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Subseries A of the Papers of Richard Holbrook Tucker (1816-1895) includes personal letters written between Captain Tucker and his wife Mary Geraldine (Mollie) Armstrong Tucker (1841-1922), and to his children Mary Mellus (Mame) Tucker (1858-1899), Richard Hawley Tucker III (1859-1952, and Martha Armstrong (Patty) Tucker Stapleton (1861-1893), and his brother Joseph Tucker (1821-1889).

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Collection Name
Tucker family papers
Collection Code
Acquisition Type
Physical Description
Personal correspondence (11 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.

Record details

Tucker, Richard Holbrook, 1816-1895 (Author)
Other People
Stapleton, Martha Armstrong, 1861-1893
Tucker, Joseph
Tucker, Mary Geraldine, 1841-1922
Tucker, Mary Mellus, 1858-1899
Tucker, R. H. (Richard Hawley), 1859-1952
Tucker, Richard Holbrook, 1816-1895
Descriptive Terms
Civil War (1861-1865)
children (people by age group)
furnishings (artifacts)
housewives (people)
Material Type
personal correspondence
Wiscasset (Lincoln county, Maine)
Nova Scotia (Canada) [province]
Chicago (Cook county, Illinois)
New York City (New York state)
Boston (Suffolk county, Massachusetts)
Lewiston (Androscoggin county, Maine)
Augusta (Kennebec county, Maine)
Gardiner (Kennebec county, Maine)
Charleston (Charleston county, South Carolina)
Places (Buildings)
Castle Tucker (Wiscasset, Me.)
Location Note
Folders #36.1-36.7, 37.10-37.12, 39.1