Joseph B. Lauck, adjutant general of the state of California under appointment from Governor Pardee, has been identified with the west and with California for nearly forty years, during which time he has had a most successful and honorable career in various lines of activity, but especially as a railroad man. He was a boyish but gallant and daring soldier during the Civil war, and he has since then been permanently identified with the National Guard of California. For many years he was an efficient servant of the Union Pacific and Southern Pacific railroads, being advanced from a humble position to one of respnsibility, which he only resigned to accept his present place among the state officials. He has in every relation of life proved himself a man of integrity and honor, and his success is not less due to these worthy characteristics than to his energy and executive ability.

General Lauck was born in York, Pennsylvania, November 27, 1846. His father, Henry B. Lauck, was a native of Pennsylvania, a prominent farmer there, and died in 1876. He was of German ancestors who had taken up their residence in Pennsylvania at an early day, and different members of the family took part in the Revolutionary war, some of whom gained distinction for their services. Henry B. Lauck married Barbara Stambaugh, who was born in Pennsylvania of German ancestry, and some of her forefathers also were soldiers in the Revolution. She died in 1889, leaving three sons: Joseph B.; Michael, a carpenter of Findlay, Ohio; and John, a farmer in Hancock county, Ohio.

Joseph B. Lauck was educated in the public schools of Ohio, but his education was concluded when he was thirteen years of age. He worked on his father's farm and at other occupations until the war. In September, 1861, when a boy of fifteen years, he entered the Union army and gave loyal service to his country until 1865. He went through all the western campaigns and engagements from Fort Henry to Vicksburg and from Chattanooga to the sea, and was mustered out at Camp Denison, Ohio, September 5, 1865, going home with a war record of which both he and his descendants may well be proud. He remained at home until March, 1866, and then went west as far as Nebraska, where on May 7, 1866, he took service with the Union Pacific Railroad. He was engaged in the construction work of that road, laying rails, and continued at it until the two sections of the road met at Promontory and formed one continuous band of steel between the Mississippi valley and the west. He had many interesting experiences during that time. He was afterward in the employ of the road as brakeman and conductor, until the latter part of august, 1873, when he came to California, and in October engaged with the Central, now the Southern Pacific Railroad. In April, 1874, however, he went back to the Union Pacific and was in the train service until the following November, when he once more came to California and entered the employ of the Central Pacific, running a train out of Lathrop for a year or more. He was next identified with the North Pacific Coast Railroad, with which he remained until July 10, 1886. He was then appointed traveling passenger agent for the Southern Pacific Company, and served continuously from July 11, 1886, to February 15, 1904, at which date he assumed his duties as adjutant general of the state of California, with term of office to continue during Governor Pardee's incumbency. He has always been an active Republican, and interested to the extent of his time and ability in the upbuilding and progress of the party.

Mr. Lauck was married in San Rafael, California, in September, 1878, to Miss Carrie H. Stowell, a native of Wisconsin. they have one daughter, Veda B. Mr. Lauck affiliates with the Masonic order, the Order of Railway Conductors and the Grand Army of the Republic. His record in the National Guard of California has been a long and honorable one. It is as follows: Enlisted in Company D, fifth Infantry, May 14, 1885, being the organizer of the company and elected its captain on the same date; resigned September 22, 1886; elected captain of Company A, fifth Infantry, August 26, 1886, re-elected August 30, 1888, and resigned June 5, 1889; appointed lieutenant colonal and aide de camp, staff of commander in chief, April 1, 1891; resigned February 23, 1894, and reappointed July 3, 1894, serving until relieved on January 19, 1895.

Source: History of the New California Its Resources and People, Volume I

The Lewis Publishing Company - 1905
Edited by Leigh H. Irvine

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