John R. Lucas was born in 1842 in Lenawee County, Michigan, probably the son of Reuben (b. 1808) and Melinda (b. 1805).
New York natives Reuben and Melinda were married sometime before 1832, probably in New York where they resided for some years. Between 1836 and 1838 Reuben moved his family to Michigan, eventually settling in Hudson, Lenawee County by 1840. By 1850 John was attending school with several of his siblings and living with his family in Hudson or Median, Lenawee County, where his father worked as a cooper. By 1860 John was working as a farm laborer and living with his family in Hudson village, Lenawee County.
John stood 6’2” with blue eyes, brown hair and a light complexion and was 19 years and possibly living in Detroit with his guardian, one E. Robinson, when he enlisted at the age of 19 in Unassigned on August 30, 1862, at Detroit for 3 years, crediting Bennington, Shiawassee County. (He is not found in the 1905 Third Michigan Regimental history, although he is in the Tenth Michigan cavalry Regimental history.)
In fact, he apparently never joined the Third Michigan but was instead transferred to or enlisted in Company H, Tenth Michigan cavalry on August 31, 1863, at Bennington for 3 years, and was mustered on September 2 probably at Grand Rapids where the regiment was organized between September 18 and November 18, 1863, when it was mustered into service. It left Michigan for Lexington, Kentucky on December 1, 1863, and participated in numerous operations, mostly in Kentucky and Tennessee throughout the winter of 1863-64. Most of its primary area of operations would eventually be in the vicinity of Strawberry Plains, Tennessee.
He was on detached service in Kentucky in November of 1864, still on detached duty in Athens, Tennessee in January of 1865, and on furlough from sometime in July through August. He was reported as a bugler, and mustered out with the regiment on November 11, 1865, at Memphis, Tennessee.
John returned to Michigan after the war.
He married New York Mary Eliza (b. 1853), and they had at least two children: Lena (b. 1875) and David (b. 1877).
By 1880 John was working as a cooper and living in Butler, Branch County with his wife and two children; he was still living in Butler in 1890. He was living in Coldwater, Branch County around 1900.
In 1876 he applied for and received a pension (no. 243629?).
He probably died in 1916, and probably in Michigan.
His widow was residing in Michigan in October of 1916 when she applied for and received a pension (no. 823345).