"Robert Tucker was made a Freeman in Weymouth in 1639. He afterward moved to Gloucester, where he was Representative to the General court in 1651 & 2 and Town Clerk to 1656, and where it is probable that some of his children were born. He returned to Weymouth, and held several important offices in the town. Further than this, his career there is somewhat obscure, but he was identified with that class that seemed raised up by Providence to meet the exigencies of the time in which he lived. He removed to Milton, Mass., about the time that town was incorporated in 1662, and purchased several adjoining lots on Brush Hill, of Widow Farnsworth, Elder Henry Withington, and Mrs. Fenno, containing in all about 117 acres, and bordering on lands that his son James had purchased some time previous. The Withington purchase was 51 acres, for which he paid 100 pounds."
"The hill has retained its original name, Brush Hill, down to the present time, and has been for years one of the most beautiful residential sections in Greater Boston, containing the summer homes of many wealthy people of New York and Boston. Robert (1) Tucker was Town Clerk of Milton, for several years, and the first records of the town are in his writing, which shows that he was the first Town Recorder. The answer of the General Court to the Town's Petition for incorporation is signed, "Robert Tucker." He represented Milton in the General Court in 1669, '80 and '81. Robert Tucker died March 11, 1682. His will was made four days before his death. His son, Manasseh, was willed the new house and four acres of land adjoining it. It being referred to as "the New house," in the will, made in 1682 shows that it was built about 1681 making it one of the oldest houses now standing in Mass. Robert Tucker was active in religious matters. He was an earnest member of the Congregational Church, and with his good wife who was Elizabeth Allen, brought up a large family, all of whom had Bible names, and became heads of Christian homes. Robert Tucker was a member of the Church Committee, who engaged Rev. Peter Thatcher as Pastor of the Milton Church. In his diary, which is a valuable addition to the history of those early times, Rev. Thatcher makes frequent mention of both Mr. and Mrs. Tucker, sometimes calling him "Father Tucker," and sometimes "Goodman Tucker," but always in a manner denoting love and respect. His services as attending Pastor to Robert Tucker during the period of feebleness preceding his death, are most touching, as he describes the gradual failing of that remarkable life-force which made him father, like the patriarchs of old, to a family who became numerous, and are settled in all parts of the country, from Vermont to California, including among later generations, Col. Green, husband of Hetty Robinson of Howland descent; former Secretary of the Navy, William E. Chandler; former President of Dartmouth College, William Jewett Tucker; and many other notable men and women.
"Robert (1) Tucker occupied an important and highly useful position in the Town and the church during the earliest years of the settlement, and his numerous descendants have been among the most active and influential of our citizens through the entire history of the town.
"Members of this family have graced the pulpit, the Army, and the Representative halls of the country. From the beginning, they have filled important offices of trust in the town and in the church."
(From the History of Milton).
Robert (1) Tucker died March 11, 1682, and was buried March 13th. He and Elizabeth his wife, were the parents of 11 children, all of whom had Bible names and became heads of Christian families. At the time of his death there were 18 grandchildren.
In "Hurd's History of Norfolk Co. Mass.," in the historical sketch of Milton, the writer closes his tribute to Robert Tucker with these words: "He was held in much esteem by his neighbors, and his character and education exercised an important influence here. His handwriting indicates a gentleman familiar with the pen."
If the choice of our first American Ancestor lay with us, we might search the early New England Records in vain, to find a better character than Robert (1) Tucker of Milton.
MANASSEH (2) TUCKER
Manasseh (2), 7th child of Robert and Elizabeth (Allen) Tucker was born in 1654, probably in Weymouth. He married, Dec. 29, 1676, Waitstill, eldest daughter of Roger, and Mary (Joslyn) Sumner. Roger Sumner was son of William Sumner, who was born in England, and made a Freeman in 1657. The Sumner family were a notable one, with coat of arms and motto "In medio tutissimus ibis." This motto was adopted by Increase (5) Sumner, who was Gov. of Mass. for two consecutive terms. He descended from William (2) Sumner, through Increase (4), Edward (3), and George (2), who had a brother Increase (2). Roger Sumner married Mary, daughter of Thomas Joselyn, of Lancaster, Mass. (formerly Hingham) who with his wife and four children were among the passengers in the ship "Increase" that embarked from London for New England, April 17, 1625. Mary was at that time "one year old."
