EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

New Hampshire

July 23, 2007

Tuckertown a tall tale? Danville debates existence of 1700s village

DANVILLE | Several crumbling stonewalls and a broken-down stone foundation are all that are left down the dark and dreary path now known as Tuckertown Road.

However, many people in town believe that the area, now overgrown with trees and brush, was home to a small village during the late 1700s known as "Tuckertown."

As legend has it, the village was formed in 1760, wiped out by a smallpox epidemic in the winter of 1781-1782, and later abandoned because of fear of infection.

But not everyone in town shares this common belief. Forestry Committee members Curt Springer and Betsy Sanders are challenging this piece of Danville history and claim that the legend of Tuckertown is just made up.

"I think it was a fairy tale," Springer said. "People needed a good story, and somehow that got embellished into being Tuckertown."

Springer and Sanders, who help oversee the Tuckertown Road area because it is part of the town forest, have done a great deal of research, trying to find out if Tuckertown ever really existed.

They note that it was never mentioned in any public records and that there are no cellar holes in the area that indicate any sort of village.

"There is no evidence," Springer said. "How do you prove something is real if it doesn't exist?"

There are also no property deeds from a Tuckertown, and there is no mention of a smallpox epidemic in town records, according to Sanders. She said the only two documented deaths in town caused by smallpox were recorded in 1782, which she believes makes the Tuckertown story even less valid.

"No one knows who lived there," Sanders said. "And I've done extensive research."

The only mention of individuals and families who lived down Tuckertown Road in town documents were the Tucker family and John Collins. But the only one that can be truly validated is Collins, because his residence is the only home shown on a 1760 town map that was sent to the King of England in an effort to separate Danville, then known as "Hawke," from Kingston.

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