The Ruckers came to Everett to seek their fortune and that is just what they did. They became one of the wealthiest families in the area. Wyatt & Bethel Rucker are often considered the fathers of Everett. They were land developers and business men. They did much to develop the area.
When Wyatt & Bethel Rucker’s mother passed away the brothers decided to build a tomb to honor her memory. Jane Rucker had accompanied her two sons to Everett from Noble, Ohio in 1889. One must remember Noble County had struck oil in 1814 and had become a much more developed and progressive area than the wild territory that had yet to become a state when she arrived at 56 years old. Washington wouldn’t become a state until November of that year and Everett itself was completely undeveloped. I imagine their were many conveniences she gave up to accompany her sons on this adventure out West.
Jane would have been one of only a handful of white women living in the Everett area at the time. One must wonder what brought her West. Was it a desire to assist her sons in business matters or was it only to do the wash and cook. I tend to believe the former. Jane appears to have been an intelligent independent woman in an age when their wasn’t opportunity for such women. I haven’t seen many mentions in the society pages referring to Jane, which makes it even harder to know who Jane really was. Often we look to the society pages because its one of the few places women in history are mentioned.
In 1905 the Rucker brothers completed a three story mansion and additional carriage house on what is now known as Rucker Hill. Jane moved into the Rucker Mansion with her sons and Bethel’s new bride, Ruby. Jane spent her final years in this grand home. The mansion still stands proudly at the top of Rucker Hill looking out to the Puget Sound.
Ruby Rucker Armstrong and Jasper Rucker donated a half acre to create a park for the Rucker community in the 1950s. The only requirement is that the property always be open for public use. The park is pleasant, but has no parking.
Jane Rucker’s sons commission a tribute to their mother upon her death, a tomb. The granite mausoleum stands 30 feet tall atop a hill in Evergreen Cemetery. The tomb was built to hold 22 family members and has a nine by nine chapel area. The domed ceiling of the chapel is decorated with ornate stained glass windows. At one time a gas powered chandelier hung from the ceiling. A large seated statue of Jane Rucker once stood over the doorway. This grand mausoleum is built from Vermont Red Beach granite. The mausoleum cost over $30,000 which was a fortune for the time period.
Upon completion the brothers had their mother and father exhumed and placed in the mausoleum. Their father had originally been buried in Ohio in 1887 and was brought out by train. The Rucker brothers and some of their descendants have since joined them. Jane Rucker lies in the middle tomb on the west wall between her husband, Wyatt and her two sons.
Who was this Jane Morris Rucker? I had a lot of trouble finding information on a woman who has one of the grandest tombs in the country. She was born in 1833 and died on November 10th, 1907. Her obituary provides little information in its three short paragraphs other than to say she had been ill for the last few years. It is said that she was a very resourceful talented woman and someone that the Rucker brothers had complete trust in and valued her opinion and advice. One is left to only wonder how much she contributed to her sons success. She had two other children that remained in Ohio, a son named William and a daughter listed only as Mrs. Young.
Her tomb inscription reads:
The Pioneer of Everett
The Soul of Honor
Over the years the tomb has been the site of numerous vandalism and stunts. In 2008, vandals did over $12,000 worth of damage to the tomb and the surrounding graves. In 1994 the movie Assassins was filmed at the tomb, starring Sylvester Stallone and Antonio Banderas.
The tomb is worth a visit to the Evergreen Memorial Cemetery, but their is so much to see at this cemetery. Did you know President Barrack Obama’s great, great, great grandmother is buried here. Take a Everett Library tour via their podcast to learn about the famous people buried here at Evergreen Cemetery and also the interesting people. For instance, the man who was entombed on his couch.
Snohomish County Washington, Whitfield Vol I & II