by Louise Spackman Manning
The following is taken from the Deseret News, Saturday, 25 June 1921, Section 4, page 7:
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 the following program was given: The oldest son James H. Tucker presided. Singing by congregation, led by Patriarch James Rawle, prayer Fred J. Muir, singing congregation. Gibson A. Condie gave a sketch of the lives of the parents, James Tucker and Betsy Lerwill Tucker. Piano selection Leota Smith, 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, twelve 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 ecclesiastical positions. Reading, Lonct Gorder, Address "Why Latter-day Saints Gather," Charles Kingston, violin solo, Elizabeth Clark, vocal solo Ephraim Polter, reading Theo Tucker, Maori song Richard Kingston, address "Benefits of Family Reunions" Willis A. Smith, piano solo M. Nelson, song “Sunshine in the Soul,” congregation, remarks, Stake President Daniel Heiner, Benediction, John J. Simmons.
Adjournment was taken to the spacious dining room, where 76 adults and 33 children were seated around four tables, when Bishop Alonzo Francis pronounced the blessing upon the feast. Toasts, after dinner speeches and songs followed in due order. 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 picnic, after which a meeting in the grove, 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, son of John and Susan Blackmore Tucker, was born at Eastdown Parish, Devonshire, England, July 22, 1836. The story of his long and busy life as told by himself is as follows, in part:
"My schooling was very limited, only about four months. Most of my early life was passed in my father's tailor shop, where under his instruction I learned the tailoring art. When 14 years old I was bound by contract to my uncle John Blackmore for five years to learn the cordwainel* trade. After two years my uncle died, and I served under Robert Conbear two years. Then for one shilling per day I served under John Prediux. When about 19 years old I went to Exeter the capital of Devonshire, for further instruction for one year. Returning the residence of my father at Kentisbury at the age of 20, I started business for myself as a cordwainer, or shoemaker.
This continued three years. About the age of 23 I became acquainted with Mormon elders, who visited that locality, teaching the everlasting gospel. Study of the scriptures and earnest prayer brought me a testimony that what they taught was true. I was baptized in October 1859, and thus became a member of the L.D.S. Church. 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 I860 I made 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 company with our esteemed friend Richard Fry, his wife, Ann, and about 500 others, sailed on the ship "Underwriter" March 29 and landed after about five weeks in New York.
From there we journeyed by boat and railroad to the outfitting post at Florence, Nebraska. Here about five weeks were consumed in making preparations to continue the journey across the great plains to the valleys beyond the Rocky Mountains.
Married in 1860
In the month of June 1860 I and Betsy Lerwill were married by Elder J. D, Ross, Richard Fry and I purchased two yoke of oxen, two cows and a wagon. About thirty wagons made up the train which started in June from Florence, Nebraska, and arrived in Salt Lake City September 11, 1860.
Brother Fry and I now divided our interests, he going to Weber Valley (Morgan) while I secured a house and lot in the Tenth Ward, Salt Lake City, and resumed my former occupation as a shoemaker, working for other parties.
In the spring of 1862 we also moved to Morgan, purchased a farm and like good pioneers started to make a living in a new place, with very few tools to work with. Followed general farming and raising of livestock. When the Morgan Z.C.M.I. was established, again took up my trade of shoemaking, 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 notwithstanding robbers several times depleted the stock.
In 1892 the latter part of August I was afflicted with typhoid fever; also three other members were attacked, Lucy, Rose and Nettie.
In April 1894 I rented my business and responded to a call to perform a mission to England. I received a very honorable release and returning home found my business in much worse shape than I left it. After working years paying off debts and suffering loss from thieves I finally sold all my store, also all my interests in the Morgan Z. C. M. I.
I served in various positions, such as water master many years, for thanks, school trustee 12 years, member of city council, city treasurer, county treasurer, two terms, and county commissioner, two terms.
But in positions in the Church I have also done a little. For many years I was secretary of the 35th Quorum of Seventy; one of its first presidents as long as I was connected with it. After being ordained a high priest I served in the presidency of that quorum. I was genealogical representative for Morgan stake many years, I have labored in the temple for years, have had many baptisms and 8000 ordinances performed for the dead. Both for my kindred and my wife's people.
Tribute To Wife
Much more could be added but something should here be said concerning my wife, who as a faithful helpmate assisted me in many of our accomplishments and endured the privations incident to the pioneers.
In the year 1863, after our second child was born, she was very sick and for 13 weeks lay confined to her bed. At one time her spirit left her body for 36 hours and during this time I heard her sing twice. The burial clothes were being prepared, but she was restored through faith, and lived and bore ten more children. She was a faithful Latter-day Saint, a devoted wife and a wonderful mother. Largely through her faith and works we succeeded in raising all twelve of our children to maturity.
She taught all her ten daughters real domestic science and the art of home making. Their success as wives and mothers has been the result of her instructions, I hope they will cherish her memory and emulate her many virtues.
The names of our 12 children are: Mrs. Charles Kingston of Ogden, Utah; Mrs., Fred J, Muir of Grays Lake, Idaho; Mrs., John J, Simmons of Oakley, Idaho; James Henry Tucker of Morgan, Utah; Mrs., Gibson A, Condie of Carey, Idaho; Mrs. Edward Jones of Penrose, Wyoming; Mrs., George Spackman of Farmington, Utah; Mrs. James Clark of Carlin, Nevada; Mrs. Charles Van Orden of Idaho Falls, Idaho; Mrs, Willis A. Smith of Rexburg; Mrs., Norman Gorder of Milton, Utah; Mr., Lerwill Tucker of Morgan, Utah. I have 84 grandchildren, 74 now living; and 41 great grandchildren.