Roger and Mary (Joslyn) Sumner later became residents of Milton, and he was a Deacon of the Church. Manasseh Tucker and his wife Waitstill (Sumner) Tucker, were residents of Milton, Mass. and prominent in the affairs of the town long before Robert's death, after which they occupied the ancestral mansion on Brush Hill Road at the head of Robbins St., which Robert (1) willed to his son Manasseh. It would seem that Robert Tucker had an appreciation of nature, for no memories of England, and the estates of Weymouth and Milton suburban to London with their sea views and broad range of scenery could be more lovely than this commanding site which he selected for his American home. We are happy today in our knowledge that not only is Robert (1) our ancestor, but that our descent is through Ensign Manasseh (2), a worthy son of his pioneer father, and the seventh of his children.
Manasseh (2) was made a Freeman in 1678. In 1711, he with three others, Samuel Miller, John Wadsworth, and Moses Belcher, bought about 3,000 acres of land of the town of Boston, lying in Braintree, and called "The Blue Hill Lands," abutting on the southern boundary of Milton. In 1703 Moses Belcher deeded one fourth of the land to his three associates for $385, and the same year it was equally divided between them, one half of the whole tract being annexed to Milton, the remainder to Braintree. In voting for Deacons of the Church "Ensign Manasseh Tucker had 29 votes so was made the Senior Deacon; Ebenezer Wadsworth received 18 votes, so was also elected. Both men were ordained as Deacons June 28, 1719.
"During the pastorate of Rev. John Taylor, Deacon Manasseh Tucker, the last of the original twelve who founded the church, died April 9, 1743." (Robert (1) was one of the twelve). Deacon Manasseh (2) and his worthy helpmeet Waitstill (Sumner) are buried in the ancient cemetery in Milton. Waitstill (Sumner) Tucker was born Dec. 20, 1661 and died March 19, 1748. They were the parents of eight children. Ebenezer was the oldest. A descendant of his, Mr. Arthur Tucker is one of the prominent citizens of Milton today and has a beautiful home in a fine locality. The town still has various descendants of Robert and Manasseh. Our ancestor was Benjamin the youngest son.
That the name is venerated in Milton, is shown in the fact that there is a Tucker Street, and a fine public school building, recently completed, and named "The Tucker School."
BENJAMIN (3) TUCKER
Benjamin (3) Tucker, youngest son of Manasseh (2) and Waitstill (Sumner) Tucker, was born in Milton, Mass., Aug. 18, 1705. He removed to Middleboro, Mass., where he settled on the bank of the Taunton river, which separates Northern Middleboro from South Bridgewater. Here he married Sarah, daughter of Capt. Nathaniel and Elizabeth (Willis) Woodward. She was born in Bridgewater, in 1712. Her mother, Elizabeth (Willis) Woodward, was daughter of Benjamin (2) son of John (1) and Susanna (daughter of Thos. Whitman) Willis. Dea. John (1) Willis and his wife Elizabeth are recorded in Duxbury as early as 1637, where he was one of the original proprietors. His wife, Elizabeth, was the widow of William Palmer, Jr.; her maiden name was Hodgkins. The will of John (1) Willis was dated 1692, and proved in 1693. Capt. Nathaniel Woodward and his wife lived on the South Bridgewater side of the Taunton river. The bridge across the river at this point is still called Woodward's Bridge. Benjamin and Sarah (Woodward) Tucker, united with the Congregational Church of Middleboro, March 24, 1729. In Nov. 1745, Benjamin Tucker was chosen deacon of the church. He held the office of selectman of Middleboro for the years 1748 '49, '50, and '52. He was town treasurer in 1754, and representative to the General Court at Boston in 1746. He was coroner for Plymouth County in 1754, '55, and '62. The history of the town of Middleboro contains many references to this industrious, Godfearing, and public-spirited man. Benjamin Tucker died July 9, 1781. His wife died March 13, 1779. Their children were Woodward, Dr. Benjamin Jr., Samuel, and Sarah, who never married. The oldest son, Woodward, married Mercy Tinkham. He died in early life, leaving a son, Daniel, who married Hannah Dunbar of Howland descent. They were the parents of nineteen children. The second son of Benjamin (3) and Sarah (Woodward) Tucker became our ancestor, the Vermont pioneer.
DR. BENJAMIN (4) TUCKER
Dr. Benjamin (4) Tucker Jr., son of Benjamin (3) and Sarah (Woodward) Tucker, was born in Middleboro, Mass., in 1738. He married Mary, (or Polly), Thomas, in 1760, and joined the Congregational Church in Middleboro, Sept. 8 1776.
