the maynard’s of lenawee county, michigan

Elizabeth (Maynard) Manley, my paternal grandmother, photo circa late 1960’s.

graylittle My winding journey into the history of my Maynard ancestors begins with Elizabeth (Maynard) Manley (1907-1998), my paternal grandmother. Note that the original intent (and title) of this blog entry was “The Maynard’s of Sussex, England”.  However, as I began to piece together the historical details from my ancestry tree I realized this truly needs to be a two-part blog.

There are the many generations of Maynard’s in Lenawee County, Michigan beginning in the early 1850’s.  Prior to these Maynard’s, there were many generations of Maynard’s in Sussex County, England stretching back to the 1500’s and earlier.  The stitching together of these two segments of the Maynard line seems to be best told as separate stories with our ancestor, Thomas J. Maynard, the connecting point between the English-born ancestors and those born in America.

Thomas J. Maynard (1812-1876) was born in Warbleton, Sussex, England in 1812 to John Edwards Maynard and Sarah (maiden name unknown at the time of this writing) and was christened in the Heathfield Non-Conformist church, ten miles maynard-2southeast of his home shortly after his birth.  In June 1831 eighteen year old Thomas J. Maynard arrived in America aboard the ship “Hannibal” and initially settled with his mother, Sarah, stepfather, John Kenward, two brothers Jonathon and John Edwards, sister Martha and several step siblings in Ostego County, New York.  After his marriage to Caroline (Coleman) Maynard in 1839 they reside in Ostego County until about 1853 when they move ‘west’ to Michigan.  Thomas and Caroline resided and farmed in Macon, Michigan until Thomas’ death from erysipelas (a bacterial infection) in 1876. He is buried in Lake Ridge Cemetery, located between Britton and Macon, Michigan in Lenawee County.

The generations of Maynard’s prior to Thomas J. Maynard residing in Sussex were recorded often as Puritians, dating back to the Rev. John Maynard (1600-1665) who was the Vicar of the Mayfield parish. From “Mayfield – The Story of an Old Wealden Village”:

“John Maynard was born at the end of the 16th century at Rotherfield (Sussex) and was a student at Queen’s College in 1616 and later at Magdalen Hall, Oxford. He entered into holy orders and presented to the vicarage of Mayfield around 1625. At the breaking out of the civil wars, John Maynard avowed himself a puritan, and boldly preached the views of his party. In 1643 he was appointed one of the Commissioners of Sussex for the ejectment of ignorant and scandalous ministers and schoolmasters. In 1662, as a non-conforming minister, he was deprived of his benefice as Mayfield’s vicar, despite being held in high esteem by his flock and he died three years later in Mayfield.

I will explore the Sussex Maynard’s in more detail in part II of my blog (hopefully shortly).

Florence Nightingale (Gurin) Maynard and Leon Maurice Maynard, my great grandparents, wedding photo 1904.

However, as to the history of the Lenawee County Maynard’s, I will move backward in time beginning with my paternal grandmother, Elizabeth (Maynard) Manley (1907-1998). Elizabeth’s parents (my great grandparents), Leon Maurice Maynard (1881-1947) and Florence Nightingale (Gurin) Maynard (1883-1970) were married on May 30, 1904 in Adrian, Michigan.  At the time of their marriage, Leon Maynard is 23 years old, his occupation is listed as ‘engineer’.  Note that Leon’s middle name was pronounced ‘Morris’.

Notice from the Tecumseh Herald Newspaper dated February 12, 1907

On February 11, 1907, Leon and Florence’s first child and the oldest of their five children, Elizabeth Blanche Maynard, my grandmother, was born somewhere in Lenawee County, Michigan. Her birth announcement in the Tecumseh Herald indicates that her parents were ‘formerly residents of Tecumseh’, but does not indicate where they currently reside.  Also of note, Elizabeth was actually born ‘Blanche Elizabeth’ named after her mother’s half-sister, Blanche (Fuller) Naylor.  My grandmother disliked the name Blanche so much she always went by ‘Elizabeth’.  Leon and Florence’s second child born on May 7, 1909 is another daughter, Mildred Caroline Maynard.

