Hampton Academy & Winnacunnet High School Alumni Association
65th Anniversary, Historic Souvenir Booklet, 1972

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By Arthur J. Moody, Class of ’53


Amos Tuck and Son, Edward

Amos’s father, John Tuck — a direct descendent of Robert Tucke, one of Hampton’s first settlers of 1638 — moved from Hampton, where the first two of his eight children were born, to Parsonsfield, Maine, in 1807. In Parsonsfield — about 40 miles north of Dover on the Maine-N.H. border — Amos, the fourth child, was born on August 2, 1810 (a few weeks after N.H. granted the Charter for a Proprietary School in Hampton). The Tuck farm was on the southwest corner of Parsonsfield and, according to Amos in his autobiography, he was born but 50 or 60 rods (under 1,000 feet) from New Hampshire near Province Lake. At age 17, Amos studied for three months at the Academy in Effingham (N.H.), at the foot of Green Mt. in Carroll County, to prepare for the oral exam required of school teachers in Maine. He passed the exam and taught school in the vicinity of his Parsonsfield home. In the spring of 1829, he decided to travel to New York City where a relative in the book business might give employment. He walked the 40 miles to Dover, took the stage to Portsmouth and walked to Hampton — all in about three days’ time. His many relatives there persuaded him to stay and apply for a teaching position at the Central District primary school. He was hired (at $14 per month and board) and taught at the school for several terms in the next two years. During the terms when he wasn’t teaching, he either attended the Academy or recited with a tutor. His principal tutor was Joseph Dow, a cousin of his father, who was preparing at the Academy.{*} Amos, three years the junior of his cousin,was a resident boarder at the Dow homestead throughout his school days in Hampton. He maintained a rigorous daily schedule, rising at 4:30 in order to study until breakfast at 7. His only breaks during the week were half-days on Wednesday and Saturday which were engaged “in hilarity and exercise with students of the Academy.” However, he did take daily walks to the seashore in the late

{*In 1877, Joseph Dow would compile a 138-page genealogy of the Tucke/Tuck family. The 1638-1877 genealogy was printed for private distribution by David Clapp & Son, Boston.}

Amos abandoned his teaching position after the Winter Term of 1830-31 and rejoined his Class at the Academy. In July 1831, after a public exhibition “at the large meeting house of the Town,” he received his “certificate of qualifications to enter college.” The year before, in August 1830, he was listed on an end-of-term “Order of Exercise for the Exhibition at Hampton Academy” as presenting a dialogue on “Disappointed Money Seekers.” He also spoke an eulogy, “Character of Howard.” That same year, he became engaged to Sarah Ann Nudd, daughter of the foremost businessman of Hampton.

After finishing at the Academy, Amos returned to Parsonsfield expecting to enter Bowdoin College in September. Amos had spent over two years in the town of his forebears had enjoyed it despite the “enforced industry and economy” necessary to complete his classical studies. Of these years, he would write in his autobiography: “I remember nothing but happiness during this period of my life.”

Amos did not enter Bowdoin but was sidetracked by an offer to work in a lawyer’s office. He disliked the pettiness of the work, realized he had made a mistake and, somehow, persuaded Dartmouth College officials to admit him on equal standing with the Freshman Class in the spring of 1832. He made up the missed work and was graduated with his class in 1835. In 1833, he was listed in the Hampton Academy “Catalogue” as assistant to principal Harris. He had taken over the assistantship from John Calvin Webster, one of three sons of Rev. Webster to prepare for Dartmouth at the Academy (the three would become a professor, a physician and an Army general). So, after graduation from Dartmouth he was offered the position of Principal at the Academy; his friendship with Rev. Webster, President of the Board of Trustees, certainly did not hurt his chances of winning the appointment. He came to Hampton from Pembroke Academy, where he had taught briefly, and assumed his duties in the fall of 1835. As Preceptor (or Principal] he had many students and was able to hire a female assistant in a short time. Mr. Tuck was concurrently studying law and was able to throw much of the teaching onto the shoulders of his assistant. He resigned as principal in 1838.

The Academy Trustees had elected Mr. Tuck to its membership on April 13, 1836, and they had immediately chosen him Secretary of the Board. He remained Secretary until April 1839. Nine pages of the Trustees’ record book contain his signed, handwritten minutes of meetings. Later, he was Treasurer of the Board for 19 years, declining reelection in 1864. Although he submitted his resignation as Trustee in 1870, the Board voted to lay it on t he table. Amos Tuck died in Exeter on December 11. 1879, after a full life — much of it devoted to the well-being of Hampton Academy. He was buried in Exeter.

