A Short History of the U.S.

 

From:

 

“The William Lacy and Elliott Lacy Families of New Kent and Chesterfield Counties, Virginia - with forebearers and descendants”

 

by Hubert Wesley Lacey and Howard Elton Lacey; pages 010 thru 021                                                       

 

THE EIGHTEENTH AND NINETEENTH CENTURIES.  

 

In this section we will present some sketches of life in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries in America. Of necessity these will be general presentations of a broad picture of life and times in early America. The purpose is to set the background, as much as possible, in which our forebearers lived out their daily lives.

 

Early Colonial Virginia.

 

As early as the 1580’s, the English tried to establish a colony on the coast of North America around the Chesapeake Bay area. It was to be named Virginia after the Virgin Queen Elizabeth. In 1584, Sir Walter Raleigh sent out the first group of settlers, but they eventually returned home. Another group sent in 1587 to Roanoake Island, became the “lost Colony” and no trace of them has ever been found. In 1606, the Virginia Company sent out settlers who founded Jamestown in 1607. Although the colonists suffered many hardships and deprivations, the colony became firmly entrenched and tobacco began to be raised for export to England at great profit. By 1634, there were eight original Shires (Counties) established in Virginia and the northern border with the newly established Maryland Colony was fixed. By Royal Charter, Virginia’s domain extended “from sea to sea”, that is, from the Atlantic to the Pacific. Virginia continued to grow and prosper, in the late 1600’s slaves were imported in large numbers to tend the fields and harvest the crops when the plantation owners could no longer get cheap labor by importing white workers from England. By 1669 there were some eighteen counties in Virginia with several of them extending their western boundaries indefi­nitely. It is into this region that Thomas Lacy I came in the 1680’s.

 

Colonial America (1700-1775).

 

The British Colonies along the Atlantic Seaboard were expanding rapidly during this period. Spain dominated Florida,  the Gulf Coast and the great Southwest, and the French controlled the interior from the Appalachians to the Mississippi River. Other Nationalities were immigrating to the new lands: Dutch, Swedes, Scotch-Irish and Germans also settled along the coast. This movement of peoples played out against the backdrop of global battles between France and England for European supremacy. The French became alarmed at the number of settlers along the coast and the build up of pressures to move beyond the Appala­chians. By the middle of the century, these colonists were topping the Appalachian rise and moving into the Ohio valley in increasing numbers. This started the first war on the conti­nent related to these global struggles. It is known as the French and Indian War (1753-1760). It actually took more lives than the later American Revolutionary War. The French and their Indian Allies were pitted against the British and their Indian Allies along the Atlantic sea­board for control of the Ohio Valley. This war afforded George Washington his first com­mand of troops and experience in military diplomacy. It ended with the signing of the Peace of Paris in 1763, ending the global war known as the Seven Years War. The lands west of the Mississippi remained under Spanish control, but the rest of North America from Florida to Canada became British.

 

Revolutionary War.

 

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men were created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. That, to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed; that, whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it, and to institute a new government ---THE DEC­LARATION OF INDEPENDENCE [Thomas Jefferson]. We all know these words and the results that they wrought. While the initial catalyst of the rebellion was economic, “no taxation without representation”, it was, in fact, a bold attack on privilege and tyranny. The British wanted the colonies for its imperial purpose of global domination. It needed the wealth of the new continent and did not intend to share it with the people who lived there. The cost of imperial defense was overwhelming and they felt that the Americans should pay for it with taxes.

 

This ringing document was a challenge to a fight issued to the world’s most powerful empire. The Americans were clearly outclassed and outgunned. Their advantage was (as it turned out to be) that Britain was 3,000 miles away by sea and it was expensive to equip an army to fight the rebels and maintain the empire at the same time. In addition, the Americans had allies, at least in name, in France and Spain, who were still the global enemies of En­gland and still smarting from the defeat in the French and Indian War. In a sense, that war had led to the formation of the fighting force that became to be known as the Continental Army, since many rebel soldiers gained valuable experience by serving in their regional militias during this war. People in the frontier did not support the rebellion at first. They did not feel strongly about the lack of representation in Britain since they did not have it in the Colonies either. However, when the Indians, at the instigation of the British, began to attack them, they readily joined in the struggle.

