Tucker, Argyle William (1832–1910)

By: Bob Bigham

Type: Biography

Published: February 1, 1996

Argyle William Tucker, early settler, was born to Laban E. and Nancy Tucker on September 8, 1832, in Davison County, Tennessee. In 1854 he moved to Texas with his family, settling first in Waxahachie. He married Marinda Jane Stewart in 1856 and moved with his collective family to the new community of Weatherford in Parker County the next year. The threat of Indians prevented them from moving any further to the west. Tucker served with the Texas Rangers under the command of John Robert Baylor, the famous frontiersman and Indian fighter. Although Indian depredations had decreased as far east as Ellis County, in Parker County the threat was still quite real. Tucker participated in many battles and became well known in Parker County as an Indian fighter.

The Tucker men were excellent machinists, gunsmiths, and silversmiths and could fashion even the most intricate parts of a pocket watch. Before the Civil War Tucker, his father, and his brother Elihu established a gunsmith shop in Weatherford, L. E. Tucker and Sons, where they manufactured fine pistols. In 1861 they were persuaded to go to Lancaster to establish a gun factory under the name of Tucker, Sherrard, and Company, to manufacture fire arms for the Confederacy. With the lieutenant governor of Texas and other prominent financial partners, Tucker and his father created a gun known today as the Tucker or the Tucker and Sherrard-a .44-caliber pistol with a 7½-inch barrel, a copy of the famous Colt Dragoon, prized by collectors. In 1862 the Tuckers withdrew from the firm of Tucker, Sherrard, and Company. The Lancaster Memorial Library stands today on the location of the gun factory, for which it carries a Texas Historical Marker.

After the war the Tucker family settled in Midlothian. Argyle and his brother ran a successful photo studio known as Tucker Brothers Art Gallery, the first of its kind in the area. A. W. Tucker is listed in a 1882 business directory as being the first blacksmith in Midlothian. He also operated a small grocery and hardware store in the downtown area for a short time. Many people considered Tucker a genius of rare abilities. Most of his time was spent as a prolific inventor; he held eleven United States patents, from photography technology to calculators. Several of his inventions have found their way into the halls of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington. He was also an artist, musician, and writer. Tucker died in his daughter's Midlothian home on December 1, 1910, and was buried in the Midlothian cemetery alongside his parents.

William A. Albaugh, Confederate Handguns (Wilmington, North Carolina: Broadfoot, 1993). William A. Gary, Confederate Revolvers (Dallas: Communication, 1987). Midlothian Today, January 28, 1993. Henry Smythe, Historical Sketch of Parker County and Weatherford (St. Louis: Lavat, 1877; rpt., Waco: Morrison, 1973).

Time Periods:
  • Civil War

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Bob Bigham, “Tucker, Argyle William,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed July 06, 2022, https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/tucker-argyle-william.

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

February 1, 1996

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