Dr. Tucker served in the war of the Revolution, enlisting at various times in the Military companies who were doing duty in the Alarm Expeditions which were made necessary because of British activities around Boston. It would seem that, in serving his profession, he rendered aid to his country in its time of great need, by enlisting for short periods; for we read of him in several regiments, as "enlisted," "reported a Doctor;" then "discharged." If these records of short service had been for incompetency, he would not have been reenlisted, as we find, with Capt. William Tupper's Co., Col. Ebenezer Sprout's Reg't., where he entered service, May 6, and was discharged May 9; again, he entered Sept 6 and was discharged Sept. 12; service, 9 days, "reported a Doctor." This Co. marched from Middleboro to Dartmouth on two alarms in 1778. At this stage of our family history, considering the crisis in the affairs of the country, it is not strange that Dr. Tucker should seek, at the close of the war, a home further from the more thickly settled centres; where he could practice his profession and bring up his family in the newer country of Vermont, towards which there was quite a trend at this time; so we find them removing, in 1780, to Randolph, Vermont, a town that was being settled by a good class of people from Conn. as well as Mass. That Dr. Tucker resembled his good forbears, there is no doubt; for we find him helping in the founding of the Congregational Church of this town. In 1785, "Dr. Benjamin Tucker, Lieut. John Bacon, and Capt. Joshua Hendee were a committee of three to wait on Rev. Elijah Brainerd, and give him a call to become the pastor of the newly organized church." Dr. Tucker lived in Randolph over twelve years and there saw his sons and daughters married. Between the years 1792 and 1796, he moved with his son Woodward's family, over the mountain to Pittsfield, where other Mass. families were settling at this time; and also, some Durkees from Conn., relatives of his daughter-in-law, Lucy Anna, whose father, Lieut. Timothy Durkee, was living in Royalton, a near-by town. Dr. Tucker seems to have had something of the pioneer spirit; a natural inheritance, fostered, perhaps, by his experience in the war; which, then, as in recent times, tends to make men fearless and restless. These two families, according to the early records of Pittsfield, were among the town's first settlers. Sickness and misfortune overtook them here; and they were victims, with many others, of after war conditions, and hardships which were the result of Vermont's struggle for her own independence, as well as her patriotic effort to aid in the war against England, which was partly fought within her borders, owing to her proximity to Canada, on the North, and Lake Champlain, on the West. About 1813, the family of Woodward Tucker having moved to Whitehall N.Y., Dr. Benjamin is supposed to have gone there also. The exact burial place of these two families is not yet located. Dr. Tucker died about 1815. He and his wife, Mary (Thomas) Tucker, were the parents of seven children: five sons and two daughters, Benjamin, Joseph, Woodward, Ephraim, Lazarus, Sally, and Ruth; all of whom, with their father, the Doctor, moved from Middleboro, Mass., to Randolph, Vt., in 1780.
Woodward (5) Tucker, was born in Middleboro, Mass., about 1765. He was the third child of Dr. Benjamin (4), and his wife Mary (or Polly) (Thomas) Tucker. He moved with his parents to Randolph, Vt., in 1780. He married Lucy Ann, daughter of Timothy and Lucy Anna (Smalley) Durkee, of Royalton, Vt. The date of his marriage is not known. His early life was spent among many stirring scenes pertaining to the Revolutionary War, and its activities. He doubtless experienced also, with his parents, many trials due to conditions following their change of residence, from prosperous towns like Milton and Middleboro to the wilds of the bleak and mountainous Vermont. As the main object of this Family History is to trace the ancestral lines of Jireh Tucker, through his father and mother, as well as to preserve the record of his descendants, it is fitting to say, right here, that we believe the early settlers of New England, from 1620 to 1800, had as "hard a row to hoe," the last fifty years, as they did the first fifty. The third and fourth generations had to contend against conditions brought about by the great war with the mother country.
Many suffered from broken down health as a result. About the time the two Tucker families moved from Randolph to Pittsfield, an epidemic broke out in that section of the state, similar to our modern grippe or "flu." Many died. Others were left to suffer years from its effects. Among this number was Woodward Tucker. We are glad to record that the poor man so far recovered, in 1813, as to leave the scene of his misfortunes, and begin life anew in Whitehall, N.Y. He is supposed to have died in, or near, this town.