How some of the companies of this ragtag army were developed and organized is revealed in the following passage:

 

“In the course of the war, eight companies of 84 men each were formed in Culpepper County for Continental service. They were raised by the following Captains: John Thornton, George Slaughter, Gabriel Long, Gabriel Jones, John Gillison, and Alexander McClanahan. Captain McClanahan was a Baptist clergyman, and at first regularly preached to his men. His recruits were drawn principally from his own congregation or denomination, in conformity with the wishes of the legislature, who invited the members of the various religious bodies, especially the Baptists and Methodists, to organize themselves into separate companies under officers of their own principles. The Baptists were among the most strenuous supporters of liberty” (“Virginia Antiquities”, by Henry Howe. 1847).

 

Capt. Alexander McClanahan (McClenchan) was a son of Robert, who had married a daughter of Alexander Breckinridge. Robert McClanahan came to America in the immigra­tion of 1739/1740 and was Scotch-Irish. [N.B. People who settled in Northern Ireland from Scotland to escape religious persecution were called “Scotch-Irish”.]

 

Descendants of Thomas Lacy who served in the Revolutionary War ranged in age from fourteen to over fifty. Two of Thomas II’s Sons served in the war, Elkanah Lacy and Elliott Lacy, both about 50. Thomas Lacy II had several grandsons who served. Three sons of Stephen Lacy served; Matthew Lacy (age Ca. 28), Charles Lacy (age ca. 26), Elijah Lacy (age 14). Others who served were: Elliott Lacy, Jr. (age ca. 20); Nathaniel Lacy (age ca. 22); Elkanah Lacy, Jr. (age 18); Archibald Lacy, (age 25). Thomas Lacy IV provided supplies to the Revolutionary Forces (“Public Service Claims of Halifax County, Court Booklet 62-361, p.2”). There are probably others that are unknown to us at this time. A Linner Lacy also served (Aud. Acct. XXII, p. 79. “List of Rev. Soldiers of Va.”, Dept of Archives and Hist.). There are probably others which are unknown to us at this time.

 

Unfortunately, there are few official records available. In a letter from the War Department to Hubert W. Lacey dated February 2, 1934, Major General James F. McKinley states that “No history of the 3d or the 7th Virginia Regiments in the Revolutionary War has been compiled, nor can such a history be made on account of the fragmentary records which are on file. Battles and skirmishes are rarely mentioned except when certain soldiers were killed or wounded at the places named.”

He goes on to say that “The records of Elkanah Lacey, Sr. furnish no information as to the location of the company in which he served.” However, it has been established that he was killed on October 4, 1777, place unknown.

 

General McKinley continues “The records of the service of Elkanah Lacy, Jr. show the stations of his company in variously numbered regiments as follows:

June 4, 1778, Valley Forge; (the army was at Valley Forge from Dec. 1777 to June

15, 1778) July 13, 1778; Paramus August (the roll for July) 1776 Camp White Plains;

October 29, 1778, New Ark; November 6, 1778, Pumpton Plains;

January 13, 1779, Middlebrook; and same place to May 5, 1779; (winter quarters)

To July 1, 1779 Smith’s Clove; August 3, 1779, Ramapaugh; September 56, 1779,

Smith’s Clove; October 1, 1779, Ramapaugh; November 8, 1779, Haverstraw;

December 9, 1779, Morrristown.”

 

In another letter to Hubert W. Lacey from the War Department (now unavailable), records show that Elliott Lacy enlisted for a term to end April 10, 1778; he served as a pri­vate in Capt. William Mosely’s Co., 7th Va. Reg., commanded by Col. Alexander McClenachan, as noted by Muster Roll dated May 21, 1777. He died in the service Novem­ber 20, 1777. The records do not indicate how he died or where he is buried, but old family records state that “he was killed in the Revolutionary War”.

 

Members of the allied families to the Lacys also served the cause. A notable example is that of Dr Henry W. Wilson, first husband of Agnes Lacy, oldest daughter of William Lacy and Elizabeth Rice. He was an attending physician to the troops and died of “camp fever” while serving at New London. [N.B. New London was an important place during this period. It had seventy or eighty houses, and arsenal, a long wooden structure that stood opposite Echol’s Tavern, later removed to Harper’s Ferry. It was a long structure used as a magazine was under constant guard by soldiers. “Popular Forest”, the occasional residence of Thomas Jefferson, was situated three miles northwest of New London. New London was first the county seat of Lunenburg County and became the county seat of Bedford County when it was organized.]

