El Dorado County
JAMES F. LUCAS
Among the residents of Placerville who are the native sons of the town is James Franklin Lucas, who now occupies a creditable position in business circles. On the 22nd of December, 1853, he first opened his eyes to the light of day, his parents being W. C. and Ellen (Johnson) Lucas. The father was one of the honored pioneers of 1849. He was born in the state of Tennessee, and at Galena, Illinois, was united in marriage to Miss Johnson, a native of Fredericksburg, Virginia. They became the parents of five children during their residence in Galena.
When the news of the discovery of gold in California was received W. C. Lucas became imbued with a strong desire to try his fortune upon the Pacific slope, hoping to gain easily a competence that would amply provide for his family. He made the journey by way of the Isthmus of Panama, and arriving in El Dorado County engaged in placer mining in White Rock Canyon, with excellent success. In 1851 he returned by way of the water route for his family, whom he brought to California, this time making the journey across the plains, arriving September 9, 1852. On again reaching the Pacific slope he renewed his mining operations and later engaged in teaming, at a time when that business was profitable, hauling goods from Sacramento to Virginia City and other points in the surrounding country. During this time he made his home in El Dorado, locating there in 1860. He continued in the teaming business through the greater part of his remaining days and his efforts brought him a good financial return. In all business transactions he was thoroughly reliable, and he not only enjoyed the patronage but also the confidence of his fellow men. He was a worthy representative of that pioneer class that came to California in 1849-50 and succeeded in establishing the foundations of a commonwealth that is now second to none in the Union. Both he and his wife are valued members of the Episcopal Church. He died in his forty-first year and was buried at Mud Springs. Mrs. Lucas still survives him and is now in the seventy-seventh year of her age. They had eight children, five of whom are living. James F. Lucas, the fifth in order of birth, acquired his education in the public schools of El Dorado. He and his brother walked from Ed Dorado to Shingle Springs to see the first train of cars that ran into that town. Mr. Lucas began work on the railroad October 18, 1873, in the position of fireman, in which capacity he served for four and one-half years, after which he was an engineer for three years, and in 1883 he became a conductor. He has since filled that position on the Southern Pacific branch running from Sacramento to Placerville and is one of the most trusted employees of the corporation, his long service being a high testimonial of his fidelity. He is also the proprietor of a cigar manufactory in Placerville. Among other brands manufactured is the J. F. L. cigar, which has found a ready sale on the market, owing to its excellence.
In 1886 Mr. Lucas married Miss M. C. Burke, who was born in Folsom, California, and is a daughter of J. J. Burke, one of the early pioneers of California who in early life took an active part in reclaiming the state for the purpose of civilization. Unto Mr. and Mrs. Lucas have been born three children: George T., Alice Ida and Mary Ellen. In politics Mr. Lucas is a Republican. In 1900 he was chosen as one of the aldermen of his town for the first ward. He belongs to the Masonic fraternity, in which he has taken the Knight Templar’s degree. He is also a member of the Mystic Shrine. For the past three years he has enjoyed the honor of being the high priest of his chapter, and in the commandery he is the senior warden. He holds membership in the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and the Knights of Pythias, and is the captain of the uniformed rank of the latter. His life stands in exemplification of the principles of mutual helpness that form the basic element of these fraternities. As a public officer he is true to the public trust and at all times he has contributed as he could by influence and aid to the promotion of those interests calculated to prove of benefit to the general welfare.
Transcribed by Gerald Iaquinta.
© 2010 Gerald Iaquinta.