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Rev. James Judson Tucker (1827-1864) of South Dedham's Baptist Church

Baptist Church of South Dedham dedicated in 1859.
Washington St. site of Baptist Church in 1859 as it appears in 2023.

James Judson Tucker was born on October 26, 1827 in Vermont, the son of Amos and Amanda Tucker. He married Mary Elizabeth Burns (1830-1911). In 1860, Tucker was a student of divinity at the age of 32. At that time, he and Mary had one child, Charles (1856-1886).


The first public meeting of those interested in forming a Baptist Society in South Dedham was held in 1858. Their church, which stood in the center of the village, was dedicated on December 1, 1859. The first pastor was Rev. J. B. Breed. Breed delivered his farewell sermon in May of 1860. In August of 1860, Rev. Tucker, then residing in Worcester, Massachusetts, was invited to become the pastor of South Dedham’s Baptist Church. He took up his work in South Dedham on September 1, 1860.


During their time in South Dedham, the Tuckers had two more children: Mary (1861-1912), and Harry (1863-1896). Due to failing health, Rev. Tucker took a leave of absence in 1863 and he died on January 13, 1864, in Chicago, Illinois, thus ending his pastorate.


A handsome stone was erected to Rev. Tucker’s memory in Old Parish Cemetery. Topped by an open book with the words “Search the Scriptures,” the inscription reads:


Erected by the So.

Dedham Baptist

Church and Society

in the memory of

their late Pastor.

Rev. J. Judson Tucker.

who died

Jan. 13, 1864.

aged 36 yrs.


An additional inscription graces the base of the stone. It reads:


Then shall I see and hear and know,

All I desired or wished below.

And every power find sweet employ

In that eternal world of joy.


Although the location of Rev. Tucker’s grave in Old Parish is not known, in 1886, his remains and the stone were relocated to Highland Cemetery, lot 105. This may well have occurred at the time of the death of his son, Charles Tucker, who was interred at Highland Cemetery on November 29, 1886. Also interred at Highland are Rev. Tucker’s son, Harry Judson Tucker on August 22, 1896 and his widow, Mary Burns Tucker, on March 23, 1911.

Rev. Tucker's Gravestone as it appears in Highland Cemetery after the move out of Old Parish Cemetery.

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