The Lacy Hotel
by Bruce Davis
The following was written by Lacy descendant, Bruce Davis in 1973 in his application for a historical marker for the Lacy Hotel. Davis, a former Denton City Attorney, was a history lover, a poet, and a true old fashioned gentleman.
The Lacy Hotel was built in Denton, Texas, in 1858 by Charles Christian Lacy, also known as C. C. Lacy, and his wife Sarah Brown Lacy. It was located at the northeast corner of the public square, facing the central plaza or common; and catered principally to itinerant Methodist and Baptist preachers; that is, Circuit riders. This was the first Hotel ever built in Denton County, Texas.
C. C. Lacy was appointed Public Land Surveyor of this "Land District" in 1855, and actually moved to Denton County in that year. The hotel burned in 1882; and, I believe, was later occupied by the May Building, near the Kincaid Building. The May Building burned about the end of World War I, and was replaced by the Smoot-Curtis Building, which was later remodeled (about 4 or 5 years ago) and is now owned by Intra-Coat, Inc. Their offices are also in the building, which is principally occupied by professional persons.
C. C. Lacy named all of the streets in the original town of Denton, having laid them off as District Land Surveyor. He named them after trees; as, for example, Oak, Hickory, Elm, Locust, Mulberry, Maple, Bois d’arc, Cedar, Pecan, Walnut, etc. These are still among the principal streets of the City. He was in the rebellion involving early settlers and Indians, known as the Battle of Fort Belknap, and as the "Battle of Salt Creek."
Charles Christian Lacy was the father of Walter Jone Lacy, and was the ancestor of all of the Lacys living in Waco and most of those now living in San Antonio and Beaumont. Actually, his descendants are living all-over the country.
He had first settled with his wife and family in Fort Worth, Texas, about 1843, having come from Mason County, Kentucky, where his family had lived a generation. Previously, they had lived in Albemarle County, Virginia, in a town or community named Lacy, near Woodridge, Virginia. Various members of the family, including his ancestors, also lived in Scotlands, Virginia; and, in fact, one of the Lacy families established Scotsville, Virginia. They had also lived in the area of Charlottesville, Virginia. They first arrived on this continent about 1670, from England, probably from the Holme-Lacy area. The Hotel in question is notable because many early dignitaries and notable persons stayed there; and, at the time the hotel burned, one of the very last survivors of the Texas Revolution perished in the fire. It is also "famous" in another way: In that Sam Bass, as a very young man, worked there for awhile as a Livery stable boy. He had not, at that time, entered a criminal career; and, in fact, was of a very gentle, courteous, and industrious nature. His "downfall" was probably due to the fact that he fell in with the "sporting crowd" of Denton, who, at that time, were notorious for their interest in horse racing, gambling of all sorts, hard drink, and fast women! These are, as is well known, expensive habits to maintain, once acquired.
The Hotel was located in;Denton, Texas, facing south, on the north side of the Public Square, at the intersection of Oak and Locust Streets, (northeast corner of square); and, the present building, upon which the marker would be placed is on exactly the same spot; although, no doubt, occupying a somewhat larger total area, if the livery stable is excluded.
The Hotel not only provided lodging, but also meals; which, by reputation, were the best that could be obtained between Dallas and Fort Worth, and the Oklahoma and Arkansas borders. The livery stable, above mentioned, was also owned by C. C. Lacy, together with a blacksmith shop. The shop also manufactured and repaired buggies, plans, and other items and implements as well as shoeing horses.
My principal sources of information are the Ed F. Bates History and Reminiscences of Denton County, family Bibles, letters, and various family traditions and stories, most of which are oral. Also, information from the forthcoming History of Denton, Texas, by C. A. Bridges of this City.
A picture of the Hotel is enclosed herewith. The original in the North Texas State University Museum is, of course, in oil colors. It is over 100 years old.
Incidentally, my name was originally William Bruce Lacy. I was raised by my grandparents, Alice and Ashley Davis of this City from age seven; and, from that time have used the name Davis. Charles Christian Lacy was my great-grandfather: Captain Watt Lacy, his son, was my paternal grandfather.
This is as it appeared in 1871. The man leaning against the front pillar is Captain "Watt", or Walter Jone Lacy. He was with Hood's Texas Cavalry, and fought in the battles of Shiloh, Atlanta, and others. He had not been home long. The elderly lady in the chair is my great-grandmother, Sarah Brown Lacy, whose husband, C. C. Lacy, had died only a few months before. The enclosed picture is a photograph of an original oil painting now in the Historical Museum at North
Texas State University.
Text of the Historical Marker:
Denton County - 11-5-73 - 102 W. Oak, Denton
SITE OF LACY HOTEL
CHARLES CHRISTIAN LACY (1816-70) MOVED WITH WIFE SARAH (BROWN) FROM KENTUCKY TO TEXAS, 1854; PLATTED DENTON TOWNSITE, 1855; HAD WHAT IS THOUGHT TO HAVE BEEN CITY'S FIRST HOTEL, EXISTENT 1858-82, AT THIS SITE. BEFORE HE GAINED FAME AS BANDIT, SAM BASS WORKED HERE BRIEFLY AS A LIVERY STABLE BOY. (1973)