Santa Cruz County History - People

Old Soldiers: Santa Cruz County Civil War Veterans
by Robert L. Nelson

LUCAS, WILLIAM V (1835-1921)

Sawtelle Soldiers Home Records

Photograph of William V Lucas
William V. Lucas

NAME: William V Lucas
REGISTER #: 12418

Military History

RANK/CO/UNIT: Pvt/Co B/14th IA Inf
ENLISTMENT: 1861/07/07 Waverly IA
DISCHARGED: 1864/11/16 Davenport IA (Mustered Out)
DISABILITY: Defective hearing, articular rheumatism, prostate, hernia and cardiac hypertrophy

Domestic History

BORN: IN 1835
AGE: 78
HT/CMP/EYE/HR: 5’11/Lt/Bl/Gr/Lit
RELIGION: Protestant
RESIDENCE: California
NEXT OF KIN: (Wife) Amanda L Lucas 22 Riverside Ave, Santa Cruz

Home History

ADMISSION: 1914/04/10
DISCHARGED: 1922/05/04 Dpd GO 13

General Remarks

PENSION CERT: #557,060

Santa Cruz Surf (January 2, 1904)

Realizes a Dream
which has been haunting his thoughts for life.

Climate, soil, products, diversity of interests, all appeal to him favorably. Col. William V. Lucas came from South Dakota here, resigning the superintendency of the Soldier’s Home, at Hot Springs SD, to gain the freedom to make the change. Col. Lucas has been prominent since wartime in the politics and public affairs of the North West, serving Dakota in Congress, and the GAR as a dependant Department Commander, etc, etc. No prelude or introduction is needed to embellish the eloquent words in which he expresses his delight with what he has discovered here.

He writes; you ask me to give my impressions of Santa Cruz, its advantages, and attractions as I see them. After a fairly good investigation of the different localities in this state, claiming superior inducements for people in the east to migrant to, I was impressed with Santa Cruz as being the prettiest location for a town or city of any I saw. The climate suited me much better than the extremes, which exist in the southern or northern parts of the state. The productiveness of the soil seemed to be beyond question, the environment satisfactory; accordingly, I left the Black Hills of South Dakota in July and came direct to Santa Cruz to find a home such as I dreamed of all my life, for my declining years. After six months observation and experience, I do not hesitate to declare that I am more than satisfied, that I found the spot I was looking for.

The transition from an Iowa and South Dakota climate is so gratifying words fail me to express it. For more than fifty years, I lived in those states, in the full belief that nothing better, all considered, could be found in the United States. In many respects, those states are all I believed them to be, but Santa Cruz and vicinity maintain all the good qualities, and many others they do not. The idea abounds in the East, is that California has little else to attract people, other than climate, fruit, and flowers. While these attractions are drawing cards, a personal inspection of the rich valleys, and verdant mountain slopes, will convince the observing person that it is an erroneous idea. No state offers better opportunities, for diversified farming operations, or richer returns for the labor expended than I have found here. The soil is all one can ask for, the seasons for cropping are vastly superior, to the best parts of the East. The variety of products is greater and surer, and the quality as good or better than the best of Iowa or South Dakota fields. The markets are better and steadier. Therefore I conclude the farmer of the Middle West will make no mistake in coming here, to pursue his occupation. He will get quicker returns, for the same amount of labor expended, have more time in which to do his work, and best of all, escape the rigorous winters that are always dreaded in those sections.

If the same energy skills and economy are practiced here, that must be there to succeed, surely there can be no question of the superiority of this part of California, over all parts of those states, for the farmer and the tiller of the soil. The diversity of paying enterprises, is another marked advantage as I see it. The climate is all one can desire, no extremes, but a continual sunshine and health giving condition. I am more and more enchanted with the conditions that exist about Santa Cruz and wonder what could be added to make them better. Here I found climate, soil, water, scenery sunshine, flowers, good roads, fruit, schools, churches, health and comfort. What more can we ask for? Besides all lines of labor yield a competent return. The people here do not toil as constantly or as hard as they have to east of the range of mountains, and yet succeed as well.

