Arthur Louis Tullis (1849-1934)
Photos and information provided by Sarah Hodges of
Fallon, Nevada (sarah @ cccomm.net); Additional photos and information
provided by Toni Elliott (ToniLElliott @ msn.com)
from The Winterset Madisonian, Winterset, Iowa,
October 15, 1931:
A. L. TULLIS
Mr. Tullis' parents were not among the very first settlers but few men
now living had a richer or more varied pioneer experience than "Art"
Tullis who was a boy of Impressionable age during Civil war days. Six
log cabin homes in three different townships a builder of pioneer homes;
employed in the building of three of the early day railroads and later
honored with the office of county auditor in the county of his adoption
and the county that will always be "home" to Mr. Tullis.
The following are articles that Arthur L. Tullis wrote for The
Winterset Madisonian about his early days in Winterset, Iowa.
From The Winterset Madisonian, Winterset, Iowa, October 1926:
What a Farm Boy Saw 70 Years Ago
Des Moines. Iowa.
October 5th, 1926.
Mr. Ed M. Smith,
My Dear Sir:
Yours of September 9th, 1926, asking us to contribute a few lines for
the seventieth anniversary edition of The Madisonian. I have been reading
your dear old paper for sixty-eight of the seventy years.
We arrived October 15th, 1858, on the then vacant public square of Winterset.
Our first winter was spent in a small log cabin on Cedar Creek at the
Myers Grove. In 1859 we were located in the second log cabin in southeast
We occupied the third log cabin in South township in 1860, and in November
I went with my father to St. Charles where he cast his vote for Abraham
In March, 1861, we came back to the west side of Scott township near
Buffalo, where we occupied the fourth log cabin. This was built of round
logs, not even hewed. At this time I slept on a one legged bed, the end
and side rails being driven to auger holes in the walls, as the bed was
in a corner of the room. One hundred pounds of good clean straw made a
bed good enough for a king. How I would like to go back the seventy years
and come through it again, barefooted but not crying.
In brief, this is a picture of what a farm boy experienced seventy years
Very few roads were built on straight lines, most of them following the
ridges or valleys. The Campbell (now Holliwell) was the only bridge across
Middle river in 1858. There were scarcely a culvert, the first ones being
log cribs and punchin floors (split logs).
School houses were built with logs, having one door with wooden hinges
and latch pulled up with string, and one small window. Split logs were
used for benches and broad flat slabs for writing desks. Then we had the
Three R's to the tune of the hickory gad,
In the day when James Iler started The Madisonian corn was raised with
the single shovel plow and the hoe. I hoed corn for 25 cents a day.
Small grain was broadcast by hand on corn stalk ground and harrowed with
an A and V harraw from three to five times, then cut with a cradle, man
power, and bound by hand. Wheat straw was bound. This would seem pretty
Live hogs sold for $1.00 to $1.25 per 100 pounds. Now a farmer thinks
$7.00 to $12.00 is a very poor price. I sold ten or eleven small dressed
hogs to Butcher Evans in December, 1862, for $1.25 per 100 pounds and
did not starve, go naked or take the benefits of the bankrupt law.
Railroad grades were built with mule teams and small scoop scrapers.
I assisted on the three trunk lines across the state-- Northwestern, 1866;
C. B. & Q., 1867; and the Great Rock Island, 1868. Now great gas engines
and power elevators and steam shovels do this kind of work.
I did not see Madison county's first court house built but saw it when
it stood on monumental part. I saw the second one built from 1868 to 1870
and saw it burn October, 1875. In 1876 I witnessed the building of the
third court house.
Yours for another 25 years,
Art L. Tullis
from The Winterset Madisonian, October 15, 1931:
Des Moines, Iowa
October 5, 1931.
Mr. Ed M. Smith,
You asked me to contribute a few lines to your Diamond Jubilee edition.
Hence I will proceed to do so.
I arrived in Winterset in October 1858, now 73 years ago and during almost
all of that time I have read the dear old Madisonian. After this long
time I am delighted to know that I knew so many of the good old people
of Madison county, and that I was able to absorb some of the teachings
that floated out through the cracks of the log school houses. Uncle Joe
Hamilton taught in Walnut township in the year of 1859, in the Mericle
school house, and his brother John taught in the Stevens school house
in Scott township in the year of 1860.
The log houses at that time were very plentiful. Even some small farms
has twins, being two in the same yard. Then there were quite a few that
had two called double log houses. My father's family lived the first six
years in as many log cabins, in Douglas and South townships.
