Owen Tucker: First Landowner of My Childhood Home

This entry is part of the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks series.  This week’s prompt is FIRST.  To see other posts in this series, view my 52 Ancestors in 2019 index


I grew up in the small community of Liddieville in rural Franklin Parish, Louisiana.  My father bought a little wood-frame house on an acre of land in 1969.  He and my mother married the next year, and they worked throughout their marriage remodeling, adding on, and improving the property to make it their home.  They purchased the adjoining three acres in 1978, and started a Christmas tree farm.  My dad eventually replaced the Christmas trees with a pecan orchard, and we now enjoy the fruits of his labor with pecan pies every Thanksgiving and Christmas.

As my childhood home, this property is tied to all my important memories, but our family wasn’t the first to live there.  I searched for the property in the First Landowners Project database at HistoryGeo when it was a new offering at my local genealogy library.  I learned a man named Owen Tucker was the original patent holder, so I took a screenshot, emailed it to my dad, and filed it away as an interesting tidbit.

About two years later, I stumbled across the name Owen Tucker again — this time in my maternal line research.  Owen Tucker is actually my 4x-great-grandfather, an ancestor of my grandmother Dorothy Hendry.  I lived on his property the first 22 years of my life and didn’t even realize it!  Any stories of Owen Tucker have faded from our family’s collective memory, but I have managed to learn a few things about Owen’s life from records.

Owen Tucker was born about 1824 in Mississippi.¹  He married Margaret Ann Burns on August 18, 1847, at the home of John H. Herlong in Franklin Parish.²  Justice of the Peace S. W. McCluer presided over the wedding, and it was witnessed by Herlong, Isaac Wiggins, and Isaac Fife.³  McCluer and Wiggins seem to be neighbors, owning land near Owen Tucker’s farm.⁴  Herlong and Fife were planters living in the same western district,⁵ the more populated area along Boeuf River where Franklin Parish’s first settlements began.

tucker-burns marriage license
Marriage License of Owen Tucker and Margaret Ann Burns. Franklin Parish, Louisiana, “Marriage License Book A,” p. 69, Owen Tucker and Margaret Ann Burns; Franklin Parish Clerk of Court, Winnsboro.

Owen and Margaret had eight children, most likely all born in Franklin Parish:

  • Drury J. Tucker⁶,⁷
  • Frances E. Tucker⁶,⁷
  • Martha Tucker⁷
  • Charles C. Tucker⁷
  • William C. Tucker⁷
  • Margaret “Maggie” Tucker⁷
  • Jane Tucker (from whom I descend)⁷
  • Edward Tucker⁸

Owen purchased several tracts of land in this western district between 1858 and 1860:

land patents issued to owen tucker
ᴬBureau of Land Management, “Land Patent Search,” database, General Land Office Records (https://glorecords.blm.gov/details/patent/default.aspx : accessed 3 Jan 2019), entries for Owen Tucker, Franklin Parish, Louisiana, no. 15103, 17153, 17154, 19800, 21779.

The tract on which my childhood home sits was part of Owen’s 39.97-acre purchase on December 7, 1859.  I’ve created a map of Owen’s land in relation to present-day roads, homes, and landmarks.

 

map of owen tucker land patents

Another large tract, 86.19 acres in section 36, encompasses the location of my father’s pecan orchard.  Land patent #20820 states Owen Tucker purchased this land on October 13, 1898,⁹ but that date is after his death.  My first thoughts were that another Owen Tucker — perhaps a grandson or nephew — bought this land, but I’ve been unable to identify any other Owen Tucker of the correct age in the area.  I’m beginning to wonder if the land patent was issued after-the-fact to reflect an earlier purchase, perhaps to settle a succession or other change of ownership.

By the 1860 census, Owen’s farm was valued at $3000, and he had personal property totaling $372.¹⁰  He does not seem to have owned slaves, as he does not appear on the 1860 census slave schedule.