 

Peace talks began in Paris in June 1782 with John Jay, John Adams, and Benjamin Franklin for the Americans and Richard Oswald for the British. Final settlement gave America independence and ill defined boundaries north and south and the Mississippi River to the west. By 1783 the new United States of America stretched from the Atlantic Ocean to the Mississippi River to the west and to the boundary with Florida to the south and Canada and Nova Scotia to the north. Spain controlled Florida and west from the Mississippi River to the Pacific Ocean. On April 15, 1783, Congress ratified the Treaty of Paris and the British began removing their troops from the former colonies as well as several thousand loyalists who fled to Britain, Canada, or other British Colonies to begin new lives all over again.

 

The Treaty of Paris did not bring peace, nor did the fixing of boundaries, however vague, settle disputes about ownership of and dominion over the western and southern lands. Both England and the United States claimed vast territories in Canada, while Russia and England vied for the territory that would eventually become Alaska and the Aleutian Islands. Florida stretched to the Mississippi River and Louisiana to the Canadian border. Mexico extended over the whole of the southwest. Indians, pushed out of the East Coast region, began to feel more and more the pressures of the emigrants eager to settle the new lands to the west and south. The great struggle for control of these lands had begun and was to last for another hundred and twenty years. The story was to be repeated many times. The Indi­ans would be settled on lands outside the United States, usually with treaties giving them rights to the land forever. The pressures would build to occupy and claim these lands.

 

Westward Expansion I.

 

The original thirteen colonies were now the thirteen states of the United States of America (Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, South Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Virginia). George Washington was sworn in as the first President on April 30, 1789. The first new states were added, Vermont in 1791, Kentucky in 1792, and Tennessee in 1796. The western territories were organized. Several of the states, notably Connecticut, Georgia, Massachusetts, and North Carolina claimed territories to the Pacific Ocean based on the original charters, while New York and Virginia both claimed Kentucky and all lands north and west of the Ohio River (in Virginia’s case, based on a 1609 charter). The other states protested and the Federal Government, faced with the cost of expansion into the western territories, decreed that new western states would have the same rights as the original states and that territorial governments would be set up with the goal of eventual statehood. The Northwest Territory was designated as the lands above the Ohio River up to the Mississippi River and the Southwest Territory as the lands below the Ohio River up to the Mississippi River. Detroit and Nashville were already established cities in these territories respectively.

 

Expansion faced many difficulties, not the least of which was lack of public roads and hostile natives. The two cultures, European American and Native American, were to clash in sharp contrast over the concept of ownership of land. The concept of individual ownership and control of a specified piece of property was deeply embedded in the immigrant’s concept of land. The Indians treated land as communal property, which was for the free use of all. They little understood the concept of deeds and property rights as expounded by the new Americans. The Federal Government gave them deeds to vast lands and designated reserves for them, which they, in turn, were lobbied to sell either to the Government or to companies, such as the Ohio Company, which were created for economic development purposes in the European sense. In 1775, Richard Henderson of North Carolina and organizer of the Transylvania Company, commissioned Daniel Boone and his ax men to cut a Wilderness Road from the Holston River via a natural passage through the Appalachian Mountains in southwestern Virginia. This passage, near the borders of Virginia, Kentucky and Tennessee to the Kentucky River, is known as the “Cumberland Gap”. Emigrants had been “shooting the Cumberland Gap” since it had been discovered in 1750 to enter the Trans-Appalachian lands and to settle in the river valleys on the frontier. The Wilderness Road became one of the main routes of westward migration for the next several decades. The National Road (or Pike), also known as the Cumberland Road, was a well maintained graveled road stretching from Virginia to St. Louis. Other routes were through Maryland to Philadelphia and, once the Mohawk threat was removed, through the Mohawk Valley on the Mohawk Trail. The southern route leads through Georgia, around the Appalachians into Alabama and Mississippi. These migrations would precipitate the bloody Indian Wars of the nineteenth century and eventually lead to the complete defeat of the Indians who were put on reservations, making the opening of the west complete.

 

Vermont became the fourteenth state of the Union in 1791. In 1776 Kentucky was designated as Kentucky County, Virginia. By 1792 it was admitted as the fifteenth state of the union with thirteen organized counties, three unorganized counties, and western lands reserved for the Chickasaw Nation. In 1777 Washington County was created by North Carolina out of its territory South of the Ohio River. In 1785 it was called the state of Franklin, although it was not a State of the Union. This territory was formally organized in 1790 and admitted to the union as the State of Tennessee in 1796.

The eastern part of Tennessee is a great hill-strewn valley, then forest clad, running northeast to southwest, bounded on the south by the Anaka River and Great Smoky Moun­tains, and on the north, partially by the Cumberland River, containing within its broad bound­aries the Clinch, Holston, Nolichucky, French Broad, and tributary streams, whose combined flow form the Tennessee River.