During his life, Amos Tuck gained national stature as a lawyer, as a pre-Civil War member of Congress for three terms, as an outspoken opponent of slavery, as an initiator of the Free Soil movement, as a founder of the Republican Party (which he had named in 1853), as Naval Officer of the Port of Boston during the Civil War (an appointment from his friend, President Lincoln), as Land Commissioner of the Atlantic and Pacific Railroad (living in St. Louis while holding that commission), and as a businessman of international repute. He served as Trustee of Dartmouth College for ten years and of Phillips Exeter Academy for nearly 30 years. He also helped to organize Robinson Female Seminary, Exeter, and was President of its Board of Trustees for several years.{**}

{**Details in this paragraph from “Sketch of the Life and Character of Hon. Amos Tuck” as presented by J. W. Dearborn, M.D., of Parsonsfield, Me., before the Maine Historical Society, December 1888.}

Amos Tuck’s interest in Hampton — which, through his son, was later to benefit both Hampton and the Academy — was further cemented when he married his betrothed, Sarah Ann Nudd of Hampton. The marriage took place about 1834 when Amos was still a college student. Their first three children were born in Hampton; Amos was teaching at the Academy as its Principal. The fourth, Edward, was born in mid-1841, Exeter, and died with his brother, Charles, of scarlet fever the following spring. The name Edward was taken by the fifth child, born on August 25, 1842, a few months after the double tragedy. Edward was one of five boys and three girls, all resulting from Amos’s marriage to Sarah, his first wife. Edward was the only boy to survive beyond adolescence.

Edward attended Phillips Exeter and entered Dartmouth College in 1859 as a sophomore. He received an A.B. from Dartmouth in 1862 (an honorary LL.D. was conferred in 1903), and began the study of law in his father’s office. After a year, his eyesight failed to an extent necessitating discontinuance of study. Upon medical advice, he went to Europe. After some travel he ended up in Paris. His practical knowledge of the French language prompted him to enter the U.S. Consular Service. Although he quickly rose to the rank of Vice Consul in Paris, he preferred business and joined the banking house of John Monroe and Co., New York, and Monroe and Co., Paris. In 1871 he was made a partner and spent considerable time in both New York City and Paris, occasionally writing on the banking issues of the day. Besides banking, he was involved in industrial enterprises such as mining and railroading — being associated with the railroad magnate James J. Hill. Edward Tuck gained an international reputation in his chosen field of banking, retiring from all active business pursuits in the early 1880s. For the remainder of his life, Mr. Tuck’s predilections turned to philanthropy.

Because of his father’s Hampton roots and interest in Hampton Academy, Edward Tuck time after time at the turn of the century and afterward provided funds to keep the Academy going. The Trustees’ book as well as annual Academy reports appearing in Town Reports attest to the fact that the Trustees turned to Mr. Tuck’s generosity often — and seemed embarrassed in doing so. For this munificence, Mr. Tuck was the object of many Board resolutions, was elected Trustee in 1905 and was named Honorary Trustee in 1908.

In Hampton, Edward Tuck’s philanthropy extended to furnishing funds ($10,000) in 1927 for the development of sports facilities on Town-owned land “for the use of the youth of Hampton.” Tuck Athletic Field (known as Tuck Memorial Field after Mr. Tuck’s death in 1938) was dedicated with elaborate ceremonies on June 4, 1930, and was used by Academy teams for practice and games thereafter (the area had also been used by the Academy before that time). Beginning in 1958, Winnacunnet High School used the Field extensively until its athletic complex was completed in the mid-1960s. (W.H.S. still uses the Field for some sports). Since Tuck Field’s development, it has hosted untold numbers of athletic contests, recreational activities, band concerts and July 4th bonfires.

“Through the efforts of Rev. Ira S. Jones, the Baptist minister, and his wife, Vina (who taught at the Academy for 13 years in the 1920s and 1930s), and by consent of the Town, Mr. Tuck provided funds for the purchase and establishment of Tuck House and Tuck Hall (now, Museum), and Meeting House Green Memorial Park in 1924-25. He also furnished funds for the maintenance of these projects under the custodianship of the Meeting House Green Memorial and Historical Association, a nonprofit organization incorporated in New Hampshire on March 3, 1925, and known as the Hampton Historical Society. (Mr. Tuck was made Honorary President of the Society soon after its founding.) Mr. Tuck’s annual donation for upkeep was usually $1,000 and sometimes much more. Also, the Park — near Tuck Field — shared in the sum annually voted by the Town for “parks and playgrounds.” (Tuck House and Tuck Hall/Museum became Tuck Memorial and Tuck Memorial Hall/Museum after the death of Mr. Tuck.)

On the old Meeting House Green (afterward: Academy Green), which is adjacent to the Tuck House property, a log cabin was constructed in the style thought to be that of the first Meeting House built upon settlement in 1638. The cabin, given by Lemuel C. Ring and Edwin L. Batchelder, and the Meeting House Green Memorial Park — a triangular-shaped area now popularly known as Founders’ Park — were dedicated with impressive ceremonies on Founders’ Day (October 14) 1925. The “centerpiece” of the two-day commemoration on Hampton’s settlers and early families was Founders’ Park with its large metal tablet (gift of Academy Trustee Joseph O. Hobbs of North Hampton) on a 12-ton boulder hauled from North Hampton. The unveiling of the plaque, which detailed the circumstances of Hampton’s settlement, was witnessed by townspeople and representatives of Hampton’s nine “daughter towns” which, in whole or in part, composed the original l00 square miles of the Town of Hampton.

