Albert G. Lucas, A. M., long an active minister of the Christian church, almost throughout his long lifetime writer for or editor and publisher of newspapers, a man of varied experience in public, business and professional affairs, is now closing up his life accounts in his home at Girard, and at the age of eighty odd years is active in mind and body and hopes to continue so until the summons to the great beyond.
Mr. Lucas not only has a long personal history but also his family annals cover and are closely identified with the most important phases of American nationality. He was born in Mercer county, Pennsylvania, June 23, 1823, a son of Samuel and Hannah (Blair) Lucas, who were the parents of nineteen children, fourteen sons, of whom our subject was the youngest, and five daughters, but Mr. Lucas is now the only survivor of this large family. His mother, who was a woman of excellent intellect, transmitting many of her qualities to her children, was related to the ancient Scotch stock of the Montgomerys, Campbells and McPhersons. On the paternal side Mr. Lucas has reason to be proud of the patriotic record of his forebears, for his grandfather served five years and six months in the war for independence, was with Washington at Valley Forge, at the fighting in New Jersey, at the famous crossing and recrossing of the Delaware river, and at the surrender of Cornwallis. Afterward he served nearly three years in the Indian wars, and he lived to the great age of one hundred and three years. The entire family are noted for vigor of mind and body, and longevity is one of their marked characteristics.
Going back into the old ancestral lines, there is ample documentary evidence to prove that the Lucases descended from a long line of Saxon barons, who were among the first to accept the Lutheran reformation, and, although the more immediate ancestors married into a family of Irish Catholics, Mr. Lucas' father never yielded one jot of his Protestantism, but was himself a stout Presbyterian with all that word implied a hundred years ago.
Samuel Lucas, the father, was born in Franklin county, Pennsylvania, April 10, 1778, and was a farmer and a school teacher. He voted for Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, James Monroe, Andrew Jackson and Martin Van Buren. He served eighteen months in the war against Great Britain in 1812-15.
Mr. Albert G. Lucas, who is the only living representative of his parents' large family, was reared in Pennsylvania mostly, and began his education as a child, both parents taking part in his instruction and thus supplementing the meager work of the public schools. At his sixteenth year he was considered competent to teach, a pursuit which he entered upon in Clarion county, Pennsylvania, beginning February 14, 1839, and he taught every winter and some in the summers until the winter of 1850. In March of the latter year he graduated in medicine at Philadelphia, and in the April following took up practice. He continued to pursue his studies, literary and otherwise, with unremitting ardor till in 1878, when the faculty and management of Abingdon College, Illinois, saw fit to bestow upon him the honorary degree of "Magister in Artibus." He also holds two state teacher's certificates, one for Illinois and one for Missouri, and by hard study and honest industry attained the degrees of M. D. and A. M.
At the outset of his career for a year or so he was inclined to ramble, incidentally forming habits of intemperance, which, indeed, he inherited to a great extent, it being customary in those days to drink on all public occasions and also in the family. As already stated, his first step was school teaching, by which he was enabled to continue his studies, and which also gave him an opportunity to study human nature, which he did to the extent of his ability. His life experience has in fact been a rather checkered one. He began writing for the press when only fourteen years old, and from that time on there was not a year when he did not produce something to appear in print. In 1847 he was engaged as associate editor of the Franklin (Pennsylvania) Gazette, a mildly Whig paper. His productions were all of an anti-slavery cast, and mostly in poetry.
While living in Ohio in the early forties he was married, and he continued to reside in that state until the spring of 1845, when he returned to Pennsylvania, where he lived until the autumn of 1854, engaged in teaching, preaching, and studying medicine and the German and Latin languages. Becoming somewhat disgusted with the uncertainty of the "healing art," he left for Illinois, where he intended to put in his time teaching and preaching. Here he fell in with a homeopathic physician, and soon was convinced that if there is any science in therapeutics it is found in the statement "similia similibus curantur," and it was not long before he was ranked among the "little pill" doctors. He followed the practice of homeopathy in connection with his preaching for more than twenty years, at the same time devoting himself to study and literature. It was during this time that he edited and published the Linn County (Iowa) Patriot (political) and the Herald of Truth (religious). Also during this period he wrote some of his best articles in prose and verse, and among the latter was one written in the National cemetery near Washington, and which was published in a Washington paper at the time and afterward copied into various papers.
