Biography: George Lightcap

George Lightcap is my gg-grandfather and the son of Levi and Mary (Smith) Lightcap.  A biography of George was published in the “Pictorial and Biographical Record of La Porte, Porter, Lake and Starke Counties, Indiana” published by Goodspeed Brothers Publishers, Chicago (1894), p. 443-445.

GEORGE LIGHTCAP. To our noble pushing hard-working business men is due the great prosperity, wealth and advancement of Starke County, Indiana. To their zeal, energy and integrity will its future greatness be indebted, as it has been in the past and among those names of prominent in the promotion of successful business enterprises in this city, none will stand higher or occupy the position more justly than does that of the subject of this sketch, who has resided here from his early boyhood. In Seneca County, Ohio he first saw the light of day January 27, 1844, a son of Levi and Mary (Smith) Lightcap, the former who was born in New Jersey and the latter in Ohio. Levi Lightcap was taken by his parents to Seneca County, Ohio when young and was reared and married in that county, the last mentioned event being consummated in the vicinity of Tiffin.

In 1849, he removed with his family to Wood County Ohio and in June 1855 started with his family to Iowa, but while enroute stopped in Boone County to pay his father-in-law a visit and was offered by the latter the farm of forty acres on which he resided if he would locate thereon. This proposition was accepted and the Iowa trip abandoned and Mr. Lightcap and his family located in a house situated about one mile northeast of North Judson. They were among the early pioneers of this section and resided on their farm until the opening of the great Civil War when Mr. Lightcap sold his farm and removed to North Judson, which place was then in its infancy. He became one of the principal factors in the establishment and up building of the place, and for a number of years was a leading and successful merchant there. He was the first agent for the Pan-Handle Railroad at North Judson and held the position for a number of years. He was called from this life in 1870 and his widow now enjoys the comforts of a splendid home with her son, George. Her father, Christian Smith, was a veteran of the War of 1812 and died on a farm in Boone County, Indiana.

George Lightcap has been a resident of this county since his eleventh year and during his first residence in this section he assisted in the work of clearing and grubbing the home farm, but when the war came up he dropped his hoe to don a blue uniform and shoulder a musket and in 1863 enlisted in Company K Twelfth Indiana Calvary with which he served until the war terminated, being mustered out at Indianapolis in October 1865. He was in active service all the time and while he did not take part in any of the leading engagements he was in various skirmishes and did valiant service. After the war, he returned home and for about five years thereafter was engaged in carpentering at North Judson.

In the fall of 1870 he succeeded his father in the mercantile business, returning home from Missouri where he had been for about ten months, for that purpose, which business had formerly been conducted by his father and brother Walter. The firm then became W&G Lightcap and for a period of twenty years was well known as such throughout Starke County. At the end of this time, Walter Lightcap retired from active commercial life but George continued to conduct the business until July 1893 when he sold out and retired to his farm, one-half mile north of town where he owns 160 acres of valuable land. Shortly before moving here he had erected one of the handsomest two-story brick residences in the county, and his home is one of the most beautiful as well as one of the most hospitable ones for many miles around. Besides this farm he owns 225 acres of land and valuable business property in North Judson. He has done a great deal to improve and build up the place and has erected some of the best houses of business in the place, the latest being a handsome two-story brick business black, 24×80 feet which was erected in the spring of 1893 and which is occupied by his sons.

He has always taken a deep interest in the cause of education and has served on the school board ever since the incorporation of the place. During the administration of Grant he was appointed Postmaster of North Judson and held this position until the first administration of Cleveland when he was replaced by a Democrat. When Gen. Harrison came into office he was again given the position. As a farmer he is most enterprising and pushing one and in order to devote his attention to this business he disposed of his mercantile establishment. He expects to engage extensively in the growing of small fruits and at present has one of the largest cranberry marshes in this section of Indiana, from which he ships about 2,000 bushels annually. His careful and shrewd business methods coupled with his enterprising and strict integrity, have been the stepping stones to his success, and that his present prosperity is well deserved cannot be denied.

Miss Rhoda E. Herrod, who was born in Morrow County, Ohio, in 1849, a daughter of Thomas and Ellen (Given) Herrod, became his wife in 1868 and their union has resulted in the birth of four children: Harry, Albert, Ernest, and Benjamin. Mr. Lightcap is a member of the AF & AM at North Judson, of which he has been secretary and treasurer. He also belongs to the GAR* and at the present time is commander of his post. He has ever been a staunch Republican, the men and measured of which party he has supported on all occasions.

The Grand Army of the Republic was a fraternal organization composed of veterans of the Union Army who had served in the American Civil War.

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