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TUTTY, WILLIAM, priest of the Church of England; b. c. 1715 in Hertfordshire, England, son of William Tutty and Gruzzel Drew; d. 24 Nov. 1754 in Hertford, England.

William Tutty received his ba from Emmanuel College, Cambridge, in 1737, and his ma in 1741. He was ordained a deacon of the Church of England in 1737 by Bishop Robert Butts of Norwich, on letters dimissory from the bishop of Lincoln. He became a curate and “afternoon lecturer” at the parish of All Saints, Hertford, in 1744, and was ordained a priest by Bishop John Thomas of Lincoln on 18 Dec. 1748.

In April 1749 Tutty was accepted by the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel as a missionary for Nova Scotia; his salary was to be £70 per year. He arrived at Halifax on 21 June with the first settlers for the new colony in the expedition led by Edward Cornwallis*, the governor of Nova Scotia. His first services were held in the open air at the governor’s residence (site of the present Province House), and later in Alexander Callendar’s warehouse (close to the present St Paul’s Church). St Paul’s Church was built in 1750 and Tutty preached the first sermon there on 2 September.

During the first months in Halifax, Tutty shared his work with the Reverend William Anwyl, who was appointed a missionary by the SPG about the same time as he. Anwyl was prone to excessive drinking, and became more and more negligent in his work. Tutty observed that “both his actions and Expressions bespeak rather the Boatswain of a Man-of-War than a Minister of the Gospel. . . .” The SPG ordered Anwyl’s recall to answer charges about his behaviour, but he died before receiving this order, on 9 Feb. 1750.

From Nova Scotia Tutty wrote about a dozen letters to the SPG, describing in detail the progress of the colony. In the fall and early winter of 1749 he complained about “the perverseness of the settlers and their immorality,” and spoke of friction between the settlers from England, who adhered to the Church of England, and those from New England, who were Dissenters, mainly Congregationalists [see Aaron Cleveland]. By July of 1751, however, Tutty could report to the SPG that “there is perfect harmony at present between the Church of England and the Dissenters. . . . The prejudices which they have conceived against the Church of England seem rather to be softened into a kind of liking. . . .”

Tutty’s efforts at reforming some of the older settlers were not too effective, so he turned his attention to “our Chief Hope, the rising generation,” for whom he secured a schoolmaster, Edward Halhead. He found some difficulty in ministering to the French and Swiss Protestants in the settlement, and recommended in September 1749 that the SPG appoint as his assistant Jean-Baptiste Moreau, who had also come with the settlers in June. Moreau succeeded Anwyl in June 1750.

The first winter at Halifax was hard for people not used to such a raw climate and by the spring of 1750 the number of settlers had shrunk to 1,900 from the original 3,000. With regular trading between New England and Halifax, every ship that left Halifax for the old colonies carried passengers seeking a more comfortable life there. There were other adverse factors than the weather, as Tully observed: “There is . . . no proportion between the Baptisms and the Burials; the latter exceed prodigiously occasioned by an inviolable attachment to New England rum, ye most destructive of all destructive spirits.” By July 1750, however, with the arrival of more settlers, Tutty reported that the population of Halifax was nearly 3,000 again. He noted in October that new settlers had been located on the other side of Halifax harbour (Dartmouth), thus adding to the difficulties of his office. “The business of this place to a man of the strongest constitution would be laborious enough,” he wrote. His own health was “Bad at Best.”

As early as August 1749 Tutty had asked for leave to return to England on private business, but he was not able to go until shortly after 18 Oct. 1752, when he wrote his last letter to the SPG from Nova Scotia. His successor in Halifax was John Breynton*, who had arrived in June. On 3 Jan. 1753 Tutty married a widow, Mrs Catherine Hollows, at All Saints Church, Hertford, where he was again employed as an “afternoon lecturer.” A daughter was born in November 1753. A year later, on 24 November, Tutty died and was buried in the churchyard of All Saints.

C. E. Thomas

All Saints Church (Hertford, Eng.), Parish registers. Hertford County Records Office (Hertford, Eng.), Allen index to Hertfordshire marriages. Lincoln (Eng.) Archives Office, Episcopal register 38, f.545. USPG, B, 17, pp.22, 38; 18, pp.1, 4, 223; 19, p.6; 20, p.5 (copies in PANS, USPG mfm, reels 14, 15); Journal of SPG, 1, p.156. Alumni Cantabrigienses: a biographical list of all known students, graduates and holders of office at the University of Cambridge, from the earliest times to 1900, comp. John and J. A. Venn (2 pt., 10v., Cambridge, Eng., 1922–54), pt.i. Bell, Foreign Protestants. G. W. Hill, “History of St. Paul’s Church, Halifax, Nova Scotia,” N.S. Hist. Soc. Coll., I (1879), 35–38.

General Bibliography

Cite This Article

C. E. Thomas, “TUTTY, WILLIAM,” in Dictionary of Canadian Biography, vol. 3, University of Toronto/Université Laval, 2003–, accessed October 31, 2014, http://www.biographi.ca/en/bio/tutty_william_3E.html.

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Permalink: http://www.biographi.ca/en/bio/tutty_william_3E.html
Author of Article: C. E. Thomas
Title of Article: TUTTY, WILLIAM
Publication Name: Dictionary of Canadian Biography, vol. 3
Publisher: University of Toronto/Université Laval
Year of publication: 1974
Year of revision: 1974
Access Date: October 31, 2014