John William "Will" McCauley was born Thomas Jefferson "Jeff" Lanier . He was the son of Joseph Smith Lanier and Nancy Jane Bennett of Chambers and Randolph Counties in Alabama.
Yes, there's a story there but I'm not ready to tell it yet.
Will's ancestors lived in Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Virginia. View Ancestry.com tree starting with Will.
Photo Left: John, Will holding David, Kathryn, Verda. 1927
John William "Will" McCauley
Born: 1 March 1875, Alabama
Married: Theodocia Smith, 13 January 1897, Branchville, St. Clair County, Alabama; Verda Waller Hankins, 27 September 1904, Earlington, Hopkins County, Kentucky; Pearl Fitzhugh, 10 April 1943, Drakesboro, Muhlenberg County, Kentucky
Died: 20 July 1959, Owensboro, Daviess County, Kentucky
Buried: 21 July 1959, Pleasant Hill Cemetery, Greenville, Muhlenberg County, Kentucky
Joseph Smith Lanier
Born: 2 June 1847, Alabama or Georgia
Married: Nancy Jane Bennett about 1869
Died: 1 May 1909
Nancy Jane Bennett
Born: 27 July 1852, Heard County, Georgia
Married: Joseph Smith Lanier about 1869
Died: 12 October 1926, Atlanta, Fulton County, Georgia
Buried: 13 October 1926, Hillview Cemetery LaGrange, Troup County, Georgia
Louisana "Lula" Lanier
Born: January 1870, Alabama
John William "Will" Lanier
Born: July 1871, Randolph County, Alabama
Died: 19 March 1902, Aberdeen, Monroe County, Mississippi
Buried: Cedar Grove Cemetery, Grubb Springs, Monroe County, Mississippi
Emma E. Lanier
Born: April 1868, Georgia
Married: Thomas Samuel Childers, 4 July 1889, Chambers County, Alabama
Died: Between 1901 and 1907
Hettie Eugenia Lanier
Born: 29 May 1878, Chambers County, Alabama
Married: Virgil Slocum White, 27 November 1898, Monroe County Mississippi; William McRae, 27 November 1916, Fulton County, Georgia
Died: 31 October 1944, Salem, Lee County, Alabama
Buried: 1 November 1944, Salem Cemetery, Salem, Lee County, Alabama
George Washington Lanier
Born: 19 June 1880, Randolph County, Alabama
Died: 4 March 1904, Sunflower County, Mississippi
Joseph Fredrick "Fred" Lanier
Born: 2 July 1884, Atlanta, Fulton County, Georgia
Married: Loda Richards about 1919
Died: 10 March 1960, Columbia, Richland County, South Carolina
Buried: 13 March 1960, Cannon Memorial Park, Fountain Inn, Greenville County, South Carolina
James Doffin Lanier
Born: 2 August 1888, Chambers County, Alabama
Married: Alma Neely
Died: 2 January 1959, Biloxi, Harrison County, Mississippi
Buried: 9 January 1959, Mobile National Cemetery, Mobile, Mobile County, Alabama
Sarah Bell "Sallie" Lanier
Born: 6 November 1890, Chambers County, Alabama
Married: John Calvin Dial; Frank M. Cooksey about 1910
Died: 23 October 1920, New York City (Manhattan), New York County, New York
Buried: 29 October 1920, Woodlawn Cemetery, New York City, Bronx County, New York
Lillie Vashti Lanier
Born: 25 November 1891, Chambers County, Alabama
Married: Jesse H. Walls, 26 February 1910, Fulton County, Georgia; Jack Smith; Roberts (first name unknown); Manning (first name unknown); James Henry Dixon, 2 March 1935
Died: 23 January 1987, Atlanta, Fulton County, Georgia
Buried: 27 January 1987, Westview Cemetery, Atlanta, Fulton County, Georgia
Born: Before 1900
Died: Before 1900
Lewis H. Bennett was born in South Carolina about 1804. He married Teresa (maiden name unproven). Several of their children were born in South Carolina before the family moved to Troup County, Georgia prior to the 1840 census. Lewis' son, John, was Will's maternal grandfather.
John Finney and Agnes "Nancy" Munford lived in Laurens County, South Carolina. John's father was probably the John Finney who was a Revolutionary War soldier from Laurens County. John and Nancy's daughter, Anna, married David Gamble.
John Gamble was a Revolutionary War soldier from Laurens County, South Carolina. His wife, Sarah, was probably the daughter of Thomas Ewing. The Gambles and Ewings came to Laurens County from somewhere in Pennsylvania. John's son, David, married Anna Finney. They left Laurens County before 1840 to settle in Heard County, Georgia.
Samuel W. Jackson was born in North Carolina as was his wife, Lavinia Malone. They lived in Jasper County, Georgia in 1820, Meriwether County in 1830, and Heard County in 1840. Their daughter, Charlotte, married William Washington Lanier in 1835 in Meriwether County.
James Lanier married Polly Smith in old Randolph County, Georgia in 1810. James was descended from Lanier immigrant John Lanier whose grandfather was Nicholas Lanier, a musician in the Court of King Henry II of France and Queen Elizabeth I and King James I of England. James and Polly's son, William Washington, married Charlotte Jackson. They were Will's paternal grandparents.
John Malone married Gracie Eaves in Rutherford County, North Carolina in 1800. John's parents are unproven. They settled in Meriwether County, Georgia where their daughter, Lavinia, likely met and married Samuel W. Jackson.