Anna Warner 1780-1864
Anna Warner, whose great-grandmother was an Indian princess of the Cherokee nation,* possessed some characteristics which suggested that ancestry. She had black eyes and hair as black as midnight. She was physically strong and energetic and capable of doing the strenuous work that fell to the lot of the pioneer mother of her time. She evidently came from very hardy stock, her own grandmother lived to be 115 years of age; eight of her nine children were born here in this home. In rearing this family, her duties were so numerous that they required her to be active from early morning to late at night every day. They included the shearing of the sheep; the washing and carding of the wool; the spinning of the yarn and weaving it into cloth, or knitting it into stockings and mittens for the use of the family. She was almost always occupied with part of this task while she sat with the family around the huge fireplace which was in one end of the living room. This fireplace was the center of the family life. It must always be kept plentifully supplied with logs from the woods near by. All of the cooking was done over it, and it was the only source of light and heat. Grandmother was learned far beyond the average woman of her time, and as the family sat around the fireplace in the winter evenings while she knit and sewed, she taught her family to read and write. She had few books except the family Bible, and this they learned to recite almost from cover to cover. She sang to them and they sang together songs and ballads, as well as gospel hymns. She told them many stories of early American history and of folk lore and Indian legends. One of her self-imposed duties was that of maternity nurse for the scattered neighborhood. Any time of day or night or any season of the year, she always responded to any call where she was needed. Sometimes she went through narrow trails, through the woods in the storms or blizzards to attend to someone who needed her assistance.
She had a deeply religious nature, and was a very devout Methodist. Grandfather called them the "ranting, roaring Methodists," as they took their religion seriously, and, while preaching and praying, made a lot of noise. Once every summer she took a vacation and left her family home and cares to her old uncle, Caleb Warner, who made his home with them. He was a veteran of the Revolutionary War, and was past doing hard work, so during his later years, he lived with the Homers and helped grandmother with her many cares, especially in tending the children. So during her religious vacation each summer for a week or two, he took care of the household while she went to the camp meeting or revival that was held somewhere in the vicinity of their home in the woods.
The eight children who were born to them in this home in Onondaga County were as follows: Joshua, William Warner, Elizabeth, Aseneth Allen, Russell King, Delania, Julia Caroline, and Esther. Benjamin Thomas, their youngest son, was born in Ridgeway County, New York.
Joshua, their eldest boy, left home when he was 20 years old, and they never saw or heard of him afterward. Much speculation as to where he had gone was indulged in, and for years every effort was made to locate him, but his disappearance is a mystery that has never been solved.
Soon after this happened, the family decided to move to Pennsylvania as they thought there was a better climate there, and it was a more thickly inhabited part of the country. Once again, they located on a piece of timber land and began clearing timber and building a new home and planting crops. This was in Crawford County. Benjamin Homer was getting along in years and his health would not permit him to do the hard labor he had previously been able to do. His sons were fairly well grown and able to take over the more difficult phases of the work. He then turned his attention to the thing he had always wanted to do—the rearing and caring for good horses. He soon had some very fine stock which he advertised by exhibiting at the various county fairs. By a careful selection of his stock, honest dealing, and strict attention to these pursuits, he built up a thriving business and a good reputation as an authority on all questions pertaining to horses. After his death, his son, William W. Homer, took over and for many years carried on this business.
An interesting sidelight on this history is found in the following story: After Benjamin Cobb Homer's death, father Homer went back to Pennsylvania to look after his estate. He found that he had inherited his father's favorite mare "Bett." As she was very old and not able to make the trip to Iowa, he was obliged to leave her in Pennsylvania with his brother. Fifty years later while his son William H. Homer was living in Oxford, Idaho, he and a man named Natt Ireland sent to Kentucky for a thoroughbred stallion. When the horse arrived and they were looking over his pedigree, they found that one of his ancestry had been this mare "Bett," bred and owned by Benjamin C. Homer of Crawford County, Pennsylvania.
CONCERNING ANNA WARNER’S INDIAN ANCESTRY: Present research (May 1976) has not proven any of Anna Warner’s great-grandmothers to be either Indians or of Indian descent. The family is proud of the Indian tradition, but the records do not substantiate the tradition at this time.