Allen Granger was born in Westfield, Hampden, Co. Mass. 23 May 1787.

He married Elizabeth (Betsy) Nanater in New York, 1808. At 22 years of age Allen became the father of John Granger in New York, 1809.

Allen was listed as the head of a family on the 1850 Census in Mich., Sanilac Co, City of Lexington. 1850 Mich Census, Sanilac Co. lists: Allen Granger age 62, farmer, real estate $800, born in Mass. Elizabeth Granger wife, age 57, born in New York John Granger, son, age 42, born in New York

Comments: #2 According to a descendant James E. Granger---Allen Granger moved with his wife, Betsey (Elizabeth) Nannater--from Springfield, Mass. to the "Toronto, Canada area" then moved on to the "thumb" of Michigan


New Information being added to fill in the details on Allen Granger the son of John Martin Granger.




Sent: 6/18/2017 1:02:41 P.M. Pacific Daylight Time
Subj: Allen M. Granger


Not sure if you already have this biographical sketch.  Be sure to credit James E. Granger


Allen M. Granger (1784-1764), by James E. Granger (

Biographical Sketch

Here’s what we think we know as of March, 2007. Allen M. Granger was born in Westfield, Hampden, Massachusetts in 1784 to John Martin Granger & his wife Lydia. A book entitled Launcelot Granger of Newbury Massachusetts and Suffield Connecticut; traces Allen’s ancestry back to the 1620’s, however the concluding statement about Allen is that he and his wife,  

Betsey Nanater, went west and were never heard from again. We are fortunate that the given name Allen was such a rare occurrence in the Granger lexicon. From the history of Lewis County, New York, we learn that, following a survey of that area in 1797, the lands were opened for sale. In June 1797, a company of potential settlers from Westfield, Massachusetts were returning disappointed from an exploratory trip to “the Genesee country” when they heard of Lewis County

. A Mr. Ehud Stephens of the Westfield company bought the first lot in Lowville (No.38) on June 2nd…at $3/acre. Other members of the party selected lands and built a few shanties prior to returning to Westfield to prepare their families for relocation. It is plausible but not certain that our Allen was hired to (or just chose to) accompany this first party of settlers as they left their homes in Westfield early in 1798. He is discovered in the 1810 Census of Lowville, married with a son & daughter both under age-10. Regarding the relocation and quoting from the history of town of Lowville:

“By slow stages, they found their way to the last clearing in Turin. At the High Falls they borrowed a pit-saw of the French settlers, and with the aid of such tools as they had, undertook to build a boat of sufficient size to transport their families and goods to their destination. This craft was finished in about two weeks and was ready to launch as soon as the river opened. It was flat-bottomed, about twenty-five feet long by seven feet wide, and might have had a capacity of two tons. It was probably the first vessel larger than a log canoe that had floated on Black river and may have been regarded, by its non-professional boat-builders, as a model of its kind. The ice broke up on the river on the 8th of April, and on the 10th, they launched their boat, loaded it with farming utensils, bedding, grain and provisions, until its sides were scarcely two inches above the water, placed upon its their families and cast off upon the swollen river on an untried and somewhat perilous voyage. (On its first trip, the passengers were Jonathan Rogers & Family, Ehud Stephens & Family, Jesse Wilox, Philemon Hoadley, Zebulon Rogers, Zebulon Rogers, Elijah & Justus Wollworth). The craft was towed into the stream by some Frenchmen, but was soon caught in the current that drew it slowly around towards the falls, against the best efforts that those assisting could make, when to save themselves, they cast off the line and rowed toward their own side of the river. Four of the men seized their oars, and by hard rowing, got within reach of the bottom, when B. Rogers and J Woolworth jumped out and swam ashore with a rope, by which the craft was towed down below the eddy; then rowed back across to the French houses opposite. A part of the load was taken off and they again started a little after noon. Running down the swollen river, they arrived just before sunset, at the end of their voyage, as far as up the Lowville creek as they could push their boat, and not far from the place where the late Luke Wilder had for many years a brick-yard.

