“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Lacey's Spring in Morgan County, Alabama — The American South (East South Central)

Lacey's Spring

Lacey's Spring Marker image. Click for full size.
By Lee Hattabaugh, February 16, 2010
1. Lacey's Spring Marker
Inscription.  Abundant water and fertile land in this area south of the Tennessee River attracted pioneer settlement in the early 1800s. The community established here by three Virginia-born brothers, Hopkins, John, and Theophilus Lacy, took on their name and became the site for a U.S. post office in February 1831. "Lacy's Spring" became "Lacey's Spring" when the postal seal furnished by Washington officials inserted an "e" into the name.

Hopkins Lacy had been active in Tennessee politics prior to his immigration into Alabama and John reportedly had served in the North Carolina militia during the American Revolution. The Lacys became important landowners and leaders in the area, promoting settlement and serving in public office. All three brothers were buried in Bartee Cemetery, west of this site.

The spring that had drawn the Lacys to Alabama in the early 19th century was covered over by highway construction in the late 20th century. Built in the 1960s, the north-bound lanes of Hwy 231 obscured the spring but a 48-inch tile placed into the water source allowed the spring to continue flowing.
Lacey's Spring Marker image. Click for full size.
By Lee Hattabaugh, February 16, 2010
2. Lacey's Spring Marker
photo showing the intersection of Hwy 231 and Route 36 in the distance to the South near the gas station.
2001 by Alabama Historical Association.
Marker series. This marker is included in the Postal Mail and Philately marker series.
Location. 34° 32.183′ N, 86° 35.333′ W. Marker is in Lacey's Spring, Alabama, in Morgan County. Marker is on U.S. 231 0.2 miles north of State Route 36, on the right when traveling north. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Laceys Spring AL 35754, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 12 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Site of Ditto's Landing and Town of Whitesburg (approx. 3.1 miles away); Valhermoso Springs (approx. 5.4 miles away); The Boeing-Vertol A/ACH47A Helicopter Gunship (approx. 7.6 miles away); Triana, Alabama (approx. 8.9 miles away); Hermes Guided Missile (approx. 10.6 miles away); Vienna (New Hope) (approx. 11.1 miles away); Fort Deposit Trail (approx. 11.1 miles away); Merrimack Mfg. Co. & Village / Joseph J. Bradley School (approx. 11.6 miles away).
Additional comments.
1. Lacy Family
Hopkins Lacy and his two brothers, Theophilus and John Lacy were sons of Theophilus and Martha (Cocke) Lacy. Hopkins the subject of this sketch was my great-great-great step-grandfather. His wife, Marguerite (McAlpine) Simpson Lacy was my natural 3GG Grandmother. Her first husband was William Simpson,
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a Surgeon who escape the hangmen noose for taking an active part in the 1798 Irish Rebellion with Thomas Addis Emmet. Dr. Simpson and Hopkins Lacy were associates and close friends. Together with William Robinson and Thomas Austin they established the town of Liberty located due west of Ditto's Landing on the Tennessee River. Additionally the Lacy's descended from the Cocke family were also blood cousins of mine. Stephen Cocke a cousin to Myles Cary an English immigrant to Virginia in the early 1600's. There were several intermarriages between the Lacy's and Simpson-McLeod families.

Hopkins Lacy was born about 1763 in Halifax County, Virginia, was the first of the brothers to arrive in North Alabama from East Tennessee. He lived for many years in Rockingham County, North Carolina, then migrated westward into Washington County, Tennessee, then known as the State of Franklin. In 1790, he began his practice of law. The next year Governor Blount appointed him to serve as an officer in the Militia. On June 16, 1792, Hopkins Lacy qualified before the County Courts to practice law in Knox County, Tennessee. Then, on June 11, 1793, he was admitted as attorney for Hamiltion District, which consisted of Jefferson and Knox counties. On February 4, 1794, he served in the Tennessee House of Representatives as a clerk. He served as Attorney General for Washington District on March 30,
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1796. In 1806, he was a trustee of Nancy Academy in Sevierville, Tennessee. He was a friend to both Andrew Jackson and John Coffee and served as their attorney in several legal matters. On letter dated October 9, 1799 was addressed to John Coffee in Cumberland, Tennessee in care of Judge Jackson. "Sir When I was at your house in Cumberland, as well as I remember you told me Freel was to pay the cost of the suit your Father brought against him. The [writing faded] rascal has paid no attention to his work; for he went to the clerk and directed him to [writing faded] see for, against eh bail, which was served on me. I suppose it will not be necefsary to run the matter to any more cost, and shall suffer a Judgement to be rendered against me. I do not know what is the amount of the cost, but presume it is probable, you may know very near as you was at Maj. M[c]Clungs to see about the businefs. I have no doubt but what you will send the money to M[c]Clungs or make some arragn[e]ment that wil exonerate me from paying it. I should be glad if youwould write me on the subject as early as pofsible. I know you told me the businefs was settled but have forgot in what manner unlefs as mentioned above. I am sir with great respect. Your able Sert Hopkins Lacy."

