a lieutenant in the Revolutionary War. He married Rachel Evans, daughter of Abner Evans and Sarah Thomas. Her paternal grandparents were Rev. Owen Thomas and his wife Eleanor. Evan and Rachel James had William, Abner, Mary, Sarah, Evan, Hannah and Jesse.
William James married Jane Dunwoodie, daughter of James Dunwoodie and Grace Irwin. Her paternal grandparents were William Dunwoodie and Janet Porter. Her maternal grandparents were William Irwin and Grace Darlington. William and Jane had James D., Abigal, Myrach (male), Daniel, Benjamin Franklin, Rachel and Evan. Benjamin Franklin James was born in 1814. His first wife was Margaret Liggett, daughter of Samuel Gardner Liggett and Barbara Starret. Margaret's paternal grandparents were John Liggett and Mary Shields, and her maternal grandparents were William Starret and Margaret Winings (or Winnance). Margaret and Benjamin had Charles, Sarah and Mary. Margaret died in 1845 at the age of 30. She is buried at St. Paul's Church in Geigertown, Berks Co., PA. In 1853, Benjamin married Mary Ann Reiter and had seven more children.
Like his father Benjamin, Charles James was a miller by trade. His mill was in Warwick, Chester County, PA, at the site of the old Reading Furnace. Apparently, Charles introduced several inovations, which made his mill very productive. In 1860, he married Emma Ibach, daughter of William Ibach and Sarah Wien. William Ibach was a first generation American, whose parents and older siblings had emigrated from Germany in 1796. Sarah Wien's parents were Michael and Anna Maria (nee Geyer). Emma and Charles lived a comfortable life. Their farm house is still standing in Coventryville, and is pictured above. Their children were Anna Elizabeth, William Franklin, Sarah Ellen, Laura Louise, Charles Morris, and Alice Bertha. There were also twin sons, Howard and Edward who died shortly after they were born in 1872. Another child, Alfred, was born and died in 1875, and a daughter Mary also died in infancy. Sadly, Emma developed an ovarian tumor and died in 1884 at the age of 48. Alice, who was the youngest child, was only 8 when her mother died.
Alice James married Nathan Garner in Camden, NJ in 1896. In addition to Lawrence, they had Elizabeth, Anna M., Frank, Sarah J., twins Charlie and Harry, Laura, Mary, and Leonard. Nathan died in 1925 at the age of 53. Alice died in 1961, at the age of 85. They are buried in Edgewood Cemetery in Pottstown.
Page Last Modified: Saturday, 10-Jul-2010 19:15:02 MDT