By Mirabel Tucker
EDITOR'S NOTE: Mirabel Tucker has
written the following account of her family's history from its
Massachusetts beginnings through the family pioneers who settled
in Kosciusko County.
The Tucker family is of Anglo-Saxon origin. The original name was probably "Torker" or "Tuker." This was an occupational name and was referred to as one "torked" or "tucked" in a wool weaving operation. The name later came to indicate a manufacturer.
Morris Tucker, first of the line in America, was a Massachusetts Colony householder at Salisbury, Mass. as early as 1659.
When he was a young man, still unmarried, a property list shows that he had two cows, four yearlings, one horse, one swine, five sheep, three acres broke upland, three acres pasture, one head and two commonages. Morris was married Oct. 14, 1661 to Elizabeth Stevens, born Nov. 2, 1639. They had one child, Benoni, born Oct 16, 1662. Elizabeth died in childbirth. Morris then married Elizabeth Gill, and they had eight children.
In June 1685 Benoni was united in marriage to Abenezer Nichols. They were the parents of eight children. Their youngest child, Ezra, was born March 26, 1709 at Amesbury, Mass. He married Bathsheba Sargent and she died in 1743. He then married Lydia Hobbs Jan. 24, 1745. By his two wives he had 18 children.
Erza II, born in 1733, married Hepsibeth Prissey on May 3, 1759. He served in the American Revolution from Henniker, New Hampshire, enlisting March 15, 1776 for one year. The first enlistments were for six weeks, then the term was extended to three months, then the government authorized the states to enlist men for one year.
Ezra II was commissioned a second lieutenant and served in Captain Emery's company, Col. Baldwin's regiment, at the battle of White Plains. He was a man of considerable property, owning land in various parts of the town of Henniler. He was prominent in the organization of the new town and held many minor offices besides serving as selectman in 1770. From 1777 to 1782 he was one of the three members of the "war committee" to hire soldiers for the town.
John Tucker, son of Ezra II and Hepsibeth Prissey, was born in Kingston, N.H. on Jan. 10. 1760. He married Elizabeth Lucas, March 1, 1792, They had seven children, and he was a farmer and lieutenant in the State Militia.
John Tucker Jr., son of John and Elizabeth (Lucas) Tucker, was born Dec. 20, 1792. He was married May 6, 1821 to Mary Ward and served as a soldier from Henniker in the War of 1812.
When he was 26 years old he had decided to walk 800 miles out west from Henniker to find some suitable land for farming. He came to Pleasant Valley, Richland County, Ohio, where the hills and rocks were enough to keep him from feeling homesick for New Hampshire. There he was joined by his brother, David, in 1819. They cleared a small patch and planted potatoes and lived together until 1821 when John walked back to New Hampshire and married Mary Ward.
Return to New Home
With a bride, a land deed signed by President Monroe, and a one-horse cart. He returned to his new home. John and Mary were the parents of six children. In 1846 John Tucker and his eldest son, Horace, came to Kosciusko County to inspect the land. Satisfied with what he found, he bought 160 acres in Franklin Township and built a log cabin.
John went back to Ohio, leaving Horace to clear away some woods and brush. This work completed, he walked the 200 miles back to his Ohio home. After selling his Ohio farm to his son. Aurelius, John bought land in Kosciusko County, near Sevastapol, for his children, Horace, Albert, Reguleus and Livonia, and for Solomon Ernsberger, whom he had reared for infancy.
Among the outstanding farmers of Kosciusko County, Horace and Albert Tucker were no doubt the leading farmers and stock buyers of their day. They paid taxes on as much land as anyone in the county. Albert was the founder of Mentone, and the town of Sevastapol was surveyed and named by John Tucker. John and Mary are buried in the Palestine cemetery. Albert's grave is in the Mentone cemetery.
Horace worked on his father's farm in Ohio until 1848 when he married Eliza Johnson. They were the parents of three children, Albert, Rosella and Hollis.
On his Kosciusko county land, Horace was the type of pioneer who was not merely a good manager, but was ready to put in the heaviest and most arduous toil himself. Many acres of the dense forest that covered his farm were cleared by the steady blows of his axe. He was also efficient in the skill and judgment he showed in managing the men who worked for him.
