A Biographical Sketch of Daniel Henry Rucker

   Daniel Henry Rucker was born 12/14/35 in Amherst County, Virginia, the first child of William Ballenger Rucker and Mary Ann Dawson Rucker. Surveys of his parents' property show a
"Schoolhouse Branch," [1] and Daniel was likely educated in that same school. In 1850, sixteen year-old Daniel was living at home with his parents and three younger siblings. [2] On 7/29/56 he wed seventeen year-old Marianna Rucker of Bedford County (born 10/18/38), daughter of James M. and Marinda Rucker. [3] They immediately began what would become a large family, Marianna bearing twelve or thirteen children, with ten surviving to adulthood. [4] They resided on a portion of his parents' land, 352 acres which was subsequently willed to him on the death of his father 12/28/62. [5] In 1860 Daniel was farming with his wife, and already had three children: Parks M., Laura E. and Wm. B. [6]
   In 1861 Daniel must have had mixed feelings about the coming war, patriotic sentiment tempered by a sense of responsibility to his growing family. His bachelor brother, William Ambrose, enlisted the day that Virginia seceded. [7] Daniel may have fulfilled his national duty by monetary support of the war effort, donating $100 by August of 1861. [8] It is possible that he was a soldier at some point; a Southern Cross can be seen on his grave, a memorial which should have been reserved for Confederate veterans.
Daniel was subject to conscription as early as April of 1862, when the Confederate Congress extended the enlistments of all soldiers then enrolled, and began drafting men between 18 and 35 years of age. [9] Various exemptions from the draft were allowed, however, and Daniel availed himself of the one which exempted overseers of twenty or more slaves. [10] Since his younger brother, Addison, claimed the same exemption, it is likely that the Confederacy disallowed Daniel's, and drafted him in the Spring of 1862. He responded by furnishing a substitute, James Wheeler, who enlisted 3/14/62 for three years. [11]
   In May of 1863 Daniel was appointed a "commissioner and officer" of Pedlar Mills Township, [12] so that his exemption was still in effect. He was still a civilian 9/11/63 when he was required to provide one slave to the Commonwealth of Virginia for work on the "public defenses." [13] The prospect of military duty loomed again 1/5/64 when Congress passed a bill authorizing the conscription of all those who had previously furnished a substitute. [14] An early history claims that Daniel was elected justice of the peace at age twenty-one; [15] this is likely erroneous, since that office would have made him draft-exempt, and obviated the necessity of claiming an overseer's exemption or buying a substitute in 1862. Ever resourceful, Daniel did win an election for justice of the peace in January of 1864, and took his seat on the court in March, over the protests of his opponent. [16] This was the election which made him a "magistrate under the old law and by virtue of his office exempt from military duty." [17] His name is to be found on the list of sitting justices for the remainder of the war years. [18] It appears that Daniel stayed abreast of all the changes in the Confederacy's conscription laws, and successfully avoided any military service. [19] The questionable impropriety of his grave's Southern Cross remains, but it could be argued that those who remained at home to feed, clothe and arm the combatants deserve recognition. Perhaps, the Cross was at some point merely propped against the wrong headstone, and should be adorning a nearby veteran's grave.
   The 1870 Amherst census, Pedlar Township, shows the family including seven children. [20] Fourteen year-old Preston is the eldest minor, listed neither in earlier nor later censuses, nor in the family history. [21] By 1880, the census still shows seven children: Preston, Parks and Laura are no longer at home, but Henry, Marinda and Ella have joined George, Daniel, Albon and Susan. [22] An unnamed girl born 2/8/72 probably died, [23] and may be buried in the present Cloudcroft subdivision. [24] William B., born in 1860, is also likely buried there. [25]  Four years after the death of his wife, Daniel moved the family to the new city of Buena Vista, in 1892. [26] He kept six acres in Amherst, and this property may be where the cemetery is located. [27] It is uncertain if Marianna is buried in  Amherst, or if her remains were removed to Buena Vista. [28] Daniel continued his career of public service in his new home, serving as the clerk of the Corporation Court; his signature appears on items from 1894 through 8/14/09. [29]  His son, Albon Mack, was the notary public during this time, and succeeded his father as clerk of court upon Daniel's death 8/25/09. [30] In Green Hill Cemetery, Buena Vista, are stones for Daniel, Marianna (died 6/8/88), Sudie Margaret Rucker (1870 to 1946), Albon Mack (1868 to 1948) and wife Kate K. (1870 to 1920), Harry Smith Rucker (1873 to 1929) and his first-born Harry (5/13/08 to 5/27/11). [31]

Compiled by Christopher D. Rucker, M.D., August 13, 1998.
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