Tullis Trees


A Family History Newsletter

Volume 5, Number 1

1st Half 2006


David Wilson Tullis
(1833-1902)

Information and photos provided by Jason A. Tullis and by Sasha Nielson. Additional research by Thomas S. Tullis


The following information and photos were provided by Jason A. Tullis and by Sasha Nielson based on research done over many years by many individuals. David Wilson Tullis was the ancestor of a large number of Tullises in the U.S. today, especially in Utah. He was an early member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, having converted to Mormonism shortly after arriving in the U.S. The following account of his life was written in the 1950’s by his granddaughter-in-law, Verda May Shaw Tullis, wife of Milo Tullis, from information gathered from a number of individuals, including John Tullis, Alice Tullis Bishop, Ellen (Mrs. James) Tullis, and Cora Tullis Gale.

Verda S. Tullis writes: "Since I never knew David W. Tullis nor his wives, I had to rely on others for my material. I have tried to the best of my ability to correctly interpret the facts that were told me. The comments I have added are from my impressions of his life and I hope this life story will give his family and future descendants a clear picture of his life and hope it will make their grandparents seem more personal to them and deepen their appreciation for the fine things he did. David must have been a fine man and I was happy to learn about him and write his life story at the request of some members of the family."


David Wilson Tullis, third son (fourth child) of David Tullis and Euphemia Wilson was born in Cupar, Fifeshire, Scotland, 3 June, 1833. Their children, in order of birth were: James Wilson, Alexander Wilson, Janet, David Wilson, William Wilson, John Wilson, Euphemia, Agnes, and Elizabeth (Betsy) all born in Cupar. Each son was given Wilson as a middle name from surname of their mother. They farmed and had some kind of drayage business. A dray is a large heavy cart without stationary sides, built to convey heavy loads, like great loads of fish. The city kept clean of garbage and debris by means of dray carts. It has been said David had a large fishing vessel or schooner which he used in his fishing industry on the coast of the Firth of Forth and other fishing waters nearby.

The Tullis family came to America in a sailing vessel in 1849 when David Wilson was sixteen years old. [See ship arrival record below which indicates they arrived in 1851.] They landed in St. Louis, after traveling by boat up the Mississippi River. They stayed there for some time, but later moved to Fairfield, Illinois. However, David Wilson stayed at St. Louis and worked in a store. It was there he first heard of the Gospel of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and joined the Church.

This is the ship arrival record for David Tullis (age 36), his wife Euphemia (age 40), and family, who arrived in New Orleans on 28 April 1851 (not 1849). They arrived on the ship Olympus from Liverpool, England. The family members listed are David (age 19), Jennet (18), Christiana (22), Olsvent? (11), Euphemia (9), Agnes (7), Eliza (5), and William (13). Christiana and Olsvent? are two family members that were not previously known. (Enlarged version of names on arrival record.)


David was the only one of his father's family to join the Church and come west. His father and mother died in Fairfield, Illinois. David never received anything from the family estate, but he never held any hard feelings over this. The Gospel meant much more to him than earthly possessions. His brother, James, died 12 December, 1862. We understand that James went to Australia, probably before the family sailed for America, so he was likely never in the US. David Wilson's brother, William, did come west for awhile and William's first son, Carson, was born while his father and mother, Margaret Lydia Carson Tullis, were with David Wilson. Uncle John Tullis says Carson was the first child born in Pinto. Others say he was born in Salt Lake City as his parents were returning to their home in Illinois.

David Wilson came to Utah in 1852, arriving September 15, of that year, with a man named Thomas D. Brown in the Captain Weimer's company which left in early July from Kanesville, later called Council Bluffs, Iowa. He bought a lot in Salt Lake City and was preparing to built a house when he was called by Brigham Young at the October conference, with a number of others to go to Southern Utah as a missionary to the Indians. This was the group that Apostle George Albert Smith and Erastus Snow had been authorized by the First Presidency to select and send to strengthen the settlements in Iron and Washington Counties. The company was under the leadership of Rufus C. Allen, as president, and they landed in Old Harmony in the spring of 1854. Jacob Hamblin was one of this group.

