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Thomas D. B. Stucker is one of the honored citizens of Fisher, Illinois. His home has been in Champaign County for the past thirty-six years. His life deserves honor and respect ‘for two reasons: First, because of the good and honest work he has done as a private citizen, and second, as an old soldier who helped to save the nation during the dark days from 1861 to 1865. Mr. Stucker, whose ancestry originally was German, was born in Bartholomew County, Indiana, July 13, 1844. He was the fifth in a family of fourteen children, eight sons and six daughters, born to Jeptha and Elizabeth (Bowman) Stucker. Five of these children are still living. Jeptha Stucker was born in the Blue Grass State of Kentucky, June 22, 1805, and he died in Bartholomew County, Indiana, in 1890, when in his eighty-sixth year. On leaving Kentucky he first settled in Jefferson County, Indiana, where he married. Possessing a good education, he taught school and for thirty-seven years was justice of the peace in Bartholomew County. He also served as county assessor. He and his wife, who also died in Bartholomew County, were active members of the Baptist Church. His main occupation was farming and he possessed a well improved place of ninety-three acres situated seven miles from Columbus, Indiana. That farm is still owned and occupied by one of his sons. His wife was born in Indiana, October 31, 1812, and died June 28, 1886. She was reared in Indiana, and her children remember her as a kind hearted and loving mother. Through her mother she was also descended from German stock. Both Jeptha and wife are now at rest in St. John’s Cemetery in Bartholomew County.
Thomas D. B. Stucker grew up on the old home farm in Indiana, was educated in the common schools, and attended school when they were supported on the subscription plan. Mr. Stucker well recalls the old log cabin building where he learned some of his first lessons. It was heated by a wide fireplace, and the pupils sat on seats made of split logs, and in the absence of individual desks for the pupils there was a broad board set at an incline on pins driven into the wall, at which the older scholars would stand and write out their copy with the old goose quill pen.
At the age of eighteen Mr. Stucker began making his own way in the world as a wage earner. He made thirteen dollars a month for hard work on a farm, and he worked from sunup to sundown. From the farm he went to work in a tannery at Columbus, Indiana, and put in nine years in that business. His final occupation was as a carpenter and joiner, and that trade he followed in Indiana and also in Champaign County until his retirement from active life.
When he was about twenty years of age Mr. Stucker enlisted at Columbus, Indiana, January 5, 1864, in Company A of the One Hundred and Forty-fifth Indiana Infantry, under Captain Henry Winters and Colonel Will A. Adams. This regiment was assigned to duty under General “Pap” Thomas, and his field of action was principally in Tennessee and Georgia. He participated in one of the most bitterly fought and glorious campaigns of the war, that hundred days of almost continuous righting leading up to the siege and fall of Atlanta. He was present at the battle of Spring Place and Buzzard’s Roost in Georgia and in the many other engagements preceding the taking of Atlanta. But through all his exposure to risk and hardship he was never wounded and never taken prisoner. Mr. Stucker was mustered out of service at Macon, Georgia, January 21, 1866, and received his final discharge at the same date.
After the war he returned home and put on the civilian garb and was soon busied with those duties of private life which engaged him for nearly half a century. On January 5, 18.65, before he had finished his war record, Mr. Stucker married Miss Nancy Jane Schrougham. To these worthy parents were born five children, two sons and three daughters, all of whom are still living. Caroline, the oldest, is the wife of M. G. Barnhart, who is in the real estate business at Flanagan, Illinois. Mr. Barnhart is well educated and was formerly principal of schools. They have two children, both of whom are married. Mr. and Mrs. Barnhart are members of the Christian Church. Will S. Stucker, the oldest son, is a resident of Fisher and a teamster. He married Miss Nora Hanna, and they have four children. He is a member of the Christian Church. Nettie, the third child, married J. E. Alder, who is a lumber dealer at Plainfield, Illinois. They have two children, and the family is members of the Methodist Episcopal Church. Eva is the wife of II. I. Dowse, an agriculturist living near Nevada, Missouri. They have four children. Eugene B., the youngest of the family, is a resident of Fisher, Illinois, and married Miss Kate Wiggins. They belong to the Christian Church.
Mrs. Stacker was born in Indiana September 6, 1846, a daughter of William and Mary E. (Pierce) Schrougham. She was educated in her native state. Mr. and Mrs. Stucker have traveled the journey of life together, sharing in its pleasures and sorrows, its hardships and successes, for fifty-two years, more than half a century. Their golden wedding anniversary was celebrated in January, 1915, in the presence of their children and their many friends in Champaign County. Mrs. Stucker has nobly stood by the side of her husband all these years, and besides the diligence with which she has attended to the duties of her household has been invaluable to him in the way of counsel and advice. Both are active members of the Christian Church.
Mr. and Mrs. Stucker have some possessions in their home which are of more than ordinary interest. One is a copy of the New York Herald published under date of April 15, 1865, and containing the news of the assassination of President Lincoln. Another is a copy of the Daily Citizen, published at Vicksburg, Mississippi, July 2, 1863, just two days before the fall of that great stronghold of the Confederacy. Throughout the South during the Civil War as it progressed newspapers found it more and more difficult to get a supply of print paper, and this particular copy was printed on the reverse side of some figured wall paper. Mr. Stucker has the Democratic ticket of 1864, containing the name of General George B. McClellan for President. Probably one of the oldest Bibles in Champaign County is owned by Mr. and Mrs. Stucker. It was published in 1802, and is therefore a hundred and fifteen years old. Mr. Stucker has a $5 bill of the noted “wildcat” money issued by the Bank of Illinois in 1859. He also has a Confederate $10 bill.
Mr. Stucker is an honored member of Lodge No. 704 of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows at Fisher, has passed all the chairs in the local lodge and has been a delegate to the grand lodge. He and his wife are members of the Daughters of Rebekah. Mr. Stucker is also a very active member of the Grand Army of the Republic and has been commander of Van Wert Post No. 300 at Fisher, was adjutant of the post, and has attended the Grand Encampments at St. Louis, Columbus, Ohio, Indianapolis, Chicago, and Louisville, Kentucky. The Van Wert Post now numbers about fifteen survivors of the great war.
Mr. and Mrs. Stucker have done their work in life well, have enjoyed the happiness of family and friends, and none in that section deserves more the love and esteem paid them.