James Ranson Lackland was born 8 January 1820 in Montgomery County, Maryland, son of George Lynn Lackland and Eliza Edwards. James arrived at St. Louis with his parents in November 1828. He married first, Cornelia Mary Brown, on 1 March 1849 in St Louis. She was born in 1826 and died on 23 April 1855 in St Louis. James married second, Mary D. Southern, daughter of Simeon Fisher Southern and Priscilla L Thompson, on 23 October 1856 in Jefferson County, Kentucky. Mary was born in 1835 in Danville, Boyle County, Kentucky, and died on 23 October 1864 in St. Louis City. James died on 9 October 1875 with burial in Bellefontaine Cemetery.

James obtained a basic education at a grammar school attached to Marion College and subsequently attended Marion as a student. Afterwards, he was an assistant teacher at a school on St. Charles Rock Road. He next gained employment in the wholesale grocers’ firm of Mullikin & Pratt, and subsequently, he was engaged as a clerk on a Mississippi River steamboat. In 1845, he obtained the position of deputy clerk in the office of the St. Louis Court of Common Pleas and began his study of law in the law offices of the Hon. Charles Drake. James was admitted to the bar in 1846 and became a well-known attorney in St. Louis. He was elected as a judge in the criminal court, and in 1857, as judge of the St Louis Circuit Court.

One of his most famous cases was defending Henry L. Shaw, of Shaw’s Gardens, (today Missouri Botanical Gardens) from a suit by Effie Carstang for breach of marriage contract. It made national news, and a sketch of the courtroom in Carstang vs. Shaw at St. Louis, Missouri was published in Harper’s Weekly on 31 March 1860. She was initially awarded $100,000. Henry Shaw was granted a new trial, the first verdict set aside, and with the new counsel, she received nothing.

Known child of James Ranson Lackland and Cornelia Mary Brown:

    1. Ella C. Lackland, born on 23 August 1849, in St. Louis, died on 16 January 1944 in Warrenton, Missouri. She never married. In 1900, Ella was living with her aunt, Helen Mary Lackland, at the George Lynn Lackland homestead. Ella is buried in Fee Fee Cemetery next to Helen Lackland.

Children of James Ranson Lackland and Mary D. Southern:

    1. Leila Eliza Lackland, born on 6 December 1857, died on 9 April 1910 in St. Louis. She married Elisha Brown Adams on 7 September 1875. He was born on 17 February 1849 in Boonville, Missouri, and died on 27 April 1895 in Jacksonville, Illinois.
    2. Adaline Kaplains Lackland, born on 9 July 1860 and died on 8 September 1913 in St. Louis. She married Harvey Livingston Christie, born on 9 February 1860 and died on 15 May 1928.
    3. Mary Southern Lackland, born on 6 April 1863 and died on 14 May 1894 in St. Louis. She never married.

(Sources: Bellefontaine Cemetery Records. A.J.D. Stewart, Editor, Bench and Bar of Missouri, (St. Louis, Mo., Legal Publishing Co., 1898). Autobiographical letter to Elihu H. Shepherd, dated July 17, 1866 from the James C. Lackland papers, Missouri Historical Society, St. Louis)

Written by Patricia A Andersen
January 2021

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Last Modified: 28-Oct-2021 17:02