TUCKER, George Washington and Ann_____ Tucker
The Tuckers were one of the many old-English stock, United Empire Loyalists families, who emigrated from the newly formed United States of America, coming north into British North America; Upper and Lower Canada:
“Following the War of 1812, in which he fought, came George Washington Tucker, of Maine, rather than sever his relations with the Mother Country. He was the first white man to come to Westmeath. He hewed the logs and built the first home on the shores of the Ottawa River. His family lived in tents or small huts while his home was being built.
“He was followed shortly after by several families to whom he sold land, as he had possession of a large tract. He has a family of boys and girls as have the other settlers who came. He gave land and they built a log school. The first teacher Rachael Stone, Prescott, married Rex Tucker, a son of George Tucker. We have very little knowledge of those early days; only by stories handed down by one of George Tucker’s daughters.
“A letter in our possession sent from Maine by horseman, postage collected on delivery 1834, from Portage-du-Fort. Riders were sent from Methodist Church, Montreal, to survey settlers along the Ottawa River. Following one of these visits a church was formed using the schoolhouse as a meeting place.”
From the William Grylls Family notes.
“George Washington Tucker’s parents came from England and settled in the States but left there after the war of 1776 rather than deny allegiance to the Motherland. Finally George W. Tucker and his family made the hazardous journey up the Ottawa, portaging the rapids and camping on its wooded shores until he came to that part where the village of Westmeath is now situated. He owned at one time, practically all the land on which the village is built, and gave the land on which the first school was built.”
From a 1937 account written by Miss Myrtle Bromley.
In 1842 Census the head of the Tucker household is listed as William G. Tucker. (Perhaps a mistake by the Census Taker on George Washington Tucker’s name?)
His son (George) Rex Tucker became a property developer and subdivided his farmland into village lots in Front Westmeath, as well as farm parcels. For a look at the Tucker lots, please go to the MAPS section of this website.
The 1851 Census for Westmeath Township lists two families of Tuckers, headed by (George) Rex and Rachel Stone and older brother John and Sabina ___, his wife. Rex is listed as a farmer and framer and John as a farmer and logger. They are all Wesleyan Methodists and hail from either Canada East (PQ) or West (ON). His widowed mother Ann, age 63; lives with Rex and family; as does Ruth, 24 years, and Charles 16; perhaps siblings of Rex and John, and a 15 yr. old Elizabeth Knappin (perhaps Pappin?).
By the 1881 Census of Westmeath Township, Rex’s son George Augustus and wife Sarah Howard Tucker were settled and raising their young family with young George’s occupation listed as farming. Also with the family was George’s widowed mother Rachael Tucker, 64 years of age. Rachael is listed as coming from Quebec; while both George and Sarah, (no surname given for Sarah, but of Irish stock), are listed as having been born in Ontario. The young Rachael Stone had come to Westmeath to be employed as the village school mistress.
By the 1891 Census, George’s occupation is listed as a Mill Owner.
George m. Sarah and their children were:
- Phoebe Tucker m. Norman Reid, a Westmeath store owner. See Reid entry
- Jessie Tucker (1874 -1940) – unmarried
- Joseph Howard Tucker
- Mariah Tucker m. John Croskery
- Charles A. L. Tucker
Descendants: George Washington Tucker’s Great Great Grand-daughter Mary E. Tucker married John Wright. See WRIGHT entry.
Their daughter: Eva Wright Keyes Grylls (See Grylls entry), was well-known in the Westmeath community, serving for many years as postmistress and switchboard operator. She raised her blended Keyes-Grylls Family in the Village of Westmeath.
Long Before TV
by Bob Grylls, grandson of Eva Wright Grylls.
[Whitewater Historical Society Writing Competition, Feb. 2010]
A long time ago, before the advent of TV, electricity or decent clothes, in 1834 to be precise, a group of six families made their way to the former Westmeath Township and settled in for the long haul.
These earliest settlers faced all sorts of perils in getting there. They may have journeyed by canoe, horseback or walking to begin a new life in the Westmeath Peninsula. They had to contend with ruts in the Indian trails, and the irksome bugs and insects. Once they arrived, did they have time for gazing at the stars or having a family picnic? Not likely!
They had the sparest of resources. Everyone had to pitch in to build shelters, primarily a primitive log house, barely large enough to accommodate the family. There were gardens to dig and planting to do for growing vegetables. Life was not a piece of cake back then, no central heating, comfortable beds or videos.
Genealogy showed that one of these men was my great- great- great – great grandfather, George Washington Tucker. With that compelling name, it’s no wonder they named their new Hamlet Tuckerville or Tuckerstown after him, at least in the beginning.
George Washington was up in years when he arrived, bringing most of his family with him and he died at a modest age. His eldest son, George Rex, then took over the family reins. Being of the second generation, he had time to build a more permanent house, in his case one that stood for years until I was into my teens, and was located only about 500 yards from where I live today, (Corner of Westmeath Rd. and Grace St.).
The townspeople even had time to build a school for the youngsters. George Rex was part of the hiring team that brought in the first teacher, Rachel Stone from Brockville. George Rex must have had a little time for romance because he wooed Miss Stone and later they married.
I should be proud of George Rex but in a way, I’m not. Due to an unfortunate happening, he has embarrassed those of us who followed in his lineage. The poor guy was such a klutz that he fell off his horse, landed on his head and killed himself At 48 years of age, you would think he would have been more careful.
How do I feel when someone shouts to me, “Your grandfather should have been driving a car”? To be killed behind the wheel sounds a lot more heroic than sliding off a horse. A local Historian explained about all the men back then whose lives were lost from a fall or a kick from a horse. I still couldn’t give George Rex clemency.
Next to come was George Augustus Tucker, my great- great grandfather. I liked his name. It reminded me of a Roman General. He lived until the age of 63 and never had a problem with horses. I think of him as my favourite grandfather.