News article from the Tecumseh Herald dated May 5, 1913 of Mildred Maynard’s birthday party.  Noted guest was her sister, Elizabeth.

A newspaper article from the Adrian Telegram in September 1909, about four months after Mildred’s birth, records that Leon had secured a position in Adrian with the Clark Motor Company.  However, a short time later, in April 1910 the Federal Census enumerates the family of four residing in Jackson, Michigan (about 35 miles west) with Leon’s occupation listed as a ‘machinist in a motor factory’.

Tracking the family’s movements through census data and newspaper archives between the years of 1910 and 1915, it appears after the short stint in Jackson, Michigan in 1910 the family returns to Lenawee County and moves frequently over the next few years within a twenty-mile radius, residing in Adrian, Tecumseh, and between 1914 and 1915 they finally settle in Macon, Michigan where Leon tries his hand at farming.

Leon Maurice Maynard and his three daughters, Elizabeth, Mildred and little Ruth. Photo taken on Leon’s farm in Macon, Michigan about 1916 or 1917 based on Ruth’s age in the photo.

On July 31, 1915 a third daughter, Ruth Irene Maynard, is born in the small rural farming community of Macon, Michigan.  The Maynard’s first son and fourth child, Herbert “Barney” Maynard is also born in Macon on July 7, 1920.

In October 1922 at the age of 41 years old and after seven years of farming in Macon, Leon auctions off his farm, equipment, and livestock and quits the farming life.

leonsaleThe family moves to Tecumseh, where on May 31, 1923, Leon and Florence’s last child, a son, Ivan “Buck” Maynard is born.  It is interesting to note that Florence would have been about two months pregnant with her fifth child at the time of the farm auction on October 31, 1922. Perhaps the move was precipitated by the need for a more stable source of income for the large family, but that is merely conjecture on my part.  However it’s my opinion that the fact that once Leon arrives in Tecumseh he becomes the janitor at the local school, a position he will hold the remainder of his life lends some sort of credence to this idea.

Leon, my great grandfather, is the second generation of American-born Maynard’s after the arrival of his grandfather, Thomas J. Maynard in 1831.

Thomas D. Maynard and Phebe (Carter/Skinner) Maynard, wedding photo October 1872.  Thomas, the son of Thomas J. Maynard, is the first generation of our line of Maynard’s born in America.

Leon’s parents, my 2X great grandparents, were Thomas D. Maynard (1847-1931) and Phebe (Carter/Skinner) Maynard (1849-1895). At the time of his mother, Phebe’s, sudden and unexpected death from pneumonia in 1895, Leon was only 13 years old.  His father, Thomas D. Maynard, will not remarry until Leon is 18 years old.

Thomas D. Maynard (1847-1931), my 2X great grandfather, is the son of English-born, Thomas J. Maynard and New York-born Caroline (Coleman) Maynard.  Thomas D. Maynard was born in Otsego County, NY and arrived with his parents in Lenawee County at the age of about six years old.

Common names seen in almost every generation of our Maynard line are Thomas Maynard, Jonathon Maynard, John Edwards Maynard, and Martha Maynard.

Ironically “Jonathon” and “John Edwards” are seen several times in branches of the Maynard tree as names of brothers in the same family, leading me to believe that the Jonathon males were actually called ‘Jonathon’ versus the abbreviated John which would have been their brothers.

Also note the middle name is “Edwards” with an ‘S’ as opposed to “Edward”.  The middle name was originally the maiden name of my 6X great grandmother, Frances Edwards (1727-1798).



Special thanks and acknowledgement to my family for the photos in this blog, including Ashley Chase, Mary (Manley) Koebbe, Vickie Manley, and Willis and Marilyn (Manley) Kilbourn.