A Family History Newsletter

Volume 2, Number 1

1st Quarter 2003

The Ancestors and Descendants of 
Bertram Thomas Tullis (1871-1930) 

Part 1: Jonathan and Ezra Tullis

Compiled in 1983 by his son, John Louis Tullis, M.D. (1911 - 1993)

Editor’s Note: Several months ago I came in email contact with Jonathan Tullis of Oregon. He provided me with a copy of a manuscript his late great-uncle, Dr. John Louis Tullis, had written in 1983 about his Tullis family tree. That manuscript will now be reproduced, exactly as John wrote it, in a series of articles starting with this one. Although John started with "The First Generation", which was Moses Tullis and Mary Elizabeth Van Dyke, I’m skipping that generation for now since many others have also written about their family. A separate article specifically addressing that family and the information about them from all sources will be presented in the future. This article begins with "The Second Generation", Jonathan Tullis, and "The Third Generation", Ezra Tullis (grandfather and father of David L. Tullis also profiled in this issue). The references noted are explained at the end; appendices mentioned are not included.


Jonathan, the 4th son of Moses and Mary Elizabeth Tullis, migrated to the western territory sometime after his father's death in 1777. In the period 1778 to l802 Jonathan's whereabouts are not known with certainty. There is a possibility he may have been one Captain Jonathan Tullis who is named on the 1787 tax list filed by Assessor John Hammer in Washington Co., Tennessee as follows: Captain Jonathan Tullis, 400 acres, 1 poll, 1 femme covert, 2 male infants, 2 female infants". ("l poll" indicates that the taxpayer was under 50 years of age and was therefore subject to a poll tax "1 femme covert" means 1 married woman.) Captain Jonathan Tullis does not appear on the tax lists after 1799. (L. & E. Little)

Our Jonathan was born circa 1755. In 1787 he would have been 32 years old. The Captain's family in 1787 consisted of a wife and 4 infants. One of "our" Jonathan's sons, Ezra, was born in Virginia March 18, 1783. Thus the dates for father and son in Tennessee in 1787 are comparable with the dates for father and son who moved to Ohio in 1802 and settled there permanently. Another interesting date correlation occurs in a deed filed at the Jonesboro Co. C.H., Johnson City, Tennessee dated Dec. 1, 1800 which states: "Jonathan Tullis sold 399 acres more or less for $l,500.00". The date fits the picture, but again Jonathan's wife is not named in the deed of sale. A search is now underway for the deed of purchase which if it exists and can be found may list the name of Jonathan's wife, our ancestor. (L. & E. Little)

It is important to recall that in the 18th and early part of the 19th centuries the territory from which the present states of Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee were formed existed as primeval wilderness. (See appended Xerox copy of "Early Dayton History). Many early settlers simply staked out a tract of land, cleared it, built a log cabin on it and planted crops on it. In other words they claimed the land by squatter's rights and their success in warding off Indian raids. In Ohio, for instance, the Indians fought for 40 years with raiding parties and sometimes full scale battles before a lasting peace was achieved with the signing of the Treaty of Greene Ville in 1794 after General Anthony Wayne's victory over Chief Little Turtle and his army of two thousand Miami warriors in the battle of Fallen Timbers. (History of Ohio, Vol. I) Life in early Tennessee was probably much the same as in early Ohio. The settlers formed companies of militiamen for their mutual protection. One Jonathan Tullis was possibly the Captain of such a company.

The first, presently known, certain reference concerning our Jonathan after he witnessed his father's will is in the form of a deed of land purchase dated Sept. 15, 1802 on file at the Warren Co. C.H. Lebanon, Ohio. It states that Jonathan Dayton of Elizabethtown, N.J. transferred to Jonathan Tullis of Hamilton Co., Ohio 200 acres of land for a consideration to $600.00. The land was located in Section 33, Township 4, Range 3, Territory northwest of the Ohio River. The land is now a part of Union Township, Warren Co. (L. & E. Little)

Hamilton Co. bordering on the Ohio River included in 1802, as it had for several years before that date and continues to do today, the major population center in southwestern Ohio, the city of Cincinnati. It would be a likely stop-off for a migrant from Tennessee looking for land to buy in the area. Warren Co. abuts the northeast corner of Hamilton Co. Jonathan's brothers Aaron and Amos were in Warren Co. by 1800 and sister Sarah and her husband Timothy Sewell were in Clinton Co., which abuts the eastern border of Warren Co. (Note: Many of the original counties contained large areas which as the population increased were sectioned off to form new counties. Thus land purchased in one county may belong to a different county today. The following table indicates the years of "Erection and Organization" of some of the counties in Ohio of particular interest to us (History of Ohio, Vol. II).

