Select Lucas Miscellany

Here are some Lucas stories and accounts over the years:

Lucas in Brittany

The following are some early Lucas lines in Brittany, France.

Lucas Name
Lucas, Domagne
Ille et Vilaine
Lucas, Botlezan
Cotes d'Armor
Lucas, Saint-Didier
Ille et Vilaine
Lucas, Jaize
Ille et Vilaine

There is an Auberge Lucas at Ille et Vilaine today.

Lucas Adventures During the Civil War

In 1642 Sir John Lucas was preparing to go with a detachment of cavalry to assist the King in the north when he was “barbarously abused” by some of the Colchester inhabitants.  They plundered his house, desecrated the ashes of his ancestors in St. Giles's church, and took him prisoner to London.  He did obtain his release and fought for the King in various battles and was granted the title of Lord Lucas of Shenfield.  He lived on in Colchester where he died in 1671.

His younger brother Sir Charles Lucas was less fortunate.  He became one of the King’s best cavalry commanders. However, he met his end after the siege of Colchester in 1648.  His last words reportedly were: “See, I am ready for you.  Now, rebels, shoot!”  Pierced by four bullets, he fell dead.

Twelve years later, in 1661, a funeral was solemnly celebrated by the town of Colchester and a stone placed by his elder brother on his tomb, with an inscription stating that he was: "by the command of Sir Thomas Fairfax in cold blood barbarously murdered."

The Last of the Lucas Line at Mount Lucas

Benjamin Lucas had built the Mount Lucas mansion in Offaly, Ireland around 1669 and the house stayed with the Lucas family until 1922.

Deborah Lucas Ball lived at Mount Lucas with her aunt Eleanor Lucas before they moved following an attack on the house during the troubles.  Ann Smyth, a cook in the house, witnessed the attack.  She said:

“The attackers entered the house, threatened the staff, and locked them in a room before taking Deborah and Eleanor out of the house.  They then set fire to a large room at the rear of the house which had been used for entertaining.  When the staff escaped from the burning house they found Miss Ball tied to a tree naked with her head shaved."

Reader Feedback - Lucas from Donegal

The early  I have a George Lucas in my family tree who was born in 1812 and died in 1878 in Ardiganny, Donegal.  His father was William Lucas who was listed as a farmer in Ardageney and was a Protestant householder there in 1766.  I wonder where my Lucas family came from as it is not an Irish name, but my great grandmother was born in Donegal.

Janice Donnelly in New Zealand (

Lucas at the Plantation - from John to Eliza

The early Lucases in the Caribbean – John, a planter in Antigua, and Thomas, a merchant in St. Kitts – were believed to be related to the Royalist Lucases of Shenfield.  When the King was defeated by Cromwell and his troops, many Royalists left England for this Caribbean fringe of Empire.  John Lucas had arrived in Antigua by the early 1680’s and was elected Speaker of the Antigua Assembly in 1695.  His son George was appointed Lieutenant Governor of the colony in 1737.  

At around that time, George had decided to relocate his family from Antigua to South Carolina where he had inherited three plantations from his father.  Unable to leave Antigua, he left his daughter Eliza in charge of affairs in South Carolina.  She was just 16 years of age at the time.   She would record all her decisions and experiments at the plantations by copying her letters in a letter book.  This letter book is one of the most impressive collections of personal writings of an 18th century American woman and gives much insight into her mind and society at that time.  

From Antigua, her father would send Eliza various types of seeds for trial on the plantations.  They and other planters were eager to find crops for the uplands that could supplement their cultivation of rice.  First, she experimented with ginger, cotton, and alfalfa.  Starting in 1739, she began experimenting with cultivating and improving the strains of the indigo plant, for which the growing market in textiles created a demand. After three long years of persistence and many failed attempts, Eliza finally proved that the indigo dye could be successfully grown and processed in South Carolina. 