Corn Among the Stumps
The first spring he planted about six acres of corn among the stumps, breaking the ground with a stray yoke of oxen that had come to the barn for something to eat.
In 1871 Horace began erecting a brick house which is still standing. It is presently owned by the Ralston's, who are restoring it. This house is located on the old Indian Trail between Logansport and Warsaw, then called the Anglin Road and more recently known as the Beaver Dam Road. It was the first house of that construction in the township, and the first to be supplied with a hot air furnace.
In addition to his own labor, Horace invested $4,000 in the house. He also put up the first windmill in the township and was the first to have a cookstove. Much of his money was make handling and marketing cattle. He was in that business for about half a century. When the railroads came, he was the first to ship a carload of livestock from Warsaw in 1856.
He attributed an accident as the cause that forced him into stock buying. While dynamiting stumps, a large piece struck him and broke his leg, making it necessary thereafter for him to walk with a cane. During those early years he donated the ground for the Tucker School and probably the Dunkard Church nearby. This ground was to be returned to the estate when they were no longer in use.
One of Horace's cows had triplet calves on Feb. 4, 1868, and he immediately bought another cow to help feed them. When the three calves were sold as steers they weighed more than 9,000 pounds. They were named Tom, Dick, and Harry, and he showed them around the county until they were sold. No one could tell them apart but Mrs. Eliza Tucker.
After they were sold they were shown
in 1876 at the Philadelphia Centennial. When Horace and Eliza
went to the Centennial and saw them on exhibition there, they
thought the steers recognized them. One of them had a mark on
him that the others did not have, and that is how Eliza Tucker
is said to have proved that they were the steers they had raise.
Money was not made as easily in Horace Tucker's day as it is today but he was not lacking in great liberality in its use. He contributed generously to churches and many other worthy undertakings.
Whig, Then Republican
Horace Tucker began voting as a Whig and subsequently became an equally staunch Republican. Always an influence in county politics, Horace served as treasurer and trustee in his township.
Besides his farm, Horace accumulated extensive tracts of land in Kosciusko and other counties. He always used livestock as a means of making his land profitable. In 1900 he sold from his farm $8,000 worth of fat graded cattle, that being one of the largest single stock sales ever recorded in the county.
Albert Tucker, the third son of John and Mary (Ward) Tucker, a younger brother of Horace, born in Richland County, Ohio, married Mary Frame in 1858. They had one daughter, Alta, and Mary died in 1860. In 1861 he married Katie McNeal, and they were the parents of six children. Katie died in 1889. Albert married again Dec. 28, 1897 to Mary Odell Baker, who was born March 17, 1859.
Albert founded the town of Mentone, located halfway between Warsaw and Rochester. The town was laid out in May, 1882 by Amos Kist and Caleb Hughes. Albert built the first elevator there and made loans of money to people to finish their houses in the new town.
He donated the ground for the Mentone cemetery and was influential in causing the Nickel Plate Railroad to come through Mentone. This caused other communities, such as Burket, Claypool and Sidney to spring up in 1882 at the expense of Kinsey, Palestine, Dodgertown, Beaver Dam and Sevastapol, all of which had been lively trading places for a long time.
After buying the land which became the site of Mentone, he offered lots for sale at $75 to $100 per lot. This venture brought him considerable money. He named the town Mentone after a city in France.
This younger brother of Horace Tucker became one of the ablest financiers in the state. He had received an unusually good education and his methods from earliest childhood were to make the most of his opportunities. He excelled in mathematics. Educated at an old log schoolhouse during the winters, his summers were spent at hard work on his father's farm. His last winter of schooling was passed in Richland County, Ohio, when he was 19 years old.
When he was 20 years old, in January, 1850, he started out for himself. He and Abe Huston came on foot to Kosciusko county. On the way the trail became so bad the two men had to stop their journey. They contracted to clear seven acres of land to 18-inch stumps in seven days. By that time the trail had become frozen and they continued their journey. They found a home with Horace until they could get their bearings.
$20 And Land
Upon his arrival here he had $20 in his pocket and the 160 acres in Franklin Township that his father had given him. This gave him a fine start but it required a vast amount of time and labor. At first he took jobs clearing other people's land. When he was not thus employed he worked on his own land. In this way he made his first clearing of the dense forest that covered his land.
