Lane Family biographies
When Job Lane (1) (1620-1697) purchased a substantial tract of land in Billerica from the heirs of Governor John Winthrop in 1664, the Lane family’s long involvement in the affairs of the area began. The Lane Family Papers – which contain the oldest documents held by the Bedford Historical Society – tell the story of this family. The papers of seven family members – the first Job Lane; his son Major John Lane; Deacon Job Lane (John’s son); Job Lane, the Deacon’s son; Samuel Lane; Captain James Lane; and David Woodward Lane – comprise the bulk of this collection. The first Job Lane divided his time between Malden and Billerica, but sufficiently developed his land in Billerica to be able to leave his son a dwelling house, outbuildings, and an orchard, as well as land, at his death in 1697. He was married twice, first to Sarah Boyce (often spelled Boyes or Boys in these documents), and then to Hannah Reyner. He had eight children, seven daughters and a son. The son, John Lane, was Job’s principal heir.
Job Lane (1) was a carpenter by trade and built bridges and houses in the Boston area. He also became the owner of land in England through his marriage to Hannah Reyner, and the rents from tenants on this land enabled Job to obtain goods from England, primarily fabric, that were in demand in the colonies.
John Lane (2) (1661-1714/15), Job 1’s only son, inherited part of Job Lane’s land in Billerica, along with his nephews Mathew Whipple and Samuel Fitch. John was active in military affairs in Massachusetts and is commonly known as “Major” John Lane. As heir to his father’s English lands, he conducted an active correspondence with his British land managers. He was married to Susanna Whipple of Ipswich, with whom he had nine children.
Deacon Job Lane (3) (1689-1762) – so called because of his involvement in church affairs – was John and Susanna Lane’s oldest surviving son. He held many town offices in early Bedford. The Job Lane House at 295 North Road is believed by many in Bedford to have been built by Job at the time of his marriage to Martha Ruggles in 1713. He and Martha had ten children, of whom seven lived to adulthood. He shared the inheritance of his grandfather’s lands in England with his brother John.
James Lane (3) (1696-1783), another son of John and Susanna Lane and a brother of Deacon Job Lane (3), was born in Bedford in 1696. In 1719 he married Martha Minot. Eight children were born, four of whom survived to adulthood: Martha, m. Samuel Dutton; Rebecca, m. Benjamin Hutchinson Jr.; David (4) and Samuel (4). By 1738 James was acquiring lands in Bedford, appearing in the documents as James Lane, gentleman. These included 23 acres with a house and barn. James was captain of a militia company which from 1745 to 1748 was sending men to fight in the French and Indian wars. He may have fought with them since his first will was drawn up in 1747. In 1775 he was once again ordered to send three men to Townshend to protect the western frontier. Between the wars he extended his land holdings in Bedford. In 1765 he indentured his Negro servant, Abram, to John Meriam for a period of 18 years. After his wife’s death in 1764 he married Cherry Wellington, who died five months later. He then married Mrs. Abigail Farmer, who died in 1773. The following year he married Mrs. Abigail Merriam who survived him. His will divided his land between his sons, James (4) and Samuel (4), including his lands in England. They were also to divide his wearing apparel and his Negro man Jack. He died in 1783.
Deacon Job’s son Job Lane (4) (1718-1796) married Susanna Fassett with whom he had nine children. After her death, he married Elizabeth Stickney and had one child with her. He was wounded at the Battle of Concord in 1775. He shared the proceeds from the family’s British lands with his brothers Job John.
Samuel Lane (4) presents a problem to the historian, for there were two Samuel Lanes of the fourth generation. They were first cousins, being grandsons of John Lane (2). According to Bedford historian Abram English Brown, both were born in 1737, both died in 1802, and both were widowed in 1796! The elder of the two is designated here as Samuel Lane (4a) and the younger as Samuel Lane (4b). Samuel Lane (4a) was the son of James Lane (3) and Martha Minot. He had 7 children by two wives, including a son named Samuel Lane (5). Samuel Lane (4b) was the son of John Lane (3) and Hannah Abbot. He married Elizabeth Fitch; their four children were all daughters.
Note: A Lane family historian, James Hill Fitts, says that the two Samuels died in different years, which seems more plausible, but also says that they were both widowed on the same day – a very unlikely event. According to Fitts, Samuel (4a) died in 1802 and Samuel (4b) died in 1822.
David Woodward Lane (6) was the son of Samuel (5) and Lucy R. Jones, and the grandson of Samuel Lane (4a). Samuel (5) and Lucy had four children in Bedford before removing to North Brookfield, where five more were born. After David’s father died his mother, Lucy, married Thomas Wilson. David Woodward Lane was “a prominent man and noted teacher” (A. E. Brown, History of the Town of Bedford).