Hamilton 1790, Warren 1803, Montgomery 1803,
Champaign 1805, Miami 1807, Clinton 1810

Ohio was admitted to Statehood in the Union in 1803, although not officially until 1953! (See appended Xerox account) Jonathan Tullis is listed as a taxpayer in Warren Co. in the 1810 records. In the 1820 Census of Ohio a J. Tullis is listed as a resident of Turtle Creek Township, Warren Co. (A. Tullis, Salem Township; D. Tullis, Turtle Creek Township; and W. Tullis, Union Township all in Warren Co. are also listed. Aaron Tullis and members of his family are listed as residents of Concord Township, Miami Co.) The number of persons and their stated ages in the "J" Tullis household are inconsistent with those verified data for the Jonathan Tullis household.

As funds accumulated in the Federal Treasury from the sale of Congressional Lands to private buyers, Congress appropriated a portion to the State for the construction of roads. A grant for $75.00 was received by Warren Co. for the construction of a road from Lebanon to Hami1ton. In 1820 "Jonathan Tullis, Commissioner" signed the receipt for the money. (L. & E. Little)

On Jan. 8, 1818 a deed was recorded at the Champaign Co. C.H. Urbana, Ohio (Deed Book D, page 202) stating that Jonathan Tullis and his wife, Nancy, sold to Jonathan Tullis, Jr. 9 1/2 acres of land lying between the Miami Rivers for $400.00.

The Nancy Tullis named in the deed to Jonathan, Jr. was Jonathan Sr's second wife. The only information we have about his first wife, Mary, comes from an entry in a Tullis family Bible. Zillah Tullis Owen was able in 1944 to locate the Bible at the home of a "distant cousin" living in nearby Urbana, Ohio. She submitted the following list she copied of the entries in the Bible.


  • Ezra Tullis and Mary Blue, Feb. 13, 1806.

  • Jonathan Tullis and Rebecca Rigdon, Sept. 24, 1829.

  • James Spry and Mary Tullis, Feb. 24, 1831.


  • Ezra Tullis, son of Jonathan Tullis and Mary his wife, born Mar. 15, 1783.

  • Mary Blue, daughter of John Blue and Catherine his wife, born Mar. 20, 1778.

  • Children of Ezra and Mary his wife:

    • Jonathan L. Tullis, born Mar. 30, 1807

    • David L. Tullis, born Oct. 17, 1808

    • Mary Tullis, born May 13, 1811

    • Rebecca Tullis, born Feb. 27, 1813.

    • Ezra C. Tullis, born Feb. 19, 1815.

    • Peter T. Tullis, born Jan. 7, 1817.

  • Children of Jonathan and Rebecca his wife:

    • Ezra Tullis, born Sept. 7, 1830.

Jonathan's wife Mary was probably a native of Virginia and Jonathan and Mary were probably married in Virginia. No record of the marriage has been found. It is known that their first son was born in Virginia. (Beer's History of Champaign Co. Ohio under David L. Tullis - Xerox copy appended.)

Jonathan was married a second time to the widow, Nancy (Darke) Welsh, on Nov. 15, 1811 in Ross Co., Ohio. Nancy was born May 3l, 1769 in Berkeley Co., Va., married the Rev. Samuel I. Welsh, a Methodist Circuit Rider, on Mar. 29, 1798 in Berkeley Co., Va. They had four children and migrated to Ross Co., Ohio about 1805. The Rev. Welsh died there circa 1806. One child, David H. Tullis was born to Jonathan and Nancy (L. & E. Little).

