A Family History Newsletter

Volume 3, Number 4

4th Quarter 2004

David Tulles (1787-1860),
The Mystery That Wants to be Solved…

by Diane M. Kelly, 14035 SW Stirrup St, Beaverton, OR 97008 USA; mamacita97008 @ yahoo.com

After all these years, my great, great, great grandfather, David Tulles, War of 1812 veteran, successful businessman, politician, Justice of the Peace, Lutheran minister, husband, and father of twelve children, is still lacking a father!

David was born May 22, 1787, either in Hampshire County, Virginia (now West Virginia) or Loudoun County, Virginia to Susanna McIlwee (McElwee). In those days, when a child was born out of wedlock, he or she was usually given the mother's maiden name. Since David has the Tulles name, does that mean Susanna was married to a Tulles when she became pregnant with David? If so, why was she listed as McIlwayus on her 1792 certificate of marriage to Jacob Clutter? There has been much pondering and research on this subject over the years, with no answer yet found. While many believe Michael Tullis (1749-1832) appears the strongest candidate for David’s father (taking into account his age, residence and pattern of migration closely paralleling David's), no evidence has been uncovered to prove this suspicion. Until solid evidence is found, David's many descendents can only trace their heritage back to him and his mother - and sadly, there the proverbial "brick wall" remains.

Five years after David was born, Susanna married Jacob Clutter on March 12, 1792, in Frederick County, Virginia and about May 11, 1792, they had a son, William. Jacob owned a farm and sawmill in Hampshire County, just east of Yellow Spring on Loman Branch and Falling Run, part of which David acquired from Jacob in 1809. Jacob supposedly died around 1810, leaving Susanna a widow.

On September 19, 1812, David enlisted in the War of 1812, serving in Captain George Park's Infantry Company, 1st Regiment (Connell's), Virginia Militia, until April 9, 1813. After David's discharge, he married Elizabeth Secrest in Hampshire County, Virginia (now West Virginia) and they moved to Pleasant City, Guernsey County, Ohio. David's mother, and I believe his half brother, William, moved with them. It was there David built and operated a tannery. He later sold this property and moved to Senecaville, Guernsey County, Ohio, purchasing a farm and building a flourmill, which stood until the 1940's.

From 1823 to 1829, David was an associate judge of the Common Pleas Court of Guernsey County, as well as serving on the county commission from 1822-1825. In 1831, he was elected to the Ohio Legislature, where he served one term.

Myers Hall, the first building built at Wittenberg College in 1845.

In 1842, David was elected to the first Board of Directors of Wittenberg College (now University), which was responsible for the founding of the college in Springfield, Ohio, in 1845.

Susanna died September 25, 1831. David's half brother, William, never married and at only 41 years old, passed away on December 15, 1833. David's wife, Elizabeth, died July 12, 1849. All three are buried in the Tulles family plot in Hopewell (Kackley) cemetery in Pleasant City, Guernsey County, Ohio, along with three of David and Elizabeth's children.

On December 20, 1849, David married Nancy Roush, a Senecaville milliner. In 1850, he traded his Ohio property for a large tract of land near Batavia, Locust Grove Township, Jefferson County, Iowa, and he and Nancy moved to Iowa. Seven of David and Elizabeth's children followed him to Iowa. In 1853, David was licensed as a Lutheran minister and ordained in September of 1855. He died August 29, 1860 and was buried in the Batavia Cemetery.

David and Elizabeth's twelve children, all born in Ohio, were Jehu, Mary, Sarah, Catherine, Susannah, John, Perry, Maria, Elizabeth, Lavina, Rachel and David. Unfortunately, I have only found photos of two of their children: Rachel and Perry.

Rachel (Tulles) Lawson, daughter of David and Elizabeth Tullis, 1857.
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Perry Tulles (son of David and Elizabeth Tulles) and his wife Sarah Wheeler.
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Submitted by Diane Kelly (e-mail: mamacita97008 @ yahoo.com), a descendant of Perry Tulles. Sources included county records, David's September 14, 1860, obituary in “The Lutheran Observer” (see next page), Lorena Hyde (descendant of Rachel), Donn Cochran (descendant of Perry) and Layne Secrist, related through Elizabeth (Secrest) Tulles' brother, Valentine.

Obituary for David Tulles

The Lutheran Observer, Baltimore, Maryland - Sept. 14, 1860

For the Lutheran Observer

Messrs. Editors:--On last Thursday, the 30th ult., we buried Rev. D. Tulles, of Batavia, Iowa. After a most painful illness of several weeks, he calmly fell asleep in Jesus on the 29th ult. During his entire sickness he manifested the greatest patience and the most implicit confidence in the truths and promises of that Gospel which he had so earnestly preached to others.

Father Tulles was born in Hampshire Co., Virginia, in the year 1787, and hence, at the time of his death, he was over seventy-three years of age. In the year 1814 he removed to Guernsey Co., Ohio, where he united himself with the Lutheran church under the pastoral care of Rev. W.G. Keil, in the year 1828 or 1829. He was elected to the Ohio Legislature in the year 1831, and served one term. He also filled the office of judge of the court during two terms, one previous to, and one following his services in the Legislature. In the year 1849 he removed to Iowa, and in consequence of the great destitution of ministers in our church here, he consented to enter the ministerial ranks four years after his arrival. Few men have been more justly honored, or more universally esteemed than this good father in Israel. In the midst of the jarring and discordant elements of which our beloved Zion in the west is composed, he always labored to calm the rising storm and still the troubled waters. He never failed to counsel peace among brethren, and may heaven grant that those of us who revered him as a father, may not forget his admonitions now that his voice is hushed in death, and his spirit has returned to God who gave it.

As a husband and father he was kind and affectionate-as a friend he was sincere, frank, and courteous-as a Christian he was firm, zealous, and upcompromising-as a pastor he was earnest, laborious and self-denying-as a preacher he was plain, but always instructive. For some time before his death he had ceased to serve any particular congregation, though he would occasionally preach in different localities. A large number of persons followed his remains to their final resting place, and the solemn occasion was improved by the writer from Matt., xxiv: 44-"Be ye also ready." He has left a large but grown-up and scattered family to mourn his loss-but they have the fullest assurance that they weep not as those who have no hope; that which is their present loss is, without doubt, his eternal gain. A. A.

Fairfield, Iowa, September 3, 1860.

Biography of David Tulles and his son Perry Tulles from “Biographical and Historical Record of Wayne and Appanoose Counties, Iowa” (1886), pages 372-373.

Gravestones: David Tulles and Family

Gravestone of David Tulles (1787-1860), Batavia Cemetery, Batavia, Jefferson Co, Iowa.
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Gravestone of Elizabeth Secrest (1791-1849), wife of David Tulles, Hopewell (Kackley) Cemetery in Pleasant City, Guernsey County, Ohio. (Full-size image)


Gravestones of two of the children of David Tulles and Elizabeth Secrest: Jehu (1814-1827)(full-size image) and Maria (1824-1831)(full-size image). Hopewell (Kackley) Cemetery, Pleasant City, Guernsey County, Ohio.

Gravestone of Susanna McIlwee (McElwee) Clutter (1760-1831), mother of David Tulles. Hopewell (Kackley) Cemetery, Pleasant City, Guernsey County, Ohio. (Full-size image)

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