Out of the many political figures profiled by me over the past year, many of them have an interesting backstory as to how their biographical profiles came about. The following biography on obscure Crawford County, Indiana legislator Carthalious Tucker is one that I will remember writing for many years to come, as I received an incredible amount of help in developing it! In an earlier article on Zanesville, Ohio Mayor Epaminondas L. Grigsby I mentioned the phrase "historical detective work" and that particular phrase has resurfaced today in regards to the work of one very special person: Crawford County historian Roberta Toby. I am forever grateful to Roberta for the in-depth research she undertook to help me find more facts on Mr. Tucker's life and accomplishments. I also would like to give a big thank you to Carthalious Tucker's granddaughter Marie Tucker England, who graciously granted me permission to use the photographs of Mr. Tucker that are included in the article you are now reading! This profile would not exist without the help and research of these two ladies, and I'll now begin with a bit of background on how this particular biography came into being!
While doing research on Indiana Congressman Godlove Orth (1816-1882) a year or so ago I managed to stumble across an Indiana Legislative history website that proved to be a real boon to me in terms of research. This website (www.bowenprojects.com) contains a listing of every member of the Indiana state legislature from the mid-1810s up until the present day, and also contained a small biographical passage on each legislator. Over the course of a day I worked my way through this extensive website, and during the course of this research managed to find over 30 new additions to the "Strangest Names In American Political History" book and blog. One of these many new additions was a state representative from Crawford and Harrison County, a man with the outstanding name of Carthalious J. Tucker!
The Bowen Projects website gave the basic information on Mr. Tucker and his legislative service, and aside from listing his dates of birth/death and his farming pursuits, virtually nothing else could be found on this intriguingly named man. Further Google searches on Mr. Tucker yielded more of the same, and I chocked it up to the fact that I'd probably never find more information (let alone a portrait of) this obscure Crawford County resident!
This remained the norm until a few days ago, when I e-mailed the Crawford County Historical and Genealogical Society, asking for their assistance in finding more information on this forgotten figure in Crawford County history. I was soon rewarded with many pieces of correspondence with County historian Roberta Toby, who in her diligence managed to locate many new pieces of information on Carthalious Tucker and his family. I was also pleasantly surprised to find that Roberta made contact with Carthalious's granddaughter, Marie Tucker England, who graciously allowed the use of many of her family's photos in the article here. Rarely have I been granted such access to the life and career of someone that I'm writing about, and that is why today's political biography is so special. And with that introduction, we now proceed on to Carthalious J. Tucker's profile.
A rare portrait of Jesse Tucker (father of Carthalious) provided by Marie Tucker England.
Carthalious J. Tucker was born on March 7, 1876 in Patoka Township, Indiana, the son of Jesse and his second wife Irena E. Tucker. It is unknown at this time why Tucker's parents decided to bestow the unusual name "Carthalious" upon their son, and even the name origin (which sounds vaguely Latin to me) remains a mystery! There also some inconsistencies in regards to its spelling, with variations being "Carthalius", "Carthelius", Carthalous" and "Carthalouss". It has also been found that the small amount of online sources that mention Tucker list him by the initials "C.J.", and the middle initial "J" may in fact stand for his father's first name, Jesse. Tucker is listed as attending schools local to the Crawford County area and is also mentioned as attending "a normal college", although an exact college location and name is unknown at the time of this writing.
Carthalious married his first wife Mary Jane Kimmel in Orange County, Indiana on December 27, 1896. In the year following their marriage, Carthalious and Mary welcomed a son, Ira Ray (born on October 14, 1897, and is listed by most sources as Ray). Tucker and Kimmel are recorded as divorcing sometime after their son's birth and in 1941 he remarried to Ms. Leora Rhodes Rowland, a native of Veleene, Orange County, Indiana.
Leora Rowland Tucker is listed as dying in 1945 and in the following year, Carthalious married for a third time to Ms. Anna Elizabeth Glenn Free, who is listed as dying of an undisclosed illness in 1953. Carthalious is also mentioned as raising two of his son Ray's daughters, Geneva Tucker Enlow (1918-2009) and Veneta Tucker Reason.
