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Untangling the Tucker Lineage
I have spent years researching the Tucker line. From the vast documentary and DNA evidence I have uncovered, I am 99.9% confident I have the correct lineage. But there are still a few gaps that I want to fill that would provide definitive evidence. Considering that my research has identified a different branch for our family than the Tucker Genealogy published by one of my 2nd uncles, I want to document that additional .01% so I can be 100% confident. If you are reading this, maybe you have the missing links I am looking for. If so, please reach out!
I will start with what I know and work backwards. Here is a fan chart of the family branches that will be referred to in this post. If you are registered and logged in to this site, you may click here for a larger, more detailed version.
Photo of the home that George and Eliza Tucker lived in on River Rd., Lebanon, ME
George was a shoemaker in one of the local shoe factories in Rochester. He and Eliza lived on River Road in Lebanon and had three sons: Ernest (our ancestor 1872-1946), Charles (1876-1966), and Eugene (1880-1969).
George died on 6 May 1916 from cancer (carcinoma of the lip, according to his death record – family lure remembers that he smoked a pipe). Eliza had died just 6 months before on 8 Dec 1913 of pneumonia. Both are buried in the cemetery on River Rd in Lebanon.
George had a sister, also named Eliza. Eliza was born in 1844 in Vermont, but in 1868 she was living in New Hampshire too and married Charles W. Mace. She and Charles lived in Portsmouth and Eliza died on 23 May 1915.
I have not found official birth records for either George Tucker or his sister Eliza Tucker. However their births and parents are documented in a Weston, Vermont town history.
While the details are a bit sparse, we can tell from this record that George and Eliza were the children of Moses W. Tucker and Judith. Only years are provided for the births of both George and Eliza, but I was able to determine actual birth dates by calculating backwards from the death records.
Moses W. Tucker and Judith French
Judith’s maiden surname is unlisted in the town records, but from her marriage record we know that she was Judith French born 20 Mar 1811 in Tewksbury, Massachusetts to Loammi French and Anna Frost. The birth dates of Moses and Judith as listed in this town history were taken from census surveys which we know are often inaccurate, as we will see they were in this case.
Here is where things get a little messy.
The records show that Moses W Tucker was actually born 13 Apr 1814 in Shirley, Massachusetts (before his parents immigrated to VT) – not 1818. He also had a brother Joseph (1812-1870), and two sisters, Abigail (1810-1890) and Sarah (I have found little trace of Sarah in the historical records other than an 1830 Census in which her father was enumerated as living with two teenage female children).
The source of the Shirley, Massachusetts birth records was the records of the local doctor who had delivered the children. The record states that a son was born to Joseph Tucker on 13 Apr 1814. Even though this son hasn’t been listed by name, we can make a reasonable assumption that this is Moses based on a few other facts.
As mentioned above, Moses had a brother named Joseph, and Joseph’s 1870 death record is clear that he was born on 16 Apr 1812 in Shirley, so we can rule him out as the son born in 1814.
The fact that these two sons were born in Shirley, Massachusetts (and likely their sister Abigail too, born in 1810 according to her death record, and possibly Sarah) make sense considering that Moses and Joseph’s parents – Joseph Tucker (1782-1853) and Abigail “Nabby” Leland Whitcomb (1777-1860) – were married 0n 3 Apr 1808, in Acton, Massachusetts. Acton and Shirley are only about 15 miles apart. We’ll come back to Joseph and Nabby soon, but first, some more interesting facts about Moses and Judith.
Although Moses was from Vermont and Judith from Massachusetts, on 19 Sep 1842 they were married in Rochester, NH by the Methodist minister William D. Cass. They would have been married in the original Methodist-Episcopal chapel as the current building was built in 1868.
It is approximately 125 miles between Rochester, NH and Weston, VT and even today by car, close to a three hour drive. You can only imagine how much longer the trip would have been by horse and buggy in 1842. I’m not totally sure how accurate it is, but I have read that you were only able to travel 10-20 miles per day by horse and buggy. That is a long trip! Judith wasn’t even from Vermont. She was born in and lived in Tewksbury, Massachusetts. Tewksbury is 130 miles from Weston and 65 miles from Rochester.
