James Lanier

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James Lanier
James Franklin Doughty Lanier

November 22, 1800
DiedAugust 27, 1881(1881-08-27) (aged 80)
EducationTransylvania University
OccupationBusinessman, banker
EmployerWinslow, Lanier & Co.
Elizabeth Gardner
(m. 1819; died 1846)

Margaret Mary McClure
Children11, including Charles

James Franklin Doughty Lanier (November 22, 1800 – August 27, 1881) was an entrepreneur who lived in Madison, Indiana prior to the outbreak of the American Civil War (1861–1865). Lanier became a wealthy banker with interests in pork packing, the railroads, and real estate.

Early life[edit]

James Lanier was born in 1800 in Beaufort County, North Carolina to Alexander Chalmers Sr. (1778–1820) and Drusilla Cleaves Doughty (died 1838). His home was in Bourbon county Kentucky from 1802 to 1807 and then in Eaton Ohio until 1817, when his family moved to Madison, Indiana,[1] the year after it became a state and lived at Schofield House. He studied law at Transylvania University and began practicing in 1820. According to an ad placed in the Indiana Republican newspaper of August 17, 1820, Lanier's first law office at Madison was “in the south wing of Col. Stapp’s brick house, in the room…at present occupied by Dr. [Robert] Cravens,” father of the man Lanier's daughter Drucilla would later marry.


During the 1820s, he was assistant clerk for the Indiana Legislature and later Clerk of the Indiana House of Representatives, where he was involved in assisting to move the capital from Corydon to Indianapolis in 1825.

In the early 1830s, Lanier became involved in banking. He became president of the Bank of Indiana in 1833 and eventually became a large shareholder of its Madison branch and was also on the board of directors that oversaw all branches. In the later 1830s, Lanier was involved with construction of the state's first major rail line connecting Madison and Indianapolis. He became a major stockholder in the line, which was finally finished in 1847. The line turned out to be very profitable.

The same year, Lanier represented Indiana in a meeting with its European creditors. The state was on the verge of bankruptcy due to extreme overspending on internal improvement over the previous decade and was liquidating its assets. Lanier was able to negotiate the transfer of ownership of most of the Indiana canals to their bond holders in exchange for a 50% reduction in the value of the bonds.[2]

Lanier Mansion in Madison

His sudden wealth allowed him to build a large mansion in Madison; it was completed in 1844. His wife Elizabeth died in 1846 and he was remarried to Margaret Mary McClure in 1848.

In 1849, he began trading railroad shares in New York in a bank he started there in the same year with Richard Winslow called Winslow, Lanier & Co. In 1851, he moved out of the state to New York, where he would manage his new business. He never moved back to Indiana.

At the request of Gov. Oliver P. Morton, Lanier loaned the Indiana government over one million dollars without security to help the state avoid bankruptcy during the American Civil War. The money was used to pay interest on the state debt and outfit troops. It was all repaid by 1870. The state, grateful for his help, has preserved his residence in Madison, the Lanier Mansion, as a state historic site.[3]

Personal life[edit]

In 1819, he married his first wife, Elizabeth G. Gardner (1798–1846). Following Elizabeth's death, he married Margaret Mary McClure (1825–1903).

  • Alexander Chalmers Lanier (1820–1895),[4] an attorney who married Stella Louise Searing Godman (1825–1899).
  • Elizabeth Frances Lanier (1822–1910), who married Brig. Gen. William McKee Dunn (1814–1887).[5]
  • Drucilla Ann Lanier (1778[6]–1838), who married John Robert Cravens (1819–1899), the Lieutenant Governor of Indiana.
  • Margaret Downing Lanier (b. 1827)
  • John James Lanier (1829–1836), who died young.
  • Mary Lanier (b. 1832), who married John Cameron Stone (d. 1862).[7]
  • Louisa Morris Lanier (1835–1885)
  • Charles D. Lanier (1837–1926),[8] who married Sarah E. Egleston,[9] and who was a close friend of Pierpont Morgan,[10] who carried on Winslow, Lanier & Co. after Lanier's death.[11]
  • Jean Lanier (1849–1849), who died young.
  • James Lanier (1851–1856), who died young.
  • Katherine Howard Steuart Lanier (b. 1858), who married Myles Standish (d. 1915).[12]

Lanier died on August 27, 1881 in New York City.[13] His funeral was held at the Presbyterian Church at University Place and 10th Street in Manhattan and he was then buried at Green-Wood Cemetery.[14]


