William S. Lacy

William Sterling Lacy


William Sterling Lacy was born at Hampden-Sidney, Prince Edward Co., Va., on 8 April 1791 and died at the home of his son, Capt. Watson Eldridge Lacy, on 20 November 1881. He is interred in the Presbyterian Church Cemetery in El Dorado, Ark. He was educated at Hampden-Sydney College, Hampden-Sydney, Va., class of 1811. A language professor at Hampden-Sydney, he also continued for some time the classical school that Drury had established at Mt. Ararat. He served in the War of 1812 and after that studied law under John Randolph of Roanoke, Va., but his inclination was toward the ministry instead of the legal profession, and to the ministry he turned, duly being ordained a minister in the Presbyterian Church. From an old newspaper clipping (name of paper, author, and date unknown), the following has been excerpted:

"When Mr. Lacy connected with the Presbytery of Missouri, it was a licentiate of Hanover Presbytery of Virginia, and when he was ordained in 1824, he was the first Presbyterian Minister ever ordained in the State. At the time he entered the Presbytery, it included within its bounds the two states of Missouri and Illinois. His first settlement was in St. Charles County, Mo., where he remained about a year, and he then removed to property he owned in St. Louis County, near the present site of the Maline Creek Church, and here he remained four years, actively engaged in preaching at various places in the county, such as Bonhomme, Cold Water, Bellefontaine, and other places. After this time he again removed to St. Charles County. A few years after he came to Missouri, he was commissioned by the Board of Home Missions to travel a portion of the months of the summer and fall seasons, to preach and to organize churches on the Missouri and Upper Mississippi Rivers, which portions were known as the Boonslick and Salt River sections. He was among the first Presbyterian ministers to visit the counties of Callaway and Boone. On one occasion he preached at the home of Col. Sam Dyer, within the present bounds of Auxvasse congregation.While living in St. Louis Co., he became intimately acquainted with Col. John S. Ball, later Rev. Ball. Mr. Ball, though he was up in years and his hair gray, communicated to Rev. Lacy his desire to preach the Gospel, who warmly encouraged him and supplied him with various theological books. They made various trips together in the eight or ten years of their association. On his return to St. Louis County, Rev. Lacy took charge of the Dardenne Church, where he remained until 1832, when he removed south to Arkansas. He preached twice a month at Dardenne Chruch, with the balance of the time spent at Troy in Lincoln County. He was a fine horseman, and he was well mounted. He delighted to ride over the wide prairies in this new and sparsely settled State.

" His house and that of Judge Beverly Tucker on the Dardenne Prairie were the rallying points for visiting ministers from Virginia and Kentucky, and for those who were sent to Missouri by the Home Missionary Society from Philadelphia. A son of Mr. Lacy distinctly remembers the arrival at different times at his father's house, of Potts, Cochran, Durfee, Chamberlain, Hoxey, McAfee, Dr. David Nelson, and otheres. On one of his journeys Mr. Lacy met the celebrated Dr. Nelson and was greatly impressed with the interview."

Mr. Lacy is the author of that remarkable document narrating the conversation he had in or about the year 1828 with "old William Rice", which tells of the marriage of Thomas Lacy and Miss Rice.On 1 May 1816, he married Sally E. Campbell Graham, daughter of Edward Graham and Margaret Alexander. Mr. Graham was a professor at Washington College in Lexington, and Margaret was a sister of Rev. Archibald Alexander, D.D., of Princeton Seminary and earlier of Hampden-Sydney College. They removed to Pulaski Co., Tenn., and remained there until 1820, when he was directed by his church to go to Missouri to organize churches and preach in that remote and pioneer area. He remained in Missouri until 1831, when he reuturned to his former home in Tennessee. They had ten children. Sally died in Giles Co., Tenn., on 6 August 1832. William Sterling married sceondly Julia Ann Eldridge on 26 October 1833 in Pulaski. She was born in 1810 on either Jan. 6th or Jan. 10th as both dates appear in the records. She was a daughter of Capt. Uriah Zuah Eldridge and Mary Brown, who was from Portsmouth, N. Capt. Eldridge was a Revolutionary War Soldier and, according to Rev. William Stoke he was from Nova Scotia; his wife was a daughter of Dr. Brown, who was from Portsmouth. Julia Ann was a first cousin to Frances E. Willard, and they were girlhood playmates. Miss Eldridge attended Miss Lyons Academy in 1825, and graduated in 1828, after which she moved to Pulaksi, where she taught school. She also taught in Summerville, Tenn. The obituary of Julia Ann states that she was the mother of seven children and step-mother of ten. Three of her sons, and five of her step-sons served in the Confederate forces. She died on 4 July 1894 and was interred in the Presbyterian Church Cemetery in El Dorado, Ark., where her husband is buried. [N.B. Bible records and obituary article.]

