As we know it, Charles Masters Tucker grew up in the parish of Litton in Somerset County, England, and may have helped his father in his dairy business. According to parish church documents we have found, Charles was baptized in the Church of England on March 12, 1834. His sister, Jane, was baptized on April 1, 1836.
According to family tradition, at age seventeen Charles Masters was allowed by a ship’s captain to board his ship, at what port is not known. Some have said it sailed from Liverpool, but that is too far from Litton to be valid; geographically, it had to be in nearby Bristol or Southampton. It is apparent that Charles knew the ship’s sailing schedule because he and his sister Jane secretly got together their clothes and hid them. Telling their parents that they were going to a party, the two attended the party and slipped off in time to board the ship, gathering their hidden clothes along the way. They boarded the ship bound for the United States without being noticed and hid until the next day, when an inspector found them.
They were to be put on a passing ship back to England; however, in those days ships stopped only if they were signaled to do so. Somehow the signals were mixed and the passing ship did not stop. We don’t know the exact date the ship landed in the U.S., nor have we found documentation of their existence on the ship’s records, but we estimate their arrival at sometime after March 30, 1851. We also are not sure if they came through New York, as has been thought. There is a possibility that they landed farther north and came through the St. Lawrence Seaway.
It is believed that, with his sister, Charles Masters Tucker set out and made their first stop somewhere in Illinois, where he worked as a farmhand for a time, and then on to Indianapolis, where he reached his majority. Sometime from 1851-1853 it is said that he also went to the Klondike to make money-cutting ice. This is the point where we lose track of Jane, who is thought to have married a gambler and also moved to Alaska. Before that, it is said that Jane was an indentured servant to a wealthy family.
It is said that Charles Masters Tucker and William Sachse met up in the Klondike, a fact that has been both confirmed and denied by surviving Sachse family members. Nevertheless, it is true that Charles and William knew each other very well and that Charles helped (or worked for) William to survey the land around the town now named for him. It has even been said that it was from this friendship that Charles knew of the land that was available in the northeast Dallas County area. We are told that Charles came to Texas in 1853, settling in Collin County near the present town of Sachse, and worked as a farmhand for several years.
We do not have the exact dates that Charles purchased land in the Reason Crist Survey, but his total holdings were approximately 2,297 acres all within that Survey area which includes lands from the Old Centerville and Castle Road area north and east of Merritt Road just south of Pleasant Valley and back south to ¼ mile north of Big A Road in Rowlett.
Charles eloped with Kisoja “Kibby” Kirby on September 3, 1858. She was the daughter of pioneer William C. Kirby, whose family moved to Dallas County from Monroe County, Kentucky, about 1847. Legend has it that he courted Kibby and persuaded her to meet him by a stile over a certain fence. He rode by on his horse and they eloped.
Their first child, Nancy Evaline, was born July 26, 1859 and passed away from a childhood illness at the age of eight. Their second child was William Sidney, born November 6, 1860. The third child was Elihu Henderson, born December 7, 1864. (Affectionately known as “Uncle Dick” or “Dad Tucker” to his loved ones, Elihu Henderson lived to the ripe old age of ninety-six). Fourth was Louisa, born September 25, 1867 and died at the age of four, and fifth was Jessie Fitzgerald, born November 6, 1870. The sixth child was Christopher Columbus “Lum”, born August 9, 1873, and last was Mary A. C. born June 11, 1877, who died in infancy.
Charles Tucker enlisted in the Confederate Army on July 4, 1862 and being a superb horseman, was assigned to Company K, 19th Texas Cavalry under the command of Captain James Thomas. Cavalrymen supplied their own horses. The 19th saw action in Missouri, Arkansas, and Louisiana, and some of the men he served with were Volney Caldwell, Harmon Newman, J.J. Alexander, the Motley brothers from Mesquite, and Ebnoch and William Strait. The 19th disbanded in east Texas in April 1865 and the men returned to their farms and homes in the Dallas area.
Charley returned to the home place on a hill on the southwest side of the intersection of Castle Road and the old Centerville Road, which could be seen there as late as 1981, when developers bought the land and built residences. As his children became of age, Charley gave each a parcel of land within the Reason Crist Survey for them to farm, build a house, and raise a family. Columbus, being the youngest son, stayed on to help Charley with the home place and would inherit it and surrounding lands.
Charles Masters Tucker passed away on July 1, 1899 at the age of sixty-five, and is buried in Big A Cemetery in Rowlett with his wife and daughters Nancy, Louisa, and Mary A.C. Kibby passed away eight days after her seventieth birthday in 1913. They and their descendants have contributed to, and are still involved with, the communities of Garland and Rowlett and the surrounding areas.
Photos & information provided by Cliff Tucker for Dallas County Pioneer Association‘s Proud Heritage, Volume III..
Photos: Charles Masters and Kibby Kirby Tucker