Tucker Surname Meaning, History & Origin

Select Tucker Meaning
The name Tucker, like the names Walker and Fuller, comes from the wool
trade. The Walkers and Fullers would beat the wool cloth to make
it softer. The Tuckers refined the cloth to give it fluffiness
and body.
Linguistically, Tucker comes from the German tucher, meaning cloth-weaver.
This name passed onto Flemish wool-traders who may have brought it with
them to Devon. Tucker/Tukker has been a long-established surname in Holland.
Another origin of this name has been mooted in Devon.  A
family was granted lands there after the Norman Conquest. Some
have suggested that they brought the name Tucker with them (originally
Touker from the French tout couer or all heart).  The Tucker surname may also have Jewish or Irish origins.

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England. The wool
was an important medieval industry in Devon and an important source of
finance. The
nursery rhyme Baa Baa Black Sheep
is thought to have originated in Devon in the 1270’s. The rhyme

“Three bags full:
One for the master (the landowner)
One for the dame (the countess of Devon)
And one for the little boy
Who lives down the lane (the English Parliament – down the lane =

The Tucker surname started to appear in Devon villages such as
Stockland and Throwleigh in the late 1400’s. There was a Tuckers’
Hall in Exeter which served
as a focal point and market for the town. Robert Tucker was
mayor of Exeter in 1543. He was said “to have discharged the
office with great honor and entertained the Spanish ambassador and his
whole retinue at his own house with great cost for the space of three
days.” His family later moved to Coryton Park near Tavistock.

Many Tuckers were seafarers and took
part in the attack on the Spanish Armada in 1588. From Throwleigh
came the merchant/adventurer George Tucker. He was granted lands
in Kent in Elizabethan times. Today, Tucker is still a
common name in Devon and is to be found as well in neighboring counties
such as Dorset, Somerset, and Wiltshire. The 19th century
naval Tuckers came from Trematon Castle in Cornwall.

Bermuda. George Tucker
was a member of the Virginia company. But Bermuda was the main
port of call for this family. Dan Tucker, reputedly a
cantankerous man, was its first governor. Later Tuckers featured
in American Independence.
Thomas Tudor Tucker moved to
fought in the Revolutionary War, and became that country’s Treasurer in
1801. St. George Tucker also settled in America and was an
esteemed statesman and lawyer there in the early years of the new

In Bermuda, the Tucker home at St. Georges has been
preserved as a museum. And this Tucker dynasty continued well
into the 20th century. Sir Henry Tucker founded the United
Bermuda Party and became the first elected leader of the country in

America. There were
Tucker immigrants into Massachusetts – such as Robert and Henry Tucker
descendants included the Rev. William Jewett Tucker, a President
of Dartmouth College – but more into Virginia.

Captain William
Tucker was among the survivors at Jamestown in 1623. One Tucker
migrated to South Carolina and then settled in Tennessee. Other
moved to Georgia and Louisiana and later to Texas. Tuckers
owned plantations and slaves in the south, the Litchfield plantation in
South Carolina and the Cottonwood plantation in Louisiana for
example. The slave song Old Dan
became hugely popular in the
19th century (said to be after the Rev. Daniel Tucker who
operated Tucker’s ferry in rural Georgia).

African American.
William Tucker is believed to have been the first African American
slave born in America. He was born in Jamestown in 1624 and took
name of the English sea captain who had bought him. Today’s
Tuckers include a sizeable number of African Americans:

  • Rosina Tucker, a daughter of slaves, had been an
    early campaigner for civil and workers’ rights in the 1930’s. In
    after decades of obscurity, she became a celebrity. At the age of
    she narrated the award-winning TV documentary, Miles of Smiles, Years
    of Struggle
  • while the actor Chris Tucker has traced his family
    back to Flat Rock in
    Georgia and a community founded by freed slaves after the Civil
    DNA testing in 2007 showed that his original roots lay with the Mbundu
    tribe in Angola.

John Tucker was a
slave trader active out of West Africa in the 1660’s. He married
a Sherbro princess and they had many children. These Sherbro
Tuckers became a powerful clan in what is now Sierra Leone (their
history was traced in Peter Tucker’s 1997 book The Tuckers of Sierra Leone).
their European connection is all but gone, they are still very
westernized in their dress and behavior.

India. Sarah Tucker never
visited India. However, it was this woman in a wheelchair in
England who n 1895 raised the funds for the first women’s college in
southern India. Sarah Tucker College still thrives.

New Zealand. William
Tucker who started life down under as a convict shipped out to New
Zealand in 1809 and was later the first European to settle in
Dunedin. He was New Zealand’s first art dealer too, although with
the dubious distinction of trading human heads.

