Pulaski County

Biography - William Lacky

WILLIAM A. LACKY. In the list of successful farmers of Pulaski county, Illinois, who through perseverance, judicious management and sound judgment as business men have risen to positions of influence and prosperity, mention belongs to William A. Lacky, whose fine farm of three hundred and forty-five acres lies near to the village of Pulaski and is the farm of his birth. He represents one of Pulaski county's oldest families, one of the first to inhabit this locality and which was founded by his grandfather, Thomas Lacky, who located upon the hill overlooking the village of Pulaski many years before the little hamlet was dreamed of. Thomas Lacky migrated to this section from North Carolina in the territorial days of Illinois and at a time when the surrounding country was wild and unimproved, retaming the appearance of primeval nature. He brought his family overland, the only method of transportation then, and entered land in which was then Alexander county. He was a man of force and industry, and through his influence others were induced to make this locality their home. He was reared in the atmosphere of slavery and established that institution at his new home by returning on horseback to North Carolina and bringing out four slaves, said to be the first introduced there. They proved unpopular however, and later he sold them to a relative who took them over into Missouri, then regarded as a slave state. Thomas Lacky, in a sense, blazed the trail for settlement in that section of Southern Illinois and gave himself assiduously to the labor of bringing the land under cultivation, but his death occurred before the stumps had disappeared from his land and before he had accomplished much in the way of development. He and his wife are both buried in the Lacky cemetery on the point of a hill back of the home of his grandson, the subject of this review. Their children were: Cyrus, who left a family in this neighborhood at his death; Alfred, the father of our subject; Silas, who passed away near Commerce, Missouri; Joel, Thomas and William, all of whom died in the locality of the old homestead; and Elizabeth, who became the wife of Jacob Peeler and died at Wetaug, Illinois.

Alfred Lacky was born in North Carolina in 1812 and was a child about two years of age when his father brought his family to Illinois. His childhood environment contributed little to him in the way of education, although he gained the rudiments necessary to a fairly successful agricultural life. As a young man he gained some experience as a soldier in the Black Hawk war, espoused the politics of his father, that of Democracy, and for a number of years was a justice of the peace, in which official capacity he came in close touch with the life of his community. In church faith and membership he was a Missionary Baptist, and was something of a disciplinarian in his family. His wife was Lorena Palmer, a daughter of William Palmer, who came to this section of Illinois from Tennessee and who is buried at Shiloh church. General John M. Palmer, famed as an Illinois soldier and statesman, was his cousin. Albert Lacky was preceded in death by his wife. Their children were William A., of this review; Mary, who became the wife of August Biggerstaff and died at Shiloh church; Thomas, killed by a falling tree while helping to dislodge it; Isabel, who became Mrs. Jasper Atherton and died at Pulaski; Lucinda. the widow of James Aldred; Wesley and Anna, deceased; and Delia, now Mrs. John Needham, of Pulaski.

William A. Lacky was a graduate of the log cabin schools of his day and a victim of the pioneer methods of educating the youth, for then the rod still obtained and the appalling sound of the birch frequently urged the youngsters to a more concentrated effort in mastering the "Three R's." In Mr. Lacky's remarkable memory are preserved the names of his several teachers who had to do with his intellectual training. They were Thomas Duvall, William Blake, Mrs. DePew, a Mr. Goodman and George W. Minick. He was reared on the farm and there gained a practical knowledge of -the basic principles of agriculture. He began life with his modest patrimony and through able management as a grain and stock raiser he has become one of the substantial men of his locality and the owner of a highly developed farm of three hundred and forty-five acres. This farm represents the best years of effort upon the part of himself and his industrious and self-sacrificing wife, and the spot which everybody knows as their home reminds the traveler of a hamlet rather than the ordinary farmstead.

While Mr. Lacky's life has been one of application and industry, yet he has found time to devote to the social side of life, is fond of company, and is never too busy to extend to any visitor the hospitality of a courteous host and of a pleasant home. He is a staunch advocate of Republican party principles and has been an active factor in the management of Pulaski county party affairs. He was once the nominee for sheriff and has been a delegate to county conventions many times.

On January 9, 1861, Miss Frances A. Biggerstaff became his wife. Mrs. Lacky was born July 20, 1843, to Thomas and Susan (Dilts) Biggerstaff, the' former of whom came to Illinois from North Carolina as a pioneer and was of German descent. Mr. Biggerstaff died September 20, 1892, when seventy-three years of age, and in December of the following year his wife followed him in death. The children of these parents were as follows: Augustus, a resident of Pulaski county; Mrs. Lacky; Hector, who was accidentally killed; Isabel, now Mrs. Thomas Daniels, of Pulaski county; and Albert, who died in infancy.

Mr. Lacky expects to spend his remaining years at the pleasant homestead near Pulaski, which is especially endeared to him by its many family associations and which for more than fifty years has been the home of himself and his faithful helpmeet.

Extracted from A History of Southern Illinois, 1912, Volume 2, page 882-884

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