Henry Tucker and the Bermuda Gunpowder Plot
Henry Tucker may not have been an American, but his role in the Bermuda Gunpowder Plot helped the colonists secure much needed ammunition early in the Revolutionary War.
Friend of America
Henry Tucker was a leading citizen of the tiny island of Bermuda when the American Revolution began. He had strong ties to the colonies on the mainland as two of his sons lived there.
Bermuda did not have any agriculture to speak of and relied on their fellow colonists for the importation of food. Henry was in a tough position. The Governor (who was his father-in-law) had just lost a son at the Battle of Bunker Hill. Tucker knew, however, that an embargo from the continent could be catastrophic to his island.
Henry traveled to Philadelphia where he met with Benjamin Franklin and Robert Morris. Tucker offered the American delegates salt, one of Bermuda’s chief exports. Instead, Franklin and Morris requested gunpowder.
Tucker returned to Bermuda where he was instrumental in organizing the Gunpowder Plot. Residents of the island who were sympathetic to the Patriot Cause overtook a lightly guarded fort and removed its gunpowder. They rolled the barrels to American boats waiting in the harbor.
Smuggling and Sons
Henry Tucker would continue smuggling supplies to the Americans for the next few years.
Eventually, the British began a crackdown on this type of activity in Bermuda. This, coupled with the arrival of many Loyalists who evacuated the United States, led to a new embargo against the island. The increase in population and reduction of supplies created many hardships for the people of Bermuda for the next few years.
Henry Tucker’s two sons in the United States, St. George Tucker and Thomas Tudor Tucker, would both play important roles in the American Revolution and the creation of the new nation.
St. George Tucker, who allegedly helped roll barrels to the shore during the Gunpowder Plot, was wounded twice during the Revolution. He would go on to be Professor of Laws at the College of William and Mary and be considered one of the finest legal minds in Virginia.
Thomas Tudor Tucker served as a hospital surgeon in the southern theater of the Revolutionary War. He would later obtain the office of the United States Treasurer which he would hold for 28 years, still the longest tenure in American History.
Henry Tucker may not have been an American, but his (and his families) contribution to the Patriot Cause was admirable.