A Family History Newsletter

Volume 2, Number 3

3rd Quarter 2003

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

Part 3: Bertram Thomas Tullis and Family

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

Editorís Note: As introduced in the last two issues of "Tullis Trees", we are continuing with extracts from a manuscript written by the late Dr. John Louis Tullis in 1983 about his Tullis family tree. A copy of the manuscript was provided by Jonathan Tullis, Johnís grand-nephew. The first article (in Vol. 2, No. 1) covered "The Second Generation", Jonathan Tullis, and "The Third Generation", Ezra Tullis. The second article (in Vol. 2, No. 2) covered "The Fourth Generation", David L. Tullis, and "The Fifth Generation", John Cartmell Tullis. The series now concludes with "The Sixth Generation", Bertram Thomas Tullis, and "The Seventh Generation". Appendices mentioned in the text are not included.


Bertram Thomas Tullis, who was known as "Bert" throughout his adult life, moved from Oxford, Indiana when he was an infant and his parents decided to return to Mechanicsburg where his father was born and dived as a young man. Bert lived in Mechanicsburg until 1890 when he moved to Dayton to take a position in the business office of the Stoddard Manufacturing Co. In 1895 he joined the Hayner Distillery Co. as Secretary-Treasurer of that firm which produced high grade, bottled-in-bond, bourbon whiskey. The distillery itself was located in Troy, Ohio. More details of Bert's business affiliations are recorded in an appended Xerox copy of his obituary.

On May 7, 1901, Bert married Elizabeth Margaret Haas who was born Jan. 20, 1880 in Dayton and died there June 8, 1968. Elizabeth was the last of seven children born to Ludwig and Catherina Kern Haas. Ludwig (later Louis) was born July 19, 1843 in Germany. He died Dec. 1, 1911 in Dayton. Ludwig first came to America in 1859 when he was 16 years old. He worked on a farm for $1.00 a day and free room and board. He returned to Germany circa 1865 after becoming an American citizen. His reasons for returning to Germany are unknown, but while there he married Catherina Kern in 1866. Catherine was born Oct. 26, 1848 in Mannheim, Germany. Ludwig and his bride returned to America on their honeymoon and neither of them returned to Germany thereafter. A younger sister of Catherina, Lena, accompanied the newlyweds on the voyage. It was said to have been a rough voyage with high seas, perhaps less than ideal conditions for a honeymoon trip. Both ladies are said to have suffered "mal de mer".

Ludwig, whose ancestry can be traced back to Stephan Haas, born circa 1580 in Wildensee, Germany, and his wife Margaret, date of birth and birthplace unknown. Ludwig became manager of the Dayton stock yards and also owned a slaughter house. He later was elected a City Commissioner of Dayton. His name was listed on bronze plaques on the Main St. and Salem Ave. bridges attesting to his support in having the bridges constructed.

The Ludwig Haas family maintained close ties after his death. Clement and Mary (Haas) Graves owned a four-apartment building in Dayton. They occupied one of the downstairs apartments, Charles and Lena (Haas) Fry the other downstairs apartment, John and Anna Haas one of the upstairs apartments and Catherine the other. Thus surrounded by a son and two daughters, plus frequent visits by Elizabeth and her family, Catherine was well looked after. Catherine never became fluent in the English language. The family always spoke German at home and Catherine read only German language publications. She died Oct. 19, 1925 and was buried in Dayton's Woodlawn Cemetery.

The seven children born to Louis and Catherine Haas were:

  1. Philip, born May 31, 1867, died March 6, 1899, married Elizabeth Schantz, 1 son Louis.
  2. Marie Louise (Mary), born Aug. 15, 1868, died 1953, married on May 14, 1890 to Clement L. Graves. They had two children, Margaret Graves and Harry L. Graves, both now deceased.
  3. Michael Michael, born Mar. 27, 1870, died July 12, 1937, married Maida Gummer. 1 son died in infancy.
  4. John Alexander, born July 6, 1873, died 1952, married a. Anna Musselman, 2 children (deceased) b. Freda Barlow. No children, c. Helen Lauver. 2 children.
  5. Barbara Dora, born March 13, 1875, died 1959, married William H. Golden. No children. They lived in Zenia, Ohio.
  6. Lena Barbara, born Feb. 27, 1878, died 1957, married Charles Fry. They had two children. Theodore Fry and Kathryn Fry Baker both living in Denver, Colo.
  7. Elizabeth Margaret, our ancestor, born Jan. 20, 1880, died June 8, 1968.

Bert T. and Elizabeth H. Tullis first settled in a granite row-house, 121 Salem Ave., in Dayton View which was a residential section of Dayton across the Miami River west of downtown Dayton. Two of their three sons were born there, Robert Haas on Apr. 26, 1903 and John Louis on May 20, 1911. Circa 1912 the family moved to new and larger quarters "up the hill" at 428 Salem Ave. This was a large, single family home constructed of off-white bricks, green tile roof, large porch across the front, interior of oak and a two story, two car garage behind.

It was fortunate that the family moved when they did for in Feb. 1913 in the aftermath of torrential rains and melting snow the Miami River overflowed its banks and flooded the City of Dayton. Flood waters inundated downtown streets to a depth of 12 feet, but did not extend to upper Salem Ave.