 

The first settlers in eastern Tennessee were mainly from Botetourt, Augusta, and Frederick Counties in Virginia, and Cumberland and Lancaster Counties in Pennsylvania. They were a hardy, fearless, enterprising and intelligent people, mostly of Scotch-Irish stock, and for the most part Presbyterians, if they had any religion at all. Rev. Charles Cummings, one of the earliest ministers in the region, stated that there were some, mainly for the wealthier classes, who were extremely wild and dissipated. Settlers along the Watauga River were principally from Virginia and the Carolinas. Some were descendants of people who earlier had come down from the north and settled in Virginia and the Carolinas, and were of German stock, Huguenots, and members of the German Reformed Church. They readily mixed and assimilated themselves with the Scotch-Irish. As to the Scotch-­Irish, Theodore Roosevelt says in his monumental work “The Winning of the West” that:

 

“They were a sturdy race, enterprising and intelligent, fond of the strong excitement inherent in the adventurous frontier life. Their untamed and turbulent passions, and the lawless freedom of their lives, made them a population of very productive wild, headstrong characters; yet as a whole they were a God fearing race, as was but natural in those who sprang from the loins of the Irish Calvinists.

The women, the wives of the settlers, were of the same iron temper. They fearlessly fronted every danger the men did, and they worked quite as hard. They prized the knowledge and learning they themselves had been forced to do without; and many a backwoods woman, by thrift and industry, by the sale of her butter and cheese, and the calves from her cows, enabled her husband to give his sons good schooling, and perhaps to provide some favored members of the family the opportu­nity to secure a really first class education.”

 

Pressures continued to build among the emigrants to move further and further west. People who floated down the Ohio River to the Mississippi would either get off on the east bank or the west bank. This determined where they would settle. Agreements between nations, as to fixed boundaries, were being violated. Reserved Indian lands were “bought” by the government or companies and the Indians were forced further west or onto fixed reservations. More of the Northwest Territory began to be organized with eventual Statehood as the goal. The Virginia Legislature organized the Illinois Territory out of the Northwest Territory on the 12th of December 1778. In 1784 the Northwest Territory was ceded to the United States by Virginia and in 1790 St. Clair Co., Illinois, was organized by Governor St. Clair and the Judges of the Court of Quarter Sessions and Pleas. Also in 1790, Knox County, Indiana, was organized. The Indiana Territory was organized in 1800 and the Illinois Territory followed in 1809. Indiana was admitted to the Union in 1816 and Illinois followed two years later in 1818. The farmers in Tennessee began to hanker for the rich fertile soil of the lake plains regions in Indiana and Illinois. Emigrants following the Na­tional Road also moved toward these promise lands. Thus they flooded into these areas, pushing the Indians even further west. The Federal Government began to establish a series of Forts along the roads and waterways to protect the emigrants, thus encouraging more and more to come. How did these people move and travel? If they had a family, they usually had some kind of wagon or cart and animals, either horses or oxen. To start they would need a certain amount of cash, enough to “outfit” at least the start of their trip and some for emer­gencies on the road. Barter was a way of life on the trail. If people had extra clothes or guns and ammunition or foodstuffs, they would trade with other travelers or people in settlements they passed for other items they needed. In a dire emergency, such as low food stuffs, they might trade away other goods that were essential in order to survive. Medicines were pre­cious and were readily used as barter tender. Livestock, too, became potential items of barter, especially newly born calves or colts. While they usually had a specific destination in mind, circumstances, such as sickness or death of a family member, might change their plans. Sometimes they would simply get where they intended to go and then decide to move on.

 

In 1807, the Illinois Territory was part of the Indiana Territory. The government seat was at Vincennes with Gen. William Harrison as Governor. It was sparsely settled with a total population of less than 9,000, mostly in the southern part. By 1810, the colonists had settled as far north as Woodriver in present Madison County. The Goshen settlements, know as the “Land of Promise”, was established in 1802. Turkey Hill, which lay east of the present town of Belleville, had residents as early as 1798. The most northern post was Jones’ Stock­ade, settled in 1809, in what is now Bond County. Thus, it was the most exposed settlement to the threat of Indian attack.