The magnificent beach at the gates of the city, is one unlike any other city in the state--broad, ample, and perfectly safe for those who delight to buffet the surf. It is a summer resort without a successful rival and a winter resort without a successful competitor. The dawn of a new era is upon the city, and wise and conservative management will make it the Saratoga of the Pacific Coast. To sum up again, my opinions of Santa Cruz and its surroundings, I will say it far exceeds all I supposed it to be when I came here. I am satisfied to remain content in its midst. What more could I say? The old citizens do not appreciate the blessings that they enjoy as one does who has spent a lifetime in other climates and other environments and now steps into the warm congenial sunshine of a Santa Cruz winter or the cool, invigorating breezes of a perfect summer.

Yours Truly, W. V. Lucas

Santa Cruz Sentinel (September 15, 1921)

Social Chat
[Lucas/Blanchard] To Go on Trip East

Col. W.V. Lucas, who celebrated his 86th birthday last Independence day, will leave Santa Cruz in company with T.E. Blanchard, a friend of more than 50 years standing, for the national Grand Army encampment at Indianapolis, IN Tuesday, Sept. 20th. At the close of the encampment the pair will proceed to Adelphi, Indiana where a unique celebration is being arranged for the reunion of five old soldiers, of whom Colonel Lucas is one. The quintet were school mates together in a log schoolhouse, more than 75 years ago. The other four have since that time resided in the same community in which they attended school. The youngest of the five is 84, the eldest 89.

Col Lucas was captain of Co. B, 14th Iowa infantry during the civil war. Mr. Blanchard was also in the service and enlisted from that point. Mr. Lucas received the title of colonel when he was commandant of the Soldiers' home in South Dakota for ten years. The appellation was later confirmed by the courts.

Santa Cruz Sentinel (October 14, 1921)

Col Lucas Returns from Encampment

Col W.V. Lucas returned from the meeting of the grand encampment G.A., and Indianapolis, Ind. The Colonel reports it a great gathering and from there he visited friends and relatives in Iowa, Nebraska, and South Dakota. An unusual reunion was held at Delhi, Ind., where five schoolmates of 75 years ago held a reunion, Colonel Lucas being one of the company. There was a dinner and reception with about 75 percent. The five friends of 75 years ago had interesting reminisces. Two still reside on the farms where they were bon, and a third on the farm on which Col Lucas was born, the farms being within a radius of one and half miles. The eldest of the group of five was 88 and the youngest 83.

Santa Cruz Sentinel (November 12, 1921)

Col W.V. Lucas Passes Away at Santa Cruz

Colonel William Vincent Lucas, well known and honored resident of Santa Cruz for the last 18 years passed away yesterday morning at 4 o'clock at the Mission hospital.

By his death Santa Cruz loses one of her best citizens, and the United States witnesses the passing once more of another of her loyal sons, of whom there are now so few, who volunteered in '61.

In September, Colonel Lucas took a trip to Indianapolis, to attend the national encampment of the G.A.R., and from there went to Delphi Indiana, to meet with four old school mates, with whom he had attended school over 75 years ago.

Colonel Lucas was born in Carroll County on July 3, 1835, the day before Independence Day, and he passed away on Armistice Day, the day that closed the war towards which he had done so much. He was married on August 12, 1856, to Sophronia M. Love, who died in 1896. The following year he married his second wife, who died in Santa Cruz in January 1920.

In 1856 he settled in Bremer county Iowa, and served as county treasurer of that county. He was a member of the legislature from Bremer County in 1874 and held various minor offices. He moved to Mason City, Iowa in 1876, and published the Cerro Cordo Republican until 1883. His newspaper work was followed after arrival in this city, and he is remembered as a contributor under the caption of Pen Points, in the local paper.

Moving to South Dakota in 1883, he settled at Chamberlain. He served two terms as treasurer of Brule county, S.D. One term in congress from South Dakota 1895-96; was registrar of the U.S. land office at Chamberlain for four years, and commandant of the Soldiers' home at Hot Springs, S.D. for eight years, and it was there he obtained his title of Colonel, as he was known by all. He was department commander of the G.A.R. of South Dakota for two terms.

The colonel was known above all as a veteran of the Civil war. He served from 1861 to 1865, as first lieutenant, captain, acting major and colonel, and was captain of Co. B 14th Iowa infantry. He was a state auditor of Iowa in 1881 and 1882.