QUESTION #1: How did Moses and Judith meet and how did they end up marrying in Rochester, NH?
I have no explanation for this question; only speculation. In the 1840s, Rochester had developed into a well-known mill town with 6 tanneries, a sawmill, a fulling mill, and 2 gristmills. It had also become known for manufacturing textiles. The Mechanics Company established in 1834 produced woolen blankets and The Norway Plains Woolen Company also manufactured blankets (still in operation in the 1860s and 1870s they produced the blankets used by the Union Army in the Civil War). Perhaps Moses and Judith had both gone to Rochester independently seeking work. Perhaps they met here and fell in love resulting in the 1842 marriage. However it happened, we know that by 1845 when Eliza was born and 1847 when George was born, Moses and Judith were living back in Vermont in or near Weston where the rest of Moses’ family lived.
QUESTION #2: An additional mystery surrounds what brought George and Eliza to Rochester, NH after 1860?
QUESTION #3: Where, how, and when did Moses and Judith die? What happened to them after 1860?
Remember George and Eliza were born in Vermont. Their parents were married in Rochester but had returned to Vermont prior to their births.
The last trace we have of Moses, Judith, George and Eliza in Vermont was the 1860 census. On 25 July 1860, the family of 4 was enumerated in Andover, Vermont (very near Weston). They did not own real estate but did report personal property valued at $220. Birth places and ages are being misreported (in the case of the ages, it appears swapped). However, especially at this time in history, because of the way a Census was conducted (a neighbor could report for a family that wasn’t home, for example), it is very common to find inaccuracies.
By the time of the 1870 census Moses and Judith “disappeared” from the records but George and Eliza were living in or near Rochester, NH where they both married and raised families, and where many of their descendants remain today (including me).
I have searched the Census, death, and probate records in and around Weston and Andover, Vermont extensively, looking for Moses and Judith. I have searched throughout Southern, Maine and New Hampshire on the assumption they had moved with their children. Given the dates, I have searched Civil War records. I have researched Judith’s family in Massachusetts and searched that area. I’ve personally walked through graveyards they may be in. I have come up completely empty handed.
What happened to Moses and Judith and how did George and Eliza end up in Maine/New Hampshire? I won’t give up until I find an answer.
Joseph Tucker and Abigail “Nabby” Leland Whitcomb
We may never know the exact date, but sometime before 1830 Joseph Tucker moved his growing family to Andover, Vermont. This is where we find him enumerated in the 1830 Census living with an adult female, two male children, and two female children. These were the days when not all household members were named, but the age brackets roughly line up with what we would expect from this family.
From a deed that I personally found while doing an in-person search of town records in Weston, Vermont, we know that on 6 May 1839 Joseph purchased property in Weston from a Nathan Fullerton.
Today, Weston is a charming village that takes great pride in their history. I have visited Weston twice, but each were just brief visits, giving me enough time to do a fast search of land records, walk through the graveyard, and visit the museum run by the local Historical Society. I am hoping to go back in the future when I can spend however much time it takes to do a more thorough search of the records going back to the founding of the town, kept in two small storerooms just off the town clerk’s office.
Photograph of Weston Village in 1908.; just 50 years after the 1840s-1860s when our Tucker relatives lived here.
The next record we have of the Tucker family is the 1850 Census. At this time the family was in Weston and Joseph and Nabby were living next door to Moses, Judith, and their two grandchildren, Eliza and George. Both Joseph and Moses are listed as farmers, and $400 in real estate is attributed to Moses.
However, Moses was not the owner. Joseph was. We know this from the previous land record that I noted. Dated 6 Sep 1953, on this day Joseph (Sr.) sold his property to Joseph (Jr.) and Joseph Jr.’s wife Lucy for $400.
Perhaps this is when Moses and Judith moved their family to Andover, Vermont, where we found them in 1860.