We are justified in thinking that our great-grandfather lived up to the high standard of his parents and of their families; for his name, like that of his wife, Lucy Ann, has been kept in our line through two generations. We found ample proof of his industry, and of the fact that he was "getting ahead," when his health gave way. The children of Woodward and Lucy Ann (Durkee) Tucker were, Lucy, Aden, Jireh, Elias, and Heman. So far as we know, all except Jireh became residents of the state of New York. Two of the descendants of Lucy, the oldest child, are: Mrs. Laura (Hotchkiss) Swetland, (Mrs. C. E. D.) of Yakima, Wash. Mrs. Swetland is the daughter of Amanda (Smith), wife of William A. Hotchkiss; Amanda was the youngest child of Capt. Archibald and Lucy (Tucker) Smith, of Whitehall, N.Y. Capt. Smith was the owner of sailing vessels on Lake Champlain. They were the parents of four children: Orange Archibald, Lucy Ann, Heman Woodward, and Amanda Smith, all born at Whitehall, N.Y. The family of Capt. Smith moved finally to Albany, N.Y. Here he died April 28, 1853, ae. 68. Mrs. Smith died in Minneapolis, Minn., April 20, 1871, ae. 83. She is buried at Anoka, Minn. On the Hotchkiss side, Mrs. Swetland is descended from Gen. Andrew Hull. Mr. and Mrs. Swetland are the parents of four children: John Wm. of Aberdeen, Wash.; Mrs. Esther Marie Van Bergh, and husband, live in Kent, near Seattle, Wash.; Gladys (Mrs. J. W.) Boben, of Reading, Pa.; and Charles H. Swetland, of Camp Lewis, Wash. Another cousin on the Tucker side was Mrs. Emma (Hubbard) Marks, of Minneapolis, Minn. She was the daughter of Lucy (Smith) Hubbard, wife of Henry L. Hubbard, and their only child. She married Jeremiah Marks, who died some years ago, and we regret to record her recent death, which leaves her only child, a daughter, Miss Frances. A. Marks, who still resides in Minneapolis, where she continues her position with the "Insurance Co. of North America." Mrs. Marks and Mrs. Swetlands were own cousins, and both have given us necessary information, without which this work would not have been possible. Their sympathetic response, and cordial reciprocation to the newly-found relationship, makes us feel that, though we may never meet, we have the satisfaction of knowing we are of the same old New England stock.
LUCY ANN (DURKEE) TUCKER, WIFE OF WOODWARD (5) TUCKER
Lucy Ann Durkee, daughter of Timothy and Lucy Ann (Smalley) Durkee, was born in Woodbury, Conn., Feb. 20, 1767; from Pomfret, (near Woodbury) her parents moved to Hanover, N.H., where they lived a few years. From there they moved to Royalton, Vt., about 1770. The date of her marriage to Woodward (5) Tucker we do not know. She died in 1841, ae. 74. Our Durkee line in New England dates from our emigrant ancestor, William (1) of Ipswich, Mass., who married Martha, daughter of Robert (1) Cross. Their son, Deacon John (2) married Hannah Bennett for his 2nd wife. They moved to Conn., and were the parents of Nathaniel (3), who married Mary Baker. Their son Timothy (4), married Lucy Anna Smalley, daughter of Benjamin Smalley of Lebanon, Conn., and English weaver. Lucy's mother was either Lydia, or Mary Allen. (Historians differ as to which of Joseph Allen's sisters married Mr. Smalley.) In either case Lucy Anna Smalley was first cousin to Generals Ethan and Ira Allen, and came from the same locality. Timothy (4) Durkee was one of the first settlers of Royalton. When the town was chartered and allotted in 1781, he was among the original proprietors. At the time of the burning of the town by the Indians, his home was located on the lot known as the old Rix place, not far from the North Royalton cemetery. The Indians destroyed his house and barns, except a small one which they declared (so the history says) "was too green to burn."
This served as a home for the family all winter. Two sons of Mr. Durkee were taken prisoners, Andrew and Aden. Andrew was released, but Aden was taken to Canada, and there died in prison. "Timothy Durkee was in Hanover N.H. in 1773 where he served as pound keeper. In 1775, he was one of a com. to purchase arms and ammunition." After coming to Royalton, he served as jury man. He and his wife appear on the earliest records of the church. They were more liberal in doctrine than the generality of people of that time, and Mr. Durkee afterwards joined a Bethel church. His farm became one of the largest and finest in town, consisting of 260 acres, 70 of which was land which he and his sons had cleared. He was selectman in 1779; but after that date seems to have eschewed politics, although the town meetings were often held at his home.
