March 2, 1909


Bodies of A. H. Tuttle, Civil War
Veteran, and His Wife, Discovered
in Residence -- Grate and
Heater Burning.

Last night, when Captain Jack Burns of fire company No. 18 entered the house of A. H. Tuttle, 2617 East Twenty-fifth street, and found an aged man and his wife both dead, Tuttle lying on his side on the floor and his wife sitting in a chair in the front room of the house. A gas grate and an overhead gas heater in the room were burning.

The first intimation of a tragedy was discovered by A. M. Weed, a solicitor for the Wells-Fargo Express Company. Captain Tuttle, as he was familiarly called, has been an employe of the express company for the past twenty-five years. When he failed to appear at the depot yesterday morning, for the first time in years, it was thought he was ill. Mr. Weed called at the house about 2:30 o'clock yesterday afternoon and failing to get a response to repeated ringing of the door bell, walked around the house. He questioned a little girl playing in the yard as to whether Tuttle lived the4re, and if she had seen either of them that day. The girl replied that she had not seen either of them since Sunday morning. Weed found the milk on the back porch and the morning papers on the front porch.


Mr. Weed returned to the office and reported to H. B. Jeffereies, assistant agent, that he suspected something wrong. Mr. Jefferies visited the house at 6 o'clock and after investigating saw the blue flame of the gas heater, which is attached to the gas jet, through a side window. He went to the front porch and putting his hand on the large plate glass window found it to be hot. He called W. W. Hunt, who lives at 2619 East Twenty-fifth street, and after a consultation sent a boy to No. 18 fire station for a ladder. Captain Burns and one of his men responded and entered the house through an upstairs window.

"As soon as I opened the window I could smell the gas fumes and the still more horrible odor of decaying human flesh," said Captain Burns. "It was necessary to light matches to see in the ho use as most of the curtains were drawn. The heat was intense. Coming down the stairs the heat was more noticeable and gas fumes made breathing difficult. In the parlor, off the reception hall, we found the old couple; Captain Tuttle lying on the floor and Mrs. Tuttle sitting in her Morris chair in front of the burning grate, her head over on her breast as if in sleep."


Mr. Jefferies and Mr. Hunt went into the house and opened the doors and windows. Coroner's physician, Dr. Harry Czarlinsky, was called and declared that the death had occurred thirty-six hours earlier. He said that asphyxiation from inhaling carbon monoxide was the cause of death. Carbon monoxide is the fumes from imperfect combustion of natural gas, and is similar to that given off my burning anthracite coal.

Before noon Sunday morning Mrs. Tuttle went to a neighbor, Mrs. Jackson, at 2515 East Twenty-fifth street, and borrowed a cupful of sugar, saying she was going to make a custard pie. This was the last time she was seen alive. Other neighbors had seen the couple earlier in the day.

From the appearance of the house, those acquainted with Captain and Mrs. Tuttle declared that they had evidently just gotten up from the breakfast table. The breakfast dishes had been washed and were on the dining table, covered with a cloth. Captain Tuttle's razor, shaving brush, mug and strop were lying on the kitchen table.

W. L. Cowing, 2506 Montgall, said that Mr. and Mrs. Tuttle were to have gone with him to Shawnee Sunday afternoon to look over some land. "I saw them yesterday morning," said Mr. Cowing last night, "and they both declared they would go. When I came to the house in the afternoon I got no response to my ringing of the doorbell and concluded they had gone ahead of me."

Rev. R. P. Witherspoon, 1601 Belmot avenue, brother of Mrs. Tuttle, was called form the Gypsy Smith meeting and arrived at the house after 9 o'clock. He was shocked at the news. He said that he had never known a happier or more devoted couple.

"My sister and her husband have led an ideal life," he said, "and had it not been for neighbors and friends this thing might have gone unnoticed for days. They loved each other and everyone around them, and were loved by them in turn."


Captain Tuttle served in the Sixteenth Ohio regiment of infantry in the civil war. Shortly after the war he became a director in the Missouri penitentiary at Jefferson City, where he remained several years. He afterwards went to Warrensburg, Mo., and engaged in business. Twenty-five years ago he joined the messenger service of the Wells Fargo Express Company and remained with them until his death.

Promotions came one after another, until he became money deliverer and one of the most trusted employes of the company. His superiors and associates declare that his word was as good as a bond. It is said that the company has offered several times to retire him on a pension, but that he has steadily refused, saying that he must be around and doing something or he couldn't feel right. He drew $36 a month as pension from the government.

Three sons survive the couple. They are Lloyd Tuttle, a salesman for the Ferguson-McKinney Dry Goods Company in St. Louis; Charles P. Tuttle of Coalinga, Cal., and Harry Tuttle of St. Paul, Minn. Mr. Tuttle has a brother living in Creston, O., and Mrs. Tuttle has a sister, Mrs. T. J. Claggett, Marshall, Mo., and two brothers, Charles Witherspoon, Mansfield, Tex., and the Rev. R. P. Witherspoon of this city.

The bodies were taken to Carroll-Davidson's undertaking rooms on Grand avenue. News of the deaths has been telegraphed to the sons and the funeral arrangements will await their arrival in this city.