John Tucker Family

This is an excerpt from The Journal of Monroe County History of Mississippi Volume XXI, 1995. Published by the MOnroe County Historical Society.

John Tucker Family

by Jerry Anderson Harlow*

John Tucker (1777-1870) and his wife Margaret Mayfield Tucker were in Monroe County in time to be counted in the 1820 Monroe County Census. They were listed between the households of William Pierce/Pearce and Thomas Beard. This was near Old Quincy. In addition to himself and his wife, both under forty- five years of age, there was a listing in 1820, for ten children in the following age groups:

(1) Son between the ages of 18 and 26. This was almost certainly Tilghman Mayfield Tucker (1802-1859), who was later a governor of Mississippi. [SEE: Additional information below.]

(2) Son between the ages of 18 and 26. This son has not been identified as yet.

(3) Daughter between the ages of 16 and 26. This was almost certainly Argenes (Argine) who married Matthew Gibbs in Monroe county, October 2, 1822. She died before 1842. Her husband Matthew Gibbs remarried December 16, 1842, to Rachael Towery, the daughter of Mannering and Winifred Towery of Monroe County. The children that we know of belonging to Argenes Tucker and Matthew Gibbs were these: (a) Sarah Margaret Gibbs, B.c1824 in Monroe County, married Nathan Fuqua Pullen, August 6, 1840. [Ruth Pullen Brooks, Mrs. James Allen Brooks, of Amory, is a descendant of this couple.] (b) John M. Gibbs b. c1825 in Monroe County., married Permelia Lann, October 25, 1847. (c) Tighlman T. Gibbs b.c1828 in Monroe county. (d) Adaline Gibbs b. c1831 in Monroe County.

(4) Daughter between the ages of 16 and 26. This may have been the Mary Tucker who married Abraham P. Gideon, January 17, 1823, in Monroe County.

(5) Son between the ages of 16 and 18. This was almost certainly Waitsell Avery Tucker who was born c1804 in North Carolina. He married Minerva Tennessee Buckingham, who was born in Tennessee c1807. In the late 1820's, he was listed among the merchants of Hamilton (then the county seat of Monroe County), as a hotel keeper. This must have been during the time that his brother, Tilghman M. Tucker was studying law with D.W. Wright of Hamilton. In 1835, the W.A. Tuckers lived across the line in Alabama. In 1840, they were living in the part of Monroe County that had been used to form Lowndes County. He lived in the household next to his older brother, Tilghman Mayfield Tucker. By the 1850 census, W.A. Tucker was in Monroe County, living near the Dillingham family. He listed his occupation as farmer, and showed the value of his real estate as $1,500. The children listed in the 1850 household were the following;: (a) Mariah B. Tucker b. c1831 in Mississippi. She married Henry M. Dillingham, October 6, 1852. Henry M. Dillingham was the son of pioneer Monroe County settlers James (1790-1861) and Mary (1801-1860) Dillingham. The Dillinghams were noted horse owners/breeders/ racers in early Monroe County. They lived near what is today Bartahatchie Community, on Dillingham Lane. The Dillinghams had their own private horse racing track. One of Henry and Mary's daughters, Mary Tennessee Dillingham, Married Dr. Robert Speak Kirk. Mrs. J.C. Was (Florence Roberts) of Amory is a descendant of this couple. (b) Margaret A. Tucker b.c1833 in Mississippi. She married James H. Simmons, December 10, 1856. (c) John B. Tucker B. c1835 in Alabama. He married Martha Hadley, January 19, 1860. He served as Captain of Company H, 28th Mississippi Cavalry, C S A. He is buried at Sartor Cemetery. (d) Minerva R. Tucker b. c1842 in Mississippi. (e) Musadora A. Tucker (1844-1926) was born in Mississippi. She married William Davis Bird, Jr. September 18,1861. Their three children were (1) Jessie Zenobia Bird (b.1862) married to Lorenzo Burdine Murff, January 1, 1883; (2) Horace Early Bird (1865-1944) married to Ella Florence Jones, DEcember 18, 1894 [They were both Tucker descendants and distant cousins.], (3) Glencora Lillian Bird (1879-1900) married to Willie Baker, December 17, 1890. After the death of William D. Bird, Jr., Musadora A. Tucker Bird married Richard Terry, March 9, 1880. (f) Joshua H. Tucker b.c1844 in Mississippi. He married Salina Sartor, January 18, 1869. J.H. Tucker was Private in Company H of the 28th Regiment of Mississippi Cavalry C S A. His brother, John B. Tucker was the Captain of the company. (g) Medora E. Tucker b. c1850 in Mississippi. She may be the Miss M.E. Tucker who married James E. Carter, January 19, 1870.

(6) Daughter between the ages of 10 and 16. It is possible that this was the Elvira C. Tucker, who married George McWhorter, February 21, 1835.

