Family Histories

Family Histories for the Rose and Kirkpatrick Families

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Workday Wednesday: John Tucker, Fuller

John Tucker, who I believe is my 10th great-grandfather, was born in England some time around 1560.  He was married to Alice Pelham in 1580 in London; they had five or six children, one of whom was Capt. William Tucker, an early immigrant to Jamestown.

According to the book Colonial Virginians and Their Maryland Relatives: A Genealogy of the Tucker Family by Norma Tucker (pub. 1994), John Tucker was a cloth worker, also called a fuller or tucker(it was also called waulking in Scotland).  The fuller's job was to take the wool from the loom, soaking it in urine for up to 8 hours, after which they would soap it and work it into the fulling (or tucking) machines until it was dry and thick enough; they then washed it thoroughly in water.  The thickening helped make the wool water-resistant.  John's occupation was a fairly dangerous one, as the timers that drew across the cloth acted with enough violence to pull a person into the machine should any of their clothing become caught.

The workers in these mills were called fullers, tuckers and walkers, all of which became common surnames. 

A fulling mill blocker

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