Edward Tucker and his family from Cornwall were early settlers at New
Plymouth, NI in 1841. William Tucker, born in Auckland in 1843,
prospered as a land developer at Gisborne on the east coast. It
was said:

“Like many of his generation, he
related well to his Maori friends, spoke their language, and fathered a
Maori branch of the family. He had practical, moderate visions,
visions which he saw fulfilled.”


Select Tucker Miscellany

Tucker Origins.  It is believed that the first of the family in England was John Tucker,
who came with William the Conqueror in the year 1066, fought in the
battle of Hastings, and was assigned large estates in Devon.

Among the earliest records of the family in England are those of Roger
le Tukere of Dorset in 1273; those of Percival le Toukere in 1301 as a
man who made a substantial living in cleaning and thickening woollen
cloth; those of Robert le Tuckere in 1321; and those of William le
Touker around the same time.

Conflict in Bermuda.  The home once owned by President Tucker in St. George is
another museum operated by the Bermuda National Trust.  A pamphlet
informs visitors that President Tucker moved into the house in 1775 and
was quickly embroiled in a major crisis.

On the night of August 14 that year, a group of
Bermudians brought several whale boats into Tobacco Bay on the north
shore of St. George’s parish.  They crept up the hill to the small
building which served as Bermuda’s arsenal, broke into it and stole
gunpowder, sending it to the revolutionary American forces besieging

President Henry’s father, the colonel, was alleged to
have been part of the conspiracy.  So was the President’s brother,
St. George.

The powder was stolen because the Continental Congress
had declared a ban on exports to all British colonies not taking part
in the revolt.  The 13 mainland colonies were the granary for
Bermuda and the ban was a shrewd blow.  An unofficial Bermuda
delegation to Philadelphia asked that the ban be lifted, but the
Congress refused unless Bermuda supplied the gunpowder to the colony’s
magazine.  This the Bermudians did and the ban was eventually

Tom Moore’s Love Poem to Hester Tucker.  The poet Tom Moore stayed in Bermuda in 1804.  He met William Tucker
and his charming young wife Hester who lived next door.  Hester became Nea, the lady of his dreams, to whom he wrote thirteen odes during his stay.  This is one excerpt:

“Nay, tempt me not to love again,

There was a time when love was sweet;

Dear Nea! Had I known thee then,

Our souls had not been slow to meet!

But oh! this weary heart hath run,

So many a time, the rounds of pain,

Not ev’n for thee, thou lovely one!

Would I endure such pangs again.”

Old Dan Tucker.  Old Dan Tucker is a popular
American song.  Its origins remain obscure.  The first sheet
music of the song was published in 1843.

A story dating back to 1965 claims that Old Dan Tucker
was written by slaves about a man named Daniel Tucker who lived in
Elbert County, Georgia.  Tucker was a farmer, ferryman, and
minister who appears in records from the late 18th and early 19th
centuries.  The story, as related by Mrs. Guy Rucker the
great-great-granddaughter of one of Tucker’s neighbors, claims that
Tucker became quite well liked by the slaves in his area through his
ministry to them.

George and Annis Tucker in Australia.  George and Annis tucker arrived in Sydney on the Harbinger in 1849 and settled at
Mid-Lorn, near Maitland, growing lucerne for hay and chaff, corn, potatoes and vegetables.

The family were staunch adherents to the Church of England, and, rain
or shine, they went to church at St. Mary’s in Church Street,
Maitland.  One of the heavy draught farm horses was harnessed to
the heavy farm dray and planks were put across on which the family
sat.  The draught horse walking and the dray, with no springs,
rattling along over the rough roads with George and Annis sitting up
front driving and the pack of children sitting on the rough seats
behind them, all dressed up in their best clothes to go to church as
was the custom.  George always dressed in a long black frock-coat,
with a stiffly starched white shirt, a peaked white collar, and a black
bow tie which hitched up at the back.  Annis wore a small black
hat and a white silk shawl which fell over her shoulders.

When spring-vans came, George was the first to buy one and when
phaetons later were introduced, he again was first to have one.
These vehicles were four-wheeled, with the front wheels very
small.  They seated two people in upholstered seats and also had a
hood which folded down if sunshine was desired and pulled up quite
simply when it began to rain.  The family, of course, was still
accommodated in the spring-cart.

George prospered and went in for breeding heavy draught horses which
were the main means of transport at that time.

Preston Tucker and the ’48 Tucker.  The Tucker ’48 automobile, the brainchild of Preston Tucker,
represented one of the last attempts by an independent car maker to
break into the high-volume car business.  Preston Tucker was one
of the most recognized figures of the late 1940’s, as controversial and
enigmatic as his namesake automobile.  His car was hailed as the
first completely new car in fifty years.  Indeed, the advertising
promised that it was “the car you have been waiting for.”

Much of the appeal of the Tucker automobile was the man
behind it.  Six feet tall and always well-dressed, Preston Tucker
had an almost manic enthusiasm for the automobile.  Born in 1903
in Michigan, he spent his childhood around mechanics’ garages and used
car lots, later working at Cadillac and the Ford Motor Company.

