The Family Connection to James Dean

James Bryon Dean (1931-1955)

Film legend James Dean is my maternal 8th cousin on my mother’s side he and I share the same common ancestors of Robert Tