biography from Portrait & Biographical Album of Mahaska Co., Iowa, 1887
HON. JOHN F. LACEY, of Oskaloosa, son of John M. and Eleanor (Patten) Lacey, was born at New Martinsville, W. Va., May 30, 1841. When the subject of our sketch was twelve years of age the family removed to Wheeling, and in the year 1855 settled permanently at Oskaloosa, Iowa. He attended the public schools at Wheeling, and select schools at Oskaloosa, receiving what may be deemed the equivalent of an academic course. School days over, he entered upon the study of the law in the office of the Hon. Samuel A. Rice, then Attorney General of the State of Iowa. In 1861 a call being made for volunteers, Mr. Lacey promptly tendered his services to the Government, and was the fifth man in Mahaska County to respond to the President's call, enlisting as a private in Co. H, 3d Iowa Vol. Inf., and as soon after made a Corporal, and served with his command until the battle of Blue Mills' Landing, Mo., where he was taken prisoner and carried to Lexington, Mo. He was held a prisoner near the city during the siege, and after its capture by the rebels was paroled with Col. Mulligan's men. By reason of a presidential order discharging all paroled prisoners from the service, our subject returned home and resumed his law studies in Gen. Rice's office. In 1862 Mr. Lacey was exchanged, and as additional volunteers were called for, he again enlisted, and was mustered into service as a private soldier in Co. D, 33d Iowa Vol. Inf., Col. Samuel A. Rice commanding. He was soon promoted Sergeant Major of the regiment, and in May, 1863, was commissioned First Lieutenant of Company C. and served several months as Acting Adjutant of the regiment. When Col. Rice was promoted Brigadier General, Lieut. Lacey was a member of his staff. He remained on staff duty with Gen. Rice until the latter's death, in consequence of a wound received at the battle of Jenkins' Ferry. He was then assigned to duty on the staff of Gen. Steele, with the rank of Captain and Assistant Adjutant General of Volunteers. He remained with Gen. Steele until the close of the war, and was mustered out of service Sept. 19, 1865, bearing the rank of Brevet Major for gallant services at the siege of Mobile, Ala., a promotion made at the special request of Gen. Canby. While serving on the staff of Gen. Rice, Maj. Lacey took part in the battles of Helena and Little Rock, the Camden expedition, battle of Terre Noir Creek, Elkins Ford, Prairie D'Anne, Poison Springs and Jenkins' Ferry. After the death of Gen. Rice he took part in a campaign in Northeastern Arkansas as a volunteer on the staff of Gen. J. R. West. While with Steele he participated in the Mobile campaign, and the storming of Ft. Blakely, the last important battle of the war. After the fall of Mobile, Gen. Steele took an expedition into Northern Alabama. About this time Gen. Grant sent an army of 48,000 men to take part in the expected difficulty with Mexico, and Maj. Lacey served as Assistant Adjutant General of the Army of Observation on the Rio Grande River. Upon leaving the staff of Gen. Steele, where Maj. Lacey had officiated as Assistant Adjutant General, the following general order was published to the divisions composing that command: -Headquarters Army of the Rio Grande, BROWNSVILLE, TEX., July 19, 1866. GENERAL ORDER No. 5. II.ÄCapt. John F. Lacey, A. A. G., will proceed to New Orleans, La., and report himself at the headquarters of Maj. Gen. P. H. Sheridan, Commanding Military Division of the Southwest, in order to avail himself of the provision of General Order No. 106, War Department Current Series. III.ÄThe undersigned deeply regrets losing from his staff so gallant and meritorious an officer, and from his military family so amiable and accomplished a gentleman as Capt. Lacey. He entered the service at an age when most young men have not left school, and by his energy and good sense soon became distinguished as a staff officer, and was associated with the gallant Rice until he was mortally wounded at Jenkins' Ferry. In returning to private life, for the purpose of completing his studies, Capt. Lacey will carry with him the warmest regards of every military man who knew him well. His friends will recur with pride to his record on the battle-fields of Arkansas and Alabama, and his companions in arms will frequently recall the merry scenes around the camp-fire which were enlivened by his humor and good-nature. F. STEELE, Major General commanding. "Official, J. LYMAN, First Lieutenant, A. D. C. and A. A. A. G." The Major was never wounded, but had a horse killed under him by a shell at the battle of Prairie D'Anne, Ark. Soon after his return to Oskaloosa he was admitted to the bar, and in 1869 was elected Representative to the 13th General Assembly of Iowa from this county. He served one term as Representative, and in the following year published the Third Iowa Digest. In 1879 he was elected City Solicitor of Oskaloosa, and in 1880 was a member of the City Council, the duties of which positions he faithfully discharged in a highly creditable manner. In 1875 he published Volume I of "Lacey's Railway Digest," and in 1884 the second volume appeared, these two volumes comprising a complete digest of all the American railway cases, and ample selections of cases of interest to the American bar from the Scotch, Irish, English, Canadian and Australian reports, thus making a complete encyclopedia of railway law. These volumes contain a digest of about 25,000 cases, and involved a vast amount of patient labor. Maj. Lacey has been an unusually successful practitioner in the courts of Iowa for twenty-one years. In 1865 our subject was married to Miss Martha Newell, daughter of Thomas and Susanna (Williams) Newell. Four children have been born to them; the eldest, Eleanor, and the youngest, Berenice, are living. The most lovable children died of diphtheria in the fall of 1880, Raymond F. at the age of eight, and Kate at the age of six years. The sad and unexpected death of these promising children has naturally left an ineffaceable sorrow in the hearts of the devoted parents. It has been the custom of the Major for many years to utilize his summer vacations from his professional labors, in a way that would add to his already liberal education, and this he has thought could best be accomplished by visiting the principal points of interest in this country and on the continent of Europe. Acting upon this idea, and accompanied by his amiable wife, in the year 1878 he visited the following countries in Europe: Scotland, England, France, Germany, Holland, Belgium, Tyrol, Switzerland, and Northern Italy, visiting all objects of interest in a large portion of the principal cities and towns of the countries named. In 1884, realizing that there were yet other points of interest to be visited in the Old World, he again, in company with his wife, visited Europe, this time going to Rome, Ireland, England, France, Belgium, Switzerland and Germany, visiting those points neglected by him on his former tour. There is hardly a point of interest in his own country which he has not seen, and in the summer of 1886 he visited the Wonderland of California, and its many objects of interest.
Portrait & Biographical Album of Mahaska Co., Iowa, 1887
Mahaska County, Iowa Genealogy