JOHN W. TULL, the pioneer settler of Grouse Creek Valley, in what is now known as Windsor township, where he took up the first claim, located in Cowley County in 1869, and has made his home within its borders ever since. He is a man of intelligence and fair education, having acquired the latter by his own unaided efforts; he is a typical representative of the early settlers of this portion of Kansas.
Mr. Tull was born in Shelby County, Illinois, in September, 1843, and is a son of J. B. Tull, who was born in North Carolina and died in Illinois, in 1881, at the age of seventy-two years. He was a strong Democrat, a slave-owner and an ardent Southerner. At one time, he was a captain of militia, in Illinois. He married Margaret Butler, who was born in Tennessee, and died in 1898, aged eighty-seven years. She was of German descent. In their family were seven children; Millie E. (Davis), who is seventy years old, and resides in Shelby County, Illinois; Braz D., who was born in 1832, and resides on the old home farm, in Illinois; J. S., who was born in Illinois, in 1836; John W.; Joshua B., who was born in Illinois, in 1850; Margaret (Herron), who was born in 1848, and now lives in Shelby County, Illinois; and James K. P., who was born in 1854, and resides at Center View, Missouri.
John W. Tull was reared in Shelby County, Illinois, and had limited educational advantages, although he has a large store of practical information, and is a great lover of good literature. In July, 1862, he enlisted in Company K, 126th Reg., Ill. Vol. Inf., and served as a private for three years. He was in the 16th Army Corps, under Gen. Grant, at the siege of Vicksburg, and then under Gen. Steele, in the 7th Army Corps, participating in all the important battles. He met with an accident while in camp, in which two fingers were shot off. He was mustered out of service at Pine Bluff, Arkansas, July 12, 1865, and returned to his home in Shelby county, Illinois. There he resided until after his marriage. On March 4, 1869, he moved with his family, to Eureka, Kansas, taking some household goods with him. He had heard of the Osage Nation, and was acquainted with Judge T. B. Ross, who had moved with Mr. Tull’s father from Tennessee to Illinois. He camped out with Judge Ross, and James Renfrod, who lived near by, predicted that the county seat would be located where they were then camped, on the Walnut River, near the present site of Winfield. Mr. Tull then went down the river to its mouth, located the first claim taken at that point, and laid the foundation for a house on the old Endicott place. He then went back to Eureka and took care of his crop. Returning to Cowley County in the fall of 1869, he with four others, put up a quantity of hay at the mouth of the Walnut, which was burned by the Indians, who forced the party to leave. The same land was subsequently sold at $400.00 per acre. Mr. Tull then went over to Grouse Creek, and mentioned the beautiful country to Mr. Mead, editor of the Eureka Herald, who published an article about its glowing prospects, and in a short time many people were flocking in that direction. In October, 1869, Mr. Tull made another trip to Grouse Creek, and filed a claim in section which W. E. Brown now lives, was deeded to Mr. Tull the same day, at $1.25 per acre. He still possesses a receipt for $5 from Chetopah, 21, township 31, range 7, east. This tract, on the well known war chief of the Osage Indians, given for one year of protection. It bears date of January 25, 1870. Mr. Tull first saw an Indian on May 6, 1869, but was never troubled with them about Grouse Creek. After the completion of his house, he brought his wife and family to the claim. He made great improvements on the claim and lived there for ten years, when he sold out to Mr. James, who in turn sold it to the present owner, W. E. Brown. The old town of Lazette joined the farm on the east, but it was short lived and never flourished because the railroad did not pass through it. The market and postoffice at that day were at Eureka, a distance of 50 miles. Mr. Tull is now located on the Star Mail Route from Cambridge to Glen Grouse, and by paying a small fee has a daily mail delivery. He first raised sod crops, putting in corn with an axe, and was very successful.
He sold out his first claim in 1880, and in 1881 bought his present home in section 3, township 31, range 7, east. He owns 220 acres in sections 2, 3 and 11, Grouse Creek runs through the southwest corner, furnishing a good supply of water. He purchased this property from William Titchworth, by whom it was deeded. Mr. Tull is engaged in general farming, and raises principally corn, millet, and alfalfa. He prefers shorthorn cattle, and raises Poland-China hogs, crossed with Berkshire. Mr. Tull served as central committeeman of Eastern Cowley County after its organization, and circulated the petition of 41 signers, to name Windsor township, which was then laid out,15 miles square. The first officers were Isaac B Todd, trustee, and Mr. Tull, clerk. Mr. Simpson was the first justice,–appointed by Gov. Osborne,–and B. H. Clover was the first township justice. The subject of this sketch has held numerous township offices, and has always filled them in a satisfactory manner.
Mr. Tull was united in marriage, in Illinois, May 3, 1866, with Nancy Simpson, a daughter of E. and Lucinda Simpson, Nancy having been born in Indiana, In October 1847. She was a member of the Baptist church. She died of heart ailment, on the family homestead in Cowley county, in July 1887,–leaving two sons: Braz D., who was born July 9, 1871, and is principal of the high school at Assumption, Illinois; and Bruce, who was born March 23, 1879, and has been attending college at Dixon, Illinois, for the past two years. Mr. Tull formed a second matrimonial alliance, wedding Laura Truitt, of Shelby county, Illinois. Politically, he is, and has been since he was seventeen years of age, a stanch supporter of the Republican party. He is a member of Burden Post, No.174, G. A. R. Religiously, he is a member of the Methodist Episcopal church, and his wife is a member of the Christian church.
(This biographical sketch was taken from the 1901 BIOGRAPHICAL RECORD,
published by BIOGRAPHICAL PUBLISHING COMPANY, Chicago, Illinois. The
volume contains biographical sketches of leading citizens of Cowley County, Kansas.
“Biography is the only true history”–Emerson