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His Family History

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L. C. Earle (young)

L. C. Earle undated

L. C. Earle - Studio

Helen Harmon (young)

Helen C. Harmon (wife)

Ray & Larry Earle (sons)

John Edward Earle (father)

Mary Melvina Dorset (mother)

Painting of L. C.'s Mother
Mary Melvina (Dorset) Earle

LETTER: John E. Earle
to his wife, Mary - 1842


Interesting Associations

Grand Rapids Home

Montclair, NJ Home

Earle Family Gravesite

Edward Earle Gravestone
(Grandfather of Lawrence)



This link will open a new browser window with a searchable database

The Genealogy of L. C. Earle.


  This project actually began about 1985 as I researched the family that built our home in Grand Rapids. After gathering facts on the artist's life, I found that I had quite a bit of information on Larry Earle's family as well. As an exercise in Internet Genealogy, I assembled what I had, added more facts from local deeds, cemetery records, obituaries and marriage records and started searching online. I guess this is a testament of what can be found online now-days.

  I started my online search "close-by" with the records available on the Kent County GenWeb pages. Thanks to Jennifer Godwin, Evelyn Sawyer and others for doing such a great job keeping that resource very active and alive! The local marriage records, especially the St. Mark's Episcopal Church, were very helpful and led to many of Larry's immediate family members I had not previously encountered.

  I next went to the fabulous website of the LDS Church at I was very fortunate to have found the I.G.I. fairly well-populated with  EARLE records. It took awhile to positively identify which John EARLE in the I.G.I. was Larry's father, but a clue was discovered in the Grand Rapids Public Library Local History Department. John's obituary happened to be indexed in one of the many scrapbook collections (Richmond). With that was a reference to John's brother, Lawrence who died in New Jersey. Armed with that information I returned to the I.G.I. and searched for a John and a Lawrence with the same parents and found them. Next I searched for all children by that couple, Edward EARLE & Sichy (Cynthia) VAN DUYN. I repeatedly came across another John Earle married to a Mary Smith RUTZER. Knowing this was not Lawrence's mother, she was Mary DORSET, I dismissed them as another unrelated couple. But the names of THEIR children popped up in Grand Rapids in the deed records, marriages at St. Mark's, and probate notices when John died. Retracing my steps, I quickly came to the conclusion that John EARLE was twice married, and several of the children indeed lived in Grand Rapids for at least some time.

  As a clue for those who've not figured it out, if you use the I.G.I. search in the custom search area, NOT the ancestor search or Ancestral File, you can search by parents names and the results will be every child in the database listed with those parents. Very handy! Be sure to try Mrs. EARLE or other variations if the mother's name is not known.

  These findings led to several generations that were well documented in subsequent publications I found. I have always treated the I.G.I. with caution and urge the same to you the reader. But, the families laid out in this chart have been cross-checked as much as I could reasonably accomplish from my desktop and the local library. The I.G.I records differed only slightly with the other sources.

  Of particular interest to me was Lawrence's ethnic origin. The surname EARLE is decidedly very English, and I had assumed he'd come from early New England stock. I was very surprised to discover his extensive Dutch ancestry going back to early New Jersey and New York City (New Amsterdam). It was fortunate in my research I guess, because these records are quite well documented and readily available. It may be argued, I suppose, that Lawrence Earle's skills in the visual arts may have been inherited in this line as the Dutch have well proven their contributions to the art world for centuries. The Dutch ancestry also connects to the famous VanderBilt family of American industry.

  Another interesting connection is the early Polish ancestry represented by the SABRIESKI branch of the family. The name was repeated proudly as a middle name in several of the lines I found for many generations. The immigrant ancestor may well have been the first Polish-American!

  As you read some of the narrative I've included in the ancestry, you'll see that Lawrence EARLE's grandfather was a Loyalist at the time of the American Revolution. He was arrested and removed with all his family and probably none of his belongings to New Brunswick (Canada). Many of his children were there born. Years after the war, family members moved back to the U.S. and settled in New Brunswick, NJ, and nearby New York City. John EARLE's three oldest sons, grandsons of Edward the Loyalist, were military officers and served in the Civil War. Lawrence was barely old enough to serve in the war, but didn't that I could find. Instead, he was studying the arts & playing base ball.

  Other sources I found to fill in over the skeletons of the families:

  • Calendar of New Jersey Wills
  • Documents Related to the Colonial History of New Jersey
  • Register of the Early Settlers of Kings County Long Island New York
  • The History of the town of Flatbush in Kings County Long Island
  • Various Census indexes and Census records

Many of these were found online at and

- Don Bryant, September 1999.


*Thanks to Dr. J. Gray Sweeney for permission to use material from
Artists of Grand Rapids 1840-1980, J. Gray Sweeney; Grand Rapids, 1981:
The Grand Rapids Art Museum, The Grand Rapids Public Museum

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Common Corners