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 John Alexander Lackey
(April 19, 1853-June 19, 1921)

The following story was told by Pinckney Lewis Lackey (John A. Lackey's grandson), and excerpts are reprinted with permission from the Burke County Historical Society and the publication "The Heritage of Burke County", copyright 1981.
 
 
John Alexander Lackey was born April 19, 1853, near Fallston, in Cleveland County, North Carolina. He was the son of Jacob Cline Lackey and Martha Falls Lackey. He had one sister, Sarah E. Lackey (who married Julius B. Stroup), and two brothers, Samuel Pinkney Lackey and William Dixon Lackey.
 
John Alexander Lackey was a fourth-generation descendant of James Samuel Lackey and Jane Winters Lackey. James Samuel Lackey came from Ireland and settled near Buffalo Creek in Cleveland County, four miles east of Fallston, N.C. in the early part of 1800.
 
In 1871, John Alexander Lackey and his older brother, Samuel Pinkney Lackey came to Burke County to attend school at Rutherford College. The town of Rutherford College was then known as Excelsior. While attending school the two brothers worked part-time at Connelly's Store in Rutherford College. On May 26, 1875, John Alexander Lackey was graduated with honors with a Bachelor of Arts degree from Rutherford College. Soon after graduation the two brothers bought Connelly's Store from the owner, H.W. Connelly.
 
On March 9, 1876, John Alexander Lackey married Sarah Louise Peeler of Rutherford College, whom he had met while in school. She was the daughter of David Hoyle Peeler of Cleveland County and Eliza E. Robinson Peeler of Catawba County. Sarah Peeler Lackey was the great, great granddaughter of pioneer Peter Hoyle (Heyl) who was born near Wiesbaden, Germany in 1710, and built his first home in Gaston County, near Dallas, N.C. in 1750. She was also a ninth generation descendant of Jurgen Heyl who was born in 1650 at Spandau, Germany, a suburb of Berlin.
 
A few years later the store in Rutherford College burned. The two brothers decided not to rebuild it. John Alexander Lackey moved his family to a house on Lenoir Street in Morganton. In the years that followed he became a very busy man. His family grew and so did his involvement in the community. He was a man of unusual foresight which he used to guide and help him to serve his fellow citizens. He was a farmer, dedicated church layman, surveyor, sheriff, as well as being active in politics and civic activities of the community, town and county. In addition, he would always find time to pull an aching tooth for a neighbor, free of charge, to relieve him of discomfort. 
 
After a very heated political campaign, he was elected Sheriff of Burke County in 1882. During the campaign his opponents tried to fight him by accusing him of not paying his tuition at Rutherford College; and also accused him of being a member of the KKK. The president of Rutherford College, R.L. Abernathy, came to his rescue by making a public statement that he had paid in full for his education and that he was not a member of the KKK.
 
In 1887 he moved his family to Vine Hill, which is the site of the present home for the business manager of the North Carolina School for the Deaf in Morganton. On September 7, 1891 this home was sold to the State to be used as a part of the North Carolina School for the Deaf which was being formed at that time.
 
On July 25, 1893, John Alexander Lackey bought 209 acres of land in the McDowell section of Quaker Meadows from Samuel M. McDowell. Soon afterwards he built a frame house on this property.
 
On September 10, 1893, Sarah (Sally) L. Peeler Lackey died, leaving him with eight small children.
 
In 1894, John Alexander Lackey married Sarah J. Benfield, widow of Charles M. Benfield.
 
In 1895, John Alexander Lackey was appointed agent for a fertilizer company which was a branch of Virginia-Carolina Chemical Company. He also served as president of Farmers Union Warehouse of Burke County, an organization dealing in feeds, seeds, fertilizers and farm implements. He advised and assisted farmers in supplying their necessary needs for successful farming. He was also stockholder and officer in the Morganton Land and Improvement Company and the Catawba Valley Canning Company of Morganton. Later he became secretary and treasurer of Rutherford College and held that position until his death.
 
For two winters John Alexander Lackey moved his family into Morganton in order that his children could attend classes at the Patton School. During the winter of 1899-1900 while the family was in Morganton, the frame house in Quaker Meadows burned. This house was replaced by a brick house in 1900. The brick house is now the home of Robert S. Stephens, the developer of Camelot, on Bost Road, three miles north of Morganton.
 
One of the sons, John Eston, used to tell his son, Pinckney, that he hauled every brick in this house in a wagon pulled by a team of mules. The brick were all hand-made from clay that came from the south edge of the river bottom near the site of the historic Council Oak. 
 
On July 16, 1907 John Alexander Lackey's second wife, Sarah J. Lackey died. This was another great loss because she had been a loving mother to his small children.
 
On June 30, 1908 John Alexander Lackey married Lillie M. Roderick. From this marriage one son, Dixon Alexander Lackey, was born on March 28, 1910.
 
John Alexander Lackey was active in the Methodist Church throughout his life. He served as Superintendent of the Sunday School and Treasurer of Oak Hill Methodist Church for many years. He was a layman in the Western Carolina Conference and a delegate to the conference every year until his death.
 
Each morning at breakfast he made it a practice to read a chapter from the Bible, followed by a short prayer. John Alexander Lackey was a dedicated man of God. He lived his religion every day.
 
He died on Sunday morning, June 19, 1921 and is buried at Oak Hill Methodist Church, four miles north of Morganton on Highway 181.
 
-Pinckney Lewis Lackey