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Papers of Richard Holbrook Tucker (1816-1895)


Series II, Papers of Richard Holbrook Tucker (1816-1895), 1856-1931, contains correspondence between Captain Richard H. Tucker, Jr., and his wife Mary Geraldine (Mollie) Armstrong Tucker (1841-1922), letters to some of their children and other members of the Tucker family; financial records related to Tucker's many business ventures, including a brick yard, sales of corn, hay, coal, wood, and lumber; deeds to property, including a blacksmith shop, lots in Boothbay Harbor, a brick yard, the Lee House (which became known as Castle Tucker, a wood lot, and several other parcels located in Wiscasset and vicinity; accounts of estate administration following Tucker's death; materials related to the Wiscasset Mining Company and gold mining endeavors in Nova Scotia; patents awarded for improvements in vessels, construction and propulsion of ships, improved pneumatic propeller vessels, a "surf boat," and a "pneumatic canal boat," among other marine-related inventions. This series is arranged in seven files by record type.

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Collection Name
Tucker family papers
Collection Code
Acquisition Type
Physical Description
Family papers (77 folders)
Collection Type
Description Level
Credit Line
Gift of Jane Standen Tucker, 1998.
Reference Code

Historical/Biographical Note

Captain Richard Holbrook Tucker, Jr. (1816-1895) was the son of Richard Hawley Tucker, Sr., and Mary (Mellus) Tucker (c. 1788-1879). His education included the Wiscasset Academy, founded in 1807, a private academic high school. After finishing his studies in Wiscasset, Tucker went to Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine. Tucker dropped out of college in March 1837 for reasons of poor health, ostensibly eyestrain, and returned to Wiscasset. Shortly after his return, he shipped aboard the "Othello" as an apprentice to the captain. Within eighteen months he was in command of the "Othello" and spent the next decade as a ship's captain. In 1848, he effectively cut himself loose from making regular Atlantic passages. Instead he based his operations in Charleston, South Carolina, and became the agent for the Tucker vessels, as well as organizing an agency for a line of packet ships, and participating in a number of other enterprises. In 1857, Captain Tucker married Mary Geraldine Armstrong (1841-1922) in Chicago. The couple moved into the former Silas Lee Mansion in Wiscasset the following year and made it their family home. At the time of their marriage, Captain Tucker was comfortably well off. Although he had been busy for several years pursuing a variety of business ventures, his prosperity was largely grounded on the skills and business connections his father had forged over the years as managing owner of a small fleet of ships engaged in the cotton trade. The Panic of 1857 and the American Civil War both had a deleterious effect on the cotton shipping business. Captain Tucker's other business ventures included operating some small coasting schooners, a pilot boat venture, and a long-term project to develop a new propulsion system for vessels that anticipated the modern pump-drive system. He also invested in enterprises in and around Wiscasset including logging, land investments, a large brickyard, railroads, and a quarry and farm. One of the most successful of these ventures involved a gold mining venture in Nova Scotia that came to involve lumbering and the operation of a general store. The multiplicity of Tucker enterprises as well as their geographic distribution was one source of weakness. Captain Tucker also does not seem to have had the same management skills as his father. This and other factors resulted in a number of high maintenance, high-cost and low-return enterprises that at times seriously depleted the family's resources.


This series is divided into six subseries: A. Correspondence, B. Financial records, C. Account books, D. Property records, E. Estate, F. Wiscasset Mining Company, G. Patents, H. Other papers

Record details

Tucker, Richard Holbrook, 1816-1895 (Author)
Other People
Stapleton, Martha Armstrong, 1861-1893
Tucker, Jane Standen, (1917-2012)
Tucker, Mary Geraldine, 1841-1922
Tucker, Mary Mellus, 1858-1899
Tucker, R. H. (Richard Hawley), 1859-1952
Tucker, Richard Holbrook, 1816-1895
Tucker, William Armstrong, 1864-1926
Descriptive Terms
brickworks (factories)
business (commercial function)
gold mines
real estate
sailing vessels
Material Type
account books
estate records
financial records
Wiscasset (Lincoln county, Maine)
Nova Scotia (Canada) [province]
Charleston county (South Carolina) [county]
Places (Buildings)
Castle Tucker (Wiscasset, Me.)