During the War of the Revolution, he was an active participant; for we read in various places, in "Vermont in the Revolution" of moneys "paid to Timothy Durkee" for use of teams (including oxen); also for 1600 ft. boards, at 3 pounds sterling per 1oo, to be used in building "Fort Fortitude," in Bethel. He enlisted, as a private, in Capt. Jacob Safford's Reg't., "Vermont Rangers." Heman Durkee, his son, was Corp. of the same Co. in which his father was a private; while down in Conn., the grandfather, Capt. Nathaniel (3) was quartermaster in the Seventh Reg't., of the Conn. Line; making three generations who were in the great war with England, a most unusual thing, giving us two Revolutionary ancestors in one line; for we cannot count Corp. Heman, as our descent is through his sister, Lucy Ann. Later, in the State Militia, Timothy became a Lieut., and his son, Corp. Heman, became a Col. Timothy (4) and Lucy Anna Durkee were the parents of nine children (and perhaps ten). The first five were born in Conn. Their names were Heman, Adin, Timothy, Lucy Anna, Andrew, Harvey, Sheldon, Jireh, Lorena, and perhaps, Thomas. So far as we can judge, the name Durkee has always been an honorable one. There are many interesting facts about the different branches, to which we might refer, would time and space permit.
The History of Royalton gives a very complete account of the family. When Utah was admitted as a state, the first Governor appointed by the President was Charles Durkee, son of Harvey Durkee, and, therefore, a cousin of our grandfather, Jireh Tucker. Mr. Cornelius E. Durkee, of Saratoga Springs, N.Y., a son of Paoli, the Gov's brother, has recently completed a valuable genealogy on the Durkee family, begun by his father. This manuscript is now in the hands of Mr. J. E. Durkee, of Anaheim, Calif., who is attending to its publication. He will, no doubt, bring out, also, in this work, his theory as to the European origin of the family, and the name, as he is a close student of Nomenclature. We shall then understand, perhaps, whether we are of a noble Norman family, named D'Arcy, or descended from a stern old Irish chief Durgie, or from the union of one Nicholas D'Arcy and Jane, the only daughter of Chief Durgie.
JIREH (6) TUCKER
Jireh (6) TUCKER was born April 16, 1792 in Randolph Vt. He was the third child of Woodward and Lucy Anna (Durkee) TUCKER. He lived with his parents in the town of his birth, the town of Pittsfield, and later, in Whitehall, N.Y.
He came to Royalton, Vt., in 1815. He showed the same spirit of enterprise at the beginning of his career that marked his later life. He was not long in winning for a wife Achsa, daughter of Cyrus Tracy of Bethel. He bought the Isaac Morgan farm, in what is known as "Happy Valley," which lies east of the first ridge of hills that rise at the traveler's right as he journeys from South to North Royalton, about half-way between the two villages. Here he labored, in the town where his mother was reared, and where his grandfather, Timothy Durkee, had been an active pioneer. Jireh and Achsa (Tracy) TUCKER were the parents of twelve children. Two daughters died in childhood, but six sons and four daughters were brought up on this rugged, hillside farm, and taught, by precept and example, lessons in industry and right living. The "Red Schoolhouse," down by the "Buck Turn," and the Academy at North Royalton gave them all very good "Common School" educations. Two of their sons received the higher education, and became Baptist ministers: Cyrus, and Jireh, Jr. The oldest daughter, Lucy Ann, married a Methodist minister, Rev. Joseph Warren Guernsey, of Brandon, Vt., whom she met while a student at Newbury Seminary. They taught together at Marlow Academy before Mr. Guernsey entered upon the work of the ministry. Martha Jane, a younger daughter, married a Baptist clergyman, Sullivan Adams. She, also, received an advanced education, for those days, of which she made good use. The other members of Grandfather's family all married into good circles, and became useful citizens of their own or some distant state. Like his grandfather, Durkee, he was a man of sterling character, full of energy and public spirit, frequently holding town office, and showing a patriotic interest in the affairs of the town and state. He enlisted in the war of 1812, at Fort Fenwick, Conn, but was not long in service. He received an honorable discharge, and was pensioned in old age. Before Grandmother's death in 1868, he sold the farm to his son Leonard, who was a farmer, and a very successful breeder of Morgan horses. He made the old farm quite famous as the home of the celebrated "Draco," owned by the Boston firm of Stickney and Poor. Old residents of Royalton today speak in glowing terms of Leonard Tucker as a lover of horses and a well known trainer at that time. Other good words were said of him as a man full of kindness and good will to very one. After his wife's death, Jireh Tucker went West to visit his children, who had settled there. He was a well-preserved and genial old gentleman, gallant as ever.
He married, April 11, 1872, at Hillsboro, Montgomery Co., Ill, Mrs. Martha Wetmore. She and her daughter, Mrs. Mock, had a comfortable home and cared for him tenderly in his declining years. He died Jan. 31 1878, and is buried in Litchfield, Ill. His widow survived him about six years. His picture and a sketch of his life may be found in the Royalton Town History, one of the finest town histories in the country.