We can speculate that Joseph Sr. sold his land when he did because he knew the end was close. The deed specified that he and Nabby would be able to live on and receive part of the income from the farm until the
end of their lives. This sounds like a pretty good retirement plan to me!
But Joseph didn’t live long. Just 2 months later, he died on 28 November 1853 and as his death record specified, I found his gravestone in the New Village Cemetery.
Nabby lived a bit longer, until 24
July 1860 when she died from “inflammation of the bowels.” I have searched the area quite extensively but have been unable to find a gravestone for her.
The library of Congress has a map of Windsor County, Vermont in 1856 and in the section for Weston, we can clearly see where Joseph Tucker Jr. now owned the land that was once his father’s.
Question #4: How can I find documentary proof that Moses W. Tucker was the son of Joseph Tucker and Nabby Whitcomb?
The preponderance of evidence indicates that Moses was indeed Joseph and Nabby’s son. However, his birth record has no first name, Census records confuse his dates of birth and birth place, his marriage record does not specify his parents, and his death record has never been found. Since we have proof that Joseph Jr. was the son of Joseph Sr., perhaps evidence exists that would tie Joseph and Moses together as brothers. If so, I have never found it. But my search continues…
Joseph Tucker’s Parents
In the Tucker Family History published by Ernest Shorey Tucker Jr. (the version I have a digital copy of was published in 2001), Joseph’s father was identified as another Joseph Tucker, and indicated that he was born in New Ipswich, NH in 1782 and died in 1863. His father Joseph was said to have been born in Kingston, NH in 1748 and married to a woman named Martha Woolsen.
I want to note that this Tucker Family History is a dense 208 pages long and was an immense research effort, much of it completed before the Internet which makes it all the more impressive. My independent research has shown the vast majority of the book is correct, and I will ever be grateful for the research that my 2nd uncle completed. However, he unfortunately identified the wrong family as the family of our Joseph Tucker. My research has indicated that the other Joseph Tucker from New Ipswich eventually moved to New York and died there. He identified the wrong lineage.
Our Joseph Tucker was born on 20 Feb 1782 in Marlborough, New Hampshire, the son of Moses Tucker (1744-1813 and a Lieutenant in the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War) and Sarah Temple.
This means that all of the ancestors of Joseph Tucker identified in the Tucker Family History are incorrect. The correct lineage from Joseph to our first immigrant ancestor Robert Tucker is as follows:
I am NOT a DNA expert. In fact, I struggle to understand it. However, having spent years of research on this Tucker lineage, I wanted to verify it. The only way to do this through DNA is a Y-DNA test that identifies the paternal lineage, and to do that you must find a direct male descendant. That is what I set out to do, and asked a son of Ernest Tucker Jr. if he would be willing to take a Y-DNA test. Happily, he did.
I admit that I do not fully understand these results, although his matches, many of which indicate Robert Tucker (1604-1682) as their earliest ancestor (which is the same I have found–see above), have certainly increased my confidence in my research.
For those that this may actually mean something to, I will tell you that our Tucker line is from the R-M269 Haplogroup. This is the most common European Haplogroup and is believed to have originated about 10,000 years ago near the beginning of the Neolithic Revolution. In current days, this Haplogroup is found in low frequencies in Turkey and the northern Fertile Crescent, while its highest frequencies are in Western Europe.
If anyone reading this understands DNA and is open to helping me better interpret the results, I will greatly appreciate your help. So please reach out to me!
24 July 2019 UPDATE: Just 6 days after I first published this post I have been in touch with a distant cousin through our common ancestor Robert Tucker (1604-1682). He is far better versed in analyzing Y-DNA results than I will ever be and he helped me CONFIRM that I have the correct line. YAY! This means that we can say with certainty that we are in the MA1 category in the Tucker DNA Project. However, I am still looking for information regarding Moses Tucker and Judith French Tucker. Specifically, when and where they died. If you are reading this and have any ideas, please reach out.