After her marriage to lawyer Charles Pinckney in 1744, she revived the cultivation of silkworms and manufacture of silk on his plantation.  Widowed at a young age, she continued to manage her extensive landholdings until her death in 1793.  President George Washington was a pallbearer at her funeral.  The signature of one of her sons, Charles Pinckney, is among those affixed to the U.S. Constitution.  He was also a Federalist Presidential candidate.  Her other son, Thomas, served as Governor of South Carolina and also as Ambassador to Britain.

The Death of Nathaniel Lucas

First Fleeter Nathaniel Lucas had grown increasingly addicted to alcohol in his later years.  And alcohol seems to have been the cause of his death in Liverpool, NSW on April 28, 1818.  This was how his death was recorded in the Sydney Gazette of May 9, 1818.

"On Tuesday last the dead body of Mr. Nathaniel Lucas, for many years known in this colony and at Norfolk Island as a respectable builder, was found left by the tide at twenty yards distance from Moore Bridge in Liverpool.  

This unhappy catastrophe appears to have proceeded from his own act owing to a mental derangement.  He had been six days absent from his family at Liverpool on a pretext of going to Parramatta.  But his long absence, connected with other circumstances that gave rise to apprehension, naturally induced his sons to go in quest of him.  The result of this was that he was by one of his own sons found."

Reader Feedback - Lucases on the First Fleet

I noticed that you have Nathaniel Lucas, a convict on the First Fleet to Australia.  There was a Thomas Lucas on the First Fleet who was a Private.  He was a settler at Norfolk Island and then Hobart.  His son Richard married Elizabeth Fawkner who was on the First Fleet to Sorrento and then Hobart.  Her brother was John Pascoe Fawkner who settled in Melbourne.  One of their descendants, Frederick Lucas, landed on Gallipoli on 25 April 1915. 

Cath (samproud@bigpond)

Theodore Lucas - from Luxemburg to America

What drove Theodore Lucas to emigrate is not exactly known. 

It may be that he wished to avoid military conscription.  Because Luxemburg was too small of a country to defend itself, Luxemburgers had to fight for foreign rulers. Many countrymen were not ready to risk their lives for foreign countries and emigrated to avoid the draft. 

Another factor was the deteriorating economic picture.  The harvests in the early 1850’s were poor. Theodore’s father and grandfather were both farm day laborers.  Their main sources of nourishment were potatoes, bread, and milk.  Day laborers were fortunate when they could afford to eat meat twice a week.  

Theodore’s journey to America departed from the port of Antwerp.  The fare was 80-100 francs ($16-20). Life on board the ship could be ugly.  Passengers were not always treated humanely.   Water was generally scarce and disease would break out.  When the sea was rough, the living conditions among the tightly packed travelers could be horrible. The voyage itself took 36 days.   He arrived in New York aboard the Clifton on November 20, 1854. 

He was thought to have headed straight for California, having heard stories about the gold rush.  A Theodore Lucas was recorded in the US Census of 1860 as resident in Colusa, California.  

He later moved back East.  In 1863 he married Margaret Beck and they settled at a farm in Palos township, Illinois where they raised six children.  By this time his father Pierre had followed him to America and was also living in Palos.  Theodore died at his home there in 1887 at the age of sixty.

Andrew Lucas, Canadian Immigrant from Ireland

According to stories handed down, Andrew was a small man (5 feet 9 inches tall) and never weighed over 145 pounds.  But despite his size he was a strong man and could carry an anvil weighing 14 stone (196 pounds) in each hand.  He was also an expert blacksmith and could temper steel, and made all the tools, knives, axes etc. that were needed and even surgical instruments.

He was also a herbalist and often practiced as a doctor.  This included doing surgical operations as he had studied medicine for a few years in medical college in Dublin, although he did not graduate.  Since there was often no doctor within easy reach of some settlements and no roads leading to a doctor, he did what was necessary to help the sick or injured.

His daughter Elizabeth often told the story of how she was in the yard milking her cow when she was bitten on the calf of her leg by a rabid dog and that her father took her into the shanty, laid her on the table and using a scalpel, he cut away the wounded part and then applied his remedies. She never suffered any harmful effects, either from the dog bite or the operation.

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