Lusk, George Vance (ca. 1778–1855)

By: Michaelene "Miki" Lusk Norton

Type: Biography

Published: February 10, 2021

Updated: April 14, 2021


George Vance Lusk, pioneer, farmer, mill owner, and judge, was born in South Carolina about 1778. He was the son of Robert Lusk and Mary (Vance) Lusk. His father was a veteran of the American Revolution and was a farmer who owned land on Thicketty Creek in Union District, South Carolina. Robert Lusk sold his land, 200 acres and 190 acres on both sides of Thicketty Creek, in 1794. In 1796 George Lusk moved with a large group of settlers that included his parents and his eldest brother James and his family to the new state of Kentucky, where they settled on the Ohio River in Cave Springs, Livingston County, in 1797. By the summer of 1801 George Vance Lusk owned 200 acres on Givens Creek, which merged into the Ohio River. On December 23, 1801, he married Elizabeth “Betsy” Lacey, the daughter of Revolutionary War veteran Gen. Edward Lacey and Jane Harper Lacey, in Livingston County.  They had four children—Jane, Robert Orville, Eloise, and Nancy.

George Vance Lusk fought in the War of 1812 and served as a private in the First Regiment of the Kentucky Mounted Militia under Capt. Moses Shelby’s Company and primarily fought in Canada. For his War of 1812 service, Lusk received a land grant for thirty-six acres on the North Fork of the Kentucky River in Clay County, Kentucky, in 1815. On May 6, 1816, he purchased 160 acres on the Illinois side of the Ohio River.  The same month, he was sworn in as a deputy clerk for county court in Golconda, Pope County, Illinois. Golconda was founded by Elizabeth McEllwaine Lusk, wife of James Vance Lusk, as a point of disembarkation from his Lusk Ferry across the Ohio River from Kentucky.

By 1817 George and Elizabeth Lusk, along with other Lacey and Lusk families, moved to Alabama. The 1820 U. S. census recorded the George V. Lusk household as consisting of five family members and four enslaved persons living in Monroe, Mississippi. The 1830 federal census listed the family in neighboring Pickens County, Alabama. George and Elizabeth’s daughter, Jane Vance Lusk, married Samuel H. Wier in 1818 in Tuscaloosa County, Alabama, and remained in Alabama. Although many Lusk and Lacey families remained in Alabama and Mississippi, the offer of free land in Texas by the Mexican government enticed families. Lusk’s son Robert Orville moved to San Augustine, Texas, in 1833, and George, at fifty-six years of age, his wife, and two adult children arrived in San Augustine in 1834. On May 25, 1835, in Nacogdoches, Texas, and after providing recommendations attesting to his “Christian morality and good habits” and pledging of allegiance to the country of Mexico, George Vance Lusk received his character certificate from the state of Coahuila and Texas. He lived his last twenty years in Texas but in four different counties. In 1835 George V. Lusk and his son Robert Orville Lusk each petitioned Mexico for a league and a labor of land, but the Texas Revolution interrupted the process. All the lands they eventually received were from the Republic of Texas and the state of Texas.

Prior to the conclusion of the Texas Revolution in April 1836, George and his son Robert and their families moved to the new town of Shelbyville (formerly Nashville) in Shelby County. On February 1, 1836, George Lusk was elected to serve as chief justice for Shelbyville; he served in that position from 1836 through 1839. His name was published in the December 17, 1836, edition of the Telegraph and Texas Register. The newspaper named members of the first government of the Republic of Texas and also listed twenty-three county court chief justices, including Lusk for Shelby County. Lusk first appeared on the Shelby County tax list in 1837 and in 1840 was taxed on one carriage, one silver watch, and one wood clock.  

George and Elizabeth’s daughter, Eloise Lusk, married Andrew Jackson Burke in San Augustine, Texas, on September 26, 1837. The newlyweds moved immediately to Houston. George Lusk and his wife moved to Retreat, Montgomery County, Texas, in 1840 before moving north in 1844 to join his son Robert and his growing family in Leon County. In 1848 George Lusk was taxed on 3,502 acres in Anderson County, valued at $1,781, and in 1850 he was awarded 1,071.59 acres in Shelby County. In Leon County, Lusk settled near the town of Buffalo and operated a large sawmill in the area around Beaver Dam Creek, which flows into the Trinity River. The 1850 federal census recorded George V. Lusk at age seventy-two and without his first wife, who died in 1849. He was listed as a farmer, and his real estate was valued at $1,000. He was living with his son Robert and his family. In 1852 Lusk owned one of the first circle saws in the county. He was named as a witness to numerous wills, as administrator of estates, and was appointed election judge for Frost’s Mill in Leon County in 1852. He also was a surveyor.

George Vance Lusk died in Leon County after January 25, 1855, when he signed his last will and testament and named friend F. A. Lacey as executor. To his then second wife Elizabeth, he bequeathed five cows and calves to be selected by her, all their hogs, a horse and buggy, and one yoke of oxen. He bequeathed the remainder of his estate not disposed of and personal belongings to his son Robert O. Lusk to be distributed to various family members as instructed.

Leon County Probate Records, Leon County Clerk’s Office, Centerville, Texas. Telegraph and Texas Register, December 17, 1836. Gifford White, ed., Character Certificates in the General Land Office of Texas (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc., 1985).

Categories:

  • Agriculture
  • Farmers
  • Founders and Pioneers
  • Pioneers
  • Politics and Government
  • Civic and Community Leaders
  • Judges

Time Periods:

  • Mexican Texas
  • Texas Revolution
  • Republic of Texas
  • Antebellum Texas

Places:

  • East Texas
  • East Central Texas

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Michaelene "Miki" Lusk Norton, “Lusk, George Vance,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed September 24, 2021, https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/lusk-george-vance.

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

February 10, 2021
April 14, 2021

This entry belongs to the following Handbook Special Projects:

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