William Henry LACKEY

a biography

William Henry LACKEY was born 2 Feb 1831 in Ontario, Canada to Abraham LACKEY and Sophia BLANCHARD. He married (1) Sarah C DRAKE, dau. of Uriah DRAKE and Nancy BARNEY, 12 Sep 1851, (2) Louisa DRAKE, dau. of Uriah DRAKE and Nancy BARNEY, 9 Jun 1867; divorced Sep 1888 – no issue , (3) Jessica (aka Juishia BAILEY) 17 Nov 1895 – no issue . Henry died of heart disease 27 Oct 1914 at Ovid, Clinton County, Michigan, and he was interred at Middlebury Cemetery, Ovid, Clinton County, MI on 29 Oct 1914.

Children of Henry LACKEY and Sarah C DRAKE

  • Nelson U LACKEY b. abt 1855
  • Nancy Ann LACKEY b. 25 Jun 1857
  • Alexander H LACKEY b. abt 1859
  • John E LACKEY b. abt 1860

Henry LACKEY and Sarah DRAKE were living 3 households distance from widow Nancy BARNEY DRAKE in 1860. A farm at Olive in Clinton County, which had previously been the Clinton County poor farm, was purchased on contract by William Henry LACKEY in October 1865; the title passed to LACKEY 17 Dec 1867 from Charles KIPP on behalf of the county. This land title conveyance occurred in the same year as the death of Sarah C DRAKE LACKEY, who died on 15 Jan 1867.

William Henry LACKEY remarried to his sister-in-law, Louisa DRAKE 9 Jun 1867 at Olive, Clinton County. It was common in those days for widows and widowers to remarry quickly for the practical reasons concerning child care and the significant amount of labor necessary to maintain a household without modern conveniences. It was not common to marry a sister-in-law; such marriages were frowned upon by some religious sects. It is also curious that there was no issue (children) from this marriage because Louisa was 37 years old and presumably capable of childbearing.

Louisa DRAKE was previously married to Gideon Bowdish TRIPP. They, Gideon and Louisa, had a son, William Riley TRIPP, and a daughter, Ellen Augusta TRIPP. While Gideon Bowdish TRIPP was in town one day, Louisa went to the TRIPP farm and removed her children to the LACKEY farm. Between June and October 1867, Ellen TRIPP returned to her father and shortly thereafter married John B. SEDORE on 10 Oct 1867. Son, William Riley TRIPP, remained in the LACKEY household and presumably removed to Texas with them.

Henry LACKEY and Louisa DRAKE appear in the 1870 Watertown, Clinton County, Michigan. and in the 1880 Palo Pinto Co, Texas Federal Census. They settled in the Black Springs Community of Palo Pinto County only a few miles from where William Riley TRIPP established a household and farm at Finis, Jack County, Texas. The removal to Texas is thought to have been Louisa’s idea; she had previously convinced her former husband, Gideon Bowdish TRIPP, to sell a productive farm in Michigan and to purchase a new farm in the Toledo Strip opened up by the US government. The new farm turned out to be ruinous for Gideon Bowdish Tripp and may have been among the reasons for their divorce.

In Sep 1888, Henry LACKEY returned to Michigan and divorced Louisa for desertion in Shiawashee Co, MI (she is then living with her son in Jack County, Texas). LACKEY returned to Michigan having sold his lands in Texas to his step–son, William Riley TRIPP. Curiously, in 1890, Louisa is listed as living in Finis, Jack County, Texas in a special veterans census as the widow of Henry LACKEY who died in 1914. Henry LACKEY had remarried, late in life, upon his return to Michigan.


William Henry LACKEY enlisted at the age of 31 years, for a period of 3 years, at Grand Rapids, Kent Co., Michigan 6 Aug 1864 in Company A, 3rd Regiment of Michigan Infantry. He served at Huntsville, Ala in the month of February 1865, contracted rheumatism, and spent 3 weeks of March 1865 in a field hospital in Huntsville, Alabama. He was honorably discharged 21 June 1865. William Henry LACKEY was carried on the rolls as deserted for the period 6 Aug 1864 to 31 Jun 1865. The desertion charge was apparently an error because his record was cleared of the charges 10 June 1890. He was mustered out at Victoria, Texas.

His pension records lists the following information: soldier has blue eyes, black hair, light complexion, and is 5 feet, 9 inches tall. Application No. 898116, Certificate No. 695341 (NARA).

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