John Monroe Lancaster was born in Oct 1847 (1842?) in Tennessee to William B Lancaster and Mary Ann “Polly” Davidson. Sarah "Elizabeth" Talley was born on Dec 7th 1847 to Allen Talley & Feriba Hemby probably in Hickman County, Tennessee. They had seven children: Elizabeth (16 at the massacre), John William (11), Jesse W (8), Margaret (6), Mary Maude (4), and Martha M (2) all in Tennessee (Lou was not born yet).
John was one of the first few baptized at Cane Creek and was Branch President early on. He lived on the north side of Cane Creek near Elisha Talley. Just up the hollow from him lived Thomas DePriest. Brother Lancaster appears in multiple missionary journals. He may have been a cobbler of sorts since several times he is noted noted as having repaired the missionaries shoes. In truth this may have been at most a side business, farming being the primary occupation of nearly all the residents of Cane Creek. Missionaries would also eat at his home, though I have not found a reference to any of them sleeping there.
John served as Branch President until October 3 1880. He was replaced by Buswell Blandon. The “eldest daughter” of John Lancaster [Elizabeth at age 12] was baptized on June 20 1880. On September 4 1883, Elder Gibbs records blessing the daughter of brother Lancaster and giving her the name Martha Louisa [Lancaster].
John's sister, Rachel, also joined the Church. She left for Colorado in 1883, well before the massacre. There she married William F. Campbell, a widower from North Carolina with a daughter from a previous marriage.
According to W. L. Pinkerton, after the massacre John immediately took his family to live in Colorado. He was probably in the company that followed John Morgan to Manassa where his sister already lived. Before 1900 he had returned to Tennessee to live in Catroost Perry County following the death of his wife in May 1886 [4th or 25th] in Colorado, and perhaps the death of his sister. John is in Tennessee to sign a deed selling his father's land in Lewis County in September 1891, so he may have moved back to Tennessee before that. Ward records in Colorado indicate that most of his sister Rachel's children returned to Tennessee too. Their names were removed from the church records in 1909.
Many of the saints who left their homes in the lush South for the cold, dry, high altitude plains of southern Colorado decided to return home. Though the historical record tells me where they went, it does not always tell me why.
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