Francis “Frank” A. Lackey, alias “Martin A. Ripple,” was born on September 15, 1840, in Oakland County, Michigan, the son of Abram (1796-1866) and Sophia (Blanchard, 1799-1889).
Massachusetts natives Abram (or Abraham) and Sophia were married in 1819, in Chatham, Argenteuil County, Quebec and were still living in Canada by 1834 when their son Henry was born. By 1840 they had left Canada and moved to Oakland County, Michigan, and by 1850 the family was living in Farmington, Oakland County where Abram worked a farm and Frank attended school with his older brother Henry. Abram eventually settled his family in Clinton County and by 1860 Francis was attending school and working as a farm laborer and living with his parents in Riley. (Nearby lived John Blanchard who would enlist in Company G in 1861.)
Frank stood 5’6” with blue eyes, dark hair and a light complexion and was 20 years old and living in Riley, Clinton County when he enlisted with his parents’ consent in Company G on May 10, 1861. He was present with his company through April 30, 1862, and on May 20 was hospitalized, for reason(s) unknown. By late June he was a patient in the general hospital at Annapolis, Maryland, where he remained through August, and was alleged to have deserted on September 21, 1862 at Upton’s Hill, Virginia. He was subsequently dropped from the company rolls under General Order No. 92 (War Department), for being AWOL.
It is not known what became of Frank from August of 1862 until October of 1864, but apparently he enlisted under the name of Martin A. Ripple in Company I, Third New Jersey cavalry in Morristown, New Jersey on October 25, 1864, to serve 1 year. He deserted from that unit on November 17, 1864, at Pleasant Valley, Maryland (near Bolivar Heights), and was arrested near Gettysburg, Pennsylvania on November 24. On January 31, 1865, he was court martialed for desertion at Alexandria, Virginia, found guilty and sentenced to be returned to the Third New Jersey and to forfeit all pay and allowances due him and to forfeit $10.00 per month for six months. He was mustered out of service with his company on August 1, 1865.
(Curiously there was a Martin Ripple who served in a Wisconsin regiment during the war, returned home, was married to Harriet who was born in Wisconsin, and who died in Wisconsin.)
After the war Frank returned to Michigan where he lived the rest of his life.
He married New York native Harriet Everetta Seaman (b. 1849) on August 6, 1868, at Dewitt, Clinton County, and they had at least four children: Franklin Eugene (b. 1869), Fanny J. (b. 1870), James William (b. 1872) and Clara Bell (b. 1877).
By 1870 Frank was working as a farmer and living in Sciota, Shiawassee County, with his wife and two children; also living with them was his mother Sophia. By 1880 he was working as a farmer and living with his wife and children in Broomfield, Isabella County. He lived variously in Shiawassee County, Mecosta County, in Wise, Isabella County in 1894 and 1899 and finally in Midland County, and was living in Coleman, Midland County in 1902, 1912 and in 1914. He worked most of his life as a farmer.
In 1887 Frank applied for a pension in 1887 (no. 600,694) but was informed by deputy Pension Commissioner E. C. Tieman in December of 1914 that his application had been rejected on that grounds that “you deserted from your first contract of service and reenlisted under another name and upon such enlistment received bounty other than from the United States in excess of that to which you would have been entitled had you faithfully performed your first contract of service.”
Frank died on April 27, 1916, in Coleman, and was presumably buried there.
In 1920 his widow was still living in Coleman when she applied for a pension (application no. 1152267), but the certificate was never granted.