During the Civil war period Mr. Lucas was in the secret service about six months, resigning his position to take charge of the Linn County Register (Patriot), in November, 1863. He also served in the army under Sherman in the celebrated march to the sea, and was mustered out July 12, 1865, at the present time drawing a pension of twelve dollars a month for his war record. Politically he has always been active, yet never ran for a civil office. He was elected county school commissioner once, and served on the local school board several times. He was anti-slavery from his boyhood, and voted for James G. Birney, J. P. Hale, Abe Lincoln and U. S. Grant, and would have voted for Hayes and Garfield if he had been where he could have used his franchise. From 1844 on he took an active part in every political campaign until 1880, when his environments shut him off. In '44, '48, '52, '56 and '60 he held numerous public debates on the political questions of the times, besides writing somewhat voluminously for the public journals. His expressed political views and convictions have more than once brought him into conflict with local public opinion. During the summer and fall of 1862 he was watched by a class of men and boys who were too cowardly to go into the Confederate army and too disloyal to enlist in the Union army; and this was kept up until one evening, in the postoffice when the house was full, Mr. Lucas announced publicly that, as he carried a good 45-calibre six-shooter, it need not surprise anyone if two or three of the hounds who were on his track should be found lying at the roadside some morning. This put a stop to the cowardly surveillance. He was then president of the Union League of his community. In October, 1871, while teaching and preaching at Libertyville, St. Francis county, Missouri, he received five dagger cuts in his left shoulder, the only reason assigned therefor being that he had dared to take the Missouri Democrat (afterward the Globe-Democrat), and had it sent to that office, where no Republican newspaper had ever been seen before.
Mr. Lucas came to Kansas in 1884, and to Crawford county in 1888, as pastor of the Christian church at Girard. After one year there he went to Farlington, this county, where he built up a church and erected a meeting house. He returned to Girard in the fall of 1890, and served one year as deputy district clerk. He then bought the Western Herald and conducted it until the winter of 1894, at which time he lost his first wife, after they had lived together in happy love and mutual esteem for fifty-two years and five months. This bereavement bore heavily upon Mr. Lucas, and he sold out his newspaper and for nearly a year endeavored to do nothing, but unsuccessfully. Since then he has continued as one of Girard's honored citizens, and has kept himself actively employed at some useful tasks, not allowing himself to rust out in his declining years.
Fraternally Mr. Lucas has been a member of the Masonic order, the Odd Fellows, the Sons of Temperance, the Temple of Honor, Good Templars, Temperance Watchmen, Union League, G. A. R., and Farmers' Alliance, and belonged to one other secret society which is still a secret, and which he will probably so keep until he is beyond the reach of calumny and danger. On the 8th day of December, 1840, he united with the Church of Christ at Antioch, Clinton county, Ohio, and on the first Lord's day in the following March made his first attempt to preach, but was not ordained for the ministry until seven years thereafter. And now, for sixty years, whatever else he had done, he has never forgotten the high and holy calling of the gospel ministry, laboring sometimes as evangelist and sometimes as pastor; and in these years he has brought into the congregations where he has labored about five thousand persons, and half of that number he has baptized.
Mr. Lucas' first wife was Mary Jane McGrew, and they were married August 20, 1841, at Antioch, Ohio. The ten children by this long and happy union were as follows: John C., born August 15, 1842, who enlisted in the Fifth New York Cavalry on August 21, 1861, was married March 29, 1864, and in the following May was taken prisoner at Reams Station, Virginia, and died in Andersonville prison, August 19, 1864; William F., born February 19, 1845; Mary Emily, November 27, 1847; Hannah E., April 26, 1850; Eugene M., August 11, 1852; Lucinda C., January 30, 1855; A. Emma, July 7, 1857; Flora E., October 29, 1859; C. Albert, February 13, 1862; and a baby, September 21, 1864, dying in infancy. Mr. Lucas' present wife was Louisa Ellen Smith, a widow. Although he has resided temporarily in different places, Mr. Lucas has regarded Girard as his permanent home, and here he wishes to be laid to rest by the side of his first wife.Pages 627-632 from A Twentieth century history and biographical record of Crawford County, Kansas, by Home Authors; Illustrated. Published by Lewis Publishing Company, Chicago, IL : 1905. 656 p. ill. Transcribed by Carolyn Ward, in November, 2003.
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