A Family History Newsletter
Volume 2, Number 2
2nd Quarter 2003
Amos Fletcher Tullis (1830 - 1900)
by JoAnn N. Balmer, P.O. Box 1057, Ocean Shores, WA 98569,
Editor’s Note: This is the second article by JoAnn
Balmer on the Tullises who were pioneers of Washington Territory. JoAnn’s
article on James Wesley Tullis appeared in Vol. 1, No. 2. The current
article outlines the life of Amos Fletcher Tullis (shown on the cover), a
brother of James.
From History of the Pacific Northwest—Oregon and
Washington, Vol 2 (1889), pp. 609-610:
HON. AMOS F. TULLIS. - Amos F. Tullis was born
January 6, 1830, at Carthage, Rush county, Indiana. Both of his parents
were natives of Ohio, and, having migrated to Indiana, followed farming.
At the age of five years his mother died; and five years later his
father followed her to the great silent majority, leaving a family of
four sons and two daughters, of whom Amos was the fourth child. He lived
on the farm of his parents until 1846, when he accompanied an older
sister with her husband to Iowa. He resided at Mount Pleasant,
Burlington and Ottumwa in that state until March 18, 1852. On that date,
with his two brothers, John, now deceased, and James, now one of the
substantial farmers of Lewis county, he started with ox-teams to cross
the plains for Oregon. They arrived at Portland on the 8th of August.
They did not tarry at that embryo metropolis, but started for Olympia,
on Puget Sound (then Oregon Territory), which they reached August 27th.
Mr. Tullis found immediate employment in the sawmill
of Ward & Hays at Tumwater, and shortly afterwards leased the mill
for six months. He loaded the ship Leonesa with the entire result
of his occupancy, and accompanied her to San Francisco, intrusting the
sale of the same to a commission merchant in San Francisco; but not a
dollar was ever realized by him for that six months’ labor. It was Mr.
Tullis’ intention with the proceeds of that cargo to have returned to
his home in Iowa; but his scheme was defeated by his bad luck. Without
means, he returned to Olympia, which he reached in March 1854, and then
followed different employments until the breaking out of the Indian war
in the Fall of 1855. He was then appointed Captain by Acting-Governor
Mason, and with a small command guarded the transportation of the mails
between Monticello, near the mouth of the Cowlitz river, and Olympia.
Through the continuance of the Indian war, from October 1855 till nearly
that date in the following year, he patiently and faithfully performed
that hazardous service, much of which required travel at night-time
through sections within short distances of the haunts of the hostile
At the termination of Indian hostilities, in October
1856, he purchased a farm in Lewis county, where he engaged successfully
in farming, dairying and stock-raising. In later years, after the Fraser
river excitement had filled the mining regions of British Columbia, and
the cities of Victoria and New Westminster, with a numerous population,
he became an extensive dealer in stock. He engaged in buying in Lewis
and the neighboring counties, as also in Oregon, all the stock he could
secure, and shipped it to Victoria. In that occupation he realized a
handsome fortune. he continued to reside upon his farm in Lewis county
until 1885, when he sold it and came to Tacoma, Washington Territory,
where he has since resided. He invested early and wisely in real estate
in that growing city, and is now among its wealthiest citizens.
During his residence in Lewis county he was generally
in official life. He held the several positions of sheriff, county
commissioner and also as a member for the counties of Lewis and Thurston
in the council, the upper house of the legislative assembly, a body
which corresponds with the state senate. In 1880 he was appointed by
Governor Newell one of the territorial board of commissioners to build
the insane asylum of the territory of Washington, on the old site of
Fort Steilacoom, which had been donated to the territory by the general
government for that purpose. The building itself, not to refer to the
success of that magnificent charity to those of God’s poor who have
been bereft of reason, is Mr. Tullis’ best testimonial for efficiency
of service and faithfulness to public duty, as also to his broad
humanity and utilitarian views. He served in that labor of love for
seven years. Let it be remembered, as an evidence of his financiering
ability, his economy and strictness of business, that the great
structure received entire completion out of the first appropriation that
was made. But Mr. Tullis would be offended were not an equal meed of
credit awarded to his able, efficient and ever-attentive colleague on
the board, George Shannon, the liberal and whole-souled banker of
Olympia. To the benevolent labors of those two men, the citizens of the
territory must greatly attribute the successful erection of the asylum
building, and the prosperous condition and enlarged usefulness of one of
the noblest of the people’s charities. [Today these buildings and
grounds are known as Western State Hospital, a psychiatric hospital for
the mentally ill.]
In 1887 he became one of the county commissioners of
the county of Pierce, and is now the chairman of that board. Though in
affluent circumstances, Mr. Tullis’ active life must be engaged in
business. His leisure from official duties finds employment in looking
after his interest as a stock-holder in the Alaska Mercantile &
Packing Company. Numerous other enterprises enlist his attention. He is
never idle; and all his energies are devoted to elevating the community
of which he is an honored member. A successful farmer, an able
financier, a business man of sagacity and spotless integrity, - such is
very briefly a sketch of the life service of one of the most reliable
and substantial solid men of Tacoma.