(7) Son under ten years of age, unidentified to date.

(8) Daughter under ten years of age. This was almost certainly margaret F. Tucker (1810-1868) who was born in North Carolina. She married John Wise, September 9, 1836. He is thought to be the son of the pioneer Monroe county settlers, William Wise (b.c1765) and Catherine Gideon Wise (b.c1775). After the death of Margaret F. Tucker Wise in 1868, John Wise married as his second wife Elizabeth Dillingham. They were married August 20, 1871. The three children of Margaret F. Tucker Wise and John Wise were the following: (a)Laura A. Wise (1835-1870) who married Dr. James Stacey Riley (1835-1905), November 22, 1859. Dr. Harris D. Riley, Jr. of Nashville, Tennessee, Frank A, Riley, Attorney, of Tupelo, Mississippi, and Mrs. Thomas Sweats of Corinth, Mississippi, are descendants of this couple. (b) Margaret Catherine Wise was born May 20, 1840. She married James W. Jones (1829-1906) December 3, 1857. [SEE: The previous article on Daniel W. Bird for the descendants of this couple.] Margaret Catherine Wise Jones died January 20, 1906. (c) Martha E. Wise b. c1842.

(9) Daughter under ten years of age, unidentified at present.

(10) Daughter under ten years of age, unidentified at present.


Tilghman Mayfield Tucker, the eldest son of John and Margaret Mayfield Tucker, listed above, was born February 5, 1802, in North Carolina. He came to Monroe County, Mississippi, with his parents, while still a child. He studied law under Daniel W. Wright, an attorney at Hamilton, Mississippi, in the 1820s. At the time, Hamilton was the county seat of Monroe County. The other two main towns in Monroe county were Cotton Gin Port to the north of Hamilton, and Columbus to the south of Hamilton. (Columbus was still in Monroe County, as it would be for another decade, before Lowndes County would be carved out of the south half of Monroe).

Daniel W. Wright, the mentor of Tilghman Mayfield Tucker, was a prominent early Monroe County settler. He was one of the Hamilton group of attorneys of J.F. Trotter, head of the Hamilton Bar, afterwards a Mississippi Supreme Court Justice, and later a resident of Columbus, Mississippi, also a member of the Constitutional Convention of 1832; Stephen Cocke,(b. c1797), Clerk of the County Court for Monroe county in 1822, Legislator to the State of Mississippi, representing Monroe, Lowndes, and Rankin in 1834, Chancellor of the State of Mississippi 1845-1851; and Hugh Wormly and Felix Walker, two of the first lawyers to practice in the court at Hamilton [SEE: Volume II, 1975-1976 The Journal of Monroe County History an article by Jane Fairchild Lancaster, "Hamilton Take your Place in History as the First County Seat of Monroe".]

Daniel W. Wright served on the Supreme Court of Mississippi under two of its names - The High Court of Errors and Appeals and the Mississippi Supreme Court. Daniel W. Wright was also one of the company of D.W. Wright, James Perrin, and Bartly Cox, who sold lots in the Town of Hamilton in 1826. Booth Wright and Trotter were still living in the County of Monroe, Town of Hamilton, in the 1830 Census.

It was under the influence of these illustrious men that Tilghman Mayfield Tucker took up the study of law. It was also these brilliant men who were the guiding lights of General Reuben Davis (1813-1890) in his decision to abandon the study of medicine for that of law. Davis had been sent to Hamilton, Monroe County, Mississippi, in the 1820s, to study medicine under his brother-in-law, Dr. George Higgason.

In 1829, Tilghman Mayfield Tucker married Sarah Ford McBee (b1809). She was the daughter of the pioneer Monroe County settler, Silas McBee (1795-1845). Silas McBee was a Revolutionary War Soldier, serving under Col. Thomas Brandon. Silas McBee served as Justice of the Peace for Monroe County, in 1821. He was a trustee of Franklin Academy in Columbus. He built a house at what today would be 611 Third Avenue, North, in Columbus. However, he soon settled near the mouth of McBee Creek five miles from Columbus. By 1837, he was in Pontotoc County. Pontotoc was the site of the land office for the new Chickasaw Indian lands open to settlement in the 1830s.

In the 1830 Census of the new County of Lowndes, T.M. Tucker is listed with his wife and no children. They are listed next to the Silas McBee household. General Reuben Davis in his Recollections of Mississippi and Mississippians, says of T.M. Tucker, "...(he became noted)...for his law learning and political sagacity. Few men controlled a better practice, and he came to have a sort of life estate in a seat in the legislature." At various times, his law partners were Adam T. Smith, Sam FF. Butterworth, and Samuel Gholson (1808-1883). [EDITOR'S NOTE: See Volume VIII, 1982, The Journal of Monroe County History for an article on Samuel James Gholson, by Dale Sallis Fleming.] Gholson as an attorney was first connected to the Athens Bar, when Athens was the County seat of Monroe County in 1830. He followed the county seat to Aberdeen, and had a most illustrious career in law and jurisprudence, followed by elective office, and a military career with the Confederate States of America.

