TULL'S CORNER, MARYLAND

An excerpt from "Quindocqua, Maryland; Indian Country",

by Woodrow T. Wilson, published

in 1980

TULL'S CORNER

Tull's Corner is located in Quindocqua just west of Quindocqua Church, near Marion, Maryland. Nothing remains, not even a signpost, to cast a shadow of evidence to indicate that this area was once a busy, flourishing, self-sustaining center of activity with numerous homes and places of business.

The village started originally from a crossroads store prior to the Revolutionary War and expanded gradually until it reached its height shortly after the end of the Civil War. Consequently, it was a thriving community long before Crisfield or Marion came into existence.

The Tull's Corner branch of Tulls evidently came to Somerset County about 1666 from Northampton County, Va. Their reason for coming here was that most of the choice land on the Eastern Shore of Virginia had been "taken up" and they, like so many others of that time, were looking for "greener pastures". Consequently, Thomas and Richard Tull settled in the Manokin area of Somerset County and engaged in boat building, farming and water freighting.

Thomas was born about 1640 in England. He married Mary Minshall (Mitchell) shortly after settling in Somerset County and they had at least four children, the eldest being Thomas Tull, Jr., (1688-c1720), who in turn raised a family of nine children, the eldest being Thomas, III, (c1710-1758), who had seven children, one of whom was Thomas, IV, (1750-1818).

This Thomas Tull had quite a struggle getting started because his father died when he was eight years of age and his older brothers were already established with the family enterprises. Consequently, he moved to the Quindocqua area while very young to make his "start" in a new area with other Tull relatives who had preceded him. Between the period from about 1770 to the time of his death in 1818, he became rather wealthy, all of which was made in the Quindocqua area.

He created quite a settlement which became known as Tull's Corner. He owned a grist mill on the waterfront of his farm. It was operated by water power obtained from a dam constructed there for that purpose. The bridge in that locality is still known as "Mill Dam" bridge. He became an extensive farmer and ship owner. He was the master of his own vessel and sailed in most of the coastal waters of the east coast.

In those days sizeable schooners could sail up East Creek from Pokomoke Sound to the Tull farm dock which was located on what is now called the Billy Williams farm. He transported by water to coastal markets his own produce as well as that of many other farmers of that area. Tull's Corner at that time consisted of several homes, three or four stores, postoffice, shoe shop, blacksmith shop, tannery, grist mill, and a nearby school and church. Later a saloon, millinery shop, barrel factory, tomato cannery and other business activities were added. In addition, it was a thriving farming community.

Thomas Tull raised six children, among whom was Samuel Tull, who became the father of "Big Sam" Tull. Another was Joshua, who became the father of "Little Sam" Tull. Still another was Thomas, whose descendants were Parker Tull, Edmund (Ham) Tull, George and "Pete" Ward, and many others.

Thomas Tull's son, Samuel Tull (I), was born on his farm at Tull's Corner in 1773, and died there in November 1826, and was buried there. The cemetery is still there with its elaborate iron railing and expensive slab type tombstones. It is easily accessible at the Billy Williams farm near "Mill Dam" bridge. This Samuel married, on January 24, 1805, Caroline Miles who was the daughter of Capt. Henry Miles, (1752-1795), who served in the Revolutionary War. Samuel (I) was a farmer, merchant, and sea captain. he owned several large sailing vessels which carried freight to and from the West Indies. he is said to have pioneered the West Indies trade from this area. He died on a business trip to Baltimore at the age of 53.

Samuel and Caroline Tull had seven children, one of whom was Samuel Luther Tull, known as "Big Sam". "Big Sam" Tull was born January 20, 1826 on the same farm at Tull's Corner on which his father and grandfather were born and died. He died on the same farm on March 25, 1906 and was buried there with elaborate marker. He was only eleven months old when his father died, and nine years of age when his mother died. He inherited the farm and lived there all his life. He built a home there which still stands. For many years the farm was known as the Big Sam Tull farm, and it is still referred to by that name by old timers. Others call it the Billy Williams farm.

On November 23, 1853, "Big Sam" married Maria Catherine Gunby, (1831-1877), daughter of Elisha and Milcha (Coulbourn) Gunby, from the St. Paul's area. She was the sister of Dr. Hiram Gunby. Big Sam, like his ancestors, operated a store, farmed, and was the master of a large sailing vessel. In addition, he conducted an oyster business near East Creek. He was Justice of the peace for the unusually long period of thirty-three years at Tull's Corner; and, was the seventh generation of Tulls to occupy the same land but it had dwindled to 207 acres. "Big Sam" and his wife Catherine had fifteen children, all of whom were born on the farm. Three died young. The others were: Alonza; Samuel Ashton; Edward (Ned); Stella; Fannie; Minnie; Roland; Frank; Gordon; Carrie; Olive May; and Clifford (Clifton). This family helped build the present Quindocqua Church as evidenced by a memorial window in the Sunday School room.

