Tuck Family in Canada

Author unknown - submitted by John MacPherson

Our story begins in a port somewhere in England in the year the Queen Victoria came to the throne of England; Michigan was admitted as a state of the union; William Lyon McKenzie and Louis Papineau were heading rebellions against the “Family Compact” in both Upper and Lower Canada. As portrayed in the novels of Charles Dickens, life was cheap and held in little regards, crime was rampant and the punishment severe for the few who were caught. It was before the establishment of the English police force – the English “Bobby” by Sir Robert Peel.

James Tuck, a youth of 16 was on a sailing ship, other than as a member of the crew, or as a paying passenger. According to one version he was “kidnapped” and taken aboard. At that time it was still the custom to use “Press Gangs” to recruit members of the Navy but this was not normally used for the Merchant Navy. If he was kidnapped we must assume that a group of drunken sailors did it as a lark on their last night in port. The other version is that he was a stowaway. What kind of a ship was it? It could have been a troop ship carrying soldiers to Canada; it could have been a supply ship, or possibly a merchant vessel. It was probably not a passenger ship since very few were emigrating from England at that time. It is a certainty that he was set to work, life on a sailing vessel was hard and dangerous work, and here was a lad for whom nobody need be held accountable. He did not enjoy sailing; he left the ship at Montreal.

Wiltshire is a lonely county, its towns, even today, are few and small and its villages are widely scattered. For the businessman there is the M4 motorway and the railway that link London to Bristol, and Wiltshire is to be traversed as quickly as possible en route in either direction. For the tourist there are the Salisbury Plain, Salisbury Cathedral, Stonehenge and the White Horses carved into the chalk hills. The largest town is Swindon, which owes its importance to the Railway; in 1837 the main commercial arteries were the canals though the railways were increasing in importance. For those born in Wiltshire in the early 1800’s there were a limited number of options. Then, as now, herds of sheep were scattered throughout the countryside – but sheep herding is not manpower intensive unless there is a textile industry to supplement it. In those parts of the county where there is sufficient soil over the chalk base, corn is raised. While this was more labour intensive than sheep farming, it was not sufficiently widespread to support even one large town. London was a long walk away, and we know that it did attract people from the surrounding countryside. Even at that date it is doubtful if London, on its own could have maintained its own population. Throughout history and into fairly recent times the greater ???????????? murder, disease, and infant mortality, and densely populated areas has required the migration of people from the country into the city to maintain the population of the city. Also, an attraction for those who lived in the west was the port of Bristol, just a few miles over the border in Hampshire. These were among the major ports, sailing to and arriving from the Americas, Australia, Africa and the Far East.

Of these, James Tuck chose one of the ports, which one we do not know. There are still Tucks listed in the telephone directory in both Bristol and Southampton. We must also assume that the destination of the ship was probably unknown to him, and that its arrival in Montreal was a matter of chance.

We now skip a period of four years. By 1841 James had succeeded in contacting his father Thomas Tuck in England to advise him of his whereabouts. Even at this point the family had several options: they could persuade James to return to England, they could leave matters as they stood, or they could do what they did which was to bring the family to Canada. Even though James’s journey to Canada may have been accidental, that of Thomas and the rest of the family was deliberate. Presumably it was better to face the uncertainties of life in Canada that to face the certainties of life in England.

Thomas Tuck brought with him his wife Anne Tanner, twins Rachel and Jacob nine years of age and Mary a little girl of 5. According to some versions, a brother also accompanied him, he is believed to have moved to the U.S.A., but we have no proof of either. A sixth child, John Alexander Tuck was born in 1842. Compulsory registration of Vital statistics became compulsory in England on July 1, 1837 and a limited search failed to show that the birth of John Alexander Tuck was recorded in England.

Times were hard, and life was uncertain. In 1843 Anne Tanner died of black fever. James by this time was a young man of 22, the twins were only 11, Mary was a girl of 7, and John was still an infant. We have been told that Mary lived with a Mrs. Brown for some time, and later with her sister Rachael and her husband.