He was an ardent Republican in politics and several times a delegate to national conventions, and always figured here at the conventions, being one of the principal speakers.

For 18 years his home has been in Santa Cruz, the greater part of the time on Riverside avenue, but since the death of his wife he has lived at the Pacific Ocean house.

In Santa Cruz he was a member of the Presbyterian church for 15 years; head served as trustee and in the session, and in that time, when in Santa Cruz missed only five meetings of his large Bible class, as he was a deep student of the scriptures. He also was a factor in the Brotherhood in that church. While a member of the Presbyterian Church, he knew no denominational lines, his upper most thought was the obliteration of waste and energy in Protestant denominations and he was an advocate, in season and out of season of Christian unity.

Col. Lucas was a member of Wallace Reynolds Post G.A.R. and was never absent from a gathering of the old soldiers. He was a minute man during the world war, was on the exemption board and his speeches were eloquent and patriotic. He was always introduced as a war horse and stirring were the messages of this veteran of the Civil War.

In local politics he figured extensively as a Republican. He was of the old guard, and was one who promoted the interest of state and national candidates. Until he was taken to the hospital a week ago, he was always at his office on Cooper Street.

The body is at Chase's undertaking parlor and the funeral services will be held on Tuesday afternoon from the Presbyterian Church the G.A.R. and W.R.C. in charge. Rev. E. C. Philleo, former pastor will be down from Oakland to conduct the church service.

He leaves two sons, A.B. Lucas of Idaho and S.F. Lucas of Yankton South Dakota.

Always active in the community his genial smile and hearty handclasp will be sadly missed by the many friends here, and Santa Cruz loses one of her best boosters and staunchest friends.

Santa Cruz Surf Nov 13, 1921)

Col W.V. Lucas Refused to Let Years Still Spirit - by A.A. Taylor

Col. William Vincent Lucas has departed this life. He was like a shock of corn fully ripe, but unmarred by the inroads of decay. Truthfully we shall never look upon his like again. Many are living; many will be born, with similar native characteristics and endowments; but the environment which developed Col. Lucas has passed. He was a product of the prairie. He came into life in the Middle West, when that region was untracked by railroads, unburdened by populous cities. Chicago, Fort Dearborn; California, Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas were a part of Mexico, and beyond the Missouri River stretched the great American desert. In his boyhood days, the anti slavery agitation began; also the temperance movement; and the demands were first heard for women's rights.

He lived to witness emancipation, prohibition and woman suffrage.

Col Lucas was essentially a politician. His father was a staunch Democrat of the Jefferson Jackson type. Long years he surreptitiously subscribed to the New York Tribune then known as "Greely's paper," and read it until he was ready to "to war" for the maintenance of the union and the abolition of slavery.

His military service extended from 61-65. His regiment did duty in the southwest where there was comparatively little chance for publicity or promotion.

Intimates of Colonel Lucas who have shared in some of his reminiscent moods, have listened to recitals of daring deeds which under other circumstances would have been blazoned in history.

After the war he returned to farming in Iowa. For many years the editor of a weekly newspaper, he was seized with the pioneer spirit and went to South Dakota. He had two major experience in South Dakota. He was sent to congress, at a time when the GOP was rampant in Washington, and at once took a prominent position, and would have become of national fame but for the fact that he was defeated for renomination by one of those political contretemps which have taken many good me out of public life.

His other Dakota adventure was an encounter with a blizzard, which made one of the most thrilling narratives to which we ever listened. We vainly endeavored to induce him to put his story and talk of this capital war exploit into print as he considered that it would savor too much of self glorification. When Colonel and Mrs. Lucas arrived in Santa Cruz he had already passed the military age of retirement. Instead, they became at once important factors in social and public life. Party politics like his Presbyterianism was ingrained in his nature by his early experiences. Probably there never was a Republican meeting held here since his residence in Santa Cruz that he did not attend and at a majority of them he presided. He was a ready speaker, deeply in earnest, but a new pius ultra partisan.

In his early years here he often crossed swords with the editor of the Surf, but the time came when we agreed to disagree and for several years his Pen Points were a leading feature of the paper.