My finances were somewhat checkered, coming to the county with a smooth
dime, afterwards being able to get ten thousand dollars in debt. The best
of all getting out without the aid of the bankrupt law.
As to the Clayton county migration, I claim to be the principle cause
of them coming to Madison county in 1864 and on for the next ten years.
During October 1864 I met Daniel Hasen and his brothers Emerson and Emers
at a farm house 5 miles west of Newton in Jasper county. They were driving
over the country looking for cheaper land and cheaper homes. They were
going up through the north part of Jasper and on to Story and Dallas counties,
they having before stated that Clayton county was pretty rough being along
the Mississippi river. Although I was a lad of 14 years, I insisted that
the counties Story and Dallas would not suit them as both counties were
very flat and in rainy seasons were half covered with water; hence I begged
them that before they returned home that they should see the Coon river
or Quaker Divide, being north one-fourth of Madison county. As I had slept
with Uncle Emerson he pricked up his ears and listened to what the Kid
was saying. That
evening at sundown after they had driven about 40 or 50 miles and I had
stopped at Brooks lake to water my team, they came up to water their team
and assured me that they would see that land that I described before they
started home. This was the last I saw of them until the first of April
1865. I met uncle Daniel on the west side of the square of Winterset when
he hailed me by "young man, we concluded to take your advice. I bought
some land in Jefferson township and my three brothers are on their way
here now and we expect 40 or 50 of our neighbors to follow during the
coming years." And they certainly did.
My experiences with railroads were quite numerous. The first one I saw
in Iowa was the C. B. & Q., from Burlington to Middletown in Des Moines
county. Then the next one was the one they called the Underground from
Missouri to Canada. The line came in from Clark county near the Painter
residence in Walnut township, then northwesterly to Jacob Browns, the
one Cal Ogburn called Soap Jake, then northwest to my father's log cabin,
he being one of the engineers on this line. One evening in 1861 Ed Brown,
the oldest son of Jacob Brown, came to our cabin riding a big bay horse,
accompanied by two young black men, one riding behind Ed and the other
hanging to the halter. After a half hours time, the boys having devoured
a corn pone and a chunk of butter as big as a base ball, they were ready
to continue their journey.
Father at this time brought out his old faithful horses and put the colored
boys on one of them, mounted the other, all riding bareback. They then
went down the hollow towards the Middle river in the shades of the hill
and night and went out of sight. How far they went and where I did not
know, but the next morning he and the team were at home. Such occurences
were frequent during the next year.
The next train I saw was the old K. D. at Eddyville, Iowa, 1863, after
which they were the first trains to reach Des Moines. During 1863, 1864,
1865, I freighted from Grinnell and Nevada, Iowa. Among other things was
the machinery for the Wool Mill at Winterset. My next experience was with
the Munger and Stafford Grading company September 1st, 1866, on the Northwestern
Railroad in Crawford, Harrison and Pottawattamie counties, who were then
racing to get to Council Bluffs to catch up with the Union Pacific, which
General Dodge had started across the plains the year before. In 1867 we
moved the same bunch of men and mules to Clark county. From Murray to
Afton, where we put in a miserable season as rain fell about half the
time. And then in 1868, dear old Ed Conneran and I went out on the Rock
Commencing near the town of Anita on west to Pottawattamie county. Hence
I tell Daisy Conneran Smith that her Daddie and I built the Great Rock
Island. My next and last experience was the Des Moines and Winterset southwestern,
assisting Bevington, Mungers and Murry obtaining the right of way, the
last of which was Alec Pattison through the farm where Patterson now is;
they promised Mr. Pattison to name the station after him. On account of
somebody's carelessness the town was named Patterson and not Pattison.
I had a small hand in the building up of Winterset. In the year of 1867
I assisted my father in building a small house six or seven blocks northeast
of the square. In 1868 I built a small house on the south side of Green
street. It in after years burned down while the property of old uncle
Hiram Lovelace. Then in the year of 1881 I built the house north of Drennan's
lumber yard and remodeled three other houses in the town in the next year.
Then in 1896 I built the frame house near the marble works, then in 1898
I built the brick house on the same lot. These two I am still trying to
Now after these many years I would be glad to go back and come through
again. With the stone bruises on my heels, mud in my toes, fish hooks
in my fingers and frost on ears and nose. If anyone that reads this sketch
thinks that I know anything that they might want to know write me at this
address and I will answer it. 3213 W 8th Street.
A. L. TULLIS
Des Moines, Iowa
October 5, 1931