Our great grandfather, James Lacey Branham, was born September 21, 1841, in Blount County, Alabama. He was the son of William Branham and Arenna R. (last name unknown). It is probable that James Lacey was named for one or both of his grandfathers. It is also possible that his mother's maiden name was part of his name.
James Lacey grew up in Blount County. He was listed as eight years old on the 1850 Blount County census, and as 17 years old on the 1860 Blount County census.
In late 1860 or early 1861, William Branham moved his family to Searcy County, Arkansas. They lived near Leslie, in Wiley's Cove Township. A short time before their arrival in Searcy County, Lewis L. Branham had settled near Leslie. Lewis L. Branham was born about 1828, in Georgia. He moved to Alabama where he married and several of his children were born. He was in Blount County during the time that James Lacey's family was living there. Lewis Branham moved to Arkansas, prior to 1860. His descendants changed the spelling of their name to Branum in later years. We believe James Lacey and Lewis L. were probably cousins.
James Lacey and Lewis L. Branham both joined the 45th Arkansas Confederate Militia, Co. C, in November 1861, at Leslie. After the outbreak of hostilities in 1862, the militia was reorganized into an infantry unit. James Lacey enlisted with the newly formed 32nd Arkansas Infantry, Co. F, on June 16, 1862, at Burrowville, in Searcy County. (In 1867, the name Burrowville was changed to Marshall.) Lewis L. Branham enlisted at the same time as James Lacey, and in the same unit. They both enlisted for a period of three years, or until the end of the war.
Military muster records show James Lacey deserted at Prairie Grove, Arkansas, on December 7, 1862. Lewis L. was reported as being left sick at a hospital at Austin, Arkansas, on October 9, 1862, and as having deserted from the hospital in November 1862. We have been unable to determine if James Lacey did desert, of if he was merely separated from his unit during or after a skirmish. It was a quite common occurrence for a soldier to move from company to company, as he would become separated from his unit in battle or in retreat.
The next record we have of James Lacey is when he enlisted in the Union Army on July 13, 1864, at Lewisburg, in Conway County, Arkansas, for a period of three years, or until the end of the war. He enlisted with the 3rd Arkansas Cavalry, Co. I. His tombstone bears the engraving of the 3rd Arkansas Cavalry.
James Lacey's Union military records verify that he was born in Blount County, Alabama. The records describe James Lacey as 5' 8" tall, with blue eyes and light auburn hair. He received $100 for joining the Union Army, an enormous amount of money for a poor farm boy during those days. He received $25 when he enlisted, and the balance was paid at a later date. James Lacey was mustered-out at Lewisburg, Conway County, Arkansas, on June 30, 1865.
We believe that James Lacey went to Illinois for a very short time after he mustered-out of the Army at the end of the Civil War. His sister, Lucinda Branham married at Decatur, Macon County, Illinois in September 1865 and we believe he attended the wedding. We have a picture of James Lacey that was made in a Decatur studio. We believe he had his picture taken when he visited Decatur for his sister's wedding.
According to James Lacey's pension application, he returned to Blount County, Alabama, in 1867, after the war. Then in 1868, he went to Cherokee County, Alabama, then to St. Clair County, Alabama, in 1869. His application says he returned to Arkansas in 1871 (probably soon after his marriage) where he remained. (My sincere thanks to Dale Daley for providing me with a copy of the pension application.)
The 1870 Cherokee County, Alabama census shows James Brnham, 26, boarding with the George L. McGhee family and working as a farm laborer.
In 1870 the family of Easom Osborn lived in Colbert County, Alabama, near James Lacey's brother Jeremiah Branham. Both Jeremiah and Easom Osborn worked as woodcutters, and probably knew each other through their work. Among the children of Easom Osborn was a daughter named Eliza Jane. James Lacey and Eliza probably met through his brother Jeremiah.
James Lacey married our great grandmother, Eliza Jane "Liza" Osborn, on July 30, 1871, in Cherokee County, Alabama.
Eliza Jane Osborn was born January 1855, in Illinois. She was the youngest of at least six children born to Easom Osborn and Sarah Ann (last name unknown). (Our aunt Della Branham Ramsey Williams, a granddaughter of James Lacey and Liza Jane, said she was told that James Lacey and Liza Jane named their daughter Sarah Ann Arenna Branham after both of that child's grandmothers, Arenna Branham and Sarah Ann Osborn.)
Oral family history relates that Eliza Jane Osborn was part Cherokee Indian. We have been unable to document this, however.
We did not locate James Lacey and his family on the 1880 census. His pension application states that he returned to Arkansas in 1871 (after his marriage). James Lacey and Liza Jane were at Leslie, in Searcy County, Arkansas, when their daughter Mandy was born in August 1876. We are told that their daughter Sarah Ann Arenna Branham was born in June 1879 in Crittenden County, Arkansas, not far from the Mississippi River. The family returned to Leslie, in Searcy County prior to the birth of their son in August 1885. Searcy County tax records show James L. "gone" from Searcy County in 1890. The word "gone" is written out beside his name in the tax book. We know that James Lacey was in Searcy County again in September 1893. His daughter Mandy married at that time in Searcy County and James Lacey had to write a letter of consent, as she was only 16 years old.