His object in working for others was to get money with which to stock his farm and pay his running expenses. Putting his money into land as fast as he made it, at one time he owned 2,700 acres worth about $60 an acre.
Better Grade Stock
He began to raise stock of a better grade and to ship some when it was ready for market. At one time he was one of the heaviest dealers in Durham stock in the northern part of the state. His farming operations were also very large. At one time he had planted 400 acres in wheat which yielded him 10,000 bushels to sell. He also had as high as 300 acres in corn and grazed 425 head of fattening cattle on his own pasture.
Although money was not as easily made in his day as in the present generation, he was not lacking in generosity, contributing liberally of his means to churches and other worthy undertakings. He began voting as a Whig and subsequently became an equally staunch Republican. He served as treasurer and trustee of his township and was always an influence in county politics. Horace and Eliza are buried in the Palestine cemetery.
Besides his farm, he accumulated extensive tracts of land in Kosciusko and other counties. Always using livestock as a means of making his land profitable. In 1900 he sold from his farms $8,000 worth of fat graded cattle, that being one of the largest single stock sales ever recorded in the county at that time. Horace and Eliza are buried in the Palestine cemetery.
Horace's younger brother, John, the third son of John and Mary (Ward) Tucker, was born in Richland County, Ohio, and also came to reside in Indiana. He married Mary Frame in 1858 and they had one daughter, Alta. Mary died in 1860. In 1861 he was married to Katie McNeal and they were the parents of six children. Katie died in 1889.
His third wife, the former Mary Odell Baker, to whom he was married Dec. 28, 1897, was born March 17, 1859.
Founder of Mentone
Albert was a farmer and the founder of the town of Mentone, which was laid out by Amos Kist and Cahl Hughes in May, 1882. It was "halfway" between Warsaw and Rochester.
Tucker built the first elevator there and made loans of money to people to finish their houses in the new town. He was influential in getting the Nickel Plate Railroad to come through Mentone. This caused the villages of Burket, Claypool and Sidney to spring up in 1882 at the expense of Kinsey, Palestine, Dodgertown, Beaver Dam and Sevastapol, all of which had been lively trading places for a long time prior to the coming of the railroad.
After he bought the land where the town of Mentone now stands, he offered the lots for sale at $75 to $100 per lot, making considerable money at this venture. He named the town Mentone after a city in France.
Albert was one of the ablest financiers in this section of the state. He had received an unusually good education. He excelled in mathematics. His methods, from earliest childhood, were to make the most of his opportunities.
Educated in an old log schoolhouse in Richland County, Ohio during the winters, his summers were spent at hard work on his father's farm. His last winter of schooling was passed when he was 19 years old.
At the age of 20, in January 1850, he started out for himself. He and Abe Huston came on foot to Kosciusko County, Indiana. On the way the trail became so bad that the two men had to stop their journey. They made a contract to clear seven acres of land to eighteen inch stumps in seven days. By the time they had completed their contract the trail had become frozen and they continued their journey. Horace Tucker had preceded them and when they arrived at their designation they found a home with him until they could get their bearings.
$20 in His Pocket
With $20 in his pocket upon his arrival, he received a fine start with the 160 acres in Franklin Twp. previously bought for him by his father. The cost of the land had been $572. It took, however, a vast amount of time and labor to prepare it for productivity.
Albert Tucker built his house and barn on Road 19, south of Mentone, and west of Sevastapol. His son, Charley Tucker, lived there, then his son , Edison Tucker. Now Edison's son, Charles, lives there, farms and raises stock.
Many of the descendants of Horace and Albert Tucker reside in Kosciusko County. Two of Horace's great-great-grandsons live in Warsaw. They are Warsaw Mayor H. Dale Tucker, and Miles Igo, son of Lena Tucker Igo, who is proprietor of C & I Manufacturing Co.
A namesake and grandson of Albert Tucker, Albert Tucker, the son of Ora Tucker, also resides in Warsaw.
Tucker descendants, and they are legion, are proud of the heritage left them by those sturdy ancestors whose hard work and determination conquered the wilderness and helped to make our country great. They continue to admonish the younger generations to remember those trials and sacrifice as they carry on the good name Tucker.
Warsaw Times-Union Spotlight, September 11-18, 1974
Transcription by Jane Leedy.
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