Cattle culture and the beef industry have an enduring legacy in Central Florida, thanks in part to cowmen like Gilbert A. Tucker.
The 93-year-old retired seventh-generation rancher knows that history well.
Tucker's family came to Florida from Georgia in 1866 with some Spanish Cracker cattle in tow. A leisurely existence near the St. Johns River wasn't an option.
The family settled in Christmas. In 1931, Tucker and his six brothers drove 600 head of cattle 75 miles to Flagler County.
The St. Johns River was lined with "the best, most nutritious grass — like delta land," says Tucker, who lives in Rockledge and was president of the Florida Cattlemen's Association from 1975 to 1977.
In his later years, Tucker managed a ranch for A. Duda and Sons in Brevard County. "I've been all over the world, but I can truly say there's no better place to raise cattle and ranch."
In the '80s, he self-published an autobiography, "Before the Timber Was Cut — Life and Memories of a Florida Cracker." The book is a wealth of information about Florida. Today G.A. Tucker & Sons continues his legacy in the Florida cattle industry.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun