Polk County, Florida

Polk County FLGenWeb: Biographies

Eppes Tucker, Sr.

Source: "Makers of America; An Historical and Biographical Work by an Able Corps of Writers," Vol II, published by the Florida Historical Society, Jacksonville, Florida, 1909, A. B. Caldwell, Atlanta, GA

Eppes Tucker, Sr.

A descendant of one of the Pilgrim Fathers, Eppes Tucker, Sr.. has in honorable record as teacher, soldier, editor and lawyer, and Etas woo conspicuous success in the legal profession which Etas really been his life-s work. The first American ancestor, acccriirtg to the family traditions, came over in the Mayflower, and at historic Plymouth Rock, his feet first touched the soil the family was destined to assist in consecrating to liberty. The branch ot the tastily front which Eppes Tucker is immediately descended was irt:Julential and prominent in Methodism in Georgia during the greater part of the past century. His grandfather, also Eppes Tucker, was one of nine brothers who left their native State of Virginia in early manhood, and sought their fortunes in various Southern States. He was a leader in Methodism and a cor-ecrated preacher of the gospel from 1803 to 1866.

McKendree Tucker, father of the subject of this sketch, was a son of the Eppes Tucker, the Georgia settler, and was himself a prominent Methodist minister, for many years serving as the honored president of the Georgia Conference of the Methodist Protestant Church.

Eppes Tucker. Sr.. the subject of this sketch, was born in Newton county. Ga.. September 19. 1844. his mother being Eliza 1 Rakestraw.* Tucker. As a youth he grew up in the environments common to the *on of a Methodist preacher, receiving the best moral and religious training in his home, while his educational facilities were more limited, being only such as were provided in the common schools of Newton county. Ga.. and Chambers county. Ala. This did not deter him from acquiring the be-t of mental training, however, and at the early age of seventeen years he was enabled to acceptably fill the position of teacher in Chambers county. Ala., and in this work he was engaged when the war cloud burst and Southern men were called to arms. The young teacher was among the early volunteers, but was not accepted for service until August. 1862, when he was mustered in Company F, of the Forty-fifth Alabama Regiment. Unaccustomed exposure soon brought on an attack of typhoid pneumonia, which resulted in Mr. Tucker's being invalided. He remained in the service, however, on post duty until the close of the war. Returning to Alabama after the war, his career was more or less uneventful for several years, except that along with other soldiers of the Confederacy, he was influential in properly facing and solving the problems that confronted the Southern people in the immediate post-bellum period. In 1872 he began the publication of the Congregational Methodist, of which he was editor, and for sometime also owned and edited the Opelika Locomotive. Incidentally, it may be stated that he had been ordained an elder in the Congregational Methodist Church in 1873.

While living in Chambers county, Ala., Mr. Tucker served as justice of the peace and assistant county superintendent of education. In 1880 he was one of the census enumerators. Early in 1881. however, he decided to seek a more salubrious climate and removed with his family to Medulla, Polk county, Fla. Here he found health and prosperity. Always a Democrat, he was influential in politics and served with credit to himself and to the benefit of the city, as mayor of Lakeland during the years 1886. 1887 and 1888. He was president of the Polk county board of health from 188X until county boards were abolished. Entering actively into the practice of law in 1887. he was successful from the very beginning, and in IS81| was elected county attorney for Polk county, which position he most acceptably filled until 1897. when he felt called upon to retire from the official position because of the growth and demand of his private practice.

Mr. Tucker was married soon after his return from the war in 1865. to Mary Hayes, daughter of James H. and Martha Georgia Hayes, and they had seven children, of whom four are living. viz.: Mrs. M. E. Evans, McKendree Tucker, Mrs. Annie E. Weaver, and Eppes Tucker. Jr. His first wife died, and in 1906 Mr. Tucker was married to Lizzie Broadwell. daughter of W. H. and Ylanta Broadwell.

Mr. Tucker.s opinion, based upon his own satisfactory experience in life, is that "Honesty, industry and economy, with due regard to one-s own health, are the foundations of success." He believes the best interest of State and nation may be promoted "by cultivating the broadest love of country, fostered by State sovereignty and national unity. Obey the constitution and the laws and enforce them strictly." Always a close student, he ha-, however, found the Bible and his law books the most helpful literature, and founding his declaration upon the basic principleinculcated therein, he believes the important questions demanding public consideration arei "Strict devotion to duty by official<: each private citizen attending to his own business energetically; curbing of undue agitation ; enforcing the laws we have, and changing them only when sufficient time demonstrates the necessity for change." Mr. Tucker is one of these substantial, right living citizen, whose efforts build up a community, and whose live- furni-h an indestructible foundation for civilization and society. Mr. Tucker-s address i-, Lakeland. Fla.