Historical Albion Michigan
By Frank Passic

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Any photos not otherwise credited are from the personal collection of Frank Passic, Albion Historian.


Morning Star, February 5, 2012, pg. 6

This is a genealogical article that has special connotations. We all know that Presidential candidate Mitt Romney was born and raised in Michigan, and that his father was Governor of Michigan. We also know that Governor Romney visited Albion in the 1960s at the band shell in Victory Park. I remember shaking hands with him at that event. There is more to the Romney connection with Albion however, for you see, the great-grandmother of Mitt Romney was from Albion! The lineage is through Mitt's mother's side of the family.

You can follow the direct links on the www.findagrave.com website, and I have provided the Findagrave memorial numbers here in brackets for easy access. First click on "Search 74 million grave records" on the right side of the homepage. You'll get a form. Just type in the memorial number on the form towards the bottom, hit "submit," and it will take you directly to the listing. There is much more biographical material provided on this website on each person's memorial. Towards the bottom of each listing are direct family links you can click on to go from one name to another without having to type in the numbers.

Our story goes back to the beginnings of Albion history. One prominent pioneer family here was the Warner family. Revolutionary War (DAR registration number A121065) soldier David Warner (Sr.) (1758-1831) [21131932] and his wife Mary (1754-1846) [8140968] (Russell) Warner had numerous children, and some of them settled here in Michigan from New York in the 1830s. There are still numerous descendants in the southern Michigan area today, including here in Albion. A most prominent member of the family was Wareham Warner (1779-1854), who erected the first frame house in Albion, built the first schoolhouse, and erected the first sawmill here with Tenney Peabody, among other things.

Wareham's little brother Luther Warner (1798-1850) [65208700] settled in Reading (Hillsdale County), Michigan, where he operated a farm. Luther joined the Mormon religion in the 1840s and subsequently headed out West with a Mormon caravan. Thus began the Mormon roots of this branch of Mitt's family. Luther died en route, however, of cholera just inside the Nebraska border. His wife Permilla Stanton made it to Utah however, where she was living in the 1860 Census.

Luther and Permilla had a daughter named Elnora Lucretia Warner (1822-1865) [75280768] who married Robert Berry ([31666952] in 1842 in Reading. The Berry's apparently came to live here in Albion, for it was here on July 3, 1843 that their daughter Rosetta Mary Berry (1843-1918) [43118047] was born. She is Mitt Romney's great-grandmother. The fact that there were Warner family relatives here in Albion was probably a factor in their choosing to live here.

The family subsequently headed west when Rosetta was 3 years old, and Rosetta eventually settled in Bear Lake County, Idaho. Her spouse was Charles Robison whom she married in Salt Lake City in 1865. Rosetta died in Logan, Utah in 1918. The Robison's youngest daughter Alma Luella Robison (1882-1938) [82401115] was born in Bear Lake County, Idaho, and married Harold LaFount in 1903 in Logan, UT. Their third child was Lenore Emily LaFount (1909-1998) [6929687], who married George W. Romney (the future Governor of Michigan) in Salt Lake City in 1931.

Lenore and George's 4th child is Willard Mitt Romney, the Presidential candidate, born March 12, 1947 in Detroit. The fact that Mitt Romney has Warner blood (including a Revolutionary War soldier) in his lineage is significant, and it is even more significant that his great-grandmother was born here in Albion.

From our Historical Notebook this week we present a photograph of Albion native Rosetta Mary (Berry) Robison, the great-grandmother of Mitt Romney. This is courtesy of Jay Robison, who is a descendant of Rosetta's son Charles Robison. Also special thanks to Warner family genealogist Mary E. Warner of Ann Arbor for this week's information.

One added "Albion" bonus for Mitt: Some years after Revolutionary War soldier David C. Warner passed away in 1831 in New York, his wife Mary was brought to Albion in a covered wagon by some of her children to live here. She passed away here in 1846 and is buried in Riverside Cemetery in her son Wareham's lot 84 in the Old Grounds. A photo of her frosty tombstone is included with this article. Thus the great-great-great-great-grandmother of Mitt Romney is buried in Albion's Riverside Cemetery. I bet you (or he) didn't know that! We invite Mitt to come visit Albion to visit Mary's gravesite and to see the town where some of his ancestors lived.

Albion native Rosetta Mary (Berry) Robison (1843-1918)

Tombstone of Mary Russell Warner


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