07 - Journeying Together



by Margaret du Plessis


Establishing The Salvation Army Nationwide

Right from the beginning of her arrival in Bombay in October 1882, Mrs Major Tucker was fully involved in establishing The Salvation Army in India.

The Tuckers were married in Amritsar in 1877 and then transferred by the Indian Government to Simla. Tucker was appointed as assistant-commissioner and assistant magistrate to a very delightful hill station, Dharmsala, in the Kangra valley. Louisa Mary Tucker found herself in one of the most lovely spots in the Himalayas. There it was cool with plenty of fresh mountain air as compared with the over-crowded Indian cities with soaring summer temperatures, dense humidity, polluted air, uncontrollable diseases. It was only when she returned as a Salvationist in1882 that she was exposed to real hardships such as crowded living conditions in the slum areas, dire poverty, intense heat and humidity, infectious diseases and much more.

The early War Crys tell us something more about her. A new window has opened for us. We catch glimpses of her fortitude and her determination to be engaged in establishing the Kingdom of Heaven in India. She was determined to fulfil her calling as an evangelist.

She was eighteen years older than her husband. “It must be borne in mind that at the time Mrs Tucker began to dress and live like a native of India, she was no longer in the vigour of youth, and that, therefore, the sorrows and sufferings and labours through which she passed told upon her in a way we trust they will not affect those who have gone into the thick of the fight in their youth.” 1

Although much has been written about the travels of her husband and the impact of his ministry upon the peoples of India, on many occasions the Tuckers travelled together on lengthy tours.

Those who live in India, who have travelled vast distances by train and local transport, who have experienced the extremes of temperature, humidity, dust, mosquitoes, crowded railway stations and trains appreciate the tremendous courage and determination of Louisa Mary Tucker. She made an impact on congregations through her dynamic preaching, teaching and using her gift of reaching out to people as she travelled. 2  

Plans and reports

The Indian English War Cry3 reported latest news in a telegram from Captain Bullard, dated January 15th from Calcutta:

“Yesterday (Sunday) procession to theatre – packed in every corner. Mrs Tucker spoke with great power. Perfect attention for two hours – all anxious to stop after we had closed the meeting. One soldier saved – Bless God – The Opera-house offered us for week-night meetings. Next Sunday afternoon meeting in Wilson’s Circus. Major and Mrs Tucker leave today for the North.”

Mrs Major Tucker was preaching on Sunday 14th and the Tuckers left the following day for an intensive campaign. The detailed schedule listed below gives insight into her travels from Calcutta to Monghyr, Allahabad, Lahore, Amritsar, Agra, Ajmir, Mhoqw, Egatpoora and arriving back home in Bombay on Friday 9 February. What stamina!

And in the same issue: ANOTHER GREAT NORTHERN CAMPAIGN, 15 January – 9 February 1883

Major and Mrs Tucker left Calcutta last Monday and are about to visit the following towns. As no special arrangements for meetings have been made they will be glad to hear from friends at these or other towns along the route. No open air meetings need be arranged. Salvation meetings will be held and collections made for the erection of new Barracks at Calcutta and Lahore at a cost of about Three Thousand Rupees (including seats and lighting). Not more than two meetings should be arranged for one day, so as to leave time for correspondence, and in choosing time and place, care should be taken to afford all classes every facility to attend.

Calcutta            dep 4.20pm Monday 15th January

Monghyr           arr    5.20am Tuesday 16th

                        Dep 5.35pm Thursday 18th

Allahabad          arr 10.34am Friday    19th

                        Halt for Saturday and Sunday

                        Dep 4.00am Monday 22nd

Lahore              arr     5.00pm Tuesday 23rd

                        Halt from Tuesday to Sunday

                        Dep 9.55 Monday 29th

Amritsar            arr 11.30 am Monday 29th

                        Dep 8.15pm Wednesday 31st

Agra                 arr 8.58pm Thursday 1st February

                        Dep 5.40pm Friday 2nd

Ajmir                 arr 1.18 pm Saturday 3rd

                        Dep 8.50 am Monday 5th

Mhow               arr 11.12 am Tuesday 6th

                        Dep 11.40 am Wednesday 7th

Egatpoora        arr 4.29am   Thursday 8th

                        Dep 2.54pm Friday 9th

Bombay            arr 8.50 pm   Friday 9th 

Major and  Mrs Tucker travelled widely. Captain Gladwin made the arrangements. Their purpose was to establish The Salvation Army. They travelled together as evangelists and ambassadors for Christ and the Army.

Their success can be measured by the fact that much of where the Army is today, was established from those early years and their extensive travels.

Mrs Tucker was with him and together they shared in ministry not only through preaching but also through personal contact with women and men wherever they went. A woman preacher was a rarity. No wonder the people crowded into the meeting places to listen to her sharing the good news about Jesus.

What else did she do? Did she pack the case and organise the food? The picture we get is of an ardent evangelist herself, every bit as committed to the cause as her husband.

Catherine Booth had promoted female ministry. Along with many others of her day in England, Louisa Mary Tucker was putting it into practice in India.




[1]   International War Cry March 12 1887

[2]   see Part 3; Published in the Indian English War Cry December 2004 - this highlights the involvement and influence of THE LADY SOLDIER.

[3]   17 January 1883