Built On No Other Man's Foundation: The 14 Year Journey Of Daniel Sylvester Tuttle, The First Episcopal Bishop Of Montana, 1867-1880
Daniel Sylvester Tuttle’s head bounced, jolted by the peculiar rhythm ofthe stagecoach as it rolled over the Idaho prairie in July 1867. Nearly half way from Salt Lake City to Montana, the Right Reverend Daniel Tuttle, newly named Episcopal Bishop ofMontana, Idaho, and Utah, was growing accustomed to the rattle and clunk that came with riding long distances via stagecoach. Now, as his head flopped to one side in the light sleep ofprofound boredom, a gust of wind snatched his Morris hat and carried it into a passing bunch ofsagebrush. He awoke immediately. “Driver, hold up!” he shouted. The stage came to a halt. Tuttle unfolded himself and lurched stiffly through the coach door to retrieve his hat. Tuttle re-entered the coach and, as it continued the journey north, he thought about the wife and child he had left behind in New York. Later in the day, as the stage continued itsjourney through the sun-bleached landscape, the bishop fell asleep again. The wind returned and stole his fine hat, but Tuttle’s sleep was more profound this time, and he did not stir. When he did wake, it was to a cool breeze teasing his hair. “Whoa driver, where’s my hat?” When the coach had stopped, the driver turned in his seat and looked at Tuttle. “Bother take ya,” he slurred, sucking dust from his teeth, “why don’t ya keep a hold a yer hat?” Tuttle exited the stagecoach and walked back down the stage trail nearly half a mile, but could not see his hat. He made his way back to the stage and he chuckled at what he imagined was the possible fate of his hat. Some Indian would happen upon his Morris hat, Tuttle supposed, and would ride across the plains with the hat at a jaunty angle on his head, feathers stuck into the band. The bishop got back aboard the stage, pulled out his handkerchief, and tied it around his head to keep the sun off of his skull. 1 Daniel Tuttle had been bishop for barely two months when he lost his hat somewhere between Salt Lake City and Virginia City, Montana. He had never been east ofNiagara Falls. Tuttle had been bom in New York in 1837. He was educated in New York, attending Columbia University to attain his bachelors degree. Tuttle then attended General Theological Seminary in New York City in order to become a priest. Tuttle graduated from the seminary and replaced a classmate’s father as priest in Otsego County, New York. He was married and enjoyed his life in Morris. Nothing within his history or his career indicated any inclination to travel almost 3,000 miles to minister to people with whom he had nothing in common. Daniel Tuttle, a life-long New Yorker, was elected to be the Bishop of Montana, with jurisdiction over Idaho and Utah, in October of 1866? He weakly fought to avoid the nomination, but mentors convinced him that he should accept the position. Tuttle was consecrated bishop in May of 1867. Tuttle would have to learn quickly, adjusting the views of church that had formed him to the alien land to which he had been assigned. Tuttle would be shaped by his experience in Montana. He would learn how to be a caring minister to people who did not care whether he was from the High Church or the Low Church. Tuttle would also shape Montana, bringing civility to the rambunctious territory under his care.