When John Tucker senior died at Patterson Plains on 23 June 1834, he was described as having been a most trustworthy officer in the Commissariat Department at Newcastle.
He had been appointed Storekeeper in the Commissariat in 1804 when Newcastle was established as a penal settlement and accompanied Lieutenant Charles Menzies on the Lady Nelson to Newcastle in March 1804.
Newcastle with a Distant View of Point Stephen from Prospect Hill. 1812 by T.R. Brown. Newcastle Region Art Gallery
His salary as Storekeeper was £91.5.0. per annum. John Tucker was responsible for meat rations for the convicts - they received fresh meat three or four times a year, or otherwise salted provisions. The Commissariat Store was not large enough for the settlement's wants having only air holes about a foot long and five or six inches wide instead of windows and the floor remained un-flagged which was difficult to keep clean. Tucker had three assistants to help serve out provisions to representatives of the convict barracks and gaol every Saturday and Wednesday. He remained in the Commissariat Department (except for a brief interlude when William Sutton held the position) until 1822 when he applied for a colonial pension.
John Tucker had therefore been at the penal settlement throughout the postings of several Commandants including - Ensign Cressy, Ensign Cadwallader Draffen; Charles Throsby; Lieutenant William Lawson; Ensign Villiers; Lieutenant John Purcell; Lieutenant Skottowe; Lieutenant Thomas Thompson; Captain James Wallis and Major Morisset.
As well as his pension he was granted land which adjoined that of his son John, at Patterson's Plains. The location can be sen on the maps below across the river from William Evans' Bellevue.
Map of the River Hunter, and its branches : shewing the Lands reserved thereon for Church purposes, the Locations made to Settlers, and the Settlement - Joseph Cross 1828 - National Library of Australia
Here John senior settled with his wife Ann Vales (Viles) and they raised cattle and sheep. Twenty three year old stockman Joseph Charles who arrived on the Mangles in 1820 was assigned to the Tuckers in 1824 after being assigned to John Earle beforehand. Joseph Charles was still in service to John Tucker four years later when James Walsh also came to work on the grant. In 1828 John Tucker senior owned 46 head of cattle and a horse as well. Select here to find out more about John Tucker and some of the convicts who were assigned to him at Paterson.
Perhaps in his retirement from Government duties John Tucker had time to reflect on his long life.
He had been convicted almost forty years before on 28 October 1789 at the Old Bailey for the theft of various articlesfrom his employer George Jeremy (with whom Tucker had lived for 6 months). George Jeremy was a linen draper in partnership with Henry Small in Tavistock Street. They had missed a large quantity of linen, cambric, muslin, calico and handkerchiefs and John Tucker admitted to stealing the articles. George Jeremy then proceeded to Tuckers parents residence where some of the goods were produced. Tucker was charged with stealing the goods and his father Stephen and step mother Mary with receiving stolen goods. John tried hard to extricate his stepmother from the situation he had placed her. He stated in Court -' I wish to say that my mother is totally innocent; I imposed upon her, by telling her I obtained the goods in the city; and she asked me at different times, how I came by them; and I always told her that I had bought them; and she asked me whether I was sure of it, that I came by them honestly, and I told her that I came by them honestly; I have nothing else to say.'
John and his step-mother were convicted of the crimes. Stephen Tucker was found not guilty. Mary Tucker was transported on the Neptune in 1790. John arrived on the Active in 1791.
In 1794 John Tucker married twenty six year old Ann Vales who had arrived as a convict on the Royal Admiral in 1792. A son John was born to the couple in 1795 and daughter Charlotte in 1797.
Their farm was called 'Surrey Farm'. Both John junior and Charlotte were to spend their lives in the Hunter Valley. John (junior) married Catherine Flynn when he was just twenty years old however she was drowned in a boating accident shortly after they were married. Read an account of the incident from the Sydney Gazette He next married Frances Turner in 1818 and by 1828 they were living on 'Albion Farm'.
Charlotte Tucker married mariner John Powell and they settled on a farm up river from her brother John.