Edwin Tucker. Of pioneer Kansans and of men who made the state what it is today Greenwood County contributed no character of wider influence and of finer personality than the late Edwin Tucker. He was one of the very first pioneer settlers in the county, one of the builders of Eureka, achieved a splendid success in business affairs as a land owner and cattleman, participated in the public life of his home county and state at large, and many of the interests which he established and maintained are now being continued through his worthy son.
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The late Edwin Tucker was born at West Newbury, Vermont, in 1837. He died on the old farm adjoining Eureka on the south in 1911. The Tuckers came out of England, three brothers of them, and were settlers in Vermont before the Revolutionary war. Edwin Tucker’s father was David Tucker, who was born in Vermont in 1794. He moved West and became identified with the lumber industry in Wisconsin. He suffered injuries in the lumber camp which made him almost an invalid during his later years. In 1857 he came to Kansas, but lived practically retired until his death in 1869. He died on the old farm at Eureka.
Reared and educated in Vermont, though finishing his schooling in Wisconsin, Edwin Tucker was twenty years of age when he arrived in Greenwood County in 1857. His homestead of 160 acres is just south of Eureka and adjoining the city limits. Of the settlers who preceded him and of those who came with him, none remained so long as Edwin Tucker. Though he endured all the toils and vicissitudes of the early pioneers, it seemed that what he did prospered, and at the time of his death he owned 1,200 acres in one farm, and also a section of pasture land and a farm in the State of Washington. He also owned various other properties. His great success came as a farmer, stock man and banker, though his influence and means helped to vitalize various other organizations. He founded the Eureka Bank, served as its cashier, and later was its president until he died. He was personally identified with the growth of Eureka. More than any other one man he built the town. In the early days he was elected to both houses of the Legislature and from 1891 to 1895 he again sat as an honored member of the Senate. Few men in Kansas can be said to have exercised a larger influence for good in their respective communities. He was utterly unselfish. Strong and independent himself, he nevertheless could sympathize with the unfortunate, and he extended a liberal hand to many families suffering from the devastation wrought by the drought of 1860 and the grasshopper plague of 1874 as well as at other times. He had completed an academic education at Beloit, Wisconsin, and in the perfect command of the English language and almost punctilious care as to grammatical construction, he was an exception among the early settlers. He used his talents for the benefit of the community in teaching the first school in Eureka. He was forceful as a speaker, logical in argument, and though rather modest and averse to seeking notoriety for himself he could express himself with singular felicity on occasion when it seemed necessary. He had a wide range of knowledge and could put his ideas into forceful language. He served as deacon of the Congregational Church and was a teacher in Sunday-school for over half a century. Those who remember this fine old pioneer say he never lost his temper, and that he possessed a singularly even disposition. For all the varied business interests that demanded his attention, his first chief delight was in his own home. He early fostered education, and was the founder of the Southern Kansas Academy, which he maintained largely through his own means and it closed its doors after his death.
Edwin Tucker married Amelia Willis. She was born in Illinois in 1849 and still resided on the old home farm near Eureka. Her father, Harrison Willis, was also a Greenwood County pioneer, coming in 1859. He was a homesteader in this section of Kansas, and served as a member of the first board of county commissioners of Greenwood County. Mr. and Mrs. Edwin Tucker were the parents of seven children: H. D. Tucker, the oldest, is mentioned particularly in following paragraphs; A. Tucker is a farmer and stockman at Eureka; Mabel married W. W. Finney, and they reside at Emporia, where he is manager of the Telephone Company, and Mr. Finney is also a former member of the Legislature and is a son of the late Lieutenant-Governor Finney, who died at Neosho Falls, Kansas, in 1916; the fourth of the children is George E. Tucker, referred to in later paragraphs; Mary is the wife of George G. Wood, editor of the Eureka Herald; Nettie still lives with her mother on the home farm; Florence is the wife of A. B. Harris in the insurance business at Kansas City, Missouri.
Howard D. Tucker, oldest son of the late Edwin Tucker, was born on the home farm at Eureka February 13, 1865, was educated in the local public schools, and graduated from Washburn College at Topeka in 1890 with the degree of Bachelor of Arts. He had been a banker. He entered the Eureka Bank, established by his father in 1870, as a private institution, was promoted to bookkeeper, then to cashier, and had been its president since his father’s death. The late J. W. Johnson was vice president of this institution until recently. Its cashier is Leslie A. Gould. The Eureka Bank had a capital of $50,000, a surplus of $30,000, undivided profits of $18,000, and had stood solid as a rock ever since it was established more than forty-six years ago. Its home is a building erected in 1876 at the corner of Main and Second streets, the upper floor being used as lodge rooms by the Odd Fellows.
Howard D. Tucker is a republican in politics, a member of the Congregational Church, is a trustee of Washburn College, and had acquired some extensive interests in his home locality. He is treasurer of the Eureka Building and Loan Association, owned a residence at First and School streets and farm land in Greenwood County. In 1893 at Eureka he married Miss Amy Sparr, daughter of the late Mr. and Mrs. William Sparr. Her father was a Lutheran minister. Mr. and Mrs. Howard Tucker have two children: Edwin Sparr, a senior in Washburn College; and Howard N., who was born April 10, 1913.
George E. Tucker, who is one of the most extensive cattlemen and farmers of Greenwood County and had filled such places of trust as state representative and state senator, was born at his father’s home in Eureka August 9, 1874. Besides the local schools he attended the Southern Kansas Academy, graduating in 1891, and was a student at Washburn College until he had completed a portion of the senior year. He left college in 1897. His main business had been farming and stock raising, though for eleven years, from January, 1900, to January 1, 1911, he conducted the Eureka Herald. In 1902 he was elected state representative for the session of 1903, and served as a member of the State Senate from 1904 to 1908. While in the State Senate Mr. Tucker was chairman of the railroad committee and had a very influential part in enacting the two-cent-fare bill and the anti-pass law as well as other measures of railway regulation during that period. He was a member of the printing, the insurance and other important committees.
With all these activities he had kept his attention pretty closely upon his farm. With his brother Albert he now conducts the old home place of his father and had a 320 acre farm of his own in the southern part of the county. Altogether he operates about 2,000 acres of farming land in this county. His home is at the corner of First and School streets in Eureka. Mr. Tucker served as a trustee of the Southern Kansas Academy until that fine old local school closed after his father’s death. He is a member of the Congregational Church and superintendent of its Sunday-school. Politically he is a loyal republican. Mr. Tucker is affiliated with Fidelity Lodge, No. 106, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons, Eureka Chapter, No. 54, Royal Arch Masons, Eureka Commandery, No. 45, Knights Templar, and also belongs to Eureka Lodge of Odd Fellows, the Eureka Lodge of Ancient Order of United Workmen, and Ossian Lodge, No. 58, of the Knights of Pythias. He is a member of the Fraternal Aid Union. At the present time Mr. Tucker is president of the Carnegie Library Board at Eureka.
In November, 1902, he married at Eureka Miss Frances L. Lindsay, daughter of R. W. and Mary (Hunt) Lindsay. Her father, now deceased, was a Kansas cattle man. Mrs. Lindsay makes her home with Mr. and Mrs. Tucker. To their marriage have been born two children: Mary, born September 27, 1906; and Frances, born March 24, 1913.