David Wilson had walked most of the way across the plains to Utah and drove a yoke of oxen, so he was used to hardships. Davis Wilson was now twenty-one years old. When the group arrived at Old Harmony they were surprised to find that already sixteen families were located there with children attending school. Among these were ten Indian children. They stayed at the place where John D. Lee's family was located, about midway between Cedar city and St. George, just off the Black Ridge, some six miles north of where the bridge went over Ash Creek. They were given food and supplies and stayed till Brigham Young and his party came in late May. They were then directed to go four miles north of Lee's camp, build a fort and make a ditch to take water out of Ash creek for irrigation purposes. David Wilson helped on these projects at what was first Fort Harmony and later called New Harmony. The ditch was a disappointment for it would not hold water which would make it hard to raise food for themselves and some of the Indians. Subsequently, another ditch was made.

We learn the following from the diary of Thomas D. Brown, "David Wilson Tullis came to Cedar City, 27 October, 1854, with John Sherratt and Thomas D. Brown, Secretary of the Indian Mission. In Harmony, 16 November, 1854, the missionaries held a meeting presided over by President Rufus C. Allen, at which David Wilson Tullis, Benjamin Knell, and Clark Ames were called as missionaries and ordained Elders under the hands of R.C. Allen, S. Atwood, and T.D. Brown. David Wilson Tullis, and C. Ames were set apart as missionaries at the same time." Sincerely W.R. Palmer. (This received 6 June, 1948.) Here at Cedar City, David Wilson learned the stone mason trade.

He went to Santa Clara in 1855 and was assigned to work on a fort there for three months as a stone mason. It was a very wet spring and the moisture caused part of the roof of the fort to cave in, killing the wife and two children of John D. Lee, who was now living here. He was the man who later headed the Mountain Meadow Massacre. From here David Wilson went with some of the missionaries to the Indians, to settle Pinto, Iron County, Utah in 1856.


The Jacob Hamblin home in Santa Clara, Utah, where David Wilson Tullis lived while building Fort Santa Clara. This home is an historical site today.

David Wilson lived with Jacob Hamblin during the time he built the Santa Clara Fort. Several families came from Cedar City and Harmony to live in this fort after its completion, coming by way of Mountain Meadows, the only road then to Santa Clara. Among the group who were sent to settle Pinto with David Wilson were Thales Haskell, Amos G. Thornton, Richard Robinson, Benjamin Knell and others. For several years they would go up to Pinto in the summer and back to Santa Clara in the winter.

When Parley P. Pratt and Brigham Young talked to the missionaries earlier in Harmony they told them to teach the Indians to be clean and industrious, to win their affection, teach and baptize them. They were to save the red-men, learn their language, learn their language so they would be more effective, gain their confidence, and thus be more successful in their labors.

They found the Indians farming; one thing they noted was they planted the wheat in hills like we do corn. The only tool they had was the ash stick which resembled an ax handle with one end sharpened to a point. With it they scratched out their furrows. There was no plowing. When the land became unfit for use, from accumulated roots, they abandoned it and moved to another piece of ground. They taught the Indians to plow, plant and irrigate properly and to make more substantial dams than those made of sticks and debris.

David Wilson was very closely associated with Jacob Hamblin at Santa Clara and when Jacob moved to Mountain Meadows with his family, David Wilson worked for him there. Other missionaries joined the group at Santa Clara, two families of which had a direct connection with the Tullis family later. One was Thomas Eccles and his wife and two daughters, Mary Ann, and third, Martha, who joined the group 3 May, 1857. (A second daughter, Margaret had died in England after age six.) Jeremiah Leavitt joined the group 22 May, nearly two weeks later. In later years, two of his daughters married two of David Wilson's sons, James and Charles Woodruff.

Note: There is a conflict of dates and facts concerning the Eccles family. One record written by Eta M. Tullis shows they joined the missionary group in 1858 and mentions three daughters, the youngest shows on family records names Alice Jane, born 28 October, 1857, in Santa Clara. Eta writes the Eccles family were taken into David Wilson's home in Santa Clara. Uncle John Tullis (son of David Wilson) tells that late in 1857 or 58, David Wilson took the Eccles family into his home in Pinto and that Alice Jane was born there. Either the birth place is wrong on Alice Jane's record or John is mixed up about her being born in Pinto. It is nothing to be worried about and maybe some time we will solve the problem.