The day was delightfully serene, and they were borne rapidly and pleasantly along with no effort except to keep their craft in the middle of the stream, and no danger but from overhanging trees, by one of which, Clarissa Stephens was swept off the boat, but soon rescued. They landed upon a tree that had fallen across the creek and prevented further progress, but were yet a half a mile distant from the shanty where they were to spend the night. B. Rogers and J Woolworth started with a gun to look up the spot, and after some time lost in finding the marked line, the rest followed on with such burdens as they could conveniently carry, and which would be most needed for present comfort. Meanwhile it grew dark, and the travelers could no longer see their route, but those who had gone on before had kindled a pile of dry brush and logs, and by the sound of a horn, and the gleam of the cheerful fire, they were led to the rude but welcome shelter.

” After a number of additional return trips to Turin and over the next few weeks, the remainder of their goods were transported to Lowville. The craft was then lent and kept running a long time after in transporting the families and other settlers in this and following seasons. On August 20, 1802, a Samuel Van Atta arrived in Lowville and purchased 125 acres. It is in the company of this Samuel Van Atta (and his married sons Jacob and Peter) that we find our Allen Granger 1810. We learn a little about the Van Atta's from the history of Lewis County, again quoting: “A reminiscence of this town extends back to the Revolution, and is supported by very good verbal testimony to the effect that a party of Tories and Indians having captured a Mrs. Roseburgh and her little boy (Henry) in the Mohawk settlements, conducted them through the woods to the High Falls. They had here concealed a birch canoe, in which they came down the river with the prisoners till on arriving at a place above the future “Smith’s Landing,” they left the river and came up to some flat rocks near the present East Road and encamped.

They had at this place made caches of corn and here they spent the night. They proceeded on the next day to Long Falls, and from thence to the British Post on Carleton Island in the St. Lawrence, where Mrs. Roseburgh a few weeks after added one to their number of captives. Henry was adopted by the Indians, but some time after was retrieved by his relatives. The daughter born in captivity, afterwards married in this county, becoming Mrs. Peter (Catherine) van Atter. Peter and Catherine’s tombstones are found in the Ebblie Cemetery in Lowville giving birth and death years as 1777-1854 for Peter, and 1779-1868 for his wife.

Transcribed by Mr & Mrs Charles Gaffney in June 1965. From the Granger perspective, it is “informed conjecture” that Samuel van Atta who is confirmed to have been the father of Peter and Jacob, and husband to Elizabeth Becker (by his Revolutionary War Pension Application), was also the father of an Elizabeth van Atta. Given the variety of spellings of van Atta (van Etten, van Ette, Vanatter, Vanatta) and given that there is no record of a Nanater surname in New York or Massachusetts.

It is assumption that she (Elizabeth) was the “Betsey Nanater” who became Mrs. Allen M. Granger in Lowville, Lewis, New York sometime around 1805. Allen and Elizabeth were gone from New York state before the 1820 Census. Allen shows up next in Cramahe, Northumberland, Ontario applying for Canadian Citizenship. His signature is quite legible indicating some level of education, and he declares that his occupation is that of a cooper (barrel-maker, wagon-wheel maker). From the history of Sanilac County, Michigan; we learn that shortly after the War of 1812 (abt 1816); Canada had begun to offer very generous incentives to anyone who would immigrate. (a 100-acre land grant). Many thousands of families from America and elsewhere did so

. It seems reasonable that this would be a strong motivation for Allen’s removal from Lewis County, New York; especially since he was not a property owner there. His father-in-law, Samuel, had also died in 1815. Anyway, this may also explain why the writer of the Launcelot Granger history reported that they had gone West and were not heard from again. There is much left to be discovered about Allen Granger’s family. We do not know how many children they had, nor how many survived to adulthood. We do know that two children, Samuel (born 1819) and John, were cited as co-heirs with Allen’s wife Elizabeth in the sale of a piece of Allen’s Sanilac County property on March 20, 1865.

That particular 20 acre parcel in Lexington had been purchased personally by Allen on October 14, 1862 for $150. Deed records show that Allen’s first land purchase in Michigan occurred on May 16, 1845 in Lexington, Sanilac County, then St. Clair County where he acquired 40 acres of Section 24 for $80. A published history of Sanilac County reports that many of its early settlers came from Canada in the early 1840’s somewhat as refugees.

It seems that there was a rebellion in Canada, called the Rebellion of 1837 during which a number of the settlers in Ontario Province who had come from America and elsewhere attempted to secede and be annexed to the USA. The Canadian Parliament passed a law requiring a formal Oath of Allegiance to the crown. Those who would not sign, lost their lands and were required to leave. Since Allen had become a Canadian citizen in 1828, it is not clear whether his removal to Michigan was a result of this required oath, whether he left in sympathy.