ORVILLE J. TUCKER, a successful manufacturer of cheese at Mile Strip in the town of Lenox, is descended from pioneer ancestry, and is a worthy representative of those who have preceded him. He was born within one mile of his present home, in 1840, and, though fifty-three years of age, is yet comparatively young, and a hard-working, honest man.
His father, Lester Tucker, was born at the same place, May 22, 1806, and died in March, 1888. He was a son of James Tucker, of Massachusetts, who settled in 1802 on the farm upon which the subject of this sketch was born, and died about 1850, aged eighty-four. He married Tabitha Haven, of Massachusetts, who taught the first school in Smithfield, when she was sixteen years old, and married James Tucker the same year, he being at the time thirty-two. They reared seven sons and two daughters, of whom Lester, the father
of our subject, was the third child. All of them lived to old age but one, Sylvester, who enlisted early during the late Civil War to defend the flag of his country, and after a service of about two years was probably killed at the second battle of Bull Run, as he was never heard of afterward.
Lester Tucker married Mary Ward, who was born March 11, 1809, their marriage taking place about 1832. They immediately settled on the old homestead and lived there until her death, which occurred in the spring of 1841, when she was thirty-two years old, and when the subject of this sketch was an infant. She left four children, namely: Fidelia, wife of Samuel Curtis, a farmer of Ohio; Harriet, wife of Albert Freeman, also a farmer of Ohio; Jeanette, wife of Ford Potter, living in Onondaga; and Orville J., the subject of this sketch. Lester Tucker was afterward married to Lucy Cranson, who bore him two children, namely: Flavelle, wife of Myron Allen, of Onondaga County; and Edgar, a cheese manufacturer of Ohio.
Orville J. Tucker was reared to farm life and labor, and to habits of industry and economy, to which it is doubtless permissible to accord the success which he has met in life. His education was received first in the
district school, and later in Peterboro Academy. While he was in full sympathy with the government in its struggle with armed treason and rebellion, yet he did not enlist in the army, but paid $1 ,000 for the privilege of remaining at home, and married the girl he loved, Sarah Chapman, daughter of Cyrus and Mary (Bigelow) Chapman, the former of whom was from Connecticut, and the latter from Otsego County, New York. Mr. Chapman was a wagon-maker, who, when thirty years old, a single man, came from New England, and was married in Worcester, N. Y. Mr. and Mrs. Chapman were the parents of seven children, of whom Mrs. Tucker was the youngest. All are living but two. Mr. Chapman died in 1872, aged seventy- five, a highly esteemed and honored citizen; and his widow died in 1885, aged seventy-eight, equally honored and esteemed.
Mr. and Mrs. Tucker lost their eldest son, Wilson, aged seventeen, and their eldest daughter, Mary, aged twenty-one, they dying within three weeks of each other, in 1889, from "la grippe." Both were unusually bright and intelligent, the daughter teaching school at sixteen years of age, and wearing her young life out in the work, or perhaps, rather, reducing her strength to such a degree that, when that mysterious disease fastened itself upon her, she was too frail to resist its ravages. It was said of her a short time after her death: “Truly, ‘death loves a shining mark!’ Hers was one of those rare, sweet, amiable dispositions, ever sacrificing her own pleasures for others' comfort; one who would rather suffer wrong than do it; an earnest, loyal Christian,-- ever active in the welfare of the church and Sabbath-school, of which she was a devoted and faithful member. The universal love and esteem with which she was regarded were manifested by the large attendance at her funeral; and the tearful faces of her large Sabbath-school class, as they passed reverently around her lifeless form and laid their delicate floral offerings upon the pure white casket, spoke more than words of her worth and influence. She leaves the fragrance of a beautiful life; and her memory will be a benediction to the home in which she lived, to the large circle of young people which she adorned, and to whom she was ardently attached,--an example of a true Christian spirit,--as also to the church of which she was a faithful and loyal member.”
Mr. and Mrs. Tucker have four children living, namely: Lucia, a young lady, at home; Arthur, a young man of eighteen, on the home farm; Irwin, fifteen years of age; and Nellie, an attractive and bright miss of twelve years. In politics Mr. Tucker has been a Republican, but has strong temperance proclivities. In 1889 he removed to his present home, remodelling an old building into a cheese factory, which he is successfully managing for the benefit of his patrons, and making from three to four tons of cheese per month. Mr. Tucker is a thoroughly honest manufacturer, and the cheese he makes finds a ready sale at good prices. In business, in politics, in religion, and in character he is a thoroughly reliable, honorable, model man. More than this need not be said.
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