At the time of the Mountain Meadow Massacre, September, 1857, David Wilson was working for Jacob Hamblin, who owned the Meadow and had given permission for the Missourians to stop, camp and feed their stock there. [Editor's Note: The main members of the wagon train were actually from Arkansas.] Hamblin had nothing to do with the massacre. He was on the way to Salt Lake City when it happened. Two of the men who were later massacred came to talk to David a few days before it happened, to try to find a place to stay and feed their cattle, since David was the man who took care of Jacob Hamblin's business. Stake President Haight and his counselors, Mr. Higby and Mr. Stewart from Cedar city, used John D. Lee to instigate the massacre. Two of these men died in exile, and one was pardoned, though no one had much to do with his family because of his part in the affair. Some of the white people joined with the Indians, who did most of the killing. David Wilson Tullis told his son, John, things that happened there which he heard from the Indians, (David could talk some of the Indian language) "Were too bad to tell," John said he would not repeat them as it was too terrible. Oscar Hamblin hitched up a team and wagon and loaded it with children and drove them off to save them. Later, some of the older ones were killed. Sister Thornton raised one who was seven years old, for awhile. Some folks came from Missouri to take her back and they later said they never would have taken her if they had known how bad she felt to leave Thornton's.

A monument memorializing those who died in the Mountain Meadows Massacre was dedicated in 1999. Exactly what happened at Mountain Meadows may never be known, but we do know that at least 120 people from Arkansas who were camping there on their way to California were killed. For more information, see, for example, http://www.mtn-meadows-assoc.com/ or http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mountain_meadows_massacre.


David had found out that the massacre was being planned and that men were being rounded up to help with the killing. He did not want to take part in it, so with the aid of three of his friends, Sister Harrison, Sister Thornton, and Sister Knell he formed a plan to keep from going. They put him to bed with hot bricks around him and put hot packs on his head. By the time the men came for him he had the appearance of having a high fever. This and a few well timed groans were enough to convince them he was in no condition to go. When the militia some time later was taking John D. Lee to be shot, they stopped at Pinto on their way. When he was shot he was sitting on a plank across his coffin, which was up in a wagon box. As he was shot he fell back into his coffin.

In probably early 1858 David Wilson and the Eccles family were living in the same house in Pinto. Some say the home belonged to Eccles and David Wilson was invited to live with them. Uncle John Tullis tells that David was single and had a home in Pinto, so he had room for them, the Eccles family. After they had been together some over a year, in April of 1859, Mr. Eccles took sick with appendicitis, then known as inflammation of the bowels, and died quite suddenly on April 8, on the same day David Wilson left on a trip to Parawan and since travel was so slow, Mr. Eccles was buried before David returned. He was the first man to die and be buried in Pinto.


Alice Hardman Eccles (1821-1883)

About a year and a half later, David Wilson married the widow, Alice Hardman Eccles. This was in 1861. Two years after this he married her daughter, Martha Eccles, who was sixteen at the time. These were the days of polygamy. Those of our generation, who are too young to remember, should know that this was during the days when it, when practiced properly, had Church approval. As far as I can learn, David Wilson lived this law as it should be, and tried to treat both wives well. Nevertheless, I imagine that even with honest efforts to get along, both women must have had heartaches, at times, for various reasons. Peace and order were found in the Tullis home, inside and out. David Wilson being of Scotch descent, learned in childhood the need of order in all things and the discomfort of waste. His household followed the rules of cleanliness, order, and economy.