During Christmas 1946, Tucker commissioned Alex Tremulis
to design his car and ordered the prototype to be ready in a hundred
days.  The first car, completely hand-made, was affectionately
dubbed “the tin goose.”  It pioneered in June 1947 at the Tucker
plant before the press, dealers, distributors, and brokers.

However, production of the automobile, called the
Torpedo, was later shut down amidst scandal and accusations of stock
fraud.  The jury did find Tucker and his co-defendants innocent of
any attempt to defraud.  But the verdict was a small
triumph.  The company was already lost.  The remaining
assets, including the Tucker automobiles, were sold at 18 cents on the

Reader Feedback – Early Tuckers in Devon.  I have read sources that claim that a Tucker did come to England with William the Conqueror.  But the reported Stephen Tucker was not his son.   According to The Visitations of Cornwall,
Stephen Tucker of Lamartyn was granted to privilege of wearing his hat in the presence of the king by Henry VIII.  This happened on July 2, 1519, according to my calculations.

Tom Clark (ca00932@windstream.net)

Reader Feedback – Tucker as a Dutch Surname.  I really would appreciate it when you add some line about the Dutch Tukkers who originally wrote their name as Tucker.

first one occurs in the archive of the
barony of Breda as Jan Tucker when he sold a house in 1368. Breda at that time held a wool manufacturing
and trade position in Brabant (situated at the northern border of
Flanders).  The lineage of this Jan Tucker
has a gap until
1440, but from thereon there is a lineage up into these times.  There still is one family in the Netherlands
spelling there name as Tucker and coming straight from this line.

My name is Tukker, but was spelled as Tucker
as well up into the 18th century.  As far
as we know now the name came into the male family line in the
century, by maternal heritage.  In other
words, one of my 16th century female forebears had Tucker as a family
name.  Her children took this name and from
there on
there was another Tucker branch.  I have
this lineage all the way up to me, starting in 1530.

the Eastern part of Holland, in a part of
the country we call Twente (province of Overijssel) next to the German
people born there are called Tukker(s) (until the early 20th century
written as
Tucker(s)).  As far as we know they
started calling themselves this way in the second part of the 19th
when the industrialized wool manufacturing grew into a serious business
here.  This originally was a very poor part
of the
country where they speak a dialect that is lower Saxon of origin.  This wool manufacturing not only made them
less poor, it gave them back their self-esteem.  Therefore
they call themselves Tukker(s) as a
special breed, coming form Twente and being proud about that.

So the name Tucker (Tukker) is very common in
the Netherlands and has been for about seven centuries.

Kees Tukker (kees.tukker@unet.nl)

Reader Feedback – Tucker’s Irish Origins.  The
Tucker surname may have English, Norman, German, Jewish, or Irish origins.

According to Patrick Wouffe in his book Irish
Names and Surnames
, the Tucker surname arose from the Gaelic O’Tuachair, or more correctly Ui Tuathchair, meaning “people
dear,” and was anglicized to Tucker, Togher, Tougher, Tooker etc.
He said the name arose in the Ely-O’Carroll region of Tipperary and
Offaly and migrated to surrounding counties.  The name O’Tuachair appeared in The Annals of Ulster as early as
1126, thereby predating the arrival of the Normans.

arms of O’Tuachair of Dublin
are the same as the arms of Thomas Tucker who was born in 1628 in
Fingles parish, Dublin.  They are a simple blue shield with a
silver chevron and three seahorses.

Tracy Edward Tucker
Co-Administrator of the Tucker Surname Project at Family Tree DNA (tracytucker3B@msn.com)


Select Tucker

  • George Tucker was an Elizabethan merchant adventurer granted lands in Kent. 
  • Dan Tucker was the first Governor of Bermuda in 1616. 
  • Thomas Tudor Tucker, born in Bermuda, became Treasurer of the United States in 1801. 
  • Tilghman Tucker was Governor of Louisiana in the 1840’s. 
  • Sophie Tucker, born Sophie Kalish in Russia, was a singer and comedian, one of the most popular
    entertainers in America in the early 20th century.
  • Rosina Tucker was an African American campaigner
    for civil and workers’ rights in the 1930’s. 
  • Sir Henry Tucker, often called the architect of modern Bermuda, was its first elected leader in 1968. 
  • Tanya Tucker is a country music singer from Texas who had her first hit in 1972 as a teenager.

Select Tucker Numbers Today

  • 34,000 in the UK (most numerous
    in Buckinghamshire)
  • 61,000 in America (most numerous
    in Texas).
  • 23,000 elsewhere (most numerous in Canada)


Select Tucker and Like Surnames

Many surnames originated from SW England, the principal counties there being Devon and Cornwall, Somerset and Gloucestershire.  These are some of the prominent and noteworthy surnames that you can check out.







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