Outside the town, Edward Tuck established, in 1900, the Amos Tuck School of Administration and Finance at Dartmouth. Other gifts to his Alma Mater included large additions of reference works and equipment to the Dept. of Romance Languages, and an endowment to encourage and stimulate the study of French. In the early 1900s, his financial support permitted the New Hampshire Historical Society to purchase choice land in Concord and erect a permanent home and library which was “pure Greek in design and spirit.” The edifice — constructed of granite, marble and bronze but no wood — was dedicated in late 1911. Mr. Tuck also endowed the Society, which was founded in Exeter in 1823. In 1914, the Society had supervised the remarking of the grave of Rev. John Tucke (1702-1773), pastor and physician, who was one of Edward Tuck’s Hampton-born “kinfolk.” The John Tucke grave is on Star Island, Isles of Shoals, near his longtime Gosport pastorate. Over 200 invited guests sailed to the Island on July 29, 1914, to witness the dedication of the 46 1/2-foot-high granite obelisk. A 60-foot diameter circle of land centering on the monument was deeded to the Society by the Piscataqua Savings Bank of Portsmouth, then owners of Star Island. Other graves are located within the plot (e.g., Rev. Josiah Stevens).

(Afterward, the dedicatory assemblage went to a nearby eminence, directly overlooking the sea, where the Society of Colonial Wars in the State of New Hampshire dedicated a bronze tablet in memory of Captain John Smith upon the 300th Anniversary of his discovery of the Isles (1614-1914). The Society also repaired and enhanced the 1814 masonry monument to Capt. Smith. It was Capt. Smith who first called the territory “New England.” Capt. Smith’s subsequently published (in 1616) map of coastal northern New England was studied by the Pilgrims before they sailed from Plymouth.)

Edward Tuck’s native Exeter received many benefactions.These included much of the cost of Amos Tuck High School in 1912, gifts to Robinson Female Seminary, the construction of “The Tuck Home for Nurses” at Exeter Hospital in 1911 plus annual financing of the Hospital. and $100,000 in stocks to Phillips Exeter as part of a Class of 1858 gift in 1917.

Edward Tuck adopted France as his second home and resided there with his English wife, Julia Stell. They had no children. Julia was the daughter of William Shorter Stell of Philadelphia who spent most of his business life in Manchester, England. After retirement, he lived in London and Paris. The Tucks were married in England. In Paris, their art-filled home was at 82 Champslysees, midway between Place de la Concorde and the Arc de Triomphe. A summer home was located eight Miles southwest of Paris on the banks of the Seine. This chateau, “Vert Mont” was on a section of the park at Malmaison once owned by Empress Josephine. In Paris, the Tucks benefited French charities and the University, and in Ruell-Malmaison they founded and endowed the Stell Hospital and the School of Domestic Economy.

Mr.Tuck also donated 65 acres of park at Bois-Préau and Napoleonic relics to Malmaison as well as an exquisite ($5 million) art collection to the City of Paris. The latter (paintings and antiques) was transferred to the City’s Petite Palais in 1930 under a one-million-franc fund supplied by the Tucks for its installation. On July 4, 1930, a sculptured relief of Edward and Julia Tuck (she had died the previous year) was unveiled in the House of American Nations, Paris, which honored the couple’s work for French charities and war-wounded soldiers (they had personally “adopted” 15,000 wounded French soldiers). In 1932, Edward Tuck was made Citoven de Paris. Prior to that, both had been made honorary French citizens — reportedly, the only Americans besides President Wilson to have received that honor up to that time. Mr. Tuck received the “Grand Croix de la Légion d’Honneur” while Mrs. Tuck became “Officer, Légion d’Honneur” in 1921. And Mr. Tuck was the first American to be honored by the French Academy (1916): “Lauréat, Académie Francaise.”

Mr. Tuck’s last tribute to his adopted country — where he would live the last 46 years of his life — was the restoration of a famous Roman monument, The Trophy of the Alps, at La Turbie, near Monte Carlo, Monaco. Located on French territory, the huge monument was originally built on a pointed hill overlooking the Mediterranean by order of the Roman Senate in 5 B.C. It commemorates the subjugation by Rome of a score of Alpine peoples. Because of those distasteful (to France) connotations and other reasons, Louis XIV blew up the fortress-like edifice with gunpowder. Since the monument was the first and one of the largest built by Romans outside of the Italian peninsula, Mr. Tuck underwrote the cost of reconstruction. The massive structure was dedicated in 1934.

Edward Tuck died at his winter home in Monaco on April 30, 1938. He had lived nearly 96 years, the last survivor of his Phillips Exeter Class of 1858. His burial took place at Saint Germain-en-Laye, near Paris, after impressive memorial services in Paris.

“Thus, the deep-sealed interest in Hampton Academy of Amos Tuck and son, Edward, provided advice and funds at times when they were much-needed. That supportive interest — spanning more than a century — continues to live on in the hearts of untold numbers of appreciative students who owe all or part of their secondary education to Hampton Academy.

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