If East Haven, due to its early settlement and seaboard location, is a microcosm of the development of the American nation, then the Tuttle family is a parallel example of a founding family that flourished over the years.
As we saw in the first Tuttle article last Monday (), this was partly due to sheer numbers. The family started with three brothers who produced 30 children in the first generation. These children were equally prolific.
But one of the things making the Tuttles unique was their ability to make the most of their situation and appear on the forefront of the American experience. William and Elizabeth were well off and highly respected during their lifetimes. However, they could never imagine that their bloodlines would help produce such luminaries as Eli Whitney, Norman Rockwell and Sir Winston Churchill.
They did know, though, that many of the area’s other important families wanted marriages with their children. And intermarry they did.
A prime example is of Coe Avenue. She became interested in her family genealogy after she inherited her grandfather Curtis Mallory’s Bible in 1990. She began an extensive search of her relatives that eventually turned up more than one Tuttle ancestor.
“I found that my Tuttle lineage goes back to three different Tuttle sons, but the one I can identify best was Thomas,” Hausler said. “I don’t think my grandfather knew anything about this when he died, but his Bible gave me the first clues. I can remember as a child looking through the family album and asking my grandfather who the various people were. I've always been curious about my past."
Hausler has spent time traveling around the state — finding family homes from generations back and graveyards with family monuments. She has extensive records of her ancestors which show them marrying into other East Haven families, such as Luddington, Rowe and Potter.
In one of those interesting quirks of coincidence, she found another tie to her ancestor Thomas.
"Thomas was married to a Katherine Lane," Hausler said. "When my daughter was born 15 years ago, we named her Kathryn Lane. At that time, I hadn't started looking into my family. I thought it was really interesting when I found that 1650s Katherine."
Her research also turned up the frequency with which certain family names seem to appear over and over in the Tuttle lineage, such as Arthur and Orrin. Her three times great grandmother, Sarah Tuttle Quilter, used those two names for her sons.
An Arthur James Tuttle appears in the New Haven city directory in 1928, as owner of Tuttle Color Printing Co. on Whalley Avenue, although, he too, lived in East Haven.
That same city directory indicated that other Tuttles were making a difference in the community. Roger Tuttle was president of Tuttle, Morehouse & Taylor Publishers; John Tuttle was president of the New Haven Air Terminal, Inc.; and Harry W. Tuttle was Chief of Police for West Haven.
There was one other Arthur in a later city directory, this one was Arthur Albert, who had a brother named Edward Oren. This find provided a clue to another East Haven family, that of John Edward Tuttle of Kristen Court.
“My father’s name was Arthur Albert Tuttle,” Tuttle said. “He lived all his life in New Haven, but his brother Harold moved to East Haven years ago and so did his son, my cousin Raymond of Fisco Court."
Both of the cousins live in Foxon, not far from the Christopher Tuttle House of 1786 we visited in the first part of the Tuttle story. It seems to be a pattern that Tuttles may wander, but they always seem to settle in family groups.
"We lived in Branford and Guilford areas for a long time, then moved to Florida for a year," Tuttle said. "We couldn’t stand the weather, so when we moved back north, my son John Junior said we should move to East Haven where he had a landscape business. We're really glad we did.”
Coincidentally, according to early city directories, landscaper John Junior’s grandfather Arthur was a tree surgeon for many years in New Haven.
However, it was Jody Tuttle Marcucci-Pfeiffer, John’s daughter, who started looking for her roots about two years ago. She came up with direct ties to William and Elizabeth.
“When I was a child, I’d ask my parents who the Tuttles were and if we were related to the old family,” Pfeiffer said. “They had no idea. So, when the technology got sophisticated enough to allow searches on the Internet to be helpful, I started looking for my mother’s family. Then I started to find the Tuttles, lots of them.”
It was Pfeiffer’s knowledge of her great-grandparents names that allowed us to connect the family directly to William Tuttle’s lineage through his son Nathaniel.
Besides John, the current generation includes another Albert, who lives in North Haven and was Chief of Police for New Haven. John has four other brothers and three sisters. One sister, Janet Martone, also lives in , and her brother, Harold, lives with her.
For the children of this generation, they are the ninth generation to follow William and Elizabeth in an unbroken line. For John Junior, his sisters and his cousins, they make it an even ten generations.
If you happen to live on Tuttle Place or Dwight Place or ever went to Tuttle School, you may be wondering how they got their names. All of this can be traced to another pair of Jonathan Tuttle's descendants, Dwight Williams Tuttle and Grove J Tuttle.
These brothers were the sons of Jesse Tuttle, who moved from Hamden to East Haven in the 1850s when he married Lucinda Williams. Dwight and Grove were the offspring of this second marriage.
While they were born six years apart, they were always close. Despite having distinguished separate careers, they shared a law practice for 30 years and both chose to live in live, marry and become community activists in East Haven.
Dwight W. Tuttle was born in 1846. He graduated from Yale Law School in 1867, opening his practice in New Haven. It appears that he had an interest in farming and kept the family land, although others worked it for him while he pursued his law and political careers.
For a number of years he served as , and served as a justice of the peace from the time he was just 21 years old. His colleagues indicated at the time that he had shown “conspicuously meritorious service as a prosecuting attorney for New Haven County, an office retained for a decade and a half.”
In 1881, 1889 and 1891, he served East Haven as its representative in the General Assembly. In 1897 he was sent to the Connecticut Senate with little opposition.
Possibly because he was chairman of the Republican Party in East Haven, he came to the notice of the Secretary of the Interior, Ethan Allen Hitchcock, shortly after completing his term in the Senate. He was appointed chairman of a commission in the Oklahoma Indian Territory, although he had probably never been west New Jersey.
As a conscientious “Yankee from Connecticut, ” he and his wife moved to Oklahoma, according to the 1990 census, while he helped settle the land ownership dispute for the Oklahoma Cherokee Indians in the town of Muskogee.
He had married Bertha Lancey, an East Haven native, in 1879 after being a bachelor for many years. In fact, both brothers were in their mid-30s when they married and neither would have any children.
Grove, also attended Yale Law and graduated in 1873. He went into partnership with his brother in their law office at 818 Chapel Street in New Haven. He married Emma Downs in 1887.
Grove served in the Assembly for a few terms, as well, but his penchant remained the law, not politics. He was appointed to the bench and served as a trial justice. He was also a community activist, with a particular interest in education.
Judge Tuttle served as the chairman of the School Committee, a forerunner of the school board. Under his leadership, the committee provided the school system with the necessary buildings, equipment, and staff needed to improve education for all students.
Between 1910 and 1920, the population burgeoned and Judge Tuttle was often busy drumming up support for the construction of more schools. In 1925, he retired after getting the Laurel Street School approved. Shortly after, Prospect Street School was erected, and was named Grove J. Tuttle School in 1929, a year after his death.
His brother Dwight also served on the School Board of Visitors. Between them, they greatly impacted the education of countless students in East Haven, beginning with Union School, which was built under their tenure. When Tuttle School was built, it consisted of only seven classrooms with grades kindergarten through six. Today Grove J. Tuttle School has nine classes of students in grades 3-5.
Interestingly, the school has an adjoining park that is used extensively by the students and faculty. It is used for recess, as well as silent reading in good weather. Field Day events are staged there and teachers use the promise of an extra recess in that area to encourage completion of homework by classes.
It has been dubbed “Tuttle Grove,” a witty inversion of Judge Grove Tuttle’s name. We think he would have approved.