T.M. Tucker is listed in the Lowndes County Census of 1840, with his wife and six children. His brother, W.A. Tucker, is listed in the next household. T.M. Tucker may have lived in a house on the corner of 4th Avenue and 3rd Street, in Columbus, Mississippi (and innovator of the "Tales From the Crypt" - a highlight of the annual Columbus Pilgrimage), says he has been informed that this was once the home of Tilghman Mayfield Tucker.

According to MISSISSIPPI Volume II, Edited by Dunbar Rowland, LL.D., Atlanta, 1907. T.M. Tucker was popularly known as . . . Old Tilletoba, meaning in the Indian tongue, the blacksmith, that having been his former occupation . . . ". We have no other evidence that Tucker was ever a blacksmith, and this probably refers to the fact that his father, John Tucker, was a blacksmith. It is not unreasonable to suppose that the eldest son in the family of John Tucker may have frequently worked at his father's forge. Tilghman Mayfield Tucker was nominated for Governor of Mississippi, in 1841. He ran as a Democrat against the Whig, David O. Shattuck. The main plank of the convention was the repudiation of the Union Bank bonds. Tucker won, and was inaugurated January 10, 1842. He was the first Governor of Mississippi to live in the present Governor's Mansion, which had just been completed.

In 1854, Tilghman Mayfield Tucker married his second wife, Martha A. Conger. After he retired from public life, he purchased a large plantation in Louisiana, called "Cottonwood". On April 30, 1859, T.M. Tucker died. He died in Alabama, while on a visit to the home of his father, John Tucker. John Tucker had late in life, left Monroe county and settled on a farm near Millville, on the headwaters of the Sipsey.

One of the daughters of Tilghman Mayfield Tucker and Sarah McBee Tucker, Sallie Tucker, married William McWillie, Jr. (b.1842 SC), who was the son of William McWillie, Sr. William McWillie, Sr. was the Governor of Mississippi from 1858 to 1860. Sallie Tucker McWillie and William McWillie, Jr. were the parents of the following: Sallie McWillie married to J.B. Harris of Jackson, Mississippi; Kate McWillie; and Tilghman McWillie.

William McWillie, Jr.'s sister, Annie McWillie (18832-1878) married Dr. Thomas J. Mitchell in 1858/ Dr. Mitchell was the son of Cullen Mitchell and Mary Sykes. Mary Sykes was the sister of Dr. William Alfred Sykes (1798-1873) of "The Magnolias" in Aberdeen, and of Dr. George Augustus Sykes (1805-1874) of "The Old Homestead" in Aberdeen.

Ida Mitchell, the daughter of Annie McWillie and Dr. Thomas J. Mitchell married John Robinson. Their son Mitchell Robinson married Amalie Fair. The parents of Amalie Fair Robinson were William Y. Fair of Memphis, Tennessee, and Amalie Sykes of Aberdeen, Mississippi. Amalie Sykes was the daughter of Judge Eugene Octavius Sykes (1843-1911) and Indiana Rogers Sykes (1852- 1936) of Aberdeen. Judge Eugene Octavius Sykes was the son of Dr. william Alfred Sykes listed above. The Judge E.O. Sykes family in Aberdeen, lived at 303 South Franklin, in Aberdeen, in the house known as "Shadowlawn". Current owners of this house are Bob and Kathy Seymour.

Mrs. Mitchell Robinson (Amalie Fair Robinson)lives in Jackson, Mississippi. She is a long time member of the Board of Trustees of the Department of Archives and HJistory of the State of Mississippi. Mrs. Robinson recently coordinated the presentation (by the McWillie descendants) of a silver epergne, that had belonged to Governor McWillie, to the Department of Archives and History.

* Jerry Anderson Harlow (Mrs. Quitman Harlow) is currently serving as President of the Monroe county Historical Society. She is the daughter of the late Ansel A. Anderson (1915-1994) of Aberdeen, Her husband is Quitman Harlow of the Wren Community in Monroe County. She is a member of Friends of the Evans Library, where she serves on the Board of Directors. She is a member of the Mississippi Historical Society and currently serves on the Membership Committee. She is also a member of the Mississippi Heritage Trust.


MISSISSIPPI, Volume II, Dunbar Rowland, LL.D. Editor, 1907
1820,1830,1840,1850 MONROE COUNTY CENSUS
A HISTORY OF MISSISSIPPI, Volume I, McLemore, 1973
THE JOURNAL OF MONROE COUNTY HISTORY,(Articles by Jane Fairchild Lancaster; Dr. Charles G. Hamilton, & Dale Sallis Fleming)
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