The personality of Pen Point was in every line he wrote. There was candor and conviction and fidelity to the truth (as he saw it), and the colonel's column was always good reading. This association developed into a close personal friendship. He could be stern and commanding perhaps austere at times, but there was a warm heart inside of him. His patriotism was pure and fervent and burned with an unquenchable flame. What might be termed an auxiliary manifestation of his patriotism was his interest in the public welfare. Although what some term an 'old man" when he came to Santa Cruz, no native son had greater zeal in its up building or the advancement of its best interests. His pen and his voice were ever ready for the promotion of a good cause.

To the veterans of the G.A.R. he was a veritable daddy, and his death will leave a void in their ranks never to be filled. His "mantle" will not fall upon any individual, but it might rest upon the community and upon the on coming generation. If it impelled others to carry their years with the zest and industry which he manifested long after he had passed the three score years and ten.

Colonel Lucas had a competency of this world's goods. He might have taken his ease and yielded to self indulgence. On the contrary, absolutely ignored age and had an abiding enjoyment in life, only abated by bereavement in the death of this "companion".

There are probably forty of fifty families in and about Santa Cruz who came her through the influence of Colonel Lucas. His record in this regard is not surpassed. He took great interest in the forthcoming book "Santa Cruz Gem County of California", and anticipated a great influx to follow its dissemination, to which he expected to contribute the resources of his wide acquaintanceship throughout the middle west. He returned from the G.A.R. encampment in Indianapolis last month with the glowing ideas of the "Corn Belt" as a recruiting ground for a new and enlarged citizenry of Santa Cruz.

Santa Cruz Sentinel (November 16, 1921)

Many Friends Pay Last Respects to Col. W.V. Lucas

The friendships that had been formed by Col. William V. Lucas during his stay here were manifest yesterday as the Presbyterian church was crowded with those who came to pay their last respects.

The church where he had only missed five Sundays as a leader in the Bible class, when at home in Santa Cruz, had been decorated by those who respected him and had worked with him in the church where he had served beside being a teacher, as a member of the session and on the board of trustees.

Flowers sent by friends were banked on the alter and covered the casket and were beautiful.

Seats of honor were given to the G.A.R. and the Women’s Relief corps, as he was always present at the post meetings.

Almost the entire center of the church was occupied by the gray haired veterans of the civil war and the Women’s Relief corps.

Members of the American legion were also present and the members of the county exemption board with whom Col. Lucas worked so faithfully during the war also attended in a body.

The hymn "Face to Face," was sung by Mrs. James H. Willey, and after the scripture, the 23d Psalm and other passages were read by Rev. E. C. Philleo, Mrs. Willey and Harry Murray sang "No, Not Unknown."

A former pastor, Rev. E.C. Philleo greatly beloved by the deceased, who conducted the service, paid the tribute to Colonel Lucas. He referred to receiving Col. Lucas and his wife into the church 18 years ago, and he was always present, morning and evening, on Sunday, and at the midweek services, and always remembered his warm handshake and genial smile.

The speaker said those present would agree with him that this was a day of joy for the deceased, as death had come to him as the natural thing.

"Thanks be to God, who giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ," was the text of the pastor, and he said death came perfectly natural to him after his life full of activity. The one who in the gloomy time of the nation n 1861 enlisted to fight to preserve the nation had now passed on. He came out of the war, strong and virile. He then gave his life for the best things- his country, God and humanity. He lived for his God, and his native land. He served every reform movement; he served his nation; he was loyal to Jesus Christ and loyal to the church.

After a prayer of comfort came the singing of the hymn, “Beautiful Isle of Somewhere,” and then the old soldiers and all passed by the casket.

It was a long line of autos that followed the hearse to the cemetery.

The pallbearers, members of the American Legion, were Wilbur Hayes, Hiram Gosliner, Stanley Tait and Stanford Smith, and bearers from the G.A.R.

Santa Cruz Sentinel (April 13, 1932)

Santa Cruz Yesterday’s World War I Exemption Board (excerpt)

Col Lucas, board chairman, was already past 80 years hale and hearty when the picture was taken. He was a frequent contributor to the column of the old Morning Sentinel. He lived for most of the 18 years he lived in Santa Cruz with his wife at their Riverside Ave. home, "Cherrywood" near Soquel Ave. Four months before his death in 1921 he passed his 86th milestone.

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