On August the 8th in the year of the great flood Frederick Thomas Tullis, the third son of Bert and Elizabeth, was born. To the great sorrow of all he has been totally deaf since infancy. In spite of that great handicap which included an inability to express himself with clarity orally his development otherwise was entirely normal. He accepted his fate gracefully, entered current activities with enthusiasm and was never despondent or morose. He was endowed with a keen mind that enabled him to grasp meanings of things and respond rationally. He became a fine man, somewhat hampered, but never defeated by his deafness.

A major crisis for the family presented itself when after the turmoil of World War I the 18th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States was adopted in 1918. The advent of prohibition banning the manufacture, sale or use of alcoholic beverages forced the closing of the Hayner Distillery in 1919. At 48 years of age in the "unsettled" post-war period Bert found employment in the real estate business. Through his industry and many friends in the City he was successful in "weathering the storm". Nevertheless, it must have been a very stressful period for him particularly with a wife and three children to support "in the manner to which they had been accustomed". His burden was compounded by the collapse of the stock market in 1919 and the Great Depression which followed. This series of events contributed to his development of angina pectoris in the late 1920's and a fatal heart attack on Nov. 11, 1930.

While the boys were "growing up" the house at 428 Salem Ave. approached the ideal. It abutted the house and formal gardens of Walter Kidder, President of the Hayner Distillery, on one side of the house of Robert R. Nevin, a Judge of the U.S. Circuit Court, to the rear. The square block bounded by Salem Ave., Grand Ave., Arnold Place and Superior Ave. had a rear, cement- paved driveway (actually an alleyways which circled a large greenhouse and other gardens of the Kidders that occupied the center of the area. Many of the houses backing up to this bike-riding, skating, games-playing arena were the homes of friends and playmates of the Tullis boys. The Longfellow Elementary School was located one block away across Salem Ave. at the corner of Superior Ave.

Bob and John attended Longfellow School where Miss Kemper, the Principal, ran a tight ship. Frederick (Fritz) attended a special section at Steele High School in downtown Dayton where Miss Kennedy conducted classes for deaf children. Fritz later attended the Northampton (Mass.) school for the Deaf where he completed his formal education.

Bob and John attended Parker Junior High School for one year then moved on to Steele High School. Bob took his senior year at the Bellefont Academy. John stayed the full course and graduated from Steele High School.

It was the family custom to have frequent day visits with the Haas family in Dayton and nearby Bellbrook (Aunt Mary) and Xenia (Aunt Dora) and with the Tullis relatives in Mechanicsburg. During the school vacations in the summer time the family travelled extensively through the United States and, later, Canada, Alaska, Great Britain and many of the countries in western Europe.

The first of three family trips to Europe took place in the summer of 1923 in company with Michael and Maida Haas. The travel plans for this group of landlubbers were based in part on the requirement of obtaining pas- sage in a large and speedy vessel in order to assure a smooth, fast ocean voyage. The Cunard Liner, H.M.S. Acquitania satisfied the required specifications. It was a lucky choice for son, Robert, who managed during a five day crossing and subsequent rendezvous in Europe to meet and become engaged to marry a fellow passenger, Dorothy Esther Copelof of Flushing, Long Island, NY. Bob and Dorothy were married the following summer on June 26, 1924. Before his death on Nov. 11, 1930 Bert had become the proud grandparent of two children born to Robert and Dorothy.

Bert's death came suddenly and unexpectedly as he was about to join with his friends in their regular Tuesday night poker game at the Dayton Bicycle Club. His death meant that the great burden of caring for her two younger sons and managing the household, the family finances, etc. was now Elizabeth's alone. She carried on with skill, patience, prudence and love. Evidence of her success is manifest in that she was able to get her sons, John and Frederick, prepared for and established in their careers and at the time of her death on June 8, 1968 following a stroke and a distressingly protracted period in a nursing home she left an estate appraised at $703,330.67.

Both Bert and Elizabeth are buried in the Haas plot in the Woodlawn Cemetery, Dayton where Louis and Catherine Haas are also buried.


Bert and Elizabeth Tullis had three children:

  1. Robert Haas, born Apr. 20, 1903, Dayton, Ohio, died Feb. 24, 1972 in Clearwater, Fla. (Body cremated). Bob married June 26, 1924 Dorothy Esther Copelof, born May 26, 1904 in Dorchester, Mass. She is now living in Clearwater, Fla. They had two children.
  2. John Louis, born May 20, 1911, Dayton, married Aug. 25, 1942, Brooklyn, N.Y. Frances Eileen Dwyer who was born July 6, 1918 in Washington, D.C. Both are now living in C1earwater, Fla. (East Orleans, Mass. during the summer months). They had three children.
  3. Frederick Thomas, born Aug. 8, 1913, Dayton, married July 5, 1968, Toronto, Canada to Mabs (Rand) Kiernan, born Sept. 16, 1918 in Canada. Mabs, the daughter of Herbert Frederick and Alendrino (Yeats) Rand had one son, Peter Kiernan, by a previous marriage. She became a naturalized American citizen in 1980. No children by this marriage.

At this point in the story of the Ancestors and Descendants of Bertram Thomas Tullis each branch of the descendants will be responsible for recording the history of their lives and the lives of any of their ancestors and descendants as they are able and willing to do. I shall add a few pages on the Seventh and Eighth Generations of my branch and hope Robert Haas Tullis, Jr. and Dorothy Elizabeth Tullis Hagen will do the same for their branches in Eighth and Ninth Generations

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