Where there’s a will, there’s a way … to discover your family history

One of my pioneer ancestors, Paul Moss, was a Michigan pioneer, settling near Marshall in 1835.  Paul Moss was born in Poland and had spent his life sailing and captaining ships around the word before coming decided to pull up anchor on American soil.

The Paul Moss 1852 will, from his probate record is important, especially as it relates to the Warren family. That is my Mayflower connection, and I’m trying to gather as much information as possible to eventually submit an application to the Mayflower Society. The problem I have is that I don’t have a marriage record for my great-great-grandparents, John Johnson and Alice Warren.

So I’ve been left with having to make the case through other sources. I do have the Calhoun County marriage record however for Alice’s parents, Simeon Warren and Frances Caroline Moss, which indicates Simeon resided in Butler Township, Branch County.  The only Warren family there was Alanson Warren, whose parents Simeon Warren and Mercy Betts are found in the Richard Warren genealogy.

This is where the will for Paul Moss is important. Paul’s son George Henry Moss married Abigail Warren, daughter of Alanson.  Paul’s daughter Nancy Ann married Thomas Van Giesen (who lived next to Alanson Warren in 1850).  Paul’s other daughter Mary married Philander Brooks. Paul Moss, and sons-in-law Thomas Van Giesen and Philander Brooks are recorded as being original settlers of Convis Township, Calhoun County, north of Marshall.  When Caroline Moss Warren died in 1852, my great-great-grandmother Alice and her sister Olive were raised by their aunt and uncle, Mary and Philander Brooks in Clarendon Township, Calhoun County, which is just north of Butler Township.

It was only a year ago that I found proof that John Johnson was the son of Daniel Johnson of Barry County. So how did John end up moving from near Nashville and Hastings down to the Homer/Tekonsha area?  Well, John’s brother Franklin was married to Almira Brooks, daughter of Whaley Brooks, who was the brother of Philander Brooks, and Whaley Brooks lived in both Barry and Calhoun counties as well.  So Philander Brooks was Alice’s uncle as well as the uncle of John’s brother at the time, and probably led to him to move to work on the Brooks farm.

Now back to Paul Moss. The 1820 Census shows him in Galen, Wayne, New York. Daniel Johnson also lived in Galen Township , and in 1840, Daniel lived next to another Brooks brother, Milo.  The Brooks families were from Savannah and Galen townships, which overlaps same place north of Cayuga Lake.

So when you look at how these families interconnect over the course of decades, it becomes clear that it was destiny that brought John Johnson and Alice Warren together!

Now the other problem I’m trying to solve is what happened to Simeon Warren after his wife died.  He’s listed as Simeon B. Warren in 1850, but there’s a Simeon R. Warren from Lapeer county, who many assume from the son of Hezekiah Betts Warren, the brother of Alanson D. Warren.  However, the Paul Moss will says his son-in-law was Simeon R. Warren. If so, then I know he later remarried and had more children in Lapeer county.  If true, I believe the R stands for Rowland, which would come from his grandfather, Rowland Lanfear.

So what other evidence do I have to merge these two Simeon Warren’s?  My great-grandmother Lena Johnson Gilmer’s bother Simeon Johnson was born in Deerfield Township, Lapeer County.  It would appear that Lena’s parents had once lived there for a short time because her grandfather was the same Simeon Warren.