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Orange County









Though two decades have passed since the death of Dr. John McClellan Lacy, he is still remembered by many of the older residents of Orange County as an honored pioneer physician of Santa Ana who crossed the plains to the Golden state in 1879. He was born in Huntsville, Alabama, February 22, 1837, a son of Thomas H. and Mary E. (McClellan) Lacy, who moved from Alabama to Arkansas in 1855. The Lacy ancestry is traced to France, where the name was de Lacy, but when representatives of the family came to America with the Huguenots on account of religious persecution in France, the name was changed to its present form. Thomas H. Lacy, the father of Dr. John McClellan Lacy, died in the year 1861. His wife, who bore the maiden name of Mary E. McClellan, was a descendant in the maternal line of Sir William Wallace of Scotland. Mr. and Mrs. Thomas H. Lacy had a family of three sons and eight daughters. Their youngest son, Theodore Lacy, severed as sheriff of Orange County, California for a period of sixteen years.

John McClellan Lacy attended grammar school in Huntsville, Alabama, and read medicine with Dr. William B. Welch in Arkansas. He was graduated from the St. Louis Medical College and subsequently pursued postgraduate work at the University of Nashville in Tennessee. In 1861 he volunteered for service in the Confederate Army as a surgeon to an Arkansas regiment, with which he marched and fought for four long years. During the period when he was reading medicine he had also engaged in farming and in the shipping of cotton, and in this outdoor life he developed the robust physique that enabled him to withstand the hardships incident to long marches with his solider comrades. Following the close of the Civil War he engaged in the practice of medicine in Arkansas and the Indian Territory. In was in 1879 that he journeyed across the plains to California by wagon, reaching his destination at the end of eight months and meeting with many interesting experiences en route. He became a pioneer physician of Santa Ana, where he continued in practice throughout the remainder of his life and served for a time as city health officer. He held membership in the Orange County and California State Medical Societies and long enjoyed high standing in professional circles of this part of the state.

On the 3rd of April, 1861, at Canehill, Arkansas, Dr. Lacy was united in marriage to Miss Eliza P. Bean, daughter of Mark and Nancy J. Bean. Her father, a wealthy cotton planter and factory owner, was representative from Washington County to the Arkansas legislature. They had nine children of whom four are living. The first home occupied by Dr. Lacy was the first schoolhouse in Santa Ana, which he remodeled for a home.

Politically Dr. Lacy was a Democrat. He served as a member of the city council of Santa Ana and by his influence and cooperation contributed materially to the welfare and advancement of the community. He joined the Masonic fraternity in 1860 and was also affiliated with the Ancient Order of United Workmen, while his religious faith was indicated by his membership in the First Presbyterian Church, of which he was one of the organizers. His death occurred on the 2nd of February, 1913, when he was seventy-six years of age, and his passing was sincerely mourned by all who knew him.




Transcribed by V. Gerald Iaquinta.

Source: California of the South Vol. IV, by John Steven McGroarty, Pages 295-296, Clarke Publ., Chicago, Los Angeles, Indianapolis. 1933.

2012 V. Gerald Iaquinta.