In 1843, William Sterling made his final move to Union Co., Ark. Here he and Julia Ann organized a Presbyterian church, of which he was pastor. According to an article written by Dewey Finley and Clayte Whitten, which appeared in the El Dorado, Ark. Daily News, 8 September 1957, "Rev. Lacy and his wife established the first school in Union County, a private one, in their two room log cabin at the site now occupied by the Lion Oil Company parking lot at 416 N. Jefferson Ave. But some have placed the Lacy home on N. Washington between what is now the Paramount Beauty School and the Rowell home, or else on No. West Ave., where the City Hall now stands. There is probably no discrepancy between these reports, as historians say that after two years of operating the school, the Lacys relinquished control to the Rev. and Mrs. A. R. Banks. Very likely they then moved to one of the other, or even both of these other sites, mentioned by one or two present day old-timers as being the old Lacy home."

Mr. Lacy is reported to have been a man of striking appearance. At the time of his enlistment in the War of 1812, he was described as nearly six feet tall, blue eyes, auburn hair, and fair complexion. He possessed elegant manners and fine literary attainments. In his old age he lost his eyesight, but his memory was good. He could recite the entire New Testament and many of the Psalms, and numerous portions of the Old Testament. [N.B. "Pioneer Days in Arkansas", by S. H. Chester.]

A marble plaque in the vestibule of the First Presbyterian Church in El Dorado carries the following inscription:-

"Reverend William Sterling Lacy


Who Organized This Church in 1843

And Served as First Pastor

Captain Watson Eldrige Lacy


Faithful Member and Elder for Many Years

Rev. William Stokes Lacy, D.D.


Member of This Church and of Quachita Presbytery

and Christian Education for 42 years"


Rev. Lacy enlisted in the War of 1812 at Charlotte Court House in July 1813, to serve for six months, and was a private in the Company commanded by Captains James Brown and John Towns, in the Regiment commanded by Col. Grief Green. For his service, he applied for bounty land on 17 December 1850, and for a pension on 19 March 1874. Copies of these application claims, and the application for a pension by his widow on 21 February 1881, secured from the National Archives, Washington, D. C., follows:-


"State of Arkansas)

County of Union )

On this 17th day of December A. D. 1850, personally appeared before me a justice of the peace within and for the County and State aforesaid, William S. Lacy, aged fifty nine years, a resident of Union County in the State of Arkansas, who being sworn according to law declares that he is the identical William S. Lacy who was non commissioned officer in the company commanded by Captain James Brown (of Charlotte County, Virginia) in the (number of regiment not recollected) regiment of Virginia Militia commanded by Col. Green, afterward by Col. Sharp, in the war with Great Britain, declared by the United States on the 18th day of June 1812, that he volunteered at Charlotte Court House in the State of Virginia on or about the 15th day of July 1813, for the term of six months, and continued in actual service in said war for the term of six months, and was honorably discharged at Norfolk, Virginia, on or about the 15th day of January A.D. 1814, as will appear by the Muster rolls of said company, and that he never received a written discharge. He makes this declaration for the purpose of obtaining the bounty land to which he may be entitled under the act granting bounty land to certain officers and soldiers who have been engaged in Military service of the United States, passed September 28th 1850.

Wm. S. Lacy

Sworn to and subscribed before me the day and year above written. And I hereby certify that I believe the said William S. Lacy to be the identical man who served as aforesaid, and the he is of the age stated above.

William D. Lee, J.P.

State of Arkansas)

County of Union)

I, Thomas T. Sheppard, Clerk of the Circuit Court and ex officio Clerk of the County Clerk in and for the County & State aforesaid, do hereby certify that William D. Lee, whose proper signature appears to the above & foregoing attest and certificate is and was, at the date thereof, an acting & duly commissioned justice of the peace within the County & State aforesaid & that full faith & credit should be given to all of his official acts as such.

In testimony whereof I have hereunto set my hand & affixed the Seal of Office at Office in the Town of El Dorado on this the 17th day of December A.D. 1850.

Thomas T. Sheppard, Clerk."

On this application, Mr. Lacy received a land warrant of 80 acres, No. 17,573, which he later sold. On the 6th of July 1855, Rev. Lacy made application for an additional 80 acres of bounty land, authorized by an act of Congress and approved March 3, 1855. This was granted to him on Warrant No. 3412.


At the age of 83 he applied for and received a pension. His declaration reads as follows:

WAR OF 1812



"State of Arkansas)

County of Union )

