Sunday, June 19, 2011

Baby Boomer Memories or Tribute to James 'Walter' Tuttle

I grew up in Garden Valley, Idaho in the fifties and sixties.  My family was involved in the lumber industry - my father was a sawyer - tree cutter, and many of his family worked in the lumber industry in Pennsylvania before moving to Idaho (seeking fortune, as so many did, after the gold rush - if not directly from mining, from the industries that supported the miners; truck farming, retail stores, shipping, etc).

In Garden Valley my mother's brother, Walter Crawford, worked a small sawmill (called a portable mill) and we moved into one of the houses that were brought in to Garden Valley for the mill workers.  At this time there were 8 of us children; my sister and I and my six brothers.  We lived in a small three-bedroom house across the North Fork of the Payette River from the sawmill.  Uncle Walt and his family lived near the sawmill and some of our cousins from Tennessee had moved to Idaho to work in the mill also.

James Silas Tuttle (20 Sept 1915) and his wife, Willie Mae Rowland Tuttle (13 June 1918) had two children - James Walter (13 Aug 1948) 'Walt', and Lola (abt 1946).  Since they were the same age as we were, my older brother Adrian and my younger brother Roger and I used to play with them (our ages ranged from 9 to 12 then).  Of course the sawmill was a fascination, but we had strict orders to stay away from it as it was not safe for children to play around the machinery.  But we had fun catching tadpoles in the ponds surrounding the mill and though we were not supposed to, we climbed on the logs stacked around the mill.

Pictures from a party that was held for the sawmill workers.   The first is my mother with one of the mill workers and the next two are pictures of my second cousin, James Tuttle (Walt and Lola's father).   James' grandfather (George W Tuttle 1872-1955)  and my grandmother (Christina Ellen Tuttle Crawford 1871-1954) were brother and sister.

Walt and Lola lived in Garden Valley a couple of years and went to our school.  They are included in some of our school pictures.  Lola is the 4th from the left in the back row (blond with part in middle) and Walter is the blond on the right in the front row.  This is the first, second and third grades in Garden Valley School in 1955-56;  Roger (next to Walter) and Walter were in the first grade, I (4th from right in second row) was in the second grade and Adrian (4th from right in back row) and Lola were in the third grade.

Well, the reason for telling this story is to tell the story of Walter (James Walter Tuttle), the only Vietnam casualty that I personally knew - even though I lived through the decade that many of the young men my age were going to Vietnam and a number of those who went there were not coming back.  

Walter enter the service in 1968 from Arthur, Tennessee (where the family moved after the sawmill was closed down about 1958).  Following is the report from

Vietnam War: U.S. Military Casualties, 1956-1998 about James Walter Tuttle
Name:     James Walter Tuttle
Birth Date:     13 Aug 1948              Death Date:     29 Apr 1969
Gender:     Male              Age:     20
Race:     Caucasian (White)
Home City:     Arthur              Home State:     Tennessee
Religion:     Baptist - Other Groups
Marital Status:     Single (Spouse Not Listed)
SSN/Service #:     67101540
Citizen Status:     U.S.
Death Date:     29 Apr 1969
Processed Date:     Apr 1969
Casualty Country:     Republic of Vietnam (South Vietnam)
Casualty Type:     Hostile - Killed
Casualty Reason:     Multi-Fragment Wounds
Casualty Air:     Ground Casualty
Body Status:     Body Recovered
Service Branch:     Department of the Army
Component:     Selective Service
Military Grade:     Specialist Fourth Class
Pay Grade:     Specialist Fourth Class (U.S. Army)
Province:     Military Region 3 - Tay Ninh
Length of Service :     00
Service Occupation:     Armor Intelligence Specialist (ARMY)
Tour Start Date:     6 Dec 1968
Service Branch:     Department of the Army
Component:     Selective Service
Rank:     Specialist Fourth Class
Military Grade:     Specialist Fourth Class
Pay Grade:     Specialist Fourth Class (U.S. Army)
Company:     G Trp
Regiment:     11th Cav
Batallion:     2nd Sqdr
Province:     22
Decoration:     Not Available
CN:     Republic of Vietnam (South Vietnam)
Service Occupation:     Armor Intelligence Specialist (ARMY)
Data Source:     Coffelt Database
National Archives and Records Administration. U.S. Army Personnel and Dependent Casualties, 1961-1981
Original data: [File from the U.S. Army] Casualty Information System [Archival Database]; Records of Deceased Army Personnel, Deceased Dependents of Active-Duty Army Personnel, and Active-Duty Wounded Army Personnel, 1/1/1961 - 12/1981; Records of the Adjutant General's Office, Record Group 407; National Archives at College Park, College Park, MD.

Burial: Shoffner Cemetery, Harrogate, Claiborne County, Tennessee, USA


Anonymous said...

My son found this and showed it to me. I am the nephew of James Walter tuttle. James and Willie Mae are my mamaw and papaw. They also had one other son with them while they were in Idaho and his name is John Wiley Tuttle. John is my Dad. I tink he siad he was 15 or 16 when they were there. They also had a set of twins that died at birth. There names were Glenn and Lynn. I have alot of the pics from Idaho but I have never seen the one of papaw in the one legged overalls. I have some pics of Uncle Walter in Vietnam 12 days before he was killed. I was only 5 weeks old when he was killed. Thanks for writing about my family. Thank You. Scott Tuttle

Reba Mc said...

If you would email me at, I'd love to share more with you. It is always wonderful to make connections to relatives on the web. I have a lot of pictures from Aunt Kate (Sarah Catherine Tuttle) that I'm sure you could identify.