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Ben Lacey

February 2013Created by Ian


This section is specifically dedicated to Ben Lacey and his descendants since they are so well documented in the Lacey Family History. In this section I will review further detail that augments that written history.

Ben Lacey was born in Shelby County Alabama in about 1820. Research indicates that his mother was Mariah Lacey who was born in about 1795 in either Kentucky or South Carolina. This makes sense given that Ben Lacey's slave owner, Jas P Lacey, moved to Alabama from South Carolina by way of Kentucky. Mariah Lacey was likely the slave of Jas P Lacey's father, William Lacey. There is also some evidence to suggest that Ben Lacey's father was a Jacob Lacey born 1792. There is a legal document from 1842 mentioning a Mariah and Jacob being passed to Jas P Lacey from his father William Lacey. If this Mariah is Ben's mother, then Jacob would possibly be his father. In addition, Ben's oldest son is also named Jacob, perhaps named after Ben's father. Through Mariah, we also know of Julia Lacey born in 1829, who would be Ben's sister. It is likely that Mariah also had other children, but there are no records to help us identify them.

The Lacey family history provides the names of Ben's children with Harriet Lacey:

All of these children appear in Federal Census and other records. There is also at least one other child, a male born in about 1850, who appears under Ben Lacey in the 1866 Alabama State Census. In addition, we find an important clue in the Alabama Deaths and Burials Index. Listed here is a Margerett Lacey. Margerett was married to Lewis Lacy. But more interesting, Margerett's father is listed as one Ben Lacey and the mother as a Nancy Lacey. If this Ben Lacey is the same Ben Lacey in Marylene, Shelby County, as seems possible, we have also found Ben's first wife, Nancy Lacey. There is no other evidence for Nancy Lacey in the records. However, DNA results of the direct ancestor of Margerett Lacey show a direct link to the DNA results of known ancestors of Ben Lacey, making it almost certain that Ben was Margerett's father.

In 1870 Ann Lacey is living as a family member with Jacob Lacey and his wife and family. There is some evidence that Ann Lacey was married and had a daughter. It could be that Ann Lacey was married to the so far unknown son of Ben Lacey.

Harriet Lacey was born in about 1837, possibly as Harriet Mirtie or Meridth. Given Harriet's birth date, she could not have been the mother of Jacob, Joseph or Margerett. We do not know when Ben and Harriet were married, and it was not at all unusual for there to be a 17 year age difference between them. We have some information on who might be the mother of Jacob, Joseph and Margerett, one Nancy Lacey.

  • Jacob Lacey married Pricella and had at least 6 daughters and 2 sons.
  • Margerett Lacey married Lewis Lacy and had 7 daughters and 8 sons.
  • Joseph Lacey married Maria Oleton and had 2 sons and 7 daughters.
  • Francis Lacey did not marry or have children.
  • Sampson Lacey married Lucy Lyles and had 4 sons and 2 daughters. He also married Louise Brock and had a son and a daughter.
  • Andrew Lacey married Malindy Barnes and had 1 son and 2 daughters.
  • Lizzie Lacey married Reuben Rush and had 2 sons and 2 daughters.
  • William Washington Lacey married Ada Leona Smith and had 4 sons and 7 daughters.

Ben and Harriet Lacey stayed in Shelby County until at least 1870. By 1880 Ben had relocated to Pickens County along with his son Joseph. In 1880 Ben was living very close to S.W. Lacey, a cousin to Jas P Lacey, Ben's former owner. This move may have been prompted by the bankruptcy of Jas P Lacey in 1867. Ben possibly worked for S.W. Lacey at this time as a laborer. S.W. Lacey had of course been a slave owner, and there were other African-American Laceys living in Pickens County who might have been related to Ben in some way, namely Fred Lacey, Jake Lacey and Allen Lacey.

The 1880 Federal Census is the last time we see Ben's name in the records. Ben must have died between 1880 and 1900, around age 70. There might be a possible reference to Harriet Lacey in the 1900 Federal Census where she was listed as a patient in Tusccaloosa Courthouse. Together, Ben and Harriet raised at least 9 children and and gave rise to at least 55 grandchildren.