The following article was found in The Lake & Calumet Region of Indiana: Embracing the Counties of Lake, Porter and LaPorte, Volume II. Thomas H. Cannon, H.H. Loring, and Charles J. Robb, eidtors. Indianapolis: Historians' Association, 1927. pages 668-670.
Harry B. Tuthill was born in Dowagiac, Michigan some years since; he attended district school in the country for serveral years and later went through the grades, grammar and high school in Dowagiac and was valedictorian some years later. After graduation he worked on the farm during haying and harvest, and when the wheat had finally been stowed away in the barn entered a law office as a student on Saturday, July 13. It has been his constant regret that the 13th day of that month had not been on Friday instead of Saturday. He continued in the law office of Spafford Tryon for two years, and much of the while his time was consumed in copying voluminous chancery pleadings; three copies of each pleading must be prepared, one for filing, one for service, and an office copy. At the close of this apprenticeship he was placed on the grill in open court at the court house in Cassopolis and examined for three hours by Marshal L. Howell, afterwards a prominent lawyer in South Bend, Lester A. Tabor and Harsen B. Smith, who propounded questions extending from incorporeal hereditaments to the benefit of clergy. After he had been sworn in as an attorney and counsel at law, the presiding judge asked him this question, "What is the first duty of the young lawyer when admitted to practice?" and as the fledgling could not answer this very proper question he was informed, "The first duty of the young lawyer is to buy an oyster supper for all the lawyers, all the court officers, all the jurors, and all the spectators." This expenditure all but bankrupted the newly created lawyer. Immediately after this induction into the law he opened an office in Michigan City where he has constantly practiced since that time with the exception of a term of eighteen years on the bench. He was judge of the Superior Court from January 1, 1897, and presided in the counties of Lake, Porter, and Laporte until 1907 when Lake was created a separate circuit; he continued to preside in Laporte and Porter counties until the close of 1914. Much of the important litigation in the rapidly expanding Calumet District came into his court, including cases involving property rights extending into six figures; notably the determination of party rights in the Mandell tract of land east of Hammond and extending over a period of fifty years, in which the perspective claims of parties as regards compound or simple interest were involved, the difference in money value between the two contentions being over $100.000. Under his decision in what was known as the Gary Remonstrance case, that city was made a Sahara for two long weary years -- nowhere to go, and not a drop to drink in all that budding territory. There were appeals to the Supreme and Appellate Courts from his decisions in 116 cases, and 100 of those decisions were affirmed. Retiring from the Bench, he again entered the practice of law and has so continued. However, desiring to learn how laws are created in the General Assembly of Indiana he became a member of that body and completed his education in 1919 and 1920.
The old ancestor, John Tuthill, departed from England in the year 1638 and settled on Long Island at or near Orient. The descendants of the original John in large numbers still dwell in eastern Long Island and on the continent some eight miles north and in some whole counties can scarcely be found and inhabitant who is not a descendant or married to a descendant of the original John; others departing therefrom have found homes in nearly every state of the Union. An interesting story is related that a branch of this family treked northward into Vermont, the journey consuming three full years; as a child was born each year, the route traveled can now approximately be traced by the place where these births occurred. The immediate line of this subject traveled westward into New Jersey where it was divided; one of the brothers going further west, bought a farm in Slocum Hollow and coal being discovered on his farm it sold for $20,000. Thereafter until his death, this branch of the family was known as the "rich uncle." What was then Slocum Hollow is now Scranton, Pennsylvania. Mr. Tuthill's grandfather, who was a surveyor, traveled northward to Newburgh, Orange County, New York and much of the land in east Orange County was originally traced, platted, and staked by him. In 1835 this ancestor, Gideon Tuthill, with his wife, Margaret Paddock, and eight children, feeling the call of the wild chartered a boat, poled up the Hudson to the Erie Canal, thence westward on the Canal to a point north of Caygua Lake. They traversed the moraine to the lake and again talking water passage finally arrived in what is now Ithaca, buying a farm on the uppermost top of Durphy Hill, five miles southeast of Ithaca; there the grandfather made his home until the death of himself and wife in 1867. It is related that while on the journey from Newburgh to Ithaca, the Gideon Tuthill family spent each night in one of the taverns which in those days dotted all main traveled highways whether those highway be on water or on land. One morning Mrs. Tuthill went to the kitchen, as was the custom in those days, to assist in preparing breakfast; there she engaged in conversation with a patriarchal grandmother who sat knitting near the fireplace, and during that conversation was astounded to learn that this old lady was her own sister who in early life had married and with her husband had gone into what was then the far west of New York before Mrs. Tuthill herself was born. Cyrus Tuthill, the subjects father, in early manhood returned to Orange County and there married Frances Beakes. He engaged in merchandising in Orange County for a few years when, as did his father, the young man answered the call and migrated to Dowagiac, Michigan. Here he was a merchant for several years, and then engaged in farming. In 1874 he was elected secretary of the Farmer's Mutual Fire Company of Cass County, an institution which by reason of large numbers of disastrous fires was practically bankrupt. Cyrus Tuthill continued as secretary of this company for more than twenty years, and when he retired by reason of advancing age this company was one of the most substantial and prosperous ones of it kind in the state of Michigan. The mother of the subject of this sketch was a wonderful woman; a farmers daughter, she acquired a thorough knowledge of music, Latin, French, and was thoroughly conversant with all of the great authors; to her the Bible, Bunyan, Milton, Dante, Tasso, Plutarch, were as open books. Early in life Mr. Tuthill married Alice M. Wells, who on both her father's and mother's side was also descended from old English families. Her mother, Phebe Carr, was a descendant of Benjamin Carr who was born in London in 1592; his descendants were in Rhode Island in 1635. Peter Wells, the ancestor of her father, lived in Rhode Island in 1638. Her father, Henry B. Wells, in early life was a conductor on the Michigan Central when New Buffalo was its western terminus, this being during the strap-rail period and before the time of telegraph. In 1852 he was ordered to the Sault Ste. Marie and superintended the building of the first locks and docks constructed in that great enterprise which united the waters of Lake Superior with those of Lake Huron, and when fifty yrs. afterwards in 1902 he again visited the straits as a guest of the state of Michigan the works which he had constructed were found to be as strong and serviceable as they were when his finished work was inspected immediately after it completion. Mr. and Mrs. Tuthill have two children, Lotta Grace and Ralph W. Lotta Grace is now the wife of Ralph A. Vail who for ten years has been, and is now, construction manager of the Dodge Automobile Works in Detroit where they now reside. Mr. Vail is one of the most expert automobile construction managers in this country. They have one son, Harry T. Vail. Ralph W. Tuthill is a business man in Michigan City and is married to Winifred Maxwell, daughter of P.W. Maxwell, a retired business man of Michigan City; they have three children: Elizabeth, Richard, and John.