What values continue after a family leaves a tradition?

One thing that fascinates me in regards to religion is the distinction between faith, based on a holy experience, and a culture, handed down within a family.

Among the Dover families that belonged to Meeting are the Tuttles, long known for their Red Barn market. Yes, Red Barn, like the name of this blog.

Three Dover Combination signers shared a tragic introduction to the New World when their ship, the Angel Gabriel, broke up in the August 14 “Great Colonial Hurricane of 1635,” either in the harbor at Pemaquid, Maine, or at the Isles of Shoals.

One was John Tuttle, who was about 17 years old at the time of the disaster. After their rescue, he arrived in Chebasco (in Essex or Ipswich, Massachusetts). By 1638 Tuttle settled in Dover, where he was known as Shipwreck John and had a farm on today’s Bellamy River – one that grew into what was long known as America’s oldest family-owned and operated enterprise. (Never mind that Thomas Roberts’ heirs nearby would have a longer claim.) Tuttle’s son Thomas was killed by a falling tree while still a young teenager, leaving John Jr. to continue the family name.

Tuttles’ Red Barn along Dover Point Road remains a landmark, even after the family finally sold the farm.

Shipwreck John’s grandson, James Tuttle (1683-1707), is believed to be the first Quaker in the family. He married Rose Pinkham (1682-1728) and they had two children before his death – Elijah Tuttle and Phebe, who married Moses Varney. Yes, these Quaker families quickly intermix.

The next four generations were very active in Dover Friends Meeting, according to William Penn Tuttle, who added that their home was always a resting place for visitors during Quarterly Meeting.

And some of the family even went abroad in missionary service.

Their farm on Dover Point Road, with its red barn, was long noted as a marketplace for fresh produce.

Across the river in Maine, one line still produces remarkable cider each fall – King Tut’s. Yes, short for Tuttle’s.


Check out my new book, Quaking Dover, available in an iBook edition at the Apple Store.

Welcome to Dover’s upcoming 400th anniversary.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.