PEOPLE OF COLOR - - THE JAMES LUCAS FAMILY

By Dorian Taylor - July, 2003.

In researching my husband’s, Vernon Taylor’s, ancestors in Marshall Co., WV, we discovered James and Julia Lucas. Vern’s grandparents, William Ledget and Anna Fahnestock were married in Steubenville, Ohio on May 31 in 1906. Fortunately, on the marriage certificate were listed the parents' names. William Ledget’s parents were Louis Ledget and Nancy Lucas. This was all I knew for about 20 years until I discovered all the information on the world wide web. The Marshall Co. website gave me access to census records where I found Nancy Lucas’ family. West Virginia Division of Culture and History in Charleston provided a lot of information about their family life.

James Lucas, age 32, is first listed in the 1820 census for Marshall Co. with one male under 10 (Isaiah, age 4), three females under 10 (Mary, age 1 and two unknown females, perhaps dying young) and one female 16-26 (James’s wife Julia, age 25).

James is again listed in the 1830 census with an expanded family - two males under 5 (William, age 5 and Charles, age 3), Isaiah now 14, one female under 5 (Sarah, age 1), two females 5-10 (Susanna 7 and Nancy 8), two females 10-15 (Mary 11 and an unknown).

In the 1840 census, James’ family is complete as I know it - Isaiah, age 24; Mary, age 20; Nancy, age 18; Susan, age 17; William, age 15; Charles, age 13; Sarah, age 11; Chloe, age 9; Elizabeth, age 4.

On Nov. 17, 1843, James Lucas signed an indenture with Wylie Oldham and Busby & Lockwood and Michael Dunn. James was indebted to Busby & Lockwood for $48.10 by two notes, one dated Sept. 12, 1842 for $37.82 and $14.27 dated Feb. 20, 1843. James owed Michael Dunn $32.07 by two notes, one for $22.82 dated Aug. 8, 1840 and $9.25 dated Sept. 25, 1841. James is assigning to Wylie Oldham for the sum of one dollar his possessions as collateral for payment to Busby & Lockwood and Michael Dunn. James owned on his farm in Marshall Co. “four bay mares, one yoke of work oxen, two four horse waggons three milch cows ten head of hogs six head of sheep 1 set of carpenters and set coopers tools, one bull plough one harrow four sets of horse gears & harness for waggon together with all the household and kitchen furniture.” If payment is not made, James’ possession will be auctioned. If full payment is made, Wylie Oldham shall reconvey the property back to James Lucas.

In the 1850 census I found Michael Dunn, a merchant, with wife, Lucinda and three children. There is a Jonathan Lockwood, a speculator, with wife Jane and four children living at the Washington Hotel.

In the 1850 census Isaiah has married Eliza on April 8, 1841 and they have four children - Margaret, b. 1842; James K., b. 1844; John T., b. 1846; Julia A., b. 1849. They also have a laborer, Henry, age 45 living with them. James and Julia are living next door with seven children (Susanna is missing). They all say they were born in Virginia. Henry is listed as black and the Lucas’ are all listed as mulatto. This was a surprise to me and it took a while for the significance of the (M) to sink in. After reading Linda Fluharty’s family’s story I wrote her about finding the same thing in Vern’s family. She said the Lucas’ may have been Native Americans, Melungeons, a word I hadn’t heard before, or some other racial mix. I haven’t been able to find their origins yet, but am still looking, hoping someone has a piece to my puzzle.

James Lucas received a piece of land on January 21, 1850 from Robert Woods’ surviving executors “in consideration of clearing twenty five acres of ground” “at a supposed value of $100.” The land was between Stulls Run and Wolf Run containing 100 acres.

Charles Lucas married Rebecca Jane, a white female born in Ohio, in 1854. William married Mary Jane, moved to Belmont Co. and operated a store for many years. Chloe Lucas married John L. Lucas Feb. 24, 1859 in Belmont Co., Ohio. John L. was the son of Eli Lucas in Ohio, generally believed to be a brother to Chloe’s father, James.

In 1860 Isaiah and his father, James are living in Fairview next door to each other. Charles and Rebecca are living in Beelers Station or Moundsville and have three children, Julia A., b. 1855; Andrew, b.1858 and Ruth, b.1859. Isaiah’s wife, Eliza has died and he is living with his four children. Julia Lucas has also died in 1853 and James, now 70, is living with Mary, age 38, Nancy, age 37 and Elizabeth, age 33. Everyone, except Rebecca, is listed as mulatto.

James Lucas died about 1864. Nancy Lucas married Louis Ledget about 1863 and have two children, William, b. 1864 and Sarah May, b. 1868.

On Feb. 26, 1865 Isaiah Lucas sells his 1/9 interest in his father’s, James Lucas’, farm on Wolf Run to his brother, William Lucas.

A release on Sept. 1, 1865 between Robert McConnell, trustee, Charles Lucas and James Winters that on June 7 of 1864 Charles Lucas gave James Winters a note “for the sum of $161.12 payable to Jackson Reed administrator of the estate of James Lucas, decesed.” Charles is giving to Robert McConnell Trustee “one black horse, one pare of work oxen two milch cows, one rifle gun and also the interest share, right and title the undivided one ninth of he said Charles Lucas in the real estate of his fathers Jas Lucas decsd.”

Another deed dated Sept. 1, 1865 between Charles Lucas and Rebeca Jane his wife for the consideration of $460 give to William Lucas his one-ninth share in the estate of “James Lucas, dec’d, the father of said Charles Lucas” containing 208 acres.

On Sept. 1, 1865, John L. Lucas and Chloe his wife, Louis Leaget and Nancy his wife, John Herington and Susan his wife, Mary Lucas and Sarah Lucas and Charles H. Lucas and Elizabeth his wife for the total sum of $1800 sell to William Lucas their claims to the estate of James Lucas. The estate was land on the “waters of Stulls run and Wolf run” in “two tracts of land” of 100 acres and 108 acres. The deed says “John L. Lucas Nancy Leagert Susan Herington Mary Lucas & Sarah Lucas & Elizabeth B. Lucas are children and heirs at law of said James Lucas.” A paragraph at the bottom acknowledges that Susan Herington, Elizabeth Lucas, Chloe Lucas and Nancy Leagert all signed the deed as their own act “and declared that she had willingly executed the same.“ Although Charles Lucas is not mentioned in the deed, his name appears at the top “Charles Lucas To deed for 208 acres land William Lucas.”

I imagine James and Julia Lucas to be the typical farmers of their day - raising crops and animals. Perhaps his ten pigs were meant to be sold, perhaps he rented out his work oxen and wagons and picked up odd jobs using his carpenter’s tools and cooper’s tools. Julia probably made bread and sewed the family’s clothes, making quilts with the remnants. I hope James’ neighbors treated him with respect and dealt fairly with him. Did his children go to school with the neighbor children? They are listed as “free people of color” which makes me wonder if they were slaves, how did they gain their freedom? and how did they end up in Marshall Co., WV?


Send E-Mail if you have information about this family.


BACK