Tullis Trees

A Family History Newsletter

Volume 4, Number 4

4th Quarter 2005

Tullis-Toledano Manor of
Biloxi, Mississippi

Thomas S. Tullis (TomTullis @ aol.com)

Very few historic homes in the United States have borne the Tullis name. One of the few that did was the Tullis-Toledano Manor in Biloxi, Mississippi. The home was built in 1856 by Christoval Toledano as a present for his bride, Matilde Pradat. It was considered a striking example of Greek Revival architecture. The home was purchased in 1939 as a summer home by Garner H. Tullis of New Orleans who was President of the New Orleans Cotton Exchange. The home sustained significant damage from Hurricane Camille in 1969 but was subsequently restored to its original beauty. It was sold in 1975 by the Tullis family to the city of Biloxi and has since been a popular museum and local attraction. Many young couples were married on the beautiful grounds of “Tullis” as it was called locally. Sadly, the Tullis-Toledano Manor was completely destroyed by Hurricane Katrina that ravaged Biloxi on August 29, 2005. The huge Grand Casino barge that was moored in the Gulf near the home was washed ashore by the hurricane, lifted up, and crashed down on top of the Tullis Manor. Nothing is left of the home except rubble. This article is an attempt to document some of the beauty of the home.

Tullis-Toledano Manor prior to Hurricane Katrina. Photo by Emily Chastain; used with permission.

Tullis-Toledano Manor in 1936 (Top: view from the front, or south; Bottom: view from the rear, or north). These photos are from the Historic American Buildings survey, documented in the Library of Congress American Memory collection, http://memory.loc.gov/, where the home is referred to as the Filbrick home.)

Side view of the Tullis-Toledano Manor.

Photo from the outside stairs on the front porch, by Emily Chastain; used with permission.

Photo of a lighted replica of the home purchased several years ago by the author.

After Hurricane Katrina

The Grand Casino barge sits on top of the area where the Tullis-Toledano Manor previously stood. The barge was thrown ashore and turned 180 degrees from its mooring to the right of this photo.

Satellite photos before (left) and after (right) Hurricane Katrina. In the before photo (taken Nov. 13, 2001), the Tullis-Toledano Manor is hidden in the trees on the left of the photo, just inland from the coastal highway. The Grand Casino barge can be seen at its mooring in the lower-right of the before photo. In the after photo (taken Sept. 2, 2005), the Grand Casino barge has been torn from its mooring and deposited on the site of the Manor.

Some of the decorative fascia board of the home can be seen amid the rubble. The inset shows its original location on the home. Photo provided by David Preziosi, Executive Director of the Mississippi Heritage Trust.

Remnants of the home, including its famous red brick, can be seen under the barge. Photo provided by David Preziosi, Executive Director of the Mississippi Heritage Trust.

Garner Hugh Tullis (1893-1966)

Editor’s Note: The following information about Garner Hugh Tullis, owner of the Tullis-Toledano Manor from the 1930’s to 1960’s, is extracted from an article by Richard G. Tullis and Carita Moore Curtis which originally appeared in The Claiborne-Jefferson Genealogical Society Quarterly, Vol. 6, No’s 3, 4, & 5 (1998). Garner Hugh’s Tullis ancestors were as follows: Hugh (b. 1857), Eli (b. 1832), Garner Hugh (b. abt. 1793), Daniel (b. 1747), William (b. 1715), and Robert (b. abt. 1680).

by Richard G. Tullis and Carita Moore Curtis

GARNER HUGH TULLIS, the son of HUGH was born on 10 April 1893 in St. Joseph, Tensas Parish, Louisiana and died in 1966 in Apalachicola, Florida. Garner Tullis studied law at Tulane University but left to pursue a career in the cotton business. From 1909 until 1923, he was employed by various cotton firms. In 1923, Garner established a partnership in New Orleans with Robert E. Craig and Malcolm Brown, known as Tullis, Craig and Company (later Tullis, Craig and Bright when Edger A.G. Bright joined the partnership). The firm became one of the most important cotton brokerage firms in the South. Garner Tullis served three consecutive terms as President of the New Orleans Cotton Exchange. He took a prominent role in securing donations for the purchase of ambulances for the British and French armies before the entry of the United States in World War II and, later, served as Commander of the volunteer Coast Guard assigned to guard the docks in New Orleans during the war. In 1957, he joined the securities and investment firm of E.F. Hutton and Company of New York City and served as resident manager and general partner in New Orleans.

Garner Hugh Tullis married Mary Lee Brown on 6 October 1916. She was born on 21 July 1897 in Omaha, Nebraska, and died on 7 July 1984 in Louisiana; she was the daughter of William Henry Brown of Cincinnati, Ohio, and Lulu McCullough of Galveston, Texas. He was chosen Rex, King of Carnival for the 1935 Mardi Gras. The Tullis-Toledano Manor, the family's summer residence in Biloxi, Mississippi, is now used as an historical and recreational site. The presentation of the "Christmas Trees of Tullis", featuring trees decorated by various ethnic groups in Biloxi, is an annual event at the manor.

Garner H. and Mary Tullis had four children. Garner H. Tullis, Jr. (1923-1931) died as a child. Malcolm McCullough Tullis married Lawrence M. Barkley of New Orleans and they had three children (Laurence M., Garner Tullis and Malcolm Barkley). Mary Lee Tullis married Norman E. Eaves and they became the parents of three children (Mary Lee, Priscilla and Penelope Eaves); she later married Albert Bruce Crutcher, Jr. and they had three children (Allison Bruce, Albert Bruce, and John Tullis Crutcher). Eli Watson Tullis married Molly Ferrell and they had four children (Molly Riffin, Eli Watson, Garner H. and Westley Luther Ferrell Tullis); his second marriage was to Deborah Beaird and they had two children (Deborah Ashbrook and Rachel Beaird). He was chosen Rex, King of the Carnival for the 1997 Mardi Gras. At the time of his death in 1966, Garner Hugh was survived by thirteen grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

Katrina Relief

What happened to the Tullis-Toledano Manor is just one example of the devastation that Hurricane Katrina caused throughout the Gulf coasts of Louisiana and Mississippi. These areas still need help. Two of the websites where you can make donations include the American Red Cross (www.RedCross.org) and Habitat for Humanity (www.Habitat.org). The City of Biloxi has also produced a DVD and photo album, Katrina & Biloxi, which can be purchased online at http://biloxi.ms.us/katrina_and_Biloxi/DVD_Album.html.

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