David and Alice had only one child, a son, Thomas Eccles Tullis. With Martha, he had twelve children. They were, Euphemia, who had a stroke when seven years old and died single at age thirty; David Wilson Jr., who married Jane McMurt; Mary Jane, who married Emil Barlocher; James, who married Ellen M. Leavitt; William and Milo, who died at ages twelve and nine, respectively, when the dirt roof of the small building they were sleeping in caved in on them; Robert, who died in infancy; John Hardman, who married Ida Sterling; Charles Worded [Woodruff], who married Ethel Leavitt, sister of Ellen M. Leavitt; Richard Edward, who died at age sixty-three, single; Mary Alice, who married Don T. Bishop; and George Thomas, who married Hilda Hulett. Thomas Eccles, son of Alice, married Leonora Terry.

David Wilson Tullis (1833-1902) and Martha Eccles (1847-1915)


Pinto had one small store which was a real source of value in those early days. It was kept by Brother Joseph Eldridge and his wife Emily. Calico could be bought for five cents a yard and eggs could be traded in at eight cents and ten cents a dozen. Many of the children had their first taste of candy purchased with eggs at this store. David's home was located on the very south end of the main street where the road turned west to the Meadow and had a branch turning southeast to the fields and Pine Valley. The home was built of lumber and lined with adobe to give warmth in winter. It was a long, low, six room building with a porch on the front that ran the full length of the house and sloped toward the back where the bedrooms were located. There was a large open fireplace on one wall. The cellar under the house was a storage space for flour, butter, cheese, cured bacon, and hams, fruit, and other foods prepared for winter use. Many times Alice, Martha and David were blessed by being able to draw from this plentiful supply to divide with their less fortunate neighbors and strangers.

David Wilson Tullis family. Identities are not certain, but possibly (standing, L-R): David Wilson Jr, Thomas Eccles; (seated, L-R): James, Martha Jane, William. (If anyone has a better version of this photo, or more information about the identities of the people, please contact the Editor, TomTullis @ aol.com.)

At the back of the house was a large potato cellar rocked up to four feet or more which held the winter potatoes, onions, beets, cabbage, and other vegetables grown from their own summer gardens. Sometimes there were large bins of apples and pears gathered from the Williams field. A large barn, one of the biggest in town, was usually filled to the top with wild hay cut from the hay pastures by the Tullis boys. Across the road south of the house was a large granary in which grain was stored for market, for planting and family use. This was built by Tom, only son of first wife, Alice, while he was still in his teens.


Photo of the David Wilson Tullis home from 1963.

David Wilson Tullis spent most of his life in the farming and dairy business in Pinto, Utah. George Day, a cheese maker from the East, taught the people of Pinto to make cheese. David had about twenty cows. He would store his cheese in his cellar in Pinto till fall, then would take it to salt Lake City, a three week round trip in those days, by team and wagon. Apostle Teasdale, a ZCMI merchant, was the man he dealt with. When only thirteen years of age, his son, Tom, used to guard the cattle from the Indians, when his father was away from home on trips or busy with other work.

In 1882, David Wilson was called to go on a mission for the LDS Church to Great Britain, mainly to Scotland. His neighbors all got together with him to harvest his crops before he left. He had 800 bushels of barley put in the stack the day of his farewell party. The people of Pinto asked him to come to the school house and there had a surprise party on him. Robert O. Knell was bishop at the time and when he called on David for his parting speech, his heart (David's) was so full of tender love for those people who had been so willing and ready to help in every possible way they could, that words failed him.

He left on his mission 11 September, 1882. At this time he had Tom, son of Alice and eight children by Martha. His ninth by Martha was born while he was away. This was Charles Worded Tullis. Just try to imagine the faith it took for both the husbands and wives to accept a mission call with that size family and with very little worldly goods or income. Particularly hard would be the lot of the wives and children left behind to care for themselves and help support the father in the mission field. But they accepted the responsibility and had the faith. Remember this when you are asked to serve in the Lord's work.

Monument in Pinto listing David W. Tullis as one of the original settlers in 1856. The monument is where the Pinto Church once stood, and was built using stones from it.


He kept a diary while he was on the mission which was in the possession of his last living son, John H., at the time this was first written, 1953, but now John's son, Jerome, we believe, has it (1980). It is quite lengthy and though David was a good writer, it is, in places, hard to read, because it is faded with age. He seems to have been a good missionary and combined a search for his relatives and their genealogical records in Scotland with his missionary work, as time permitted. He visited with his relatives at times while on his mission.

