Sunday 29 September 2019

Joseph Tucker ~ the whole truth about a lie

Joseph Edward Tucker was the son of James Tucker and Catherine Hynes, born in Dublin city about 1868. He was a first cousin of my great-grandfather, Patrick Wynne. Overall, Joseph lived a seemingly ordinary life in Dublin city, working hard and raising his family. And, true to form for my extended Hynes family, the only time he made the headlines was in a case involving the 'demon drink'. But, at least in Joseph's case, it makes for an amusing story.

Joseph's birth
No actual record of Joseph's birth has been found in Dublin, despite the legal requirement to register all births in Ireland, since 1864, but that's where his parents lived and all his siblings were born. To compound the issue of the missing birth cert., his baptism must have coincided with the gap in the records of St Catherine's Church, his home parish, between July 1866 and June 1871. So, Joseph's birthdate of 'about 1868' can for now only be estimated based on his age at the time of the 1901 and 1911 censuses of Ireland, and his reported age at death.

Joseph's family
On 17 June 1889, Joseph Tucker married Mary Ramsey in St Mary's Pro-Cathedral in Dublin, and the couple went on to have nine children:- Elizabeth Esther Tucker born on 8 April 1890; Kathleen Josephine Tucker born on 21 December 1891; Margaret Mary Tucker born on 20 April 1896; James Ernest Tucker born on 1 April 1898; Leo Tucker born on 27 February 1901; Gertrude Tucker born on 23 November 1903; Francis Leonard Tucker born on 19 May 1906; Florence Mary Tucker born on 20 December 1909 and Joseph Edward Tucker born on 14 September 1912. They all survived to adulthood, apart from baby Kathleen who tragically died from 'burn convulsions' aged only twenty-two months.

Joseph Tucker's day in court
Joseph Tucker was caught drinking 'out of hours' in the Brazen Head Hotel on Sunday, 29 March 1908, and instead of coming clean with the Inspector, he lied. He claimed he had travelled to Dublin that morning by tram, from Lucan in Co. Dublin, and was staying in the hotel for the night. However, he was unable to produce a return tram ticket, or any other evidence to support his claim, and the Inspector didn't believe him. Both Joseph and the hotel proprietor were prosecuted for breaching the alcohol licencing laws.

Irish Independent, 2 May 1908, p. 6

The resulting court case went like this:
Inspector Mockler stated he visited the hotel on the day in question, where Tucker was found at the bar and in reply to his questions Tucker said he was 'a curate', living at 'O'Briens over the Bridge.'

Mr. Tobias, the prosecutor, asked if he mentioned which church he was curate of (to which there was laughter in court).

The Inspector added Tucker later admitted he lived in Dublin, and had falsely represented himself at the door of the hotel as coming from Lucan, because he'd been feeling shaky and in need of a drink. The magistrate asked for Tucker's address and the Inspector replied 'Olive road - your worship.'

The magistrate asked 'How do you spell that?' to which Mr. James O'Connor, for the defendant, replied 'O-l-a-f - probably a Danish word.'

The prosecutor said that if you wanted to give it the Danish touch, you would have to include two "f's" in it, as in O-l-a-f-f road

and Joseph Tucker cheekily replied 'If you do the summons will be bad' (to more laughter in court).

The prosecutor responded 'Oh, indeed! I thought you said you belonged to the Church rather than to the Law' (and there was further laughter in the court).

Mr. O'Connor then confirmed he did not wish to cross-examine the Inspector. He thought what happened was perfectly obvious and said,  Tucker, as his worship must have observed, was a well-dressed, respectable-looking fellow. The hotel had admitted him, honestly believing he was a traveller from Lucan.

Tucker was examined next and told, as he himself asserted, 'the whole truth about the lie.' He was quite sure he had deceived the hotel proprietor in being admitted to the bar.

The prosecution argued the hotel proprietor had failed to take reasonable precautions in ensuring Tucker was a bona fide traveller, and had merely asked him where he'd come from.

The magistrate concluded the hotel might well have exercised a little more caution, but agreed with the defense that 'reasonable precautions' varied under different circumstances. He decided it was not a very serious case one way or the other and thought full justice would be served by cautioning the hotel proprietor and fining Tucker 10s.

