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William Nutting Tuttle, son of French Tuttle and Rebecca Yort Pratt, was born on September 1, 1845 in Newburyport, Essex, Massachusetts. On March 1, 1864 William enlisted in the 1st Battalion, California Mountain Infantry and remained with that unit as 2nd Lieutenant in Company D until May 20, 1865. He served as Company Commander of Company D from April 23, 1865 through May 20, 1865.

The 1st Battalion California Mountain Infantry was organized from May 30, 1863 through March 16, 1864, for special service in Humboldt County and attached to the Humboldt District of the Department of the Pacific and Company "D" did duty at Fort Gaston until June, 1865. Men of Company “D” were raised by Captain William C. Martin. It’s priority was the protection of the civilian settler population from marauding bands of hostile Indians in the vicinities around Forts Humboldt and Gaston. The Battalion mustered out on June 14, 1865.

On March 1, 1866 William married Miss. Electa Belle Townsend at Oakland, Alameda, California whom he had met, in San Francisco, and they eventually had six children, Jennie born in 1867 in California, Bertie, Benjamin born August 17, 1876 in Santa Barbara, Florence born in 1879 and one son and one daughter whose names are unknown. Their marriage, however, did not last and eventually ended in a divorce. By the 1860’s William was living in Santa Barbara, California; working as a professional photographer, and  by 1880 he had migrated to Sydney, Australia where he opened his own studio at 426 George Street and had Australia’s first hydraulic elevator; which he had brought with him from San Francisco. Associate occupants of his building had agreed to share the costs of the elevator, but after it was installed they declined to pay their fair share; so William simply sealed off all exits to their floors, denying them access to the elevator.

William’s business, grew rapidly, so much so he expanded with studios located in Brisbane and Charter Towers, Queensland, in Adelaide, South Australia and Melbourne, Victoria. He ran into legal problems with business partners in 1889, however, and the courts denied him the use of his own name in business ventures.

The publication “Australasian”, dated March 1889 carried an article on his legal battle:-


“An action was tried in the Supreme Court on Monday, before Mr. Justice Hodges, in which Lidya Burch D’Alba, carrying on his business as ‘Tuttle & Co.’  sued William Nutting Tuttle to restrain him from carrying on business in Melbourne and Hawthorn under the name of the ‘Tuttle” or the “Original Tuttle’.   The plaintiff and defendant had for some years carried on business in Melbourne and Sydney in partnership as photographers, the Sydney business being under the management of the plaintiff. During the partnership the plaintiff and defendant  adopted and used a peculiar device or signature, ‘Tuttle & Co.’ on their places of business, which was also impressed on the photographs, envelopes, invoices etc., issued by the firm.On September 21, 1883, the partnership was dissolved. It was agreed that the plaintiff should have the use of the name of ‘Tuttle & Co.’ in Victoria. It was also agreed that the defendant should not carry on business as a photographer or artist in Victoria under the name of ‘Tuttle & Co.’. It was alleged by the plaintiff that for some months past the defendant has been carrying on business in Victoria under the name of ‘Tuttle’ and this was in breach of the agreement into he had entered with the plaintiff”. The Supreme Court found in favor  of D’Alba who was granted damages in the amount of 250 pounds for loss of business and a restraint was placed against Tuttle from the continued use of the name “Tuttle & Company” or from conducting busines in any way that led the public at large into believing he was still engaged in a partnership  or conducting business with D’Alba.


Joseph Thomas, a traveling artist employee of Tuttle & Co. ran an advertisement in the  “Kapunda Herald” August 26, 1887:

“To the inhabitants of Kapunda and district… Mr. Joseph Thomas Artist to Tuttle & Co., is now staying in Kapunda for the purpose of receiving orders for enlarged work from small photos”.

William Tuttle was married a second time on June 20, 1889 at Sydney, New South Wales, to Miss. Elizabeth Alice Oxborough’ an active partner and an artist in his business; certification number 855.

His business continued to flourish until around 1890 when his financial speculations in a mining operation in the Forbes area, some four-hundred kilometers west of Sydney where he lived, brought about the financial loss of thousands and the total collapse of his entire studio chain operation.

After that he continued in the photographic industry, but only operated as a traveling photographer, until his death from “Pyaemia”, or blood poisoning of the brain, at the Sydney Hospital on April 7, 1895.; certification number 9503516.

William Nutting Tuttle was buried in the Waverley Cemetery in Sydney, New South Wales, Section 7, Church of England Section, grave number 2691; without a headstone.

Electa died on May 24, 1948. In September 1989 a headstone was acquired from the American Veterans Administration in Washington, D.C. and was installed during a dedication ceremony on his gravesite.


“Australasian”, Issue March 1889

 The Civil War Archive, Union Regimental Histories

California Civil War Rosters

California State Census

California State Military Museum

 “Compendium of the War of the Rebellion”, Frederick H. Dyer

 Dorothy Oksner, “Ancestors West”, California

 “Kapunda Herald” August 26, 1887

 Kimberly O’Sullivan Steward, Waverley, NSW

 Massachusetts Birth Records

 National Archives, Washington, D.C.

“Records of California Men in the War of the Rebellion, 1861 to 1867”, Brig.-Gen. Richard H. Orton, 1890

 “The Australian Photographic Journal”, April 23, 1895

 “The Magic Eye in Australia”, Alan Davis

 Waverly Cemetery Records

 Waverley Library Records

  “World of Stereograph”, William C. Darrah


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