That is how we found a baby turtle crossing a road when we were in Ripley County researching Mystery of the Irish Wilderness ... In fact we were looking for Tucker Spring where John Joseph Hogan and a surveyor had forded the Current River on his first exploratory trip to the Ozarks in 1857. His memoir describes a mill at that ford owned by Appollinaris Tucker. Sadly, Mrs. Tucker was on her deathbed:
At this place there was a mill and homestead owned and occupied by a man named Appollinaris Tucker; he and his family were the only Catholics known to be residing at that time in that district. At the time of my arrival, Mrs. Tucker was in the last stages of her mortal illness, in which it seemed God's Holy Will that she should linger until her longings could be gratified to receive the last Sacraments; and, as it happened, from the hands of the first priest known to have come into that region of country. After Mrs. Tucker’s death, I returned homewards, by way of Iron Mountain, St. Louis, and Hannibal, to Chillicothe.(Mystery of the Irish Wilderness, page 25)
Appollinaris and Ellen Tucker purchased government land in 1854 and 1856 in Ripley County, Missouri. Presumably, Ellen was Mrs. Tucker, to whom Father Hogan administered the Last Rites . . . There is no record of the mill after the Civil War or of what became of Appollinaris. Tucker Bay Spring, a large (24 million gallons a day) but curiously unstudied spring, still flows into the Current River.
Named in honor of the former mill owner, we let our Appollinaris grow until large enough to take care of himself and then sent him on his way.