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The Son of the Mother of Miami PDF Print E-mail
Written by Paul S. George, Special to the BT   
May 2015

A view of our past from the archives of HistoryMiami

WPix_PictureStory_5-15hile many Miamians are familiar with the saga of Julia Tuttle, the “Mother of Miami,” few know of her daughter, Francis (Fanny) or son, Henry, known as Harry.

In 1891, the widowed Julia moved with her children from Cleveland to their new home on a large tract of land she had purchased on the north bank of the mouth of the Miami River. (In 1875 she had visited her parents, who were homesteading in today’s Miami Shores.) The land had earlier hosted a slave plantation and an Army garrison known as Fort Dallas. Her untimely death at age 49 in 1898, just two years after Miami had incorporated as a city, shocked the community.

Her passing was the catalyst for a quarrel between Fanny and Harry over her estate. After reaching an agreement, Fanny left for Nassau, the home of her husband, Conrad Saunders, and didn’t return to Miami until the late 1930s. Harry remained in Miami and appears to have thrived.

Soon after Julia’s death, he married Corrie Fowler, who came with her family to Miami from Iowa. They built additions to Julia’s home until it contained 13 bedrooms, which they rented to winter visitors. Harry also developed the Fort Dallas Park subdivision on land his mother had left behind, as well as other parts of the family’s properties, including the Julia Tuttle Hotel downtown. But Tuttle’s fortune was lost in the real estate bust that began in 1926, followed by the Great Depression. The river house and the hotel were gone.

In later years, Harry was described by his granddaughter Julia (Judy) Tuttle Usher as “a grouchy old man who spent much of his time playing solitaire.” Yet he still attended the city’s birthday celebrations every July 28, traveling to them from “unpretentious” homes packed with antiques, local Indian artifacts, and first editions of the classics belonging to his parents.

He died in 1945, and along with his sister and other family members, is buried in Miami’s historic City Cemetery.

 

To order a copy of this photo, please contact HistoryMiami archives manager Dawn Hugh at 305-375-1623, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

 

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