Museum Acquires Two F.M. Tuttle Portraits

February 15th, 2019

By John Marks, Curator of Collections

Francis Marion Tuttle was a deaf mute Genevan who was a professional artist from the 1860s until his death in 1910. He was the third generation of Tuttles in the village, followed by three more generations of descendants. In January we purchased portraits of Francis’ parents that he painted. We have twenty Tuttle paintings, mainly landscapes, in the collection but these are the first portraits of family members.


portrait of a man in a suit

Joseph Hammond Tuttle  (1800-1859)   

portrait of a woman

 Persis Chase Tuttle (1818-1897)  












one-story, cobblestone house behind a fence

In 1790 Benjamin Tuttle, Joseph’s father, was the first of the family to come to Geneva. He purchased land west of the village at the present-day intersection of Routes 5 & 20 and Pre-Emption Road. He built and ran a cobblestone tavern, shown here. It was expanded and is now the Cobblestone Restaurant. Benjamin died in 1833 and Joseph inherited the tavern.  In addition to the tavern, Joseph invented and patented the Tuttle saw. It was the first saw with offset teeth to “rake” sawdust out of a cut.



a man sitting in front of a portraitFrancis Marion Tuttle (1839-1910) lost his hearing as an infant. His father Joseph shot a gun too close to the boy’s ears. Like many Deaf people in the 1800s, Francis received training in the arts and was able to support himself and eventually his family. He’s seen here with a painting of the Prince of Wales. Local newspapers promoted his artwork which was often on display in downtown store windows.

Francis and Eunice Tuttle had a son, Hammond B. Tuttle, who became a well-known Geneva photographer. “Ham” took hundreds of photos of groups and parades in the first half of the 1900s.


a cartoon of an auctionHammond and Florence Tuttle’s daughter, Eunice, married Elmer Lautenslager. “Lauty” was a marketing person who was locally famous for his cartoon sketches. They were found everywhere, from advertisements to handmade greeting cards. This sketch was done for the Seneca Yacht Club. Elmer and Eunice raised two sons in Geneva, Robert and Richard.

The portraits of Joseph and Persis Tuttle by their son fit into a story of over 150 years of family history in Geneva.

8 responses to “Museum Acquires Two F.M. Tuttle Portraits”

  1. MJ Benda says:

    What a wonderful addition to our collection and the story of Geneva.

  2. Don Woodrow says:

    There were several Tuttles active (and famous in the field) geologists. Orville Frank Tuttle worked on the origin of granite and many other aspects of igneous rocks. Sherwood Tuttle wrote a book on the geology of national parks. Tuttle being a relatively rare family name, I wonder if the “geo-Tuttles”were related to the Geneva-Tuttles.

  3. Charlie Bauder says:

    A great history of the Tuttle family. Didn’t know about Lauty’s connection. It would be great to have an exhibit of Tuttle’s work.

  4. Norma Press says:

    Congratulations on acquiring two more Tuttles. They are excellent additions to the GHS collection. Francis Marion was an outstanding artist and his local scenes show us so beautifully how Geneva looked over a century ago. Thank you for interesting information on his family.

  5. B. Lords says:

    Show some of the local scenes he painted on the next blog.

    1. Anne Dealy says:

      You will find two of Tuttle’s paintings in this blog post on the artist from 2015.

  6. DEBRA BARONE says:

    I have an antique post mortem photograph of a baby/child from Priest & Tuttle Geneva NY.

  7. Carol Lautenslager Marble says:

    Thank you for your blog; it is wonderful to read about my family and the interest of others in Francis Tuttles art. The painting of The Prince of Wales hangs in my parents’ dining room where it has been admired and talked about for years!

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