"History of Northeast Indiana LaGrange, Steuben,
Noble and DeKalb
Counties" by The Lewis Publishing Company Chicago and New York 1920 Volume II
Robert A. Lacey. Farming is a business and one which requires long experience and a natural inclination for it if the one engaged in this line desires to do something more than "just make a living." Land values have materially increased since the days when our forefathers could obtain grants of land from the Government for the entry fee in such magnificent agricultural states as Indiana. Then, perhaps, there might have been some excuse for a farmer being something of a slacker, but not today, when every acre is needed to produce the amount of food required for our own country and starving Europe as well. However, the progressive farmers, especially those of Northeast Indiana, knew of the importance of their undertaking long before the great war opened the eyes of others to the necessity of production and conservation. They have held on to their land, improved and developed it, and today as a result of their industry, thrift and broad vision stand among the most useful citizens of their nation. One of these men whose family has long been established in Indiana, and who is now living on the farm entered by his father from the Government, is Robert A. Lacey of Steuben Township, Steuben County.
Robert A. Lacey was born in Steuben Township, Steuben County, Indiana, March 21, 1849, a son of Thomas M. and Nancy (McGaughey) Lacey, and grandson of William Lacey. The latter died when his son, Thomas M., was a small boy, after coming to Eastern Ohio from Virginia. Thomas M. Lacey was born in Virginia in 1803, and his wife was born in Washington County, Maryland, in 1807, a daughter of William McGaughey, who came to Eastern Ohio when his daughter was a child. Growing up in Belmont County, Ohio, Thomas M. Lacey was there married, and following that event he came to Steuben County, Indiana, but later returned to Ohio and lived for a time in Seneca County. In 1837 he came back to Steuben County and entered 240 acres of land in Steuben Township, he paying $1.25 per acre for it, and then returned to Ohio once more. Having thus provided a home for his wife and six children, he brought them to it, and the first cabin he erected was only sixteen feet square. There were two rooms, one upstairs and the other below. Not a nail was used in this primitive home, and the furnishings were quite as pioneer in character as the house. Here three more children were born, making nine in the family. The land was entirely undeveloped and much hard labor was required to put it in shape to yield crops that made farming worth while. Thomas M. Lacey lived here until his death, which occurred in 1860, his widow surviving him until 1890. Their children were as follows: William, Nathan, John, Mary, James, Thomas, Rosanna, Marian, Robert A. Of these children John and Thomas are verterans of the Civil war. Thomas M. Lacey and his excellent wife were consistent members of the Baptist faith.
Robert A. Lacey attended the district schools and for eight terms was a student of the Angola school. For the succeeding four or five years he was engaged in teaching school, but for the past forty years has been engaged in farming and owns 106 2/3 acres of land. He carries on general farming and stock raising, specializing in breeding Jersey cattle and Duroc hogs. He has erected practically all of the buildings on the farm, and made numerous other improvements, and has one of the best rural properties in his part of the township.
On January 4, 1877, Mr. Lacey was united in marriage with Sarah C. Gramling, a daughter of Henry and Sabilla (Foltz) Gramling, and they had three children, namely: Mabel S., who married Chester Klink; Nancy Madge, who married Carl Ingals; John Mark, who married Alice Shachford. Mrs. Lacey died in 1884, and Mr. Lacey was subsequently married to Margaret Wills, a daughter of Elmus and Sarah Clingerman. By his second marriage Mr. Lacey has two children, Hazel Lynn and Florence. The latter married Leonard Rohm. Mr. Lacey belongs to the Methodist Episcopal Church, and gives it a generous support. Having spent practically all of his life in Steuben Township, his interest is centered here and he has been instrumental in securing some improvements for his neighborhood. He is a friend of the public schools and an advocate of good roads, and in his farming uses modern methods and lives up to the sanitary regulations of his state.
Submitted by Kim Davoli