Biographical / Historical
Asa M. Janney (1802-1877) was the son of Abijah and Jane McPherson Janney of Loudoun and Fairfax Counties, Virginia. He was the younger brother of Samuel M. Janney (1801-1880), noted Quaker minister, educator, abolitionist, and author. Samuel M. Janney lived with his uncle Phineas Janney while attending school in Alexandria and attempted to run a cotton factory in Occoquan. When that failed, he opened the Springdale Boarding School in Loudoun County. Asa Janney traveled with his brother in the ministry, and the brothers shared a concern for the welfare of Native Americans. Asa served an Agent to Santee Sioux tribe in Nebraska, 1870-1871, when his brother was Superintendent of Indian Affairs for the Northern Superintendency.
Asa Janney married Lydia Neal Haines (1800-1891) in 1826 and operated a flour mill, Forest Mills, in Loudoun County. They were members of Goose Creek Monthly Meeting where Asa served as an Elder. Asa and Lydia had eight children: Mary Jane, Eliza, Ellen, Abijah, Cosmelia, Thamsin, Hugh, and Lydia Neal. Lydia Neal Janney (1844-1925) attended Earlham College and in 1866 married a Loudoun County neighbor, William Brown, a Quaker who owned property in nearby Circleville. They had three children: Thomas Janney Brown; Samuel who did not marry; and Cosmelia (Cossie) who married Daniel McPherson. The eldest, Thomas Janney Brown (1867-1951), graduated from Swarthmore College in 1888 and married Elsie Palmer. They were members of Goose Creek Monthly Meeting, Va., and had five children: Janet, Boyd Janney, Elsie Palmer, Virginia N., and Thomas McPherson Brown.