The family became established on one or more farms in the Merrickville-Burritts Rapids area of Ontario. James married and settled on a farm 7 miles south of Burritts Rapids, and raised his family of 10. This farm was still in the family at the time of death of his grandson Ernest Tuck in 1954.

The lust for travel was cured in James; the records show that all his children were born at Burritts Rapids. However, each of his sons, in turn, as they grew up left home and moved to the U.S.A. Rachael married William Whitmarsh and farmed at Lynn, Ont. And died childless at age 30. Jacob had a large family but lived at Burritts Rapids, Moristown N.Y., Kellys Corners, and Powassan. A number of his children, from early childhood, were raised by others, Merritt William by his grandfather, Merritt Andrus, George by Bob Johnson, a nearby farmer, Joseph by Sam Bolton, John by Dr. Howie, etc. Mary Ann married Joseph Bennett a farmer near Merrickville. John Alexander left Canada as a youth and lived most of his life at New Haven N.Y.

The First Generation

0. Thomas Tuck: Born: 1793 probably in Wales.

Married: date and place not known
Died: March 2, 1858, possibly near Merrickville, Ont.
Parents: not known
Wife: Anne Tanner born 1843, died in Canada
Children: 1. James, 2. Rachael, 3. Jacob 4. Mary, 5. John.

The Second Generation - Children of Thomas Tuck & Anne Tanner

0.1            James Tuck:            born: 1821 in Wiltshire England

Married: date and place not known
d. 1906 in Merrickville, Ont
Parents: Thomas Tuck & Anne Tanner
Wife: Lydia Victoria Welch, born in Canada, died ?
Children: 1. William, 2. Jane, 3. Cyrus, 4. Deborah, 5. Frank, 6. Ira, 7. david, 8. Martha, 9, Mildred, 10 Sarah

0.2            Rachael Tuck            born Feb 22, 1832 in Wiltshire England.

Died: May 10, 1863 at Lyn Ont.
Parents Thomas Tuck and Anne Tanner
Husband: William Whitmarsh

0.3            Jacob Tuck            born Feb 22, 1832 in Wiltshire England

Married: April 4, 1853 in Marlbourgh Twp.
Died March 11, 1894, buried in Powassan, Ont
Parents: Thomas Tuck and Anne Tanner
Wife: Harriet Andrus, born July 29, 1832 near Burritts Rapids. Daughter of Merreitt Orsamus Andrus. Died June 16, 1900 and buried in Kemptville Union Cemetery.
Children: 1. Ann, 2. James, 3. Merritt, 4. George, 5. Joseph, 6. John, 7. Franklin, 8. Festus, 9. Andrew, 10. Elisha, 11. Cyrus, 12. Heman.

0.4              Mary Ann Tuck, born Oct 20 1836 in Wiltshire England

Married about 1864
Died May 14, 1892, buried in Merrickville
Parents: Thomas Tuck & Anne Tanner
Husband: Joseph Bennett, died Feb 18, 1892
Children: 1. Anna, 2. William, 3. Mary, 4. Thomas.

0.5              John Alexander Tuck born: July ? 1842

Died: April 1929, in New Haven N.Y.
Parents: Thomas & Anne Tanner
Wife: Rhoda Lampshire, born Aug 24, 1848 at  Paw Paw Michigan, died July 1905 in New Haven N.Y.
Children: 1. Henry, 2. Jennie, 3. Edgar, 4. Ida, 5. Thomas, 6. John, 7. James, 8. Nellie

The children of the second generation were a healthy lot. Of the 10 children of James 8 lived to maturity; only the 6th Ira who died in Kingston Hospital at age 16, and the 10th Sarah who died shortly after birth, failed to do so. Of the 12 children of Jacob, only the last, Heman who died at 8 months failed to reach maturity and marry. All 4 of the children of Mary Ann married though only the two sons had families. All 8 of the children of John lived to maturity though only 5 had children.