Special to the REVIEW
The grave of a veteran of the American Revolutionary War who disappeared decades ago was recently rediscovered, thanks to the efforts of two Tuckers and three Talleys.
John P. Tucker was a private in the Virginia Militia, part of the Continental Line. After the war, he moved to Chatham County, North Carolina, and later to Hickman County where he owned a farm beside Cane Creek.
His daughter, Fanny, was the first wife of Allen Talley, the son of John Talley, a Revolutionary War soldier who lived in Perry County. John Talley and John P. Tucker were first cousins.
John P. Tucker died in 1841. In 1995, his fifth generation granddaughter, Barbara Tucker Whittle, of Mt Juliet, began researching her family history. Her research led to the late James Tucker of Linden who shared what he knew of John P. Tucker’s offspring who settled in Perry County after 1820.
She also met David Talley of Centerville. He had grown up along Cane Creek and knew much of the history of the area, including how John P. Tucker had set aside part of his farm for a burial ground that became the Bett Bastin Cemetery.
As to where Tucker was buried, that required a different perspective. Enter a cousin, Charles Talley, of Lyles. He is 91 years old and remembers hearing early stories about who was buried in the cemetery. An aunt had shown him the space beside a large Chestnut tree where she remembered John P. Tucker was buried near Allen Talley’s grave.
However, the tree and the fieldstone that marked his grave disappeared decades earlier. To determine the exact location, a modern method was required. Enter another cousin—me—David Talley of Franklin.
As a member of the Sons of the American Revolution (SAR), the quest to find Tucker had a meaning for me, too. Two years earlier, James Tucker, also a SAR member, had provided details that eventually helped me locate the grave of my ancestor, John Talley, who died in 1843.This was payback.
I contacted Underground Detective, a firm in Cincinnati, Ohio, that uses Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) to locate buried utilities on construction sites. They also find graves.
This past July, a technician using GPR scanned the section of the cemetery identified on the plat as “numerous fieldstones.” At the edge of the section, near a brown smudge of earth where the chestnut had stood, the technician discovered a lone grave. Nearby was the headstone of Allen Talley.
Meanwhile, this past February, Whittle applied to the Veterans Administration for a proper headstone to mark her ancestor’s grave. It arrived at the Dickson Monument Company in late June. After numerous scheduling attempts, the headstone was finally set in place on Monday, August 14, 2023.
There are 4,500 known graves of Revolutionary War soldiers buried in Tennessee. The gravesite of John P. Tucker is now on that list.