Biography of John R. B. Lancaster
JOHN R. B. LANCASTER. This prominent pioneer of Stone County, Arkansas, owes his nativity to Smith County, Tennessee, his birth occurring ten miles from Carthage, February 20, 1831. His parents, John and Clarissa (Decker) Lancaster, were born in Tennessee, and came to Arkansas in March, 1844, locating in what is now Round Bottom, Stone County, where the father’s death occurred March 21, 1855, at the age of sixty-one years. and the mother’s in 1863, when she was a few years younger than her husband. The latter was a soldier of the War of 1812 under Jackson, and was probably a non-commissioned officer. While in Tennessee he held the office of justice of the peace, but it was under protest, and he was never an aspirant for office. He and his wife were members of the Methodist Church for many years, and in politics he was a Whig. He was quite a skillful general mechanic, built a mill on Smith Fork, in Tennessee, and also carried on farming successfully. On coming to Arkansas he located on a fine farm on White River, at which time fifteen acres were under cultivation and the rest covered by cane break. With the assistance of his sons he cleared this land, a portion of which the immediate subject of this sketch owns. Eight children were born to himself and wife, of whom the subject of this sketch was the fourth, and is one of the two surviving members. The other, Lemuel S., is a merchant at Mammoth Springs, Arkansas.
John R. B. was educated in the common schools of Tennessee and Arkansas, grew to manhood in Round Bottom, and helped to clear the home place. He remained with his parents until the death of his father, and from 1850 up to that time was manager of the farm for his father, and continued to be so for his widowed mother for some time. He then commenced to farm for himself across the river in Izard County until the Civil War. In July, 186l he joined Company G of the Eighth Arkansas Infantry, with which he served until the battle of Chickamauga, where he was severely wounded in the right thigh by a musket ball, and was released from duty on account of disability. He was also at Shiloh, Murfreesboro, and numerous skirmishes, but his health was quite poor a part of the time he was in the service. Before he had recovered sufficiently from his wound to rejoin his command the war had closed, and he once more resumed the management of the home farm, on which he made his home until twelve years ago, when he bought the 120 acres of land where he now lives, although he still owns a portion of the old place in Stone County.
Although he is by no means a politician, he has always been a warm Democrat, and socially belongs to Mt. View Lodge of the A. F. & A. M. In 1855 he was married to Eliza G. Harper, who was born in Smith County, Tennessee, a daughter of Alfred Harper. Ten children have been born to this union, five sons and two daughters now living: William, who is a farmer of Round Bottom; Tobias, who tills the soil near Mt. View; J. S., who is postmaster at Mountain View; Fred, who lives at Round Bottom; Margaret Lucinda; Ida and Albert. The last three are still at home. Mr. Lancaster and his wife are members of the Methodist Church, and he has for some time been steward in the same.