Through his youngest son, Charles, he was the grandfather of James F. D. Lanier (1858–1928), who married Harriet Bishop[15] in 1885;[16] Sarah Eggleston (née Lanier) Lawrence (1862–1893), Fanny (née Lanier) Appleton (1864–1958),[17] who was married to Francis Randall Appleton,[18] and Elizabeth Gardner (née Lanier) Turnure (1870–1935),[19] who was married to George Evans Turnure (d. 1933).[8][20] His great-grandson is record producer Quincy Jones, whose maternal great-grandmother was a slave.[21]


  1. ^ Garber, Blanche Goode (1 September 1926). "The Lanier Family and The Lanier Home". Indiana Magazine of History. ISSN 1942-9711. Retrieved 8 April 2016.
  2. ^ Dunn, Jacob Piatt (1919). Indiana and Indianans. American Historical Society.
  3. ^ Indiana Center for History Archived 2008-03-11 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ "ALEXANDER C. LANIER DEAD; Was a Member of the Firm of Winslow, Lanier & Co., Bankers" (PDF). The New York Times. 12 October 1895. Retrieved 18 August 2017.
  5. ^ "GEN. DUNN BURIED" (PDF). The New York Times. 27 July 1887. Retrieved 18 August 2017.
  6. ^ "James F.D. Lanier (1800-1881) - HouseHistree".
  7. ^ "Obituary – STONE" (PDF). The New York Times. 9 June 1862. Retrieved 18 August 2017.
  8. ^ a b "CHARLES LANIER, BANKER, DIES AT 89; Senior Member of Winslow, Lanier & Co. for 63 Years Is Victim of Apoplexy. CAME OF A NOTED FAMILY Had a Common Ancestor With Washington – In Many Big Transactions – Funeral Tomorrow" (PDF). The New York Times. 8 March 1926. Retrieved 18 August 2017.
  9. ^ "MARRIED" (PDF). The New York Times. 9 October 1857. Retrieved 18 August 2017.
  10. ^ "LANIER LEFT ESTATE OF $9,677,364 NET; Broker's Securities Appraised at $4,402,858 and His Interest in Firm $4,617,418. BULK GOES TO FAMILY His Secretary Gets $40,000 Bequest – Memento to His Friend J.P. Morgan" (PDF). The New York Times. 22 November 1927. Retrieved 18 August 2017.
  11. ^ Vincent P. Carosso, Rose C. Carosso, "The Morgans" (Harvard University Press, 1987) p. 248
  12. ^ "MYLES STANDISH DIES AT 66.; Eighth Descendant of Pilgrim Soldier Was a Retired Lawyer" (PDF). The New York Times. 2 July 1915. Retrieved 18 August 2017.
  13. ^ "JAMES F. D. LANIER". The Indiana Herald. 31 Aug 1881. Retrieved 28 June 2019.
  14. ^ "THE FUNERAL OF JAMES F.D. LANIER" (PDF). The New York Times. 31 August 1881. Retrieved 18 August 2017.
  15. ^ "NOTABLES MOURN MRS. H. B. LANIER; Artur Bodanzky Leads Chorus of Friends in Music From St. John Passion. ORCHESTRA MEN ATTEND figures in Music World Also Join Relatives in Tribute to the Founder of Group" (PDF). The New York Times. 4 November 1931. Retrieved 18 August 2017.
  16. ^ "LANIER – BISHOP". The New York Times. November 25, 1885. Retrieved 18 August 2017.
  17. ^ Times, Special To The New York (5 June 1958). "Obituary – APPLETON" (PDF). The New York Times. Retrieved 18 August 2017.
  18. ^ "FRANCIS R. APPLETON DIES AT COUNTRY HOME; Retired New York Business Man and a Former Harvard Overseer" (PDF). The New York Times. 3 January 1929. Retrieved 18 August 2017.
  19. ^ "MRS. ELIZABETH TURNURE; Her Ancestor and Washington's Came to America Together" (PDF). The New York Times. 26 December 1935. Retrieved 18 August 2017.
  20. ^ "GEORGE E. TURNURE, BANKER, DIES AT 77; Was a Director of Insurance Companies – Father of Aviator Killed in War" (PDF). The New York Times. 26 December 1933. Retrieved 18 August 2017.
  21. ^ "Quincy Jones". Archived from the original on 2012-03-20.

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