LEWIS TUTT is one of the leading colored men of Springfield, born in 1840, in Marion County, Ark., at Yellville, and is supposed to be the son of a white man by a colored woman. He was reared in servitude, but treated kindly by the family, where he was born a servant, the Tutt family of Arkansas, receiving his name from that family. He was not educated, but soon became proficient in agricultural pursuits and had charge of the farm. The war breaking out, he remained on the farm, taking no active part, and finally surrendered to Gen.. C. B. Holland who took possession of that section. The owner of the farm, H. Tutt, had died before the war, and Lewis would not leave the old mistress, but remained on the farm. After Gen. Holland abandoned the fort at Yellville, Lewis drove his mistress to Springfield where she remained until cessation of hostilities and then returned to her old home again. Our subject worked for Granes & Hornbeck, merchants, and for W. C. Hornbeck for about ten years after which he served on the police force one year. Later he engaged in the grocery business for himself, near where the Central Hotel now stands, and although he had no means he had good credit and met with success. He continued in the business until 1890, after which he invested his money in real estate and now owns houses and lots and a store on Boonville Street. He also owns a tasty residence on Boonville Street, where he resides. Mr. Tutt was married in Springfield, August 17, 1865, to Miss Emma McCullock, and they became the parents of one son, David, who died August 11, 1890, aged twenty-three years, nine months and twenty-six days. Both Mr. and Mrs. Tutt are members of the African Methodist Episcopal Church and were liberal contributors to the building of that church. They have assisted in the building of all the colored churches in Springfield and are highly esteemed in the city. Mr. Tutt is one of the trustees of his church. In politics he is a stanch Republican. He is a man of intelligence and has served several times on the grand jury. He was one of the organizers of the Eureka Lodge of Masons, No. 39, of Springfield, and has been master of the lodge two terms, treasurer several terms and district deputy. Mr. Tutt contributed toward the building of the Perkins Grand Opera House and is a public spirited man. Besides himself only one other colored man owns lots in Maple Park Cemetery. Our subject stands well among the people of Springfield. He is a tax payer and has earned his property by industry, perseverance and thrift. His faithful wife has been of great assistance to him in his efforts to prosper. Mr. Tutt has always been an honorable man, and is an excellent example of the prosperity that can be attained by the colored man who perseveres in his determination to succeed. He owes no man a dollar. His son, David F., attended Oberlin College over one year. He was born October 16, 1866, at Springfield, and died a sincere Christian. Our subject contributed $125 toward building the Springfield, Sedalia, Marshall & Northern R. R., and also contributed toward the building of the Gulf Shops. In the spring of 1865 occurred the famous shooting of David K. Tutt, a white man and the half brother of our subject, by the celebrated "Wild Bill," the scout. The two men had had several difficulties at different times at the gaming table, from which it is said that Tutt generally arose with a large portion of Wild Bill's money in his purse. The immediate cause of this encounter was the trouble growing out of the pawning of a watch to Tutt by Wild Bill for the sum of $35. About sundown as Tutt was crossing the public square in Springfield, starting from a point north of the present court house, where McElhaney's livery stable then stood, Wild Bill, who had been watching for Tutt, and was in his shirt sleeves, walked a few steps into the open space, halted him and said: "You can't come any farther and carry my watch." The men walked to within forty steps of each other, both drawing their pistols and firing simultaneously, the reports sounding so near together that bystanders could not tell which man shot first. Tutt was encumbered with a long linen duster and his pistol caught in his coat, it is believed he fired before he was ready, and he received Wild Bill's ball through the body near the heart. He retreated to the court house and fell dead near one of the pillars. Wild Bill was immediately arrested and tried before the civil authorities. He was defended by Gov. Phelps and acquitted on the grounds of self defense. Tutt's body now lies in the Maple Park Cemetery in the lot belonging to our subject.
Springfield-Greene County Library