Captain Joseph Tucker Society

The Captain Tucker Legacy Society

For more than 130 years, The Essex Library has benefited from estate planning gifts. These bequests have played an essential role in sustaining the Library as a vibrant, free resource for the entire community to enjoy. From the beginning, local philanthropists bequeathed funds to construct the first Library building on 3 South Main Street in Essex and later to create an endowment and lead gifts for the renovation of the current Library on Grove Street.

Bequests have also provided much-needed support for services and program opportunities, facility maintenance, endowment growth, and to sustain Library operations during economic and public health disruptions.

The Legacy Society recognizes people who have left gifts to the Library in their estate plans or have told us of their intention to do so. These gifts can come in many different forms, including bequests provided in the donor’s will or estate, or commitments made through charitable trusts, retirement plans, or life insurance. Each of these options makes it possible for you to provide for both your family and loved ones and the Library.

Who is Captain Tucker? We might call Captain Joseph Tucker (1824-1896) the “charter member“ of the Essex Library’s Legacy Society. Tucker (originally Tooker) was an Essex native and prosperous sea captain who married into the Post and Hayden families. He endured harrowing adventures on the high seas, including a shipwreck that left him and his crew lashed to floating debris and without water and provisions for six days before being rescued. (Read the exciting tale in the Captain’s own words here)

One can only imagine the thoughts that ran through the Captain’s mind in the face of almost certain death. What we know for sure, is that he remembered the town institutions that were meaningful to him in his lifetime by providing for them in his estate.

In 1897 the Essex Library Association received Captain Tucker’s bequest of three beautiful paintings of his ships, his portrait, and $5,000 in cash, along with instructions on how to use the money to build the Library’s first permanent home. The Legacy Society was named after Captain Joseph Tucker in honor of his historic gift and to continue the legacy he inspired.

Other benefactors have followed in Captain Tucker’s footsteps. The Library has received bequests ranging from $1,000 to $1.2 million. Gifts of any amount, both large and small, are greatly valued and help sustain the excellence of the Library in service to our community.

For more information on estate planning, including the Captain Tucker Legacy Society, please contact Executive Director Ann Thompson.