Jonathan died intestate circa 1831, but the court ordered probate of his estate, dated June 4, 183l, lists his heirs as follows: Ezra, Harvey, Jonathan, Jr. and John W., sons, Peter Sewell (identified as the widower of a deceased daughter) and Solomon Weston (not otherwise identified - perhaps he was a second son-in-law?) (L. & E. Little)

Jonathan's place of burial is unknown. Nancy, his second wife, died 8, 1839. Her body is buried in the Red Lion Cemetery, Lebanon, Ohio.


From the family Bible entries we know that Ezra Tullis, son of Jonathan and Mary Tullis, was born March 18, 1783 and that he married Mary Blue, daughter of John and Catherine Blue on Feb. 13, 1806. (Warren Co., Groom's Index Marriage Record Book I, Page 10, Entry 83 lists Blew, Mary 2/12/1806 Ezra Tullis). Ezra's grave marker in the Maple Grove Cemetery, Goshen Township, Mechanicsburg, Ohio shows his date of birth as above and his date of death as April 5, 1842. The same grave marker indicates that Mary Tullis, his wife, was born March 20, 1777 and died March 20, 1843. Ezra and Mary were first buried in the "old cemetery" near the town square in Mechanicsburg, but when it was scheduled to go out of existence their grandson, John Cartmell Tullis, had their remains reburied in the present location. (per Zillah Tullis Owen).

The W. H. Beers and Co. in the 1880's published a series of books dealing with the history of Ohio Counties. Copies are available at the Warren County Historical Society, Lebanon, Ohio. Their 1881 publication entitled "The History of Champaign County, Ohio", page 900, under the David Tullis entry, it is written that "Ezra and Mary (Blue) Tullis were pioneers of Warren Co. and natives of Virginia". The text continues, "When David was a small boy (note: he was born Oct. 17, 1808) his parents pioneered their way into the wilds of Champaign County and here passed the remainder of their lives raising a family of four sons and two daughters to honest toil".

Ezra was 19 years old when his father Jonathan Tullis purchased in 1802 land in Union Township, Warren Co., Ohio. Ezra's first known land purchase was that recorded in 1828 in Deed Book H. page 351 Champaign Co. C.H., Urbana, Ohio.

The Ohio Census of 1830, Goshen Township, Champaign County lists "Ezra Tullis, Head of Household" as follows:

Free White Males
of 10 and under 15 years
of 15 and under 20 years
of 20 and under 30 years
of 40 and under 50 years

Names-age Correlations
Peter S. age 13 in 1830
Ezra Carter age 15 in 1830
David L. age 22 in 1830
Ezra age 47 in 1830

Free White Females
2 of 15 and under 20 years
1 of 40 and under 50 years


Mary age 19, Rebecca age 17 in 1830
Mary age 53 in 1830 (somehow Mary slipped into a lower age bracket!)


Jonathan L. Tullis, eldest son of Ezra and Mary, married Rebecca Rigdon Sept. 24, 1829 and is listed as Head of Household in 1830 Census, Mechanicsburg, Champaign County: 1 Free white male of 30 and under 40 years, 1 Free white female of 20 and under 30 years. (Jonathan was 23 years old in 1830 and therefore gained an age bracket.)

The references to "L. & E. Little" refer to Lawrence and Emily (Tullis) Little. This is the same Emily (Tullis) Little mentioned in the article about the portraits of David L. Tullis. Emily was the owner of the original portrait of David Tullis. As John Tullis states in his Acknowledgements: "Special thanks are due Lawrence and Emily Tullis Little who are themselves preparing an in-depth genealogical review of a Tullis family branch closely related to ours. Mrs. Little is descended from Henry Tullis, son of David L. ... The Littles have made available to me portions of early drafts of their manuscript, ‘The Tullis Family’ which is not yet in final form." That manuscript, entitled "A Record of Descendents of Moses Tullis, Sr., of Berkeley Co., VA and Thomas Little of Hunterdon Co., NJ", is now available at the DAR Library in Washington, DC. And speaking of the DAR, I understand from "Tullis Trees" subscriber Waunita Gibbons that Jonathan Tullis, profiled above, is recognized by the DAR as a Revolutionary Soldier from his service in a militia unit in Berkeley Co, VA. Source: "Muster and Pay Rolls of the War of the Revolution, 1775-1783", reprint from the New York Historical Society, 1914, 1915, 1996; p.643.


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