Monday, January 13, 2014

52 Ancestors - #2 John Tucker born January 29, 1828 - Hampshire, England

John (son of Isaac Charles and Sarah Agnes Tucker) sailed to the East coast of America in 1851 from Hampshire, England. He traveled across the country to try his luck in the California gold fields. He mined for 10 years but never earned more than $1.50 per day. John met Mary Hardesty (a descendant of Edward Carter Dingle) shortly after she arrived in Honey Lake, California in 1861. They married on January 21, 1862. He then purchased a farm in Susanville, Lassen County, California but irrigation was necessary and he disagreed with his neighbors on the terms for the distribution of water. John and Mary's first child (my great grandfather William John Tucker) was born while they lived in Susanville. John had two dreams, to go north to Canada to get back under British Rule and to buy a farm where God did the irrigating. He succeeded with the second dream in 1866 when he hewed his log home out of the wilderness of the Silver Creek area after two years of renting a farm on the Cowlitz Prairie in Washington Territory. At that time Silver Creek was a 2000 acre valley of fertile soil with no roads and very few clearings because the land was covered with a hardy growth of timber. For the first two years at the Silver Creek cabin it had no door - just a large and heavy canvas and then with the birth of each of the next six children he would add a room to the cabin. He never made it back to British territory as he was unable to convince his wife Mary to ford any more treacherous rivers after they had lost a team of horses and a wagon crossing the Cowlitz River near Toledo after their arrival in Washington Territory. The Silver Creek Post Office was established in his cabin on March 15, 1875 and he was postmaster for 22 years. The Post Office stayed in the Tucker family for 41 years. John was very enterprising and also kept a store in his home for over 25 years. During his life John also sent money to his family left in England.

Before the Silver Creek school was built in 1888, John hired a live-in tutor as was English custom to teach his children. John's son George Henry Tucker became a teacher, superintendent of schools and a state senator.  Three of his son James' daughters became teachers who taught a total of 93 years between them. Several other family members also became teachers. 

One of the Tucker cousins had the original letters from John's family in England from 1854 to 1910 and Hardesty letters from Nevada and California from 1869, and 1906-1914. There were also letters from 1855 to 1859 from John Tucker's brother Henry who followed him to America in 1855 but settled in New Bern, Craven County, North Carolina because he could not afford the trip across the plains to the West coast. Between 1999 and 2001 three of us (my first cousin Chris and my second cousin once removed Carole) transcribed the letters and followed up on the genealogy leads that they contained. I then made copies of the originals and transcriptions and had them bound into books about 2 inches thick for about 40 Tucker cousins interested in a copy. My cousin Carole compiled the genealogy information we had at the time on the Tucker, Hardesty and Dingle families and printed copies of that for the cousins.
John Tucker
January 29, 1828 to August 14, 1904


  1. So many interesting coincidences. My parents live in New Bern and my youngest brother married a Tucker from England (Devon and Kent), Bermuda, Virginia, and then Georgia.

  2. I have been trying to trace the Tucker's left in England to the present - and the New Bern Tucker's - I think I need to do some traveling in order to accomplish it! I think this 52 Ancestors may help make a few connections. At least I hope!

  3. Just wanted to say hello. I'm one of the Tucker cousins who received the genealogy book from Carole. Thanks so much for putting the work into it..we've really enjoyed having it!
    Ann Tucker (great-grandaughter of John Tucker via his son Fred)

    1. Carole's son in law scanned all the picture pages from the family history book and I separated them and renamed them all - I had planned on emailing all of the Tuckers to see if anyone wanted a copy of the CD or the pictures put on a Jump Drive - along with Grand Aunt Calla's 1917 Botany notebook. Did you also get the book of family letters? I printed that one. I just read through all of the letters from England again. I am now using it to research John's brother William Tucker in England. I am doing a research paper for a 9 month Thursday night class at the University of Washington in Genealogy and Family History on William. I have done more research and I believe I have found John and William's maternal and paternal grandparents and their aunts and uncles on both sides. I am not going to be doing any more posts until the paper is done and presented on June 4th but I do plan on doing some on their grandparents - I still can't find anything much on their parents. I also plan to do their brothers Job and Henry, and sister Sarah - haven't found anything on the other siblings Isaac, Mary Ann, and Jo (Japtha). I have been doing research for 40 years now - but I have learned so much taking the class. One guy in the last class (2013-14) drove up from Portland to take the class. I am thinking he had to be under age 40 to do that!

  4. If you're in Seattle, and would like to get together sometime, pls let me know! I live just north of the university. I would love to see anything else you have. I have some copies of letters, but only a few. My email is, if you'd like to touch base further.
    So neat to run into a member of the family online!

  5. Oh and if you're on Facebook, I'm there too under Ann Tucker-Gwinn.