Oregon Pioneer Biographies


Oregon Historical Society, published October 12, 1898 article from the Oregonian or the Hillsboro Argus

Henry Bellenger Tucker

The Tucker Family - 1852

HILLSBORO, Oct. 12 -- Oregon perhaps contains a no more interesting group of early pioneers than the Tucker family. The father, Henry Bellenger, now 94 years of age, and his two sons, Thomas and William, aged 68 and 65, respectively, are now hale and strong, living in Washington County. Having come to Oregon in 1852, they have been important factors in the development of the state.

Henry Bellenger Tucker was born in Kentucky in 1804. His father was a Kentucky rifleman, originally from North Carolina, and was with Hull in the war of 1812, from which he never returned. "Granddaddy" Tucker, as he is familiarly called by all old pioneers, was married in Indiana in 1829 to Elizabeth McKay. They had six children -- Martha, Mary, Sara, and Louisa Tucker, and the two sons, the latter only surviving. His wife died at Beaverton August 3, 1881, on the donation land claim taken up in 1852. Mr. Tucker is about 5 feet 8 inches in height, and, notwithstanding his 94 years, walks as erect as an Indian, and still retains his mental faculties. He is very vigorous, and is a good story teller. As late as two years ago he read without the use of glasses. In the early days he was a famous rifle shot, and his prowess, and that of his two sons, was undisputed at the old-time shooting matches. His first vote for president was cast for Andrew Jackson. Since the civil war he has been a Republican. He is the sole survivor of six children. His ancestors came from the Bermudas, and were early settlers of Virginia.

Thomas Tucker, the eldest son, was born in Indiana in 1831. He married Mary A. McKay in 1854. They settled on a donation land claim near Beaverton. To them were born five children -- Samuel H. Tucker, a well-known O.R. & N. engineer, who died at his post on a snow plow, near Troutdale, January 3, 1895; William O. and Lucinda J. Tucker, Mrs. U.S. Gardner, and Mrs. Charles Elwell. Mr. Tucker's first house was built of logs, which were carried to the site upon his back. He was in the early days twice elected county commissioner. He, with Jacob Hoover, brought suit against the promoters of the West Side railroad, and saved the county the payment of $50,000 bonds, with interest. The county had originally contracted to pay this sum to secure the railroad, but the company did not live up to the contract. Although the company made a hard fight, the court rendered a decision returning the bonds, and releasing the county. During war times Mr. Tucker belonged to the Union league. His first vote was cast for Abraham Lincoln. He still takes a great interest in politics, and is an ardent republican. He and his wife now reside in Hillsboro, having sold their Beaverton farm several years ago. Mr. Tucker is over six feet tall, and is an ideal pioneer. A splendid marksman, he still remains an ardent hunter, and has just returned from an elk hunt in the mountains.

William Tucker was born in Indiana in 1833. When he was but 19 years of age he crossed the plains with his father. He took up a claim near Beaverton, and he and his brother built the first sawmill in that section. In 1855 he joined Colonel Cornelius' command, and went east of the mountains to fight indians. In 1859 he married Mary J. Landess. Their children are: Mrs. George Teft, Abraham Lincoln Tucker (deceased), Thomas B. and George Tucker, Mrs. Henry Woolf, Mrs. W. B. Anderson, Mrs. J. H. Anderson, Ira, William, Lottie, and Carl Tucker. Mr. Tucker is a Mason and he has for 35 years taken an active part in local affairs. Like his brother Thomas, he is a six-footer. He still resides on a farm near Beaverton.


Obituary of Henry B. Tucker (May, 1899)


Henry B. Tucker


Washington County Pioneer of 1852 Has Passed Away


Henry Bellenger Tucker, aged 96, who came to Oregon in August 1852, died at the home of his son, William Tucker, near Beaverton, Friday, May 4, of pneumonia. Deceased was born in Kentucky, December 12, 1804. His father, Wm. Tucker, was a North Carolinan, and was one of the Kentucky pioneers. When the war of 1812 broke out he joined Hull's forces at Detroit as one of the Kentucky riflemen. From there he never returned, and it is supposed he was ambushed by the indians while returning from the frontier.

Early in life Henry Tucker went to Indiana, where he married Elizabeth McKay, daughter of a veteran of the war of 1812. The summer of 1852 they crossed the plains, their children coming with the train. They settled near Beaverton, where the wife died in August, 1881. Two sons survive -- Thomas Tucker, a resident of Hillsboro, aged 69, and William, aged 67, with whom the father was visiting when death came.

Deceased was in the early days one of Oregon's famous rifle-shots, and his prowess as a hunter was a credit to the reputation of Kentucky for producing the world's greatest marksmen. Mr. Tucker's first presidential vote was cast for Andrew Jackson. Since the civil war, however, he has been an ardent republican.

The funeral occurred Sunday from the home of his son, William, and burial took place at the Crescent cemetery, three miles southeast of Beaverton.

Submitted by Walt Tucker,

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