"Big Sam" Tull did not receive his nickname because he was big in stature, but because he had a cousin, Samuel J. Tull, who was three years younger than he. They lived on adjacent farms at Tull's Corner. It was only natural to refer to the younger Sam as "Little Sam", notwithstanding that he was in fact larger than "Big Sam".

Samuel Joshua Tull, "Little Sam", was born August 4, 1829, on his father's farm and died there on July 28, 1890. His farm was located about 300 yards south of the Tull's Corner crossroads. It is now completely overgrown with trees and bramble. In the old days, the south fork of the cross road was an access road to his farm as well as to other farms in that area. Those farms and the access road have long disappeared. The only reminder that his farm area was once inhabited is the cemetery there which is also overgrown but can still be located with the visible tombstones. Several of the Tull's are buried there, but Little Sam" was buried at St. Paul's. Both Samuel Tulls worked together in their various business activities and both prospered. "Little Sam" married Mrs. Mary (Sewell) Evans of Virginia and had nine children: Samuel; Alfred; Hattie; Ethel; Madalyn; Nettie; Cecie; Joshua; and Jesse. Most of the family either "died out" or moved away

Tull's Corner also had its ghost. Old Timers indicated that they always shuddered when they traveled over the wooden "Mill Dam" bridge by horse drawn conveyance because of the old tale of many years ago when a local Tull mother and her small child tried to cross that bridge by horse and buggy, the horse panicked and bolted into the water where the child drowned. The bridge thereafter was said to have been haunted by the occasional cries of a child at that location; and, that those cries would cease abruptly as if hushed by engulfing waters.

To indicate how close to facts a legend can be, this article was reviewed by Mrs. Stella Conner Bradshaw who was born near Tull's Corner almost 70 years ago. Mrs. Bradshaw indicated that actually the child who drowned at Milldam Bridge was her father's sister, Annie Florence Conner, born December 10, 1871. On July 29, 1875 as she was riding in a wagon with her mother, the horse became frightened during a thunder storm and ran away. At that time the Milldam Bridge was not protected by railings. The four year old child fell from the wagon and rolled overboard and drowned. Little Annie's body was not found until later after having been mostly eaten by crabs.

Another tragedy occurred in the same family at Tull's Corner, twelve years later, when Mrs. Bradshaw's uncle, Charles Wesley Conner (1876-1883), at the age of seven, on August 22, 1883 was killed by the shafts of a horse cart which had been suspended in the air, suddenly descended on his head crushing his skull.

Mrs. Bradshaw's sister, Idell, recalled a legend concerning the Ash Tull store at Tull's Corner which was also the local post office. According to tales from the old folks, the store received a shipment of a barrel of molasses which evidently came from Jamaica. This molasses was so especially good that all customers came for refills of their orders. Mr. Tull observed that the barrel emptied unusually fast and when he proceeded to discard the barrel he found that it was exceptionally heavy. Upon investigating he found that it contained the body of a negro man which had evidently been but in the barrel prior to being filled with molasses for shipment to this country.

Idella also indicated that she remembers her father speaking of Rowe Whittington of Marion who was afflicted with tuberculosis (called consumption in the old days) and as his wedding, about 1890, was being watched from Ash Tull's store porch by several on-lookers, including his doctor, all agreed that it was a sin for Mr. Whittington to marry and start a family because he had only a very short time to live. However, Mr. Whittington actually lived fifty-five more years, outliving not only his wife but everyone at the wedding except her father, William J. A. Conner, who outlived him by eight years, dying in 1953.

Like so many other areas of Somerset County, Tull's Corner had its "hey-day" and prosperous years, after which it declined into obscurity. The Tulls are completely gone from the area; the name of the community is almost extinct. Only a few old timers remain who remember it as a thriving village. The contribution of the settlement to progress is forgotten, having been buried with its past, and as such is forever sealed with the silence of the many graves which are the lone reminders of a by-gone era. Even the ghost apparently no longer haunts the area. The progress which Tull's Corner helped create also spelled its doom. Good roads, railroads, and modern transportation gradually decreased the importance of waterfront settlements. Consequently, the Tulls and others moved to areas which were considered "greener pastures", just as their forefathers had done before them.

 

 

This excerpt is presented as a benefit to those Tull researchers only and not to be reproduced for sale or profit. This printing of the excerpt is according to the Forward in Col. Wilson's book which reads in part "…books were privately printed and distributed on a non-profit basis for historical and educational purposes rather than for any financial gain for the author".

I therefore believe this excerpt is in line with Col. Wilson's principles, desires and wishes.