A Family History Newsletter

Volume 2, Number 4

4th Quarter 2003

The Caretaker by Jim Gray: 
Mr. Tullis of Mobile, AL

Editorís Note: I recently saw something for sale on eBay that I just couldnít resist. It was a print of a painting by Jim Gray entitled "The Caretaker". But the interesting part is that the subject of the painting was identified as a "Mr. Tullis" who lived in Mobile, AL. Below is the story of the painting. If anyone has any clues as to who this Mr. Tullis was, Iíd appreciate hearing from you (TomTullis@aol.com).

The following story about the painting was provided by Mr. Glynn Twyman of the Jim Gray Galleries, which he indicates is mostly from Jimís book, Roads Iíve Travelled. The book as well as prints of this painting can be purchased on their web site at http://www.jimgraygallery.com.

"His territory was the old Church Street Cemetery, in Mobile, Alabama. Mr. Tullis spent his days there strolling in the shade of the huge ancient oak trees, often stooping to pick up any litter that might mar the beauty of the place. He would sit for hours in the sun of the crisp Autumn days. Jim found him there one morning a few years ago. They sat and talked. Jim sketched and took a few photographs of the self appointed old Caretaker. Jim recalls, "He had a small Bible in his pocket and several rings on his fingers, a real character, full of yarns and home spun philosophy. You could tell the sun felt good on his back as we sat together." A couple of years later, Jim ran across the sketches and photos... "it was time to paint!" The old man is gone now, but his spirit lives on with this painting.

Iíve also been told that this gentlemen lived on an island in the river and took a boat over each day to the cemetery. At one point his house burned. But he was well liked by everyone and a group of people got together and rebuilt his home."

Previous: Miss Alma Tullis, Ellsworth, Kansas

Next: The Richard Tullis Family of Columbiana County, Ohio: Part 2