Amos Fletcher Tullis was a son of Isaac Tullis, who was
born in 1796 in Virginia, and Ary Odle. Amos was elected the first mayor of
Chehalis, the county seat of Lewis County, on April 14, 1884. The minutes of
the City Council meeting on May 21, 1887, resulted in the following action:
Under action on Ordinances, ordinance No 42 Entitled
an Ordinance granting to S.P. Westover or his assigns the right and
authority to erection-construct and maintain a hay scale on first Street…
Moved and carried that the committee on streets and
alleys procure the Services of a competent person to locate a grade of
streets for a section bounded by Prindle St. on the north, Alfred Street
on the South, Second Street on the West and Pacific Ave on the East
including all within said boundary and file a map of said established
grade with the City Council…. The following members were appointed as
the standing committee for the next year.
|Streets, Alleys, Police:
Heath and Fire:
(Taken from Chehalis’ first city council meeting after
they established the city.)
In the Lewis County Bee, July 1884: A Mr. St.
John bought a farm from A. F. Tullis paying for it $10,000.
From the same newspaper:
A Fine Buggy Mare Missed From the Pasture
Tuesday, Mayor Tullis entered with a
hop-step-and-a-jump and ordered some flyers struck off stating his
valuable black 15 1/2 hand buggy mare had been stolen from the pasture.
Then the printing was half done, word came from Ira Johnson of Newaukum
Prairie that a mare appearing to be Mr. T’s was found near his place.
The mare was never known to stray off. An inspection revealed the fact
that the fence had been taken down and replaced in a hurry, apparently.
Conclusion has been drawn that she had been stolen and turned loose.
Amos was married to Catherine "Cassie" Buchanan
on October 9, 1856, in Lewis County, Washington, at the residence of J. C.
Cochran, Esq., by Rev. J. F. Devore. Cassie was born on April 19, 1841, in
Toulon, Stark County, Illinois. Her parents, George Washington Buchanan and
Catherine Hittle Buchanan, and their seven sons and three daughters, moved
to Washington Territory in 1853. When George and Catherine Buchanan and
their sons Winfield and Thomas and daughter Catherine came to the Boistfort
Valley, Catherine was only the second white woman to settle in the area.
Their daughter Catherine was 15 years old. Later Catherine married Amos and
moved to the section now called Adna where they operated a store.
Catherine resided in the Frank Toby Jones Rest Home in
her later years, 1923 to 1927. She died December 29, 1927. The funeral took
place at Mellinger’s Chapel, Tacoma, Pierce County, Washington, officiated
by Bishop Wells. She was interred in the family plot at Old Tacoma Cemetery
on January 3, 1923.
Amos and Catherine had three boys and one girl:
Harley Henry Tullis (1858 – 1900)
Was the most noticeable in the news:
REPUBLICAN PRIMARY SLATED: The name of H. H.
Tullis was placed in nomination for delegate to Republican County
Convention to be held in Chehalis, Saturday, September 27, 1884.
Lewis County Bee on Decmber 12, 1884: Chehalis
Lodge #13, Knights of Pithius, H. H. Tullis became an officer, being
installed the first meeting in 1885.
Lewis County Bee: H.H. Tullis has sold an
interest in his mercantile business to C.W. Prindle of the wholesale
house of Wadhams & Elliot, Portland. The firm will be known
hereafter as Tullis & Prindle.
Lewis County Bee on October 15, 1884: H. H.
Tullis is having an office built between Rice’s furniture store and
Prindle’s merchandise establishment.
April 10, 1885: it was reported that H. H. Tullis was
elected to the Chehalis City Council.
October 24, 1884, he is listed as a Clerk of District
Court in the County Officials directory.
Harley married Mary Fannie Davis on April 10, 1883, in
the bride’s home in Lewis County. They had two children: Catherine (born
July 1884) and Harley A. (born about 1892). Harley H. Tullis died in July
1900 in a tragic train accident. (See accompanying obituary.)
Clarence Tullis (1860 - ?)
Clarence seemed to keep a very low profile. He was a
farmer in Lewis County.
Arie (Ary) Tullis (1864 – 1943)
Arie or Ary, named after her paternal grandmother Ary
Odle Tullis, was born in 1864 in Centerville, Washington Territory. She was
married on March 6, 1882, to William Birmingham. Her husband and father were
in business together in Tacoma, Pierce County. Her father and mother and
brother are buried in the Old Tacoma Cemetery in the Tullis-Birmingham
Family Plot. Arie died in Riverside, California, on June 29, 1943.
Harry Bascom Tullis (1927 - 1953)
The youngest child of Amos and Catherine was a crane
operator with the Shaffer Terminals in Tacoma. See the accompanying article
from the Tacoma Daily Ledger about his retirement.
Harry married his first wife, Sadie, about 1908. They had
two sons: Mahon A. (born August 12, 1911) and John L. (born March 14, 1913).
His second wife, Lora A., whom he married between 1920 and 1930, survived
Harry passed away at age 67 in a local hospital on
February 8, 1953. His obituary states that he was born in Tacoma and lived
there all his life. Lora followed her husband in death on May 19, 1953.
The Amos Tullis family built three homes in fashionable
neighborhoods in Tacoma, Pierce County, Washington, from 1884 to 1933. Amos
constructed a building with his son-in-law on Pacific Ave. in Tacoma. It was
in an Italianate style and was constructed of brick and galvanized iron
called the Birmingham-Tullis Building. The building was put in place in 1885
and taken off the historic list on 8/5/1986 and demolished on 9/17/1986.
The Amos Tullis family, like the James Tullis family,
made a difference in the Pacific Northwest. They made an adequate living in
a variety of ways, and much of their time, energy, and resources were used
toward helping others.
Amos Fletcher Tullis
Catherine "Cassie" (Buchanon) Tullis