Canton Historical Society


Deacon Tucker Found
"Drams" To His Liking



Joseph Tucker, one of the earliest and most prominent citizens of modern Canton, was a landowner in the original "Twelve Divisions" of Dorchester. Purchased from the Indians, Tucker's property extended from the Massapoag House south to the residence of Charles Endicott and was destined to eventually be bisected by Washington Street. Born at Milton on January 11, 1679, Joseph Tucker was to gain a niche in the history of Canton through his participation in politics, church and civic affairs. As early as 1711, he was appointed Surveyor of Highways. Among his accomplishments Mr. Tucker included service as the first Town Clerk in Stoughton.

At different times during his life, Joseph Tucker ran the old saw mill, maintained one of the better farms in the area and kept an inn. For many years, after joining Mr. Morse's church with his first wife, Judith Clapp, in 1717, he held the office of Deacon. Unfortunately, his fondness for the "bubbly" terminated that position in 1742.

Twice a widower, Mr. Tucker remarried in 1730, this time to a woman named Mary Jordan. Deacon Tucker, like all men, suffered from human frailties. It was during this second marriage that his tendency to imbibe occasionally cost him the position with the church.

In 1742, word was spread that the good Deacon had publicly been "overcome and disguised with drink". The rumors further charged that his associate and companion at the time was no less an individual than Parson Dunbar.

Since such charges could only be determined by the church, the deacon appeared before members of the congregation on September 10, at which time he delivered a speech vehemently protesting his innocence. He attributed his behavior, which he admitted was similar to that of a drunken man, to an injury suffered when his horse stumbled and fell.

Following the testimony of witnesses, however, Mr. Tucker admitted that "On his last trip to Boston he took many drams and mixed drinks, perhaps more than he had realized". He was henceforth granted permission to partake of Communion, but deprived of the deacon's title.

Ten days later the former church officer took for his third wife, the former Susanna Pelton. After three years of marriage Joseph Tucker was summoned by his Creator on September 25, 1745.

Although his gravestone refers to "Deacon Joseph Tucker", the records kept by Mr. Dunbar read, "once a deacon of this church".