On this the 19th day of March, A.D., on thousand eight hundred and seventy four, personally appeared before me, John C. Wright, Clerk of the Circuit Court, a Court of Record within and for the county and State aforesaid, William S. Lacy, aged Eighty three years, a resident of El Dorado, County of Union, State of Arkansas, who, being duly sworn according to law, declares that he is married; that his wife's name was Julia A. Eldridge, to whom he was married at Pulaski, Giles Co., Tenn., on the Twenty-sixth day of August 1843; that he served the full period of sixty days in the Military service of the United States in the war of 1812; that he is the identical William S. Lacy who volunteered in Captain James Brown's company, Greens regiment, Taylors brigade, Charlotte C. H., Va. on or about the 10th day of July 1813, and was honorably discharged at Norfolk, Virginia on or about the 15th day of January 1814; that he volunteered, rec'd pay & acted in the capacity of a sargent in Comp. & Regt. aforesaid, that he was stationed at Norfolk the whole time of his enlistment, was detailed and acted in the capacity of Clerk to Maj  Maganos, Brig. Inspector, a part of the time. Discharge, of received, is lost, applied for and received Bounty land as a soldier of the War of 1812, date & no. of warrant not remembered but assigned to Argroves Ammons, El Dorado, that he, at no time during the late rebellion against the authority of the United States, adhered to the cause of the enemies of the Government, giving them aid or comfort, or exercised the functions of any office whatever under any authority, or pretended authority, in hostility to the United States; and that he will support the Constitution of the United States; that he is not in receipt of a pension under any previous act; that he makes this declaration for the purpose of being placed on the pension roll of the Unites States, under the provision of the act approved February 14, 1871, and he hereby constitutes and appoints, with full power of substitution and revocation, Frank R. Wilcox, of Little Rock, Ark., his true and lawful attorney to prosecute his claim and obtain the pension certificate that may be issued; that his post office is El Dorado, County of Union, State of Arkansas, that his domicile or place of abode is 3 miles s.w. of El Dorado, Ark.


Attest: Wm. C. Langford William S. Lacy

Sterling S. Lacy"


WAR OF 1812


Captain James Brown, in the ----Regiment of -----, commanded by Lieut. Col. Grief Green, in the war of 1812; that her said husband volunteered at Charlotte Co., Va. on or about ----day of July, A.D., -----, for the term of 6 months, and continued in actual service in said war for the term of six month, and whose services terminated, but reason of Honorable discharge at ----on the ----day of ------A.D. -----. She further states that the following is a full description of her said husband at the time of his enlistment, viz: About 6 feet high, blue eyes, auburn hair, fair complexion. She further states that she was married to said William S. Lacy at town of Pulaski in the county of Giles, and in the State of Tennessee, on the 26th day of August, A.D. 1833, by one Duncan Brown, who was a Minister of the Gospel; and that her name before her said marriage was Julia A. Eldridge; and she further states that William S. Lacy had been previously married to one Sallie C. Graham, who died August 6th 1832, and that her said husband, William S. Lacy, died at Union County in the State of Arkansas on the 20th day of November, A.D., 1880, and that she has not again married; and she further declares that the following have been the places of residence of herself and her said husband since the date of his discharge from the Army. viz: Since our marriage 10 years in Tennessee & 36 years in Union County, Arkansas. She makes this declaration for the purpose of obtaining the pension to which she may be entitled under Sections 4736 to 4740 (inclusive), Revised Statutes, and the act of March 9th, 1878, and hereby appoints Wm. C. Langford of Eldorado, Union Co., Ark., her true and lawful attorney to prosecute her claim; and she further declares that she has heretofore made no application for Bounty land or pension, but her dec'd husband, William S. Lacy, applied for & received Bounty lands, dates & numbers not remembered, also received pension certificate 21400, Act of Congress appr. March 14th, 1871, dated May 8th, 1874; and that her residence is near El Dorado, county of Union, State of Arkansas, and that her post-office address is El Dorado, Union County, Arkansas.

Attest: J.  J. Martin Julia A. Lacy

J. B. Speers

Also appeared J.J. Martin, aged 61 years, residing at El Dorado, Union County, Ark., and J. B. Speers, aged 50 years, residing at Eldorado, Union County, Arkansas, persons whom I certify to be respectable and entitled to credit, and who being by me duly sworn, say that they have known the said Julia A. Lacy for 33 years and for 20 years, respectively; that they were present and saw her sign her name to the foregoing declaration; that they have every reason to believe, from the appearance of said claimant and their acquaintance with her, that she is the identical person she represents herself to be; and they further say that they are able to identify her as the person who was the wife of the identical William S. Lacy who rendered the service alleged in the above application (in the company of Captain James Brown ---in the war of 1812) by the following named facts and circumstances, viz: We have live(d) near her for the periods as above stated & know that was recognized as his wife, and that they have no interest in the prosecution of this claim.

J.J. Martin

J.B. Speers

The statement was duly sworn to before J.C. Wright, Clerk of Circuit Court, 2-21-1881."

Attached to the declaration of Mrs. Lacy was a paper which read:

Copy of Family Bible of Wm. S. Lacy, Dec'd


Sallie Campbell Lacy, consort of Wm. S. Lacy,

departed this life on the Sixth day of August 1832.

Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord


State of Arkansas)

County of Union)

I, J. C. Wright, Circuit Clerk within & for the County and State aforesaid do hereby certify that the above & foregoing, is a true perfect & complete copy of the Records as appears in the family Bible of Wm. S. Lacy. Dec'd, this day exhibited to me by Mrs. Julia A. Lacy, widow of Wm. S. Lacy, late of Union County, Dec'd, -- and I further certify that I am well acquainted with the handwriting of Wm. S. Lacy. Dec'd, having known him intimately for over 30 years & often seen him write & I verily believe the Record and Entry in the family Bible above copied to be in the handwriting of said William S. Lacy, Dec'd.

In Testimony whereof I have hereto set my hand & affixed the seal of my office on this the 23rd day of March 1881.

J. C. Wright

Circuit Clerk, Union County, Ark.

William Sterling Lacy Picture

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