Encouraged by both Jackson and Coffee, Hopkins Lacy moved to Huntsville. His name first appears in Madison County, Mississippi Territory on the 1813 Tax List. He was not only a friend, but an associate of Dr. William Simpson. Both men served in the Grand Jury in Madison County, Mississippi Territory. Dr. Simpson enlisted in Peter Perkins 7th Mississippi Militia on October 4, 1813, when Col. Coffee was sent to Huntsville, to establish a depot and encourage the citizens after the Fort Mimms Massacre. Later he served in New Orleans, arriving at that place shortly after the Battle in January 1815. He as well as several hundred soldiers caught some unknown disease, which took the life of Dr. Simpson a year later, when he was only 36 years old.

After Dr. Simpson's death, Hopkins Lacy courted and then married the widow, Marguerite Simpson, on July 15, 1817, near Ditto's Landing, Mississippi Territory. Hopkins Lacy was about 54 years of age at the time. No previous marriages were recorded, so this was his first marriage. To this union was born an only child, a daughter named Martha Jane Cocke Lacy. She was born about 1818, near Ditto's Landing, and died January 20, 1864, at Huntsville, Alabama. Martha married September 24, 1835, Dr. Albert Russell, Jr., at the home of her guardian, George William McLeod, near Ditto's Landing, Alabama. Apparently, when Martha was born, her mother died giving her birth. Marguerite was the mother of three children. 1. Mary Simpson, born about 1806 on the ship coming from Ireland. 2. John Simpson, born 1811 at Ditto's Landing, Mississippi Territory. (This is my paternal 2GG Grandfather). 3. Martha Jane Cocke Lacy, born 1818 at Liberty, Mississippi Territory. According to J.C. Fox, whose history on the Simpson family states, Margaret was buried beside her first husband at Hobbs Island. The graves of William and Margaret Simpson if they were buried on Hobbs Island have long since vanished, the current of the Tennessee River probably washed the markers away during high tide when the river flooded the three mile island. There is no marker for Margaret Lacy at Bartee Cemetery, where the Lacy's are all buried.

In 1819, after William Robinson and Thomas Austin demised, Hopkins Lacy purchased their share of the town of Liberty and in 1820, he was licensed to operate a ferry across the Tennessee River; "at or near Leeman's Ferry," which was located northwest of Lacey's Spring, a little Indian campsite before the Lacy's settled there in 1823. The campsite named Lacy's Spring was in honor of John Lacy who discovered it, and was the first white settler in the area. Originally spelled Lacy Springs until a pre-civil war Postmaster changed it to today's spelling.

According to D.A.R. records all three Lacy brothers were Revolutionary War Veterans. John enlisted in Colonel Alexander Martins' Second North Carolina Regiment in 1777. In Capt. Vail's Company, John Lacy received a promotion to sergeant-major, in 1778. On May 20, 1779, he was promoted to ensign. John's second wife, Mary Henderson was the maternal niece of Col. Martin who later became Governor of North Carolina. Theophilus Lacy is listed in Gwathmey's "Virginians" as having served in the Revolutionary War. He represented Rockingham County, North Carolina in the General Assembly in 1801, and following the death of his mother in 1812, moved to Tennessee, where he practiced law.

On the night of his death, February 9, 1831, Hopkins Lacy was attended to by his thirteen year old daughter, Martha and his step-children, John Simpson and Mary McLeod. He was laid to rest near his brother John at the old Bartee Cemetery in Lacy Spring, Alabama. Theophilus joining them a few years later, and Jane on July 4, 1850.

By his first wife, John Lacy's granddaughter Elizabeth M. Lacy married William McLeod, son of George William and Mary (Simpson) McLeod. By Jane, his second wife, John's son Alexander H. Lacy married Sally C. Wall, a sister of Mary Elizabeth (Wall) Steger, mother-in-law of Alexander Heath Simpson and Mary Ella (Simpson) Steger, children of John and Margaret Ann (Dickson) Simpson.

No other place in the entire world will you find three brother's buried together that served in the American Revolution. It is hoped the citizens of Morgan County will one day petition the US Postal Service to change the name of Lacey's Spring back to its original spelling "Lacy" instead of "Lacey".

Respectfully Submitted,
Dennis W. Simpson Note To Editor only visible by Contributor and editor    
    — Submitted March 6, 2010, by Dennis W Simpson of Lancaster, California.

2. Hopkins Lacy
I am the 3GG-Grandson of Marguerite (McAlpine) Simpson Lacy. Hopkins Lacy's wife. He was her second husband, after her first husband, Dr. William Simpson (1780-1816) died in Liberty about a mile west of Whitesburg, Alabama. I have a complete history of the family if you ever need it.
    — Submitted September 3, 2013, by Dennis W Simpson of Lancaster, California.

Categories. Natural ResourcesSettlements & Settlers

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Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on February 17, 2010, by Lee Hattabaugh of Capshaw, Alabama. This page has been viewed 4,466 times since then and 361 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on February 17, 2010, by Lee Hattabaugh of Capshaw, Alabama. • Craig Swain was the editor who published this page.
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