 

By 1810 the territorial population had grown to 11,501 whites, 168 slaves, and 613 others, not including Indians. On Feb. 3, 1809, all the present State of Illinois and the lands constituting the present State of Wisconsin were organized into the Illinois Territory. By 1818 the population had increased to approximately 40,000, when it was admitted to the Union. This illustrates the great influx of settlers that came into the territory (present State of Illinois), the southern part deriving most of its settlers from the Southern States of Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia, and the Carolinas. It was Gen. Wayne’s great victory at Fallen Timbers that opened up this land for settlement.

Places changed in importance as the population moved west. A good example is Shawneetown in Illinois. From 1813 to 1837, Shawneetown was the principal town in Illi­nois. There is a story that when the citizens of the village of Chicago went to Shawneetown to see the bankers for the purpose of securing a loan, they were turned down on the premise that Chicago would never amount to anything.

 

THE NINETEENTH CENTURY,

 

We now review some of the important events which influenced the spread of emi­grants during the Nineteenth Century, which saw the country united from “sea to shining” sea.

 

Westward Expansion II.

 

The great Western Emigration commenced in earnest after the end of the Revolutionary War and continued until the end of the nineteenth century and beyond. Roads across the Appalachian Mountains which were developed before the revolu­tion, and the Wilderness Road blazed by Daniel Boone through the Cumberland Gap, and the route from Virginia to Kentucky were all improved upon and added to. Most “national” roads were, first of all, military roads and then became popularized by the thousands emigrat­ing to the west. Georgia was established by Royal Charter in 1732, and its Western lands extended to the Mississippi River. In 1803, Georgia ratified the Constitution and ceded these lands to the Federal Government. Public domain lands would later become the States of Alabama and Mississippi. Thomas Jefferson’s “Louisiana Purchase” from Napoleon of lands ceded from Spain to France, by the “Treaty of San Ildefonso”, effectively doubled the size of America. This turned out to be one of the most significant events in American, if not world, history. In 1800, while this far northwest territory was still under Spanish control, Jefferson had sought permission from the Spanish Government to seek the mythical “Northwest Pas­sage” along the Missouri River. His plan was rejected, but the purchase meant that he was free to pursue his dream of finding such a passage, even though both the French and the Spanish had effectively proved centuries before that it did not exist. Thus, in 1803, Jefferson and Congress authorized the Expedition of Captain Meriwether Lewis and Captain William Clark to follow the Missouri and its tributaries to the Pacific Ocean. This journey, now legendary, was one in which over forty men and one Indian woman went and returned. They struggled under great hardships, mapped out these western lands, and laid to rest forever the myth of the Northwest Passage. They accomplished this over a three-year period and, in­credibly, sustained only one loss of life. This journey awakened the consciousness of the Americans to vastness of the lands to the far west and stimulated the great migrations along the Oregon, California, and Yukon Trails that followed.

 

The Old Southwest extended from South Carolina and Georgia to the Mississippi River. Because this area was sparsely settled, the migration west from here was slower than to the Northwest from the more populous North East. Also, treaties with the Creeks and Cherokees had created “Indian Nations” in the area and migration was limited to the areas not under the control of the Indians. The population centers were mostly along the Gulf Coast and easily accessible by ship. With the Louisiana Purchase, New Orleans finally passed to the control of the Federal Government. In 1783, the Treaty of Paris had guaranteed the right of passage on the Mississippi by Americans, but the Spanish still controlled Natchez and New Orleans. In 1795, the area around Natchez, which was still under Spanish control, was finally ceded to America by the Treaty of San Lorenzo. Only West Florida, which extended to the Mississippi River, would remain under Spanish domination until after the end of the War of 1812. In 1819, it was finally purchased from the Spanish Government. The only overland route in the Old Southwest, before 1806, was the Natchez Trace. This road followed several old Indian trails from New Orleans through Natchez to Nashville and later was extended to Lexington, Kentucky. Two Federal Roads were authorized by Congress in 1803; the National Road from Maryland to Illinois and the Federal Road from Georgia to Louisiana. A branch of this road, known as “three chopped road”, so named because of the three slash marks made on trees to mark its path, went to Natchez. The establishment of this road meant that the importance of Natchez Trace, with its colorful history, began to fade in significance as it was bypassed by the main flow of civilization.

 

The War of 1812.