Like most of his male contemporaries, Owen volunteered for Confederate service when the Civil War began.  Owen enlisted as a private in Company B — known as the Boeuf River Rebels — of the 27th Louisiana Infantry on April 28 or 29, 1862.¹¹  His regiment was responsible for guard and picket duty in Vicksburg from Fall 1862 through the spring of 1863 when Union General Ulysses S. Grant’s army laid siege to the city.¹²  The 27th Louisiana repulsed an attack on May 19, and their unit is said to have captured the first enemy flag and prisoners.¹³  The Union army ultimately won battle, and Owen Tucker was captured and paroled along with all other Confederate soldiers who saw action on the battlefield.¹⁴

The 27th Louisiana camped at Enterprise, Louisiana, following their surrender and parole, and most men returned to their homes on furlough.¹⁵  Owen had a short 28-mile journey by foot, likely traversing present-day Boeuf Wildlife Management Area.  Six companies of the 27th Louisiana reorganized in Alexandria in summer 1864,¹⁶ but it’s doubtful Owen was among these men.  He does not appear on any other muster rolls.  The only other remark on his military record is that he “never recd [sic] his bounty.”¹⁷

Until last week, I did not know what happened to Owen Tucker after the Civil War.  He does not appear on any other census, and I could not locate cemetery or burial records for him.  I made another search at the Franklin Parish Courthouse while visiting for the new year, and found answers in two court cases and another marriage license.

On November 13, 1876, Parish Judge Duncan Buie awarded Owen Tucker tutorship of his minor children Charles, William, Margaret, Jane, and Edward following the death of his wife Margaret Burns Tucker.¹⁸  The petition states Margaret died on or about November 10, 1863.¹⁹  This court action occurs quite a few years after her death, and I wondered why.  If the Tucker family was anything like modern families (including my own), legal matters often wait until someone is in poor health and there’s uncertainty about inheritance.

This theory is supported by my finding a second marriage license for Owen Tucker.  He married Mrs. Mary E. S. Gray on February 12, 1874, in Franklin Parish.²⁰  It is likely that care of his minor children and the property they inherited from their mother needed to be defined now that a new wife had entered the family.  This situation would be especially true if Owen himself were in poor health.

Indeed, less than two years after the initial tutorship court filing, Owen died.  On January 19, 1878, the same Judge Buie awarded tutorship of minors Maggie Tucker and Jane Tucker to Hiram S. Davis, husband of their sister Martha Tucker; their brother Drury J. Tucker was appointed under-tutor.²¹  This action probably followed the death of Owen Tucker, but does not explicitly state he is deceased or give a date for his death.   If Owen’s death occurred near the time of this filing, he lived to approximately age 54.


¹Two censuses agree on this estimated birth year for Owen:
1850 U.S. census, Franklin Parish, Louisiana, population schedule, Western District, p. 301 (stamped), dwelling 254, family 254, Owen Tucker; image, Ancestry.com (https://www.ancestry.com/interactive/8054/4193965-00282 : accessed 6 Jan 2019); citing NARA microfilm publication M432, roll 231.
1860 U.S. census, Franklin Parish, Louisiana, population schedule, p. 203 (penned), dwelling 242, family 242, Owen Tucker; image, Ancestry.com (https://www.ancestry.com/interactive/7667/4231222_00203 : accessed 6 Jan 2019); citing NARA microfilm publication M653, roll 411.

²Franklin Parish, Louisiana, “Marriage License Book A,” p. 69, Owen Tucker and Margaret Ann Burns; Franklin Parish Clerk of Court, Winnsboro.

³ Ibid.

⁴Bureau of Land Management, “Land Patent Search,” database, General Land Office Records (https://glorecords.blm.gov/details/patent/default.aspx?accession=LA1000__.470&docClass=STA&sid=yqbj4kdz.kih : accessed 3 Jan 2019), entry for Squire W. McCluer, Franklin Parish, Louisiana, no. 7937.
Bureau of Land Management, “Land Patent Search,” database, General Land Office Records (https://glorecords.blm.gov/details/patent/default.aspx?accession=LA1180__.329&docClass=STA&sid=i454k0qe.unp : accessed 3 Jan 2019), entry for Isaac Wiggins, Franklin Parish, Louisiana, no. 18925.