James Lacey Branham received a land patent on July 26, 1899 for 42.61 acres of land he homesteaded in Searcy County. The legal description was given as the "northwest quarter of the southeast quarter of Section 26 of Township 14 North, Range 15 West".
The 1900 Searcy County census shows James Lacey and Liza living in Wiley's Cove Township, at Leslie. The census shows James L. Branham, b. Sept 1841, 58, married 29 years, AL, AL, NC, a farmer who owned his farm free; Jane L., wife, b. Jan 1855, 45, m 29 yrs, had given birth to 11 children, 6 children were still living, IL, IL, IL; Wm J., son, b. Aug 1885, 14, AR, AL, IL, farm laborer; Tenie P., daughter, b. Feb 1888, 12, AR, AL, IL; Frances, daughter, b. Aug 1890, 9, AR, AL, IL; and Viona, daughter, b. Jan 1897, 3, AR, AL, IL. Their oldest daughter, Mandy, and her family were living in Pope County, Arkansas. Their second daughter, Sarah Ann Arenna, and her husband were also living in Pope County, in the town of Atkins.
In 1901, three different affidavits were filed on behalf of James Lacey, in an effort to get his Civil War pension started. In 1903, and again in 1904, two more affidavits were filed for that same purpose. Information contained in the five affidavits indicates that James Lacey suffered from epilepsy which was caused by a head injury. Two affidavits state that the injury occurred when a stone fell on him while he was working in a well for a Mr. John C. Thompson in Independence County, Arkansas, in about 1880. Another affidavit states that the injury occurred when he fell into a well. Affidavits from three doctors said he had a crushed or depressed fracture of the skull and it put pressure on the brain and caused the seizures. The various affidavits indicate the seizures occurred about once or twice a month, and lasted about half an hour each time. The affidavits also indicate that he was left "weak and unable to work." (My sincere thanks to Dale Daley for providing me with a copy of those affidavits.)
James Lacey and Liza Jane had at least eleven children, but only six of them lived beyond infancy. This is confirmed by both the 1900 and 1910 census which show Liza Jane had given birth to 11 children, but only 6 were living. We believe the first child to live beyond infancy was actually about the fourth child that was born to the couple.
The family appears on the 1910 Van Buren County, Arkansas census in Culpepper Township. The census shows James L. Branham, 69, married 1 time, m 39 yrs, farmer; Lizie J., wife, 55, married 1 time, m 39 yrs, had given birth to 11 children, 6 children were still living; William, son, 23, farm laborer; and Viona, daughter, 14 years old. The family was living not far from their daughter Tennie Sheridan and her family.
On October 11, 1911, James Lacey filed yet another application for his Civil War pension. His application was approved, and he drew $15 per month, beginning October 18, 1911.
James Lacey filed an application to increase his pension on May 31, 1912. It was approved and his pension was increased to $19 per month, effective June 14, 1912, and was to increase to $22.50 per month from September 21, 1916.
James Lacey died September 27, 1914, at Culpepper, in Van Buren County. He is buried in the Culpepper Cemetery. A Civil War monument marks his grave.
Liza Jane applied for a widow's pension on his military service on October 29, 1914.
Liza Jane appears on the 1920 Van Buren County census, living with her daughter Tennie (Sheridan) VanDusen and her family, in Culpepper Township. Liza Jane was listed as 59 years old on the census.
The 1930 Scott County, Arkansas census shows Liza Jane still living with her daughter Tennie VanDusen and her family. Liza Jane was listed as Eliza A. Broynom on the census. She was listed as 80 years old. The census was dated April 9, 1930.
Sometime after the 1930 census was taken, Liza Jane moved to Hominy, Oklahoma, with her daughter Tennie and her family. She lived with Tennie the remainder of her life.
Liza Jane died November 16, 1940, at Hominy, Oklahoma. She is buried in the Blackburn Cemetery, a few miles from Hominy, in Pawnee County, Oklahoma.
Children of James L. Branham and Eliza Jane Osborn
1. Amanda Jane "Mandy" Branham was born Aug 27, 1876, at Leslie, Searcy Co, AR.
2. Sarah Ann Arenna "Renie" Branham was born June 2, 1879, in Crittenden Co, AR.
3. James William "Will" Branham was born Aug 8, 1885, at Leslie, Searcy Co, AR. (our line)
4. Tennessee Paralee "Tennie" Branham was born Feb 25, 1888, at Leslie, Searcy Co, AR.
5. Frances W. Branham was born Aug 1890, in AR.
6. Viona "Onie" Branham was born Jan 1897, in AR.