In an even more intriguing tidbit, it has been found that Tucker remarried his first wife Mary Jane Kimmel shortly after the death of Anna Elizabeth Free! After reading Tucker's obituary (which was graciously provided by Mrs. Toby and will be posted at the end of this article), I've found that Mary Jane Kimmel Tucker is listed as dying a few months before her husband on October 16, 1956.
Another family portrait of Carthalious that is owned by Mrs. Marie Tucker England.
The brief passage on C.J. Tucker given by the earlier mentioned Bowen Projects website gives note that he was a farmer and cattle raiser for the majority of his life, and with Roberta Toby's helpful research, much has been found in regards to Tucker's involvement in Crawford County agricultural circles. He is listed as being a livestock breeder and is mentioned as owning a small amount of cattle, while also being regarded as an "old-time veterinarian". Mrs. Toby also received a first-hand account from Mr. Clarence J. Kaiser, who resides near the Tucker residence, and gave note that although Carthalious lacked a cattle license, "Bud Tucker" was regarded as a local authority on livestock and that "people often called on him for assistance." In addition to this, Tucker was also secretary of the Crawford County Jersey Cattle Club for a number of years.
This passage mentioning Tucker's service as Patoka Township Trustee was found on Google Books.
While farming and agricultural pursuits were obviously a prominent theme throughout Tucker's life, he also made a name for himself in the realm of civic and public affairs. In 1908 he was elected to his first public office, that of trustee for Patoka Township. A passage mentioning his service in the latter office is shown above, and he served as a trustee until 1914. In that year he ran for and was elected to the office of Commissioner of Crawford County's second district. It is unknown how long Tucker served in this position, but he is recorded by the periodical Public Welfare in Indiana as still serving in this post in 1921. A roster from the 1918 Indiana State Legislative Manual lists his service as County Commissioner and has been provided below.
In 1939, the citizens of Crawford County elected Carthalious J. Tucker to a seat in the Indiana State House of Representatives. He was reelected to this body in 1941 and during his two terms represented not only the county of Crawford but Harrison County as well. During his legislative service, Tucker is listed as being a member of the Democratic party, but no mention is given as to what committees he served on during his four-year stint in the Indiana legislature
While still attentive to political and public affairs in Crawford County, Tucker also was a member of a number of local fraternal organizations, including being a 60-year member of the Eckerty, Indiana Masonic Lodge! He is also listed by the Bowen Projects legislative website as a past secretary of the Crawford County Farmers Mutual Insurance Company.
Carthalious J. Tucker died at age 81 in the town of English, Indiana on September 16, 1957. Funeral services for Tucker were held at the Taswell Methodist church two days after his death and he was subsequently buried in the Taswell Cemetery in Taswell, Indiana. He left behind an extended family, with his obituary listing a total of ten grandchildren and several great-grandchildren. In addition to these many descendants, Carthalious's son Ray is also listed as surviving his father, dying on October 27, 1969, shortly after his 72nd birthday.
In addition to the extremely helpful research conducted by Roberta Toby and Marie Tucker England, I would also like to thank Crawford County librarian Rebecca Stetter for finding the following obituaries to include in Tucker's profile! The first of these obituaries were featured in the English, Indiana News-Messenger in the days following Tucker's death.
In regards to the overwhelming help and support I've received in building Carthalious's article, I just want to state how amazing it is that history (however obscure or forgotten) can connect people, even ones that are thousands of miles away from one another! The appreciation that I have in regards to the help Roberta Toby, Marie Tucker England, Clarence Kaiser, Rebecca Stetter and anyone else in the Crawford County vicinity have given me can't be measured in words! Rarely have I ever been granted such unprecedented access to a politician that I'm writing about, and I am forever indebted to Marie Tucker England for her permission to use her family photos in the article here, as well as learning new information on her grandfather and his extended family!
I'm proud to relate that because of the exhaustive research and help of the above-mentioned folks, this article on Carthalious Tucker marks the first time that a proper "biography" of him has been put together, and hopefully it will generate some interest in this forgotten figure in Crawford County history!
Carthalious Tucker, from the 1941 Indiana Legislative composite.