John Tucker departed this life, at his residence in Hernando county, South Florida, at 2 o'clock, A. M., on the 28th of March, 1853, our worthy brother and [dear] friend, Rev. John Tucker - aged 67 years, 11 months and 13 days.
The writer of this imperfect narrative having been intimately acquainted with the deceased for the last 21 years, feels constrained, under a sense of duty for his many virtues and privations, not to let him go to the shades without giving publicity at least to some of his deeds while a sojourner and pilgrim among us.
Our departed brother was bora in the State of Georgia, on the 18th of April. I785, near Beard's Bluff, on the Altamaha River. He married the daughter of Isaac Carter (Mary) in St. Augustine, East Florida, the 25th of June, 1805; was baptized by Rev. Jacob King in 1828, in Thomaston, Ga., and was licensed to preach at the same time and place, he having been previously a Pedobaptist minister. He was ordained to the gospel ministry in Lownden county, Ga., the 23d of March, 1833. He emigrated to Florida in 1833, and settled on New River, Columbia county, which was then a howling wilderness, there being but few inhabitants at that time and the destitution of the gospel very great. He continued with us from 1833 to his death, laboring arduously, day and night, to advance the cause of the Master. In 1833-34 and '35, be was instrumental in the hands of God In bringing many souls from nature's darkness to the marvelous light of the gospel - baptizing and constituting churches when he could obtain ministerial aid. He was known as the Old Pioneer of the East, during the Seminole war, which continued from 1835 to 1842. He was foremost in pursuit of the enemy and in the promulgation of the gospel. He failed not to teach, preach and exhort, in forts, block houses, and elsewhere, where and when permitted. In 1837, while escorting a train of wagons, he had a skirmish with the Indians and received a shot-wound in his leg, which constituted him a pensioner for life. It was his business and delight to follow the frontier settlers. In 1843, he moved to what was then Benton county, now Hernando, under the armed occupation act of Congress, preaching as he went. He was soon calling for aid to constitute Churches in his new sphere of labor - obtained help, constituted churches, and in 1847, the churches in East Florida assembled in Convention at Fort Clarke, Alachua county, and constituted the Alachua Baptist Association. He then publicly expressed his many obligations to his heavenly father for the success of the cause of God - that through the many hardships, privations and perils, he had lived to see an Association constituted where once was the wild beast of the forest, and the yell of the barbarous savage, and that he could exclaim with old Simeon, "Lord now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, for mine eyes have seen thy salvation." He was permitted to be in attendance at every session of the Alachua Baptist Association on, and in 1851, he was elected Moderator, which office he held till his death. He was ever zealously engaged in the cause of missions, and was strictly a missionary. For some years, Probably 1845-46, he was employed by the Baptist Home Mmission Society, South. He traveled extensively in the south. In 1852, he was employed by the Alachua Association as one of her missionaries, and traveled wonderfully for a man his age.
In the demise of our aged father, the churches in East and South Florida Have sustained a great loss, the Association an efficient member, the Country a good and valuable citizen, his family a devoted husband, an affectionate father, a kind master, a true friend. He was an honest, honorable, upright man in all his dealings. He has left an aged companion, the wife of his early life, children and grand children, and a host of friends and acquaintances to mourn their loss. - But let us not mourn nor grieve as those who have no hope. Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord, from henceforth; yea saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labors, and their works do follow them. May his last words and admonition be the best and most lasting to his bereaved companion and children: "Don't weep for me, but prepare to meet me in heaven."
T. J. P.
[From The Tennessee Baptist, 1853, p. 3.
More Baptist Bios
Baptist History Homepage