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Footprints: How lives of 2 settler families intertwined

Nicholas Tack Jr. served as Constable of Mountain Township from 1863 to 1864. He was road overseer from to 1869.

Jean Napier was born April 4, 1842 at Port Robinson, Canada. Her father was a stone cutter on the Niagra Falls suspension bridge. In 1861 she married John Purdy. They had three children. John Purdy died before 1870 leaving a widow with two daughters and a son.

In 1870, Jean Purdy came to Del Norte County to be a nurse and companion to Laura Tryon, mother of Dennis Tryon. Jean Purdy married Darlan Tryon, a son of Dennis Tryon, but later divorced him.

On June 30, 1874, Jean Purdy married Nicholas Tack Jr. At the time, an old bridal custom was practiced. When a widow remarried it was proper for her to wear black for her wedding dress. Jeans wedding gown was black. That gown is on display at the Del Norte County Museum.

Nicholas and Jean had three children. Nicholas Tack Jr. was the proprietor of a saloon. It was located on the southeast corner of Fifth and H streets. Their home was located behind the saloon of Fifth Street. Both buildings are still standing and in use today.

Nicholas Tack Jr. died June 22, 1917. He was almost 83.

Tucker family

Morgan G. Tucker was born Dec. 28, 1822. He was proprietor of the Crescent City Hotel in 1854. He was one of the jurors in the trial of the three Indians accused of murdering A. French.

He was friends with Nicholas Tack Sr. When the Tack family arrived in Crescent City Morgan met Nicholas' daughter, Emma Louise Tack, and began courting her. Tucker married Emma on Sept. 19, 1858, at the residence of Nicholas and Eleanor Tack. Morgan and Emma had four children, Albert, George, Emma, and Lillian.

When the Indian Agency and Fort Ter-Waw closed after the floods of 1861-62 Morgan Tucker constructed a building at Requa, an Indian village near the mouth of the Klamath River and moved his family to Requa. His building served as a store, hotel, and restaurant for travelers between Crescent City and Humboldt County. The government created a post office in Tucker's building and appointed him the postmaster.

Single parent

In October 1865, Emma Tucker contracted typhoid fever and died. Morgan was left with four small children. Lillian, his youngest child was only 13 months old. Morgan tried to be both father and mother to his children, but after a few months he realized that he could not provide the care they needed. There were no babysitters at the time.

He decided that he needed to find someone who would raise his children, so he brought them to Crescent City and placed them in the care of relatives of his late wife to be raised by them.

Nicholas and Eleanor Tack took Lillian to raise. At the time Nicholas and Eleanor were living in Altaville.

Reach David Gray, a Del Norte Historical Society volunteer, at This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it

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