Private Jeff Morgan Tucker, First African-American casualty from Collin County during WWI
The name Jeff Morgan Tucker does not appear in the numerous articles and books written about America’s involvement during World War I. In 2017, Collin County Historical Society volunteer and genealogist Kristin Spalding uncovered information about Private Jeff Morgan Tucker from an old McKinney Courier-Gazette newspaper article and learned that he was the first black soldier to be returned to Collin County from the war.
Hear about Private Jeff Tucker and other African American doughboys from Spalding at 3:00 p.m. Sunday, February 17 at the Allen Public Library.
Private Tucker was born and raised in McKinney and was living in Greenville at the time of his enlistment. He served from Oct. 23, 1918, until Dec. 19 of that same year when he died of pneumonia. His mother, Susie Daniels, was notified of his death. When he was brought home to Collin County, Tucker was buried at Ross Cemetery, the county’s segregated graveyard. While completing her research, Kristin was confronted with a daunting fact—this fallen soldier did not have a marker on his grave. A genealogist, Kristin observed, “I thought that was something that needed to happen – he needed to have a grave marker.”
Private Tucker had no children, Kristin had to locate his siblings and navigate the family tree. That research was required because an application for a government headstone requires a next of kin. Kristin located Private Tucker’s family and a marker now adorns his grave.
Sponsored by the Allen Public Library, the program is free. The library is located at 300 N. Allen Dr. Call 214-509-4911 for additional information.