Elizabeth Lucas: Courthouse annex bears name of only female county probate judge
PROGRESS 2023: What’s In A Name
According to a placard at the annex, Elizabeth Lucas was born, reared and lived her entire life in Franklin County. At the age of 14, in 1922, she began working after school and on Saturdays for the Franklin County probate office, where she continued to work until her death, Aug. 23, 1970.
Most of her career she served as chief clerk in the probate office, but for a period of about three weeks at the end of 1956 and into 1957, she took a step up.
Following the death of then-probate judge James Hester, Lucas filled the role on an interim basis – from mid-December 1956, to Jan. 3, 1957.
According to a Dec. 20, 1956, Franklin County Times article, at a “Sunday morning conference at the home of the late Probate Judge James F. Hester … his family called for appointment of Mrs. Elizabeth Lucas, chief clerk.” However, Lucas served until T.E. Farned assumed the role by governor appointment.
February 8, 2002, the courthouse annex was named in her honor. It was the first act of the county commission in their first meeting in the new space. In addition to honoring her service to the probate judge office, the memorial is also a nod to her being the mother of Bill Lucas, who was at that time Colonial Bank president; the building formerly housed the Colonial Bank.
According to the annex placard, Lucas was the oldest of seven children of John and Annie Wood. She married William G. Lucas, and they had three children: Emma Lucas Kingston, Ruth Lucas Grissom and the aforementioned Bill Lucas.