Thursday, January 28, 2010

The History of James Tucker (1836-1925)

This is the text to a slide show presentation that my Mom and Dad did in 1996 that highlights the life of James.

    We, here today are descended from James Tucker and Betsy Lerwill.  As decendants of Tuckers our roots go deep into England-Devonshire.  John Tucker, father of James, was born at Goodleigh, Devon, Eng.  His wife Susan Blackmore was born at Kentisbury, Devon. Eng.  Their 1st child, James Tucker, was born at East Down, Devon, Eng.  Betsy's father, William Lerwill was born at Kentisbury, Devon, Eng.  His wife, Mary Rawle was also born at Kentisbury, Devon.  Their daughter, Betsy Lerwill, was born at East Down, Devon, Eng.  James and Betsy were raised in East Down.
    James Tucker wrote two invaluable autobiographies.  We have combined them to tell the story of James and Betsy.  James Tucker wrote:  My schooling was very limited - only about 4 months.  Most of my early years were passed in my father's tailor shop.  When 14 years old I was bound by contract to my uncle John Blackmore for 5 years to learn the trade of cordwainer - or shoemaker.  When about 19 years old I went to Exeter the capital of Devonshire for further instruction for one year.  I returned to Kentisbury at the age of 20 and started business for myself.
    Up to the date of Aug. 1859 I had investigated eight different forms of worship, all claiming to be the correct plan of salvation.  I petitioned my Heavenly Father, and in that prayer I quoted James - 1st chapter, verse 5.  "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally,    and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him."  And I received my answer.  I became acquainted with Mormon Elders who were visiting our locality and I was baptized in Oct. 1859.  The unpopularity of the Mormon doctrine caused some of my patrons and friends to forsake me.  The spirit of gathering to Zion rested upon me and in March 1860 I made the preparation to emigrate.     Previous to this, I had formed a very friendly acquaintance with Betsy Lerwill who also had joined the Church.  She and I in the company of our esteemed friend Richard Fry and his wife Ann and about 500 others, sailed on the ship "Underwriter."  We landed in New York.  From there we travelled by train to Florence, Nebraska which was called the outfitting place and we made preparations to continue our travels across the plains to Utah.
    In the month of June 1860 - I and Betsy Lerwill were married at Florence, Nebraska by Elder J. D. Ross. Richard Fry and I purchased two yoke of oxen, two cows and a wagon.  About 30 wagons made up the train which started in June from Florence.  Our entire company consisted of 30 wagons.  The journey from Florence, Nebraska to Utah took eleven weeks.  The distance travelled each day varied from 12 to 20 miles.  The health of the company was good.  Everyone was congenial and sociable.  The entire trip was remarkable.  We arrived in Salt Lake City in September.  I think it was the 11th of the month.
    My wife and I resided in Salt Lake until the spring of 1862, when we moved to Morgan, Utah.  I purchased a farm consisting of 40 acres.  Our first home was built of cottonwood logs.  The roof of the house was of lumber covered with dirt.  Our lights were made with a button and a rag, set in a saucer of fat.
    In the year of 1863, after our second child was born, my wife Betsy was very sick and lay confined to her bed for thirteen weeks.  At one time her spirit left her body for 36 hours and during this time I heard her sing twice.  Her burial clothes were being prepared, but through the power of the priesthood she was restored to health.  She worked very hard.  She was a devoted wife and mother.  Largely through her faith and works we succeeded in raising all 12 of our children to maturity.
    Our lot and farm were in an uncultivated condition, but when properly cultivated produced everything to our satisfaction.  In 1869 we were visited by grass hoppers in such vast numbers that the sun was hidden from our view.  In many instances entire crops were destroyed by them.  One season, we obtained only one kettle of potatoes, our entire crop being destroyed, and only 300 bushels of grain were raised in the whole valley.  In 1870 a general Fast day for the entire stake was called to petition our Heavenly Father for assistance - our prayers were answered in many ways.
    I was ordained a priest in 1859, ordained an Elder in the Endowment House in 1860, ordained a seventy in the Fall of 1861.
    When ZCMI was established in Morgan, I again took up my trade of shoe making, having charge for years of that part of the business.  In 1888 the Firm of Tucker and Tonks opened up a real shoe store, which was quite successful.
    In April 1894 I left my family, I rented my business and responded to a call to perform a mission to England.  I labored there - and received a very honorable release.  When I returned home I found my business in much worse shape than I left it.  I worked many years to pay off the debts.
    I served as water master in Morgan for many years.  I also served as a member of the city council, city treasurer, county treasurer--two terms, and county commisioner--two terms.
    I have been interested in gathering the genealogy of my forefathers.  In 1889 I visited my aged mother Susan Blackmore Tucker.  We have obtained over 9000 names - 8000 of which have been officated for in the temples of our Lord.
    James and Betsy Lerwill were the proud parents of 12 children--10 girls and two boys.