Later, when he returned home he was very active in temple work and did the work for many of his kinsmen who had not been privileged to hear and accept the Gospel in life. His first wife, Alice, died 12 July, 1883, while he was still away on his mission. He arrived home the first day of December, 1883, after having spent fifteen months in the mission-field. His official release, we believe was 14 December, 1883. One of the positions he held in the Church was counselor to the stake superintendent of the St. George Stake Sunday School.

David was a very generous man and helped all he could who were in need, especially his fellow Scotsmen. He helped his brother William a lot. There were many instances of his generosity. I will include two that have been told me to give a more personal picture of his generosity. One day in Pinto, David was talking to a neighbor, Mary Platt. She happened to mention she didn't have nay shoes good enough to ear to church. David handed her some money and told her to go buy her a pair. One time his son, James, who was married to Ellen M. Leavitt, and had a large family, took a trip to White River to see a farm. David sent his son Richard Edward thirty miles from Pinto to Gunlock with a load of supplies so James' wife would have plenty for her family to eat while James was away. He did it on his own, as he was always thoughtful of others. James' wife, Ellen, has mentioned many times how good her husbands parents were to her. This, no doubt, was just one case in many of his kind and generous nature.

David had very little schooling. What little he had was while in Scotland I his early life. He could be considered a self-made man, and was a hard worker. He was a very good talker and was very smart. His son, John, says he would have made a good civil engineer if he had been given the opportunity. He was a large man, nice looking, with blue eyes and lovely white curly hair in his later years.

Photo of the Pinto Church, which was completed in 1865. (Note: If anyone has a better version of this photo, please contact the Editor, TomTullis @ aol.com.)


To go back some years, the Pinto Ward was organized 17 July, 1859. Their first meeting house was built in 1860 and everyone joined in the project with joy. Later, by 1870, or a bit earlier, a rock meeting house was completed. David's skill as a rock mason was used to great advantage on this building, which was used for church, school and all other public purposes. Today, where the old rock meeting house once stood, a pioneer plaque has been erected which includes the names of those who once lived, loved and labored there in their hometown. At its peak it sustained 150 sturdy independent pioneers who challenged and conquered a wilderness. Out of this courageous group came twenty-five excellent teachers who used their time and talents in furthering the education of the youth of other cities and towns of Utah and elsewhere.

From Cora Tullis Gale, daughter of James, we learn that when the children of Gunlock used to hear that Grandpa Tullis was in town they would gather to see him and loved to watch him sing and clog dance. Grandpa was also a beautiful waltzer. He spent his winters in Gunlock in the last five years of his life, as it was warmer there. He had enjoyed good health all his life till then, and found he no longer could work very hard.

The Main Street of Pinto in 1875.


Cora also said she never remembers being scolded by Grandpa or Grandma Tullis. "Grandpa was never heard to swear and never got mad. Once he had brought a load of shingles from Salt Lake to use on his own roof, and little by little they were loaned out to different neighbors who came asking to buy or borrow them. It was a long journey to Salt Lake City and back for more, so when Grandpa replaced them the second time he said he would not let anymore go so he could shingle his own roof. Before he got it done a neighbor again came to borrow a few bundles. He hesitated a while, then let him have some. His wife, Martha, was quite exasperated and persistently asked him why he let the shingles go, until he finally answered shortly, 'Just because I wanted to, Marthy.' That was as near as he ever came to being mad or speaking sharply. He was always kind to Grandma and we never saw them asleep but what she was lying on his arm. He was a big man and Grandma Martha was a little woman and it almost looked like his little girl lying on his arm," Cora said.

David Wilson Tullis died the 26th of November, 1902, in Pinto, Utah, at the age of sixty-nine years, of asthma and complications. He is buried in the Pinto Cemetery.


Pinto Cemetery

Grave of David Wilson Tullis and Martha Eccles Tullis

Grave of Euphemia Tullis

Grave of Richard Edward Tullis

Grave of Robert Eccles Tullis

Grave of William Tullis


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