And that was that.
Joseph's death
Joseph Tucker got cancer of the oesophagus and died of pneumonia at Sir Patrick Dun's Hospital in Dublin, on 25 May 1931, stated age sixty-two years. He was buried at Glasnevin Cemetery, Co. Dublin.

Funeral Notice, Joseph Tucker, Evening Herald, 26 May 1931, p.8

This post continues a series of articles about my Tucker family. Click on links below to see posts about Joseph's brothers:
John Tucker ~ kept the gun as a souvenir
James Tucker ~ a bad husband.

Source of information on court case: Irish Independent, 2 May 1908, p. 6; Evening Herald, 1 May 1908, p. 5.

Sunday 8 September 2019

James Tucker ~ a bad husband

I can't believe James Tucker! He was a first cousin of my great-grandfather, Patrick Wynne. All my first cousins are kind, decent people and I expected the same of my 'past' cousins. But, James Tucker, my first cousin, three times removed, doesn't quite fit the bill.

James was born on 21 July 1862, the fourth child and third son of James Tucker and Patrick Wynne's maternal aunt, Catherine Hynes. At the time, the Tuckers and my Wynne family shared a home at 104 Thomas Street, Dublin city. James grew up to be a brushmaker, like his father, like his brothers and like most of the Wynne boys. They were a close-knit family.

James Tucker was a civic-minded man. In 1887, along with his brothers Thomas and Joseph, he joined the Arran Quay branch of the Irish National League, and campaigned for political franchise and self-government in Ireland. He was also an active member of the United Society of Brushmakers, and represented the trade union in their disputes. It was inside closed doors the difficulties arose.

On 12 February 1888, James married Ellen Dorrington, née Bolger, a widowed shopkeeper, with an address at Upper Bridge Street, Dublin. The couple made 22 Upper Bridge Street their home and began a family. They had five surviving children:- Edward was born in 1889, Mary in 1891, Catherine in 1896, Annie in 1898 and Eileen in 1902. 

And, as might have been expected for this period in Irish history, they lost a number of children along the way. Their baby son James died of renal failure in 1894 when he was a year old, their son John died of measles in 1897, aged two years, and in 1900, their seven-month-old daughter Louisa died from convulsions. All in all, life seemed tragically normal for a family of the era.

Except, James Tucker was a bad husband!

Source: Evening Herald, 19 August, 1899 p. 4

Can you believe that? Nasty or what! It's too sad!

I suspect James Tucker may have been an alcoholic, and a mean drunk to boot. Alcoholism was perhaps a disease shared by other members of my Hynes family. There are some indications James' aunt Bridget, my great-great-grandmother, may also have suffered from this condition.

James spent much of the next decade of his life in and out of prison, and not just for assaulting his poor wife. He committed some pretty shameful crimes.

Further incarcerations:
  • In March 1902, for another assault on Ellen Tucker, he spent 14 days in Mountjoy Prison, before being bailed and discharged. 
  • In June 1904, he was committed to Kilmainham Gaol for a month, for 'having carnal knowledge of Lizzie Tracey, a woman aged 18 years.' 
  • In August 1904, he'd only just been released from Kilmainham, when he was charged with a crime of indecent assault, and sentenced to serve six months hard labour, in Mountjoy. 
  • In October 1906, he served seven days in Mountjoy for using 'profane and obscene language'. 
  • In July 1908, he was sentenced to two months in Kilmainham, for again assaulting his wife, but his sentence was commuted to one month. 

    Life must have been tough on the family, without their main breadwinner, during James Tucker's many stints in jail. Perhaps for poor Ellen, his periodic incarceration was a mixed blessing. It might explain why Ellen was working, outside the home, as a brush manufacturer, when the 1911 census was enumerated. It's not clear where James was at this time, although the Dublin electoral rolls place him at their home address in 1910 and 1912. Perhaps he was locked up somewhere.

    Physical description:
    The prison registers do provide a very good physical description of James Tucker. He was marginally over 5 foot, 4 inches tall, and of slim build, averaging between 129 and 140 pounds. He had brown hair, blue-grey eyes, a sharp nose and a fresh complexion, with a cut mark on his forehead.

    James Tucker got cancer of the rectum and died in the Mater Hospital in Dublin, on 8 June 1921. He was buried in Glasnevin Cemetery, Dublin. Ellen survived him by twenty-eight years.

    Sources available.