Biography of James Otis Tulloss

James Otis Tulloss. In 1856, the year the republican party had its first presidential candidate in the field, and when the Kansas-Nebraska question was agitating the entire nation, the citizenship of this then territory acquired an important addition in certain members of the Tulloss family. It is a name therefore that had been identified with Kansas for sixty years. James O. Tulloss named above had no part in that earlier period of the family’s connection with Kansas. He represents a younger generation, and his active career had been largely confined to the past twenty years, during which time he had built up one of the largest hardware businesses in Chautauqua County, located in Sedan.

The family is of English origin, and was transplanted to Virginia in colonial days. From there other members of the family crossed the mountains to Ohio, and were pioneers in that state as they were also later in Kansas. The pioneer Kansan of the name was John Smith Tulloss, who was born in Knox County, Ohio. He came to Kansas in 1856, homesteaded 320 acres in Franklin County, busied himself with its care and cultivation for a number of years, and died at Rantoul in the same county. He married Julia Smith, a native of Ohio, and both she and her husband died at Rantoul before the birth of James Otis Tulloss. Their children were: J. S. Tulloss; W. S. Tulloss, who lives in Ottawa, Kansas, and during his successful career had acquired the ownership of about 800 acres of land; Charles R., a farmer at Utica, Ohio.

J. S. Tulloss, who was born in Knox County, Ohio, in 1839, was seventeen years of age when he came with his parents to Rantoul, Kansas. The family was one of the first to make settlement in that vicinity. He adapted himself to the methods and necessities of Kansas farming, proved an expert in that business, and succeeding to the 320 acres originally homesteaded by his father, he increased it to 800 acres. He also exerted himself in behalf of various movements in his home section of the state. During the Civil war he served in the State Militia and helped repel Price’s raid in Kansas. Later he served as county commissioner of Franklin County for eight years. Though reared under republican influences, he became a greenbacker when that movement was strong and subsequently gravitated into the democratic ranks. He died at Rantoul in 1899 at the age of sixty. J. S. Tulloss married Miss Kate Bradley who was born at Fentonville, Michigan, in 1837, and died at Rantoul, Kansas, in 1882. She had come out to Kansas in 1870 and was a teacher in the public schools of Rantoul when she married her husband. To their marriage were born the following children: James O.; W. G. Tulloss, cashier of the Rantoul State Bank, a prominent democrat in Franklin County, had represented his district in the State House of Representatives for the past two sessions, is a graduate of the State Agricultural College at Manhattan with the class of 1899, and besides his interests as a banker also owned a farm of 320 acres in Franklin County, a part of the old homestead. Gail farms the old homestead in Franklin County and resided at Rantoul.

James Otis Tulloss was born at Rantoul in Franklin County, Kansas, August 11, 1874. His father being a prosperous farmer, he was given all the advantages he desired in the way of schooling preparatory to his serious business career. He attended the schools at Rantoul, graduated from the Sedan High School with the class of 1896, and then completed the regular course of the Agricultural College at Manhattan, graduating Bachelor of Science in 1899. At the end of his college career Mr. Tulloss returned to Sedan and accepted a clerkship in the hardware store of his uncle J. K. Tulloss. Three years later he had advanced so far that he was given the entire management of the store. His uncle J. K. Tulloss established the business at Sedan in 1881, and it is one of the oldest as well as one of the largest hardware stores in Southeastern Kansas. The business is located on West Main Street. Mr. Tulloss had been so successful in adjusting his stock to the demands of his trade that he now had a patronage covering a radius of fifteen miles about Sedan, and he probably sells more general hardware and implements than any other similar concern in Chautauqua County.

Mr. Tulloss also might be classified as a farmer. He had 215 acres near Rantoul in Franklin County, rich and tillable soil, thoroughly improved, and under his direction it is devoted to diversified farming. He also owned his residence on Douglas and Main streets in Sedan.

Mr. Tulloss is a republican in party affiliation. He had served on the city council of Sedan, and had also been a regent of the Kansas State Agricultural College at Manhattan, having been first appointed by Governor W. J. Bailey and later appointed by Governor Hoch. Mr. Tulloss is president of the board of trustees of the Methodist Episcopal Church, is affiliated with Vesper Lodge No. 136 Ancient, Free and Accepted Masons, with Syroc Chapter No. 42 Royal Arch Masons, Wichita Consistory No. 2 of the Scottish Rite, with Sedan Camp No. 919 of the Modern Woodmen of America.

He is a business leader in Sedan, and is secretary and treasurer of the Sedan Commercial Club. Among other interests he is a stockholder and director of the First National Bank of Sedan, is a stockholder in the Home National Bank of Caney, and a stockholder in the Southwest National Bank of Kansas City, Missouri.

In 1902 at Sedan he married Miss Norma Lewis, daughter of J. E. and Melissa (Kirkland) Lewis, both of whom are deceased. Her father was formerly engaged in the abstract and real estate business. Mr. and Mrs. Tulloss have two children: Hazel, born September 5, 1905, and Dorothy, born April 11, 1910.



Connelley, William E. A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans. Chicago : Lewis, 1918. 5v. Biographies can be accessed from this page: Kansas and Kansans Biographies.

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