MARTHA ELLEN TUCKER
The state of Maine has supplied to the west some of its most excellent citizens and more than one member of the old family of Dingley has become prominent in one way or another. One of its most notable representatives in public life for many years was the Hon. Nelson Dingley, editor and statesman and author of the Dingley tariff bill. Of this same family came Samuel Dingley, an honored California pioneer of 1850, who was born in Maine in 1810 and married Mrs. Sarah Sherman, also a native of the Pine Tree state. Samuel and Sarah (Sherman) Dingley, who were the parents of Martha Ellen Tucker, of Modesto, Stanislaus County, have a most interesting history in connection with early modern civilization in California. Mr. Dingley came to this state fifty years ago by way of the Isthmus of Panama and mined at different camps and kept hotel at Keeler’s Ferry.
In 1853 he sent for his wife and she came from her old home in the east by way of the Isthmus, bringing with her her two little daughters, Martha Ellen and Emma Frances. The latter died September 21, 1879, age twenty-nine years, and the former is now Mrs. Tucker, who has kindly furnished to the editors of this work the brief history of her parents and her family here given and who at this date (1900) has been a resident of California for half a century. She relates that the family remained at Keeler’s Ferry for some time, until their hotel was destroyed by fire. They then removed to Knight’s Ferry, Stanislaus County, and Mr. Dingley built another hotel on Buena Vista hill. This second hotel was burned, as is supposed, by Indians, but was rebuilt by Mr. Dingley and managed by him until it was again burned, without insurance, after which he engaged in stock raising on his ranch above Knight’s Ferry, an enterprise which he continued with success until he removed to Oakdale, where after several years he died June 30, 1886, at the residence of his daughter in his seventy-sixth years, as the result of an injury received by being thrown from his buggy. He was an intelligent, progressive citizen, a Republican, and during the war a strong Union man. His good wife died October 17, 1874, in the fifty-sixth year of her age. A son and a daughter were born to Mr. and Mrs. Dingley after they came to California: Albert Dingley, now the county clerk of Stanislaus County; and Etta, who is the wife of John Richards of Fresno.
Martha Ellen Dingley attended the public school at Knight’s Ferry and finished her education at the Stockton Female Seminary. She was married at Knight’s Ferry, December 17, 1868, to Simon Enslen, who left his old home in the east and crossed the plains to California in 1854 and became a prominent sheep grower and general businessman, popular for his personal worth. Mr. Enslen died January 22, 1880, aged forty-eight years, leaving a widow and two daughters, in good circumstances. His elder daughter is the wife of Albert Holthom; his young daughter is the wife of John McMahon, and both live at Modesto. February 15, 1882, Mrs. Enslen married John Franklin Tucker, a native of Kentucky and a member of an old and respected family of that state and a prominent businessman of Modesto, where, as a member of the firm of Tucker & Perley, he is a leader in real estate circles. Their union has been blessed by the birth of two sons, Clarence Eugene and Elmer Carlyle. Mr. and Mrs. Tucker have a wide acquaintance throughout central California and Mrs. Tucker is highly esteemed by early settlers in all parts of the state.
Transcribed by Gerald Iaquinta.
© 2010 Gerald Iaquinta.