Twenty-one years in office as justice of the peace of Yuba Township, Sutter County, have made Judge Tucker a well-known figure in the county, and an important factor in its welfare.  He was born near Morristown, Morris County, N. J., February 6, 1845.  The Tucker family is traced back to New England, being one of the old families who removed to Long Island and thence to Morris County, N. J.  Judge Tucker’s mother was Elizabeth Williams Drake, a native of Morris County, N. J., while both the Drake and Williams families were traced back to Connecticut through Long Island.  His father, Freeman Tucker, was born near Morristown, where, being a stone mason by trade, he followed contracting and building.  He was also a farmer, owning a farm near Morristown, which is the site of one of Washington’s headquarters.  He enlisted in the 7th New Jersey Regiment of Infantry for service in the Civil War, but was rejected.

            As a youth, W. E. Tucker attended the local schools in his home district in Morris County.  On the breaking out of the Civil War his patriotism was stirred so that when a lad of but sixteen years he ran away from home to offer his services to his country, enlisting in the 1st New York Engineers, in November, 1861.  He fought at Richmond, Petersburg, and Burnsides Mine, or the Crater.  In an engagement in front of Richmond he was wounded, and in a later charge he was struck by a splinter from a bullet.  He was on the staff of Gen. Truman Seymour at the bombardment of Ft. Sumter, April 7, 1863.  In December, 1864, he was discharged as sergeant and returned to his home in New Jersey, there learning the trade of carpenter and builder.

            The marriage of Judge Tucker occurred in 1875, in Morristown, N. J., and united him with Louise Miller, a native of New Jersey, and a teacher in the schools of New York City.  One son blessed their union, Harry F., who is a musician.  A veteran of the Civil War, the judge is quartermaster and adjutant, as well as a Past Post Commander, of Corinth Post No. 80, G. A. R., of Marysville, which he joined in May, 1886; and also is an aide-de-camp on the staff of James W. Willett, Commander in Chief of the Grand Army of the Republic.  There are now only five surviving members of Corinth Post, a small band of “old soldiers,” those courageous men who preserved our country as a unit and whose shining example of patriotism has lived down through the years and shown the way for “our boys” in the late conflict on foreign shores, who carried our flag to victory as it was carried in “the days of Sixty-one.”  In politics Judge Tucker is naturally an ardent Republican.

            During all his years in office Judge Tucker has shown himself a man of the highest principle, humanitarian in all his dealings, and evincing a broad conception of the needs and struggles of mankind, and the qualities of mercy and justice so necessary in meting out a just and equitable judgment.

            In 1878, accompanied by Mrs. Tucker, he came to California, locating  at South Butte, now Sutter, Sutter County, and there followed building operations until 1886, during which time he erected two churches, one at South Butte and the other at Meridian.  He was appointed justice of the peace of Yuba Township in 1902, to fill a vacancy caused by the death of Judge H. C.  Grover, and has ever since filled the office, being again returned in November, 1922, without opposition.  In the new term his friends hope to see him round out a quarter-century as justice of the peace.  He was postmaster of Yuba City from 1889 to 1893 under appointment of President Harrison; from 1884 to 1886 he was deputy county assessor under the late W. F. Peck; and from 1887 to 1889 he was deputy county clerk under A. H. Hewitt.  He has been recorder (police judge) of Yuba City since 1908, when he became the first recorder of the town.  It is family history that Judge Tucker’s father wanted him to be a lawyer, and that the greatest wish of his grandmother was to see him a clergyman; in the position he has held for a score of years past he is fulfilling in a measure the desire of both relatives, dealing in law problems as one part of the duties of his office, and performing marriage ceremonies as legally as could any clergyman.

History of Yuba and Sutter Counties, Historic Record Company, Los Angeles, 1924

p.  569-570


            An orchardist and vineyardist of Live Oak whose trim twenty acres adjoining the town on the west attest to his experience and enterprise as a progressive rancher, is James F. Nelson, widely known for his high-grade walnuts and almonds, and also his superior French prunes, of which he has ten acres set out to trees five years old.  He has witnessed the ups and down of fifteen years of the fruit industry in Sutter County, and his present position as a horticulturist is based on close observation and practical experience.  He was born in Monarch County, Mo., on December 20, 1863, the fourth of six children of David Nelson, a pioneer of Missouri, who was born, lived and died in Monarch County.  David Nelson married Miss Mary Todd, also a native of the Iron State, the younger sister of N. F. Todd, venerable pioneer of Sutter County, now deceased.  James Nelson accompanied his mother and the rest of the family to California in 1865, and they came out to the Todd ranch, two miles to the south of Live Oak.  His mother, remarrying, became the wife of John Kluckey, of Live Oak, after her children had been reared.  Both Mr. and Mrs. Kluckey, as well as Mr. Nelson, have been deceased for years.

            James Nelson attended the Clay school; but when about twelve years of age, he went to work, in his first effort to support himself.  He ran sheep near Live Oak, and for two seasons was in the Sutter Buttes.  He then learned the blacksmith trade, under Thomas Stafford, becoming an apprentice at the age of seventeen; and for two years he worked for $8 per week, after which he was paid $2.50 per day.  He bought a share in the Stafford business; but later, selling out his equity, he went to work for William Stafford, and a year later removed to Oroville, where he remained eight months.  Then, perceiving the real prospects of trade at Live Oak, he returned and opened a shop, which he conducted for fourteen years, selling seventeen years ago to B. M. Sweeney.  He bought the property of A. B. Church, and gave a lot in exchange for the building.

            At Live Oak, Mr. Nelson married Miss Edith M. Knapp, a gifted lady, the daughter of Silas and Madelia Knapp.  She was born in Michigan and accompanied her parents to California.  Three children were granted Mr. and Mrs. Nelson, of whom only one has survived.  Verna passed away, leaving four children:  Nela (Adams), Edith, Alva and Lavern; Lois died at the age of twelve; and Delbert B. is a rancher, and lives at home, with a wife and three children, Leslie, Opal and Fern.  Mr. Nelson belongs to the Odd Fellows of Live Oak.  He has been a member there for twenty-two years, is a Past Grand, and was a delegate to the Grand Lodge at San Francisco in 1907.  Mrs. Nelson is a member of the Rebekah Lodge.  Mr. Nelson is a Republican, and has been a delegate to the primaries.  He heartily believes in the bright future of the section about Live Oak as a thriving center of the fruit industry, and is at all times a live booster of Live Oak and Sutter County.  He has made an enviable record for public service; for fourteen years he served as constable, and during the same time was deputy sheriff at Live Oak.

History of Yuba and Sutter Counties, Historic Record Company, Los Angeles, 1924

p.  571-572


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