Odd marriage ends in murder

Larry Wood

Larry Wood

By: 
LARRY WOOD ◆ OZARKS HISTORY

Ewing Tucker married Harriett Lefever in Morgan County, Missouri, in 1844, when he was over 40 and she was just 17. Over the next sixteen years, young Harriett bore the old man five children, and he worked as a farmer to support the family.

When the Civil War came on, Ewing Tucker left home to join the Confederate Army, although he was now 60 years old. Meanwhile, Harriett stayed home raising five kids. Time passed with no word from Tucker until finally a rumor filtered home that he’d been killed.

Not long afterward, Harriet took her kids and moved in with another old man, Elijah Slocum. Slocum was fairly well-to-do and able to take good care of Harriet and her children. Word was that he also treated Harriett better than her first husband had.

Then, in the spring of 1866, Ewing Tucker showed back up in Morgan County after four years of absence, very much alive. He moved back to his old home place in the southwest part of the county and took possession of it.

But Harriet wasn’t there.

Learning that she was living with Elijah Slocum not far away, Tucker set out to reclaim his family the same way he’d reclaimed his farm. The Morgan County Banner called the situation at the time “rather a mixed-up marriage.”

The crisis was seemingly resolved when Slocum acceded to Tucker’s prior claim on the woman and Harriett agreed to return to her first husband. But she was not happy.

For the complete column, see the Tuesday print edition of The Daily Record, or view the e-Edition online.

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