The Legend of the Killilng of Alexander Lacey
Some family myths grew up around the killing of Alexander Lacey. One was that his uncle, Asa Phelps Lacey, did the killing, because of remarks made by Alexander about Asa's wife, Roseanna. In fact, Dorothy Lacey Landoll reported this as a possibility in her book. Other family members also told Elton Lacey that it was Asa Phelps, or "Ace". This does not seem likely since Asa was 26 years older and Rosanna was 27 years older than Alexander, while Asa's younger brother, Thomas Monroe Lacey, who actually did the killing, was only 8 years older and his wife, Mary Jane, was only 4 years older. Hubert Wesley Lacey did not find the San Antonio Express article describing the killing, the only source of the actual facts, and did not know what had happened, except that as he stated in his manuscript, "Mrs. Cora Chesser of Brady, Texas has informed the writer that he was murdered". So, except for the facts of the killing, and the information in the article that it was over remarks made about Mary Ann by Alexander, the mystery remains. Elton found this article while researching in the Barker Library at the University of Texas at Austin. It appears below.
Alexander Lacey was shown on the 1870 census of Gillespie County, Texas,
at the age of 14, living away from his parents, in the household of Adam
Keller and his wife Catherine, both born in Nassau. There were several
other individuals in this household, including their children, Otto,
Maria, Carl, Joseph, and Gregon, Elizabeth Lang, age 66, who may have been
Catherine's mother, and Henri Bustner, age 25, a teacher. Exactly why he
was in this household and not the one of his parents, Is unknown. Perhaps
he was apprenticed to Mr. Keller, a common practice of the time. It may
also be that he was some how estranged, a "wild boy". The reason
for this speculation is given in the article below.
San Antonio Express, Saturday, September 14, 1874.
"A Murder occurred 10 mile north of San Antonio, in the Lacey neighborhood, on Tuesday morning last. The murdered man's name was Alexander Lacey, aged 18 years, and was killed by T. M. Lacey, his uncle. An old grudge, jealousy, existed of twelve months standing on the part of T. M. Lacey against young Alexander Lacey, and a year ago T. M. Lacey had young Lacey thrashed for remarks about his wife. Young Lacey threatened to kill T. M. Lacey, and remarked two minutes before the killing that T. M. Lacey would not leave the country alive. As soon as he said it, T. M. Lacey standing 20 feet off picked up a Minnie rifle and shot him through the body without another word on the part of either party, the ball ranging from one side to the other near the region of the heart, he dying immediately without saying a word. T. M. Lacey had just ten minutes before borrowed young Lacey's spurs and seemed on friendly terms with him. T. M. Lacey, immediately after the killing, put the gun down, got on his horse and rode away and is now at large. T. M. Lacey, who did the killing, has a wife and two children. The killing was witnessed by two youths, age 14 and 16, Frank Scott and Levi McDonald, McDonald being a nephew of the parties. Coroner Cugger held an inquest, and the jury rendered a verdict in harmony with the facts."
T. M. Lacey is Thomas Monroe Lacey, youngest brother of Mahala Lacey. His wife was Mary Jane Chesser. Despite repeated efforts, we have not been able to learn anything of the fate of either Thomas Monroe or Mary Jane, or anything about the children. In the process of searching we learned a great deal about the Chesser family, a large family which also resided in Gillespie County at the time.
Finally, it should be noted that Alexander's father, John Hardin Lacey,
had passed away a year earlier. The Lacey neighborhood mentioned in the
article is undoubtedly in the Locke Hill Community area. The family was
still residing in the area. It is possible that Alexander is also buried
in the Locke Hill Cemetery, but there is no record that points to it.
Despite lots of McDonald information, we have also not been able to pin-point exactly what family Levi McDonald was in. Since it was mentioned in the article that he was a nephew, he was either in the Asa Phelps Lacey line or the Emily E. Lacey line.
Elton asked David to draw a cartooon story of this event. It can be viewed by clicking on the links below.