⁵1850 U.S. census, Franklin Parish, Louisiana, population schedule, Western District, p. 295 (stamped), dwelling 156, family 156, John Herlong; image, Ancestry.com (https://www.ancestry.com/interactive/8054/4193965-00270 : accessed 6 Jan 2019); citing NARA microfilm publication M432, roll 231.
1850 U.S. census, Franklin Parish, Louisiana, population schedule, Western District, p. 377 (penned), dwelling 99, family 99, Isaac Fife; image, Ancestry.com (https://www.ancestry.com/interactive/8054/4193965-00263: accessed 6 Jan 2019); citing NARA microfilm publication M432, roll 231.

⁶1850 U.S. census, Franklin Parish, Louisiana, population schedule, Western District, p. 301 (stamped), dwelling 254, family 254, Owen Tucker; image, Ancestry.com (https://www.ancestry.com/interactive/8054/4193965-00282 : accessed 6 Jan 2019); citing NARA microfilm publication M432, roll 231.

⁷1860 U.S. census, Franklin Parish, Louisiana, population schedule, p. 203 (penned), dwelling 242, family 242, Owen Tucker; image, Ancestry.com (https://www.ancestry.com/interactive/7667/4231222_00203 : accessed 6 Jan 2019); citing NARA microfilm publication M653, roll 411.

⁸Franklin Parish, Louisiana, probate case files, box 97, Tutorship of the Minors of Margaret A. Tucker, deceased, 13 Nov 1876; Franklin Parish Clerk of Court, Winnsboro.

⁹Bureau of Land Management, “Land Patent Search,” database, General Land Office Records (https://glorecords.blm.gov/details/patent/default.aspx : accessed 3 Jan 2019), entry for Owen Tucker, Franklin Parish, Louisiana, no. 20820.

¹⁰1860 U.S. census, Franklin Parish, Louisiana, population schedule, p. 203 (penned), dwelling 242, family 242, Owen Tucker; image, Ancestry.com (https://www.ancestry.com/interactive/7667/4231222_00203 : accessed 6 Jan 2019); citing NARA microfilm publication M653, roll 411.

¹¹”Compiled Service Records of Confederate Soldiers Who Served in Organizations from the State of Louisiana,” database with images, Fold3 (http://www.fold3.com : accessed 7 Jan 2019), “Owen Tucker,” NA catalog identifier 586957; citing Record Group 109; Carded Records Showing Military Service of Soldiers Who Fought in Confederate Organizations, compiled 1903-1927, documenting the period 1861-1865.

¹²Arthur W. Bergeron, Jr., Guide to Louisiana Confederate Military Units, 1861-1865 (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1989), 136-137.

¹³ Ibid.

¹⁴ Ibid.

¹⁵ Ibid.

¹⁶ Ibid.

¹⁷”Compiled Service Records of Confederate Soldiers Who Served in Organizations from the State of Louisiana,” database with images, Fold3 (http://www.fold3.com : accessed 7 Jan 2019), “Owen Tucker,” NA catalog identifier 586957; citing Record Group 109; Carded Records Showing Military Service of Soldiers Who Fought in Confederate Organizations, compiled 1903-1927, documenting the period 1861-1865.

¹⁸Franklin Parish, Louisiana, probate case files, box 97, Tutorship of the Minors of Margaret A. Tucker, deceased, 13 Nov 1876; Franklin Parish Clerk of Court, Winnsboro.

¹⁹ Ibid.

²⁰Franklin Parish, Louisiana, “Marriage License Book C,” p. 183, Owen Tucker and Mrs. Mary E. S. Gray; Franklin Parish Clerk of Court, Winnsboro.

²¹Franklin Parish, Louisiana, probate case files, box 99, Tutorship of the Minors Jane and Maggie Tucker, 19 Jan 1878; Franklin Parish Clerk of Court, Winnsboro.

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