    1.  Mary Priscilla Lerwill Tucker was born Jan. 3rd, 1862 at Salt Lake City, Salt Lake County, Utah and married May 17th, 1883 in the Endowment House to Charles Kingston.  She died Nov. 19th, 1939 (age 77) at Ogden and is buried in the Ogden City Cemetery.
    2.  Lydia Ann Tucker was born Aug. 28th, 1863 at Morgan, Morgan County, Utah and married Nov. 25th, 1885 in the Logan Temple to Fredrick James Muir.  She died Feb. 27th, 1944 (age 80) at Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah.
    3.  Susan Tucker was born Oct. 20th, 1864 at Morgan, Morgan County, Utah and married Aug. 14th, 1885, in the Logan Temple to John James Simmons.  She died Nov. 17th, 1940 (age 76) at Oakley, Cassia County, Ida. and is buried in the Oakley Cemetery.
    4.  James Henry Tucker was born Apr. 3rd, 1867 at Morgan, Morgan Co., Utah and married Dec. 3rd, 1890 in the Logan Temple to Rebecca Althera Tonks.  He died May 1st, 1935 (age 68) in Morgan and is buried in the Morgan Cemetery.
    5.  Emily Elizabeth Tucker was born Nov. 25th, 1869 at Morgan, Morgan County, Utah and married Sep. 23rd, 1891 in the Logan Temple to Gibson Asher Condie.  She died Nov. 4th, 1952 (age 82) at Alhambra, Los Angeles County, Calif. and is buried in the Rosehills Memorial Park Cemetery at Whittier, Calif.
    6.  Lucy Grace Tucker was born Oct. 30th, 1871 at Morgan, Morgan Co., Utah and married Aug. 25th, 1897 in the Salt Lake Temple to Edward Wheatly Jones.  She died May 16th, 1934 (age 62) at Byron, Big Horn, Wyo. and is buried in the Penrose Cemetery.
    7.  Bertha Augusta Tucker was born Sep. 24th, 1874 at Morgan, Morgan County, Utah and married Oct. 12th, 1898 in the Salt Lake Temple to George Ernest Spackman.  She died Mar. 3rd, 1959 (age 84) at Farmington, Davis County, Utah and is buried in the Farmington City Cemetery.
    8.  Annie Tucker was born Sep. 13th, 1876 at Morgan, Morgan County, Utah and married Oct. 23rd, 1896 in Summit County, Utah to James Peter Clark.  She died Jan. 26th, 1950 (age 73) at Elko, Elko County, Nev. and is buried in the Carlin Cemetery.
    9.  Rose Lerwill Tucker was born June 28th, 1878 at Morgan, Morgan County, Utah and married Mar. 8th, 1900 in Logan, Cache County, Utah to Charles Leroy Van Orden.  She died July 17th, 1950 (age 72) at Goshen, Bingham Co., Ida. and is buried in the Goshen Cemetery.
    10.  Lillie Lerwill Tucker (a twin) was also born June 28th, 1878 at Morgan, Morgan County, Utah and married Nov. 27th, 1901 in the Logan Temple to Willis Alvin Smith.  She died Dec. 30th, 1953 (age 75) at Bountiful, Davis County, Utah and is buried in the Bountiful City Cemetery.
    11.  Jenette Lerwill Tucker was born Aug. 24th, 1880 at Morgan, Morgan County, Utah and married Dec 12th, 1901 at Morgan to Norman Andrew Gorder.  She died Feb. 7th, 1962 (age 81) at Ogden, Weber County, Utah and is buried in the Milton, Morgan County, Cemetery.
    12.  William Lerwill Tucker was born Mar. 29th, 1885 at Morgan, Morgan County, Utah and married Feb. 27th, 1907 in the Salt Lake Temple to Naoma Virginia Vincent.  He died Mar. 23rd, 1942 (age 56) at Morgan in a train accident.
    On Saturday June 9th, 1921 a Tucker Family Reunion was held - Louisa Spackman Manning contributed the following article - from the Deseret News, (copy James Tucker - Des. News) MORGAN, Utah. June 20. - -
    A James Tucker home-coming and family reunion was held in the Morgan County High School building, South Morgan, Utah, June 9, 1921.  The family and invited guests assembled in the auditorium at 11 A.M. where a program was given.  Father James Tucker feelingly expressed his gratitude and joy in meeting all his children and so many of his grandchildren and friends on this occasion.  With feelings of pride he referred to his two sons, their wives and his ten daughters, their husbands and children.  He thought he had a rare family he said, 12 children, all living 74 grandchildren and 41 great grandchildren, living today.  Seven of his descendants have filled foreign missions; all are highly respected as far as he knew.  No immoral conduct, divorces or scandals had stained their good names.
     He referred to the work he had performed for the living, and for the dead, he having served in many civil and eccesiastical positions.  Adjournment was taken to the spacious dining room, where 76 adults and 33 children were seated around four tables.  In the evening a dance in the gymnasium was held, to which many friends gathered and joined in the activities.
    The following day seven auto loads of people visited the famous Lake Como resort, indulging in swimming and partaking of a picnic, after which a meeting in the grove was held where Father James Tucker again addressed his children.  He exhorted them to be faithful in serving the Lord that they might enjoy the privilege of each other's     companionship through eternity.  The children jointly provided a suitable present for their father's 85th birthday.
    James Tucker and Betsy Lerwill are buried on a quiet hillside overlooking the lovely Morgan Valley.
    As descendants of these fine and faithful people let us remember their strong - wonderful qualities and try to live our lives to make them proud of us.
    A Poem by Carol Lynn Pearson
    I wonder, did I peek through the veil impatiently
    While you slowly forged the bonds that brought me to mortality.
    And do you now stand Where I stood yesterday
    Your cheeks against heaven's curtains
    And pray, pray for me
    To forge the bonds
    That bring us to eternity.

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