Select Lang Miscellany

Here are some Lang/Lange/Laing stories and accounts over the years:

Langs and Laings in Scotland

The following were the number of Langs and Laings recorded in the 1901 Scottish census:

Numbers (000's)

Though many sources have assumed that the name ‘Laing’ is synonymous with the descriptive Old English name Lang, meaning a long or tall fellow, this may not be correct.  The alternative derivation of this Scottish name that has been suggested is the French Norman de le Ange or l'Ange which means “angel.” 

Meanwhile Lang may also have an alternative derivation – from the place-name Langbank outside of Paisley in Renfrewshire

George Lang's Early Years in America

George Lang had arrived in Philadelphia from Germany in 1751.  He was bound to a family in Brandywine for whom he labored the next dozen or so years and who presented him at the end of his servitude with a testimonial letter stating that he was a "quiet, industrious person.  As his younger brother Friedrich explained: 

Since we could not pay for our freight, we children had to serve with strangers until it was paid. I was bound to the Quaker Richard Dutton in Chester county, whom I served for ten and a half years.” 

In 1763 George Lang, free at last, headed southwest along the Appalachian Mountains for the Carolinas. With the conclusion of the French and Indian War, the frontier areas of the colonies were again safe for travel and settlement.  He initially found work in the Moravian community of Bethabara in North Carolina and remained there for over a year as a non-member laborer. 

When traveling into the area surrounding Bethabara, he especially liked the land along Deep Creek, a tributary of the nearby Yadkin river.  He also liked the 15-year-old Catherine Miller whom he had met there.  In April 1765 George and Catherine were married.  George was then anxious for his parents to join him on Deep Creek and he returned to Pennsylvania to fetch them.  Once there these Langs were recorded as Longs.

William Lang of Camden County, Georgia

William Lang, the oldest son of Isaac and Catherine Lang, was born in Florida in 1791, but was brought by his parents as a child to Camden county, Georgia where he lived the rest of his days.   In 1820 he established his Cambray plantation on the south side of the Great Satilla river. 

The house, still standing in good condition, remains the residence of one of Lang's descendants.  It is reputed to be one of the oldest homes in Camden county.  The boards were hand-cut by slave labor and the chimneys made of hand-formed bricks. 

When William Lang died at a young age in 1826, his wife Nancy took charge of the plantation and farming operations with much success until her death in 1877

The Langs of the Dunmore Estate in Hunter Valley

George Lang, the first of the family to emigrate, was given a land grant of 1,000 acres and he chose a site between the future villages of Largs and Paterson along the Paterson river.  However, George died in 1825 when he was only 23. 

It fell to his father and brother, Andrew, to develop the estate which took his mother Mary's maiden name.  They built Dunmore House, possibly as early as 1827, on a hill between Maitland and the Paterson river and overlooking a lagoon.  The house has lasted well and remains one of Hunter Valley's finest early houses.

Life in the Paterson district when the Langs moved into Dunmore was sometimes uncertain.  There were occasional crises in black/white relations and escaped convicts would range the bush looking for victims to rob.  The most famous of these were the Jewboy gang who raided Dunmore House, holding up the Langs in their elegant dining room, probably in 1840.

Situated on a portion of the Dunmore estate, the village of Largs was established when Andrew Lang persuaded 22 families, 120 people altogether, to become tenants on his property in 1837.  They were emigrants from poverty-ridden islands off the west coast of Scotland and had been brought to New South Wales by J.D. Lang.  They accepted Andrew Lang's offer of clearing leases on a rent free basis for four years.

William Lang - His Rise and Fall

William Lang has been recognized as one of Denver's best residential architects. During a brief career in Denver, from 1885 to 1893, he built hundreds of buildings, many of which are still standing. Most of them are recognized by the public today as distinguished. 

His physical appearance was striking.  He was 5'8" tall, weighing 155 pounds with red hair, red whiskers and blue eyes which had a penetrating quality.  His dental work was gold and his gold capped incisor must have been striking.  He dressed well and wore monogrammed shirts.  Unusual for architects of the time, he was listed in Mrs. Crawford Hill's Social Register of 1892. 

His rise to fame was meteoric as was the slide to personal disaster that ended his life.  

His management of financial affairs had been chaotic and by 1893 he was in serious financial trouble.  His furniture was repossessed and he could not even afford groceries.  He lost his affluent home on 1638 Washington two years later and this occasioned a mental breakdown.  He went to stay with his brother.  However, two years later, dressed like a tramp, he wandered off and was killed by a passing train.

Otto and Susanna Lange

Otto Lange and Susanna Rode were children of German colonists who lived in Annette, part of the Volhynia German settlement area in what was then the Russian Empire and is now Ukraine. 

The Russian government, not happy with the German settlement, passed laws that denied educational opportunities, made it illegal to sell land to anyone but a Russian, and established compulsory military service.  Not wanting to fight in the Russian army, Otto at the age of 23 decided to emigrate to America. 

He arrived in Philadelphia in 1912 and came to the Laona area of Wisconsin two years later in 1914.  In the early years there he would work 10-12 hour days at the Connor mill in addition to his farming, often walking to and from work. 

His future wife Susanna, also from Annette, had arrived in America earlier with her family.  She worked for several years in Oklahoma as a maid and babysitter for the family of Jim Thorpe, the man who won gold medals at the 1912 Olympic Games. Susanna came to the Laona area in 1916 and she married Otto later that year. 

In addition to raising their nine children, Susanna would help with the farm chores while Otto was working long days at the mill.  When Susanna arrived in the United States she was unable to read and write English.  But education was important to her.  She would continually encourage her children to get a good education which she herself had been denied.

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