 

The War of 1812 is one of the most misunderstood and obscure wars in American History. In the large picture, it was part of the global conflict of the early nine­teenth century, with Napoleon against Europe and America against Britain. In the regional view, it was a continuation of the struggle against British Imperialism fought for “Free Trade and Sailor’s Rights”. As a land war, it was fought on the Canadian border and into Canada. In 1813, Admiral Perry won a notable victory on the Great Lakes, defeating a British flotilla. His famous report was “we have met the enemy and they are ours”. Indeed, it was the only surrender of a complete squadron in British naval history. However, a British expeditionary force attacked Washington and burned the Capitol, White House, and other government buildings to the ground on August 24, 1814. This turned out to be a hit-and-run raid that achieved little else. A naval bombardment of Fort McHenry by the British gave America it’s National Anthem, the “Star Spangled Banner”, as penned by Francis Scott Key, a prisoner on board one of the bombarding vessels. By the 12th of September, however, the British had been defeated on land and the Chesapeake campaign was over.

 

The Indians played a large role in the War of 1812, siding with the British. Tecumseh, a Shawnee Chief, was renowned for his eloquence and organizational abilities. He spent his entire adult life as a warrior and organized Indians from Florida to Canada. He demanded the right to approve all deals to turn Indian lands over to the U. S. Government. In 1811, William Henry Harrison, governor of Indiana Territory, sent a force against Tecumseh at Tippecanoe. He won an ambiguous victory on Nov. 7, 1811, and Tecumseh escaped to fight another day. In the War of 1812, the British commissioned Tecumseh as a brigadier-general. However, Harrison caught up with him again at the Battle of the Thames, and this time Tecumseh was killed. The fame of these exploits helped propel Harrison to the Presi­dency in 1840. However, the eventual British “defeat” in this war and the death of Tecumseh essentially brought to an end any nationally organized resistance of the Indians to western expansion of the nation. The Indian wars would drag on piece-meal over the rest of the nineteenth century, but no other leader such as Tecumseh would arise to lead the Indians in opposition to the taking of their homelands. It also killed any chance that there would be a “reserved” land for the Indians. While various “reservations” would rise and fall, no land was safe from the onslaught of the emigrants from the east. The notion of “Manifest Des­tiny” had taken root and would grow until the nation stretched from “sea to shining sea [N.B. This term was invented by John L. O’Sullivan, a New York newspaperman who wrote in 1845 that it was “the fulfillment of our manifest destiny to overspread the continent allot­ted by Providence to the free development of our yearly expanding millions”.]

 

The final battle of the War of 1812, the Battle of New Orleans, was also to become part of the American folklore. General Andrew Jackson was winning laurels for his cam­paigns against the Upper Creeks who had been stirred up by Tecumseh. The third expedi­tionary force of the British made a frontal attack on Jackson’s forces on 8 Jan. 1815, and lost over 2,000 men killed, wounded or missing with just 13 American dead and 58 wounded. This battle was fought after the war was officially over, the peace treaty being signed at Ghent, Belgium on Christmas Eve. However, it made Jackson a future President (1829) and ended the “Second War of Independence” in a blaze of glory.

 

Indian Wars (1812-1875):

 

The “Indian problem” was to occupy the nation for the whole of the nine­teenth century. After the War of 1812 and before the Civil War, it was the main military occupation of both federal and state troops. Frontier battles raged in isolated spots and isolated Indian “depredations” occurred all across the nation.

Major General Andrew Jackson continued his war against the Creeks in 1813. He was funded by the Tennessee Legislature and had as allies, the Cherokee. In 1814, he com­pletely defeated the “Red Sticks” at Horseshoe Bend and the back of Creek resistance was broken. The treaty of Horseshoe Bend extorted 23 million acres from the Creeks, two thirds of their tribal lands. This pushed American settlement from the Tennessee River to the Gulf of Mexico.

 

With the election of Andrew Jackson as President in 1829, the government decided on an official policy toward the Indians. It was the plan of Jackson, really going back to George Washington, to “remove” the Indians from American territory. At the time, no one seemed to envision that the “white” nation would one day stretch from shore to shore. Jefferson’s Louisiana Purchase opened up the possibility of vast lands to the west that could be used as reserved lands for the Indians. So, on 28 May 1830, Congress passed the “Indian Removal Act” which provided for “an exchange of lands of lands for Indians living in any of the states or territories to, and for, their removal to west of the river Mississippi”. Once more it was the clashes of two cultures who neither understood nor appreciated each other. The development of the “reservation system” was replete with corruption and inefficiencies that would prove the tragic hallmark of the government’s handling of Indian affairs throughout the nineteenth century. Whites considered Indians as hostiles and Indians considered that whites “speak with forked tongue”.

