Cousins on the Frontier – Calista and Arad Tuttle

My previous post concluded with the introduction of two of Arad Tuttle’s (1766-1825) sons. In 1850, Erastus, age 60, and Wolcutt, age 58, owned farms in close proximity to each other in Green Creek Township, Ohio, near the town of Clyde. Wolcutt had the largest family with nine children and grandchildren. One of his daughters was Calista Tuttle, who in 1850 was twelve years old.

Life in the 1850s in northern Ohio was still not easy, and especially for women. The main social events remained cabin and barn raisings, log-rollings, wood-choppings, corn-huskings, and sewing and quilting parties, as I described in the “Social Life on the Frontier” post of the “Sufferers’ Land” series on this website.

As with Platt Benedict’s daughter Clarissa, it was probably during one of these social occasions that Calista Tuttle fell in love: with a cousin, Arad Tuttle, son of her uncle Erastus. Although today, many people consider this to be incestuous, it is actually consanguinity. Many people of the time married their cousins (and still do today in much of the world). Charles Darwin, for example, married his first cousin Emma.

In any event, Calista and Arad married in 1855 and set up housekeeping on a farm near their families. They were both seventeen years old. The year following their marriage, their first child was born, whom they christened Laura. Four years later, they had a second daughter Melissa.

We’ve now come to Sarah Barnett’s mother, Laura, so before we go further, let’s take a look at Sarah’s family tree.

sarah-barnett-family-tree

As you see, we still have a death and a marriage to get through before we get to Laura, so let’s continue with Calista’s story.

In 1860, Arad was farming land worth $2,000. But by 1870, he had left the farm and was working as a railroad conductor. The family’s net worth had also fallen by half during that period. What was the cause of this financial decline? Was Arad not a good farmer? Or was it because he had no sons to help him on the farm?

Arad did not have a long life. I don’t know how he died, or even when, but by 1880, Calista was married to Daniel Harris, a constable in Clyde, Ohio. Laura lived with her mother and stepfather at this time, but Melissa had married in 1877 and moved with her husband to Bellevue. Laura would not stay in Clyde much longer, as we’ll see in my next post, Laura Joslin – Tales of Tragedy.

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