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.


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    1. Congratulations! Your blog has been included in INTERESTING BLOGS in FRIDAY FOSSICKING at
      Thank you, Chris

    2. Thanks Chris, I'm glad you enjoyed the post.

  2. An amusing story about a thirsty man!

  3. I love finding those news articles, they really add some color to our trees. That demon rum shows up quite a bit in my family's headlines too!

  4. Haha Ellie, that's good to hear :-) I was beginning to think I might be genetically disposed to the ill-effects of an odd beverage.


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