 

In the South, the Choctaws and the Chickasaws were the first to accept the exchange, leaving Mississippi and Alabama under the Treaty of Edwardsville they ceded their lands in Illinois to the Federal Government and moved west to Missouri and some later to Texas and Mexico. The warriors that stayed eventually joined forces with the Fox and Sac under the leadership of Black Hawk who had fought along side Tecumseh in the War of 1812. A battle with Illinois militia men, under the command of Major Issac Stillman, on 15 May 1832, turned into a rout with 40 Sac and Fox braves defeating 275 well-armed militia men. While only 11 of Stillman’s men were killed, it was a major defeat that became known as “Stillman’s run”. The dead were witnessed by a young Abraham Lincoln. Emboldened by their victory, the braves began a campaign of terror by raiding isolated places and massacring women and children. This created a firestorm of public demands that “no Indian be left alive in the north part of Illinois”.

 

Neither Thomas Jefferson nor Andrew Jackson anticipated the possibility that white settlement in the American West would proceed from the west. By the mid 1830’s, Ameri­cans were traveling along the “Oregon Trail”, to settle in the fertile lands of Oregon, or turning south to California. With the settlement of the Oregon Territory northern boundary reached with Britain on 15 June 1846, white Americans entered Oregon in large numbers. The wars with the Indians in the far west would sweep from the southwest with Apache leaders like Geronimo, Victorio, and Cochise to the northwest from “Little Big Horn” to “Wounded Knee” with leaders like Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse. William Tecumseh Sherman, of Civil War fame, would lead the army in ultimately crushing the Indian resis­tance from New Mexico and Texas to Montana and Wyoming.

 

Among all the captive stories that came out of the Indian Wars, perhaps none is better known and had more consequences than that of Cynthia Ann Parker. On 18 May 1836, a Comanche war party attacked “fort” Parker in Limestone County, where Cynthia Ann and her family and some friends were sleeping. Among those killed were her grandfather, John, and father, Silas. Nothing was heard of Cynthia for nearly twenty five years when she was recaptured. It was later learned that she had married a chief by the name of Peta Nocona. She was with him on a raid, carrying her daughter “Prairie Flower”, when she was captured and he was killed. She left behind a young son who would grow up to be the chief of all the Comanche and become a spokesman in Washington for the tribe. He was known as Capt. Quanah Parker.

 

In his recitation of some of his exploits, James Lacy Havins mentioned remembering the capture of Cynthia Ann. His story is presented in the section on Burley Lacy

 

Westward Expansion III.

 

Since 1800, the territory of the United States had more than doubled. By 1820, it appeared that the natural limits to the boundaries of America had been reached. The Southwest beyond the Sabine River was Spanish, by formal treaty. The ques­tion of the extension of slavery to the new territories was becoming difficult. President Monroe wrote Thomas Jefferson that “the further acquisition of territory to the west and south involves difficulties of an internal nature which menace the Union itself’. But Ameri­cans, as individuals, were still moving west under the same forces as their fore bearers, the chance for economic opportunity, or to escape a past. The next few decades would ultimately resolve the issue by making the whole continental territory a part of the Union.

 

Trails to Texas I.

 

Americans began to enter the Spanish territory of “Tejas” during this period. They crossed over the Sabine River from Louisiana or the Red River from Arkansas or Oklahoma Territory. In 1809, Spanish colonial regulations required that foreigners regis­ter with the Spanish authorities providing them with name, national origin, marital status, and time of residency in the territory. Later, the Mexican Colonization Law of 24 Mar 1825, required immigrants to apply for citizenship in the new Republic of Mexico. This would lay the foundation for the Texas Revolution much like the revolution against the British by the original colonists. Applicants had to prove “their Christianity, morality, and good habits by a certificate from the authorities from where they formally resided”. This gave rise to the “Empressario”, a person who organized settlements in Texas. The most famous of these was Stephen F. Austin, son of Moses Austin. Moses Austin rode 800 miles from St. Louis, Missouri, to enter San Antonio de Bexar in 1820. He received permission to establish a Colony of 300 souls and returned to St. Louis to organize it, but he died shortly thereafter and on his deathbed, asked his son, Stephen, to carry out the plan on his deathbed. Stephen went on to organize three colonies and help foment the Texas Revolution that brought Statehood. One of his colonists, in the third colony, was Peter White from Missouri. He brought his young family to Texas and stayed to raise a second family and fight in the war and contribute sons to the Civil War. His daughter, Margaret Ann White, would grow up to marry Lewis Madison Lacey, son of Elijah Lacey. We will present some of the story of Peter White and his family in the section on Lewis Madison Lacey.

 

The Texas Revolution.

