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Champaign County, Illinois

Biography of Sylvester J. Tucker

SOURCE: "History of Champaign County, Illinois," by J. O. Cunningham, 1905


SYLVESTER J. TUCKER was born in Fairfield County, Ohio, June 25, 1838, and attended the early subscription schools of that county. Many of the school houses of that time were log cabins, with puncheon floors and furnished with slab benches and rough boards for desks, the seats being put together with wooden pins, the window openings covered with greased paper. Being one of a family of sixteen children, and the tuition fee for so many at the same time being more than the father could afford, his schooling was limited, and, as soon as he was large enough, he was put to work with his brothers on the farm. Later he was employed on a farm in McLean County, Ill., remaining there for three years, at the end of that time returning to Ohio for one year. Again going to McLean County, he enlisted in the Third Illinois Cavalry at Bloomington, on August 10, 1861.

The regiment first saw service in Missouri, taking part in the Battle of Jefferson City, after which it moved to Warsaw, and there captured a large amount of supplies. Building a bridge over the Osage River, the company moved on to Springfield, Mo., with Carr's brigade in Fremont's army. Arriving at Rolla, Mo., it moved in the advance of General Curtis' army to Springfield, and subsequently, in addition to numerous raids and skirmishes, took part in the following named battles: Springfield, Mo.; Pea Ridge, Lafayette, Batesville, Fairview, Harris' Bluff and Arkansas Post, Ark.; Port Gibson, Champion Hills, Black River Bridge, and the Siege of Vicksburg, Miss.; Vermilionville, Opelousas and Carrion Crow Bayou, La.; Tupelo, Okalona, Guntown and Salem, Miss.; Memphis, Lawrenceburg, Spring Hill, Campbellsville, Franklin and Nashville, Tenn. In May, 1865, Mr. Tucker's company returned to St. Louis, and later went to St. Paul, where it reported to General Curtis, after which it took part in expeditions against the Indians throughout Minnesota and Dakota. Then, after a short stay at Fort Snelling, it was sent home and mustered out at Springfield, Ill., October 18, 1865. Mr. Tucker was constantly with his command, faithfully performing all duties required of him from the date of his enlistment until march 6, 1862, when he was thrown from his horse, and received an injury of the knee which caused a double hernia. Upon the surrgeon's certificate of disability, he was honorably discharged at Cairo, Ill., September 24, 1862.

In his political faith Mr. Tucker is a Republican, and has served as school clerk in Kansas, where he resided for six years. He has served twice as a member of the police force of Champaign, and was also elected to the office of Constable of that town. Socially, he is a member of Colonel Nodine Post, No. 140, G. A. R., in which he was Sergeant Major. He has been a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church for twenty-five years and at one time a trustee of the Sunday School.

On August 22, 1864, Mr. Tucker was united in marriage at Bloomington, Ill., to Miss Sarah MCDANIEL, a daughter of Samuel and Elizabeth (BANKS) MCDANIEL. After his marriage, he engaged in farming for seven years, after which he moved to Kansas, remaining there six years. He then moved to Arrowsmith, McClean County, Ill., but two years later disposing of his property there, came to Champaign, where he worked at the carpenter's trade, with the exception of the time he was on the police force. He was a contractor, and for two years was associated with his brother, Frank, who was accidentally killed while employed in the erection of the Christian church at Lincoln, Neb.

To Mr. and Mrs. Tucker have been born the following named children: William G., an engineer on the Illinois Central Railroad; Samuel C.; Lute E., a druggist; Allison J.; Charles J.; who is employed on the Illinois Central Railroad; Oliver J.; Ida E.; and Maggie B. (Mrs. Frank OLIVER), who died, leaving two sons and one daughter, namely: Sylvester J., Frank A., and Maggie B.

The parents of Mr. Tucker were John Wesley and Elizabeth (JOHNSON), both of whom were natives of Virginia. They had the following named children: John Milton, Lucy Ann, William Allison, David Wesley, Mary Jane, Calvin, Thomas, Sylvester J., Oliver, Sarah (Mrs. STEVENSON), Emily (Mrs. STRAUSE), Adaline (Mrs. ROBERTS), George and Frank.

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