The Stories of the Museum Series

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More than a thousand military men and women and family members have donated thousands of personal items and stories to the museum over the past forty years. The displays span World War I to the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan and tell the stories of those who fought and died. This series of stories describes a few of these in more detail.

                                             STORIES OF THE MUSEUM

                                                       NUMBER FOUR   

                                            JUDGE WILLIAM E. TUCKER

        by Bill Crocker

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   Richard Lawson, commander of Yuba City’s VFW Post No. 2563, gave a final salute during the Pledge of Allegiance at the retiring of the colors ceremony for the post’s flags on Friday, 14 December  2012. The flags were to be placed on permanent display at the Museum of the Forgotten Warriors. This was the final act in the history of the eighty-year-old Judge W. E. Tucker VFW Post No. 2563 Although the portrait of this distinguished gentleman hung in the VFW hall for several decades, few knew his story. Who was Judge William E. Tucker anyway?

   William Tucker was born on 6 February 1845 and spent his early years in Morris County, New Jersey. He ran away from home in November 1861 and enlisted in Company K, First Regiment New York Engineers. He participated in several Civil War battles and was wounded twice during the three years of his enlistment. He was honorably discharged in December 1864 and returned to his home in Morristown, New Jersey, where he became a carpenter.

   In 1878, Tucker moved to South Butte, Sutter County, California, and began a career in politics. He was chief deputy assessor for Sutter County from 1884 to 1886 when he established a permanent home in Yuba City. He was deputy county clerk from 1887 to 1889 and postmaster of Yuba City from 1889 to 1893. 

   When Yuba Township Justice of the Peace H. C. Grover died in 1902, William was appointed to that position and was hence forth known as Judge Tucker. He was repeatedly elected without opposition seven times until his retirement from the position in 1929 because of his advanced age of eighty-four years.

   His association with veterans’ organizations began with his 1886 membership in Corinth Post No. 80 G.A.R. in Marysville, California. The Grand Army of the Republic was a fraternal organization composed of veterans of the Union Army and Navy. He served as quartermaster, adjunct, and commander of the Corinth Post. He also served as an aide-de-camp on the staff of the big guy himself, James W. Willet, Commander-in-Chief of the Grand Army of the Republic— a rare distinction. Judge Tucker was the only surviving member of Post No. 80 on Memorial Day 1930 when he proudly took part in the parade dressed in the uniform of the Grand Army, retaining his soldierly bearing despite his age. 

   William Tucker passed away on 7 February 1932. Yuba City’s Veterans of Foreign Wars Post No. 2563 received its charter on Sunday, 5 June of that year and was named after the well-know and popular Civil War veteran and political star. 

   The Judge W. E. Tucker VFW Post No. 2563 display may be viewed in Case D-77.

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