 

By 1830, over 8,000 white Americans and a thousand black slaves had settled in Texas, mostly in the southeastern region. Under a change of government in Mexico, a new Colonization Law was passed in 1830. It forbade Americans to settle in Texas. General Santa Anna took power as a dictator by controlling the army, becoming president in 1834. The Anglo-Texans began to organize and held a convention on 1 Oct 1832 in San Felipe. They drafted a petition to be sent to the federal capital on immigration, as well as a request to be separated from Coahuila, and to be granted full sovereignty within the confederation as a state. This resolution was never sent and a second convention was held which passed resolutions setting forth grievances against custom duties, legal inequities, and military rule, and incorporated the words of the first resolution, a route almost identical to the American Revolution. The burden of presenting this plan fell to Austin and he journeyed to Mexico City where he was received graciously by Santa Anna, but the petitions were refused. He started to return home, but was arrested in Saltillo by Presidential order and returned to Mexico City where he would remain in jail until 13 July 1835.

 

During Austin’s incarceration, things had continued to boil over in Texas. Another call for consultation of all Anglo-Texans went out. Then word came that General Cos had crossed the Rio Grande with a large army, bound for San Antonio. On September 19, Stephen Austin put out a general call for Texans to stand to arms: “War is our only resource. There is no other remedy. We must defend our rights, ourselves, and our country by force of arms.” What happened next is well known. The historic battles at the Alamo, Goliad, and San Jacinto are legendary. General Sam Houston, former Governor of Tennessee, defeated Santa Anna at San Jacinto and Texas became an independent Republic, with the U. S. offi­cially recognizing it in March 1837.

There were very few Lacy/Laceys in Texas at this time. One of note is William Demetrius Lacey who signed “The Unanimous Declaration of Independence made

by the Delegates of the People of Texas in General Convention at the Town of Washington on the 2nd of March 1836”, and fought in some of the battles. Unfortunately, his ancestral line is not well established at this time. His father was a John Lacy, born in VA in 1776. He married Sarah Ann Bright and they had four children, one son and three daughters.

 

General Sam Houston has a connection with the Lacy family through the Rankin family. Both the Huston and Clendenin families are related to the Rankins. Ann Rankin and Sam Houston are cousins.

 

On 13 October 1845, the citizens of the Republic of Texas overwhelmingly voted to approve their constitution and annexation to the United States of America. On 29 December 1845, President Polk signed the act that annexed the Lone Star State and on 19 February 1846, the Republic of Texas became a State and the Republic was no more.

 

Trails to Texas II.

 

Immigration to Texas mushroomed during the decade of the 1850’s. A major wagon road stretched from Memphis, Tenn., to Little Rock, Ark., to Fulton, Ark., and on into Texas across the Red River with branches from there to San Antonio, and further west to Fort Davis and beyond. Other roads entered both further west and further east. Some of these roads are more or less paralleled by Interstate Highways today such as 1-30 or 1-20; The road west from San Antonio to El Paso del Norte is today followed by 1-10. Along these routes you could also push on to California or New Mexico, or come to Texas via these trails. Even as late as the 1890’s, these routes were being used to migrate west by oxen drawn wagons. One such trip is recounted by Bertha Lacey, daughter of Tobe Lacey, and her story will be presented later in the book.

 

The Mexican-American War.

 

President James K. Polk had offered to buy California and Texas from Mexico, but was rebuffed. He sent General Zachary Taylor with a small army into Texas to protect the citizens there after annexation. In April, 1846, he sent Taylor orders to march to the Rio Grande. They soon had skirmishes with the Mexican army and Taylor went to Congress on 11 May, to ask it to declare war. Congress did and appropriated $10 million dollars to fight and approved a volunteer force of 50,000 men. The war went well for the Americans with Vera Cruz falling to General Winfred Scott, who then pushed on to Mexico City. On 13 September, Scott entered Mexico City and soon after that Santa Ana was deposed by the Mexicans and he subsequently fled the country. In February 1848, the peace was formalized by the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. Mexico surrendered all its claims to-Texas and set the boundary at the Rio Grande. It also relinquished California and New Mexico to the U.S.A., as well as Arizona, Nevada, Utah, Colorado and Wyoming. This added almost 1.2 million square miles to the United States. For its part, the U. S. paid Mexico 15 million dollars and assumed another 5 million in claims by American citizens against the Mexican government. In 1848, gold was discovered at Sutter’s Mill and the race of the ‘forty-niners” to the California gold fields was on. By late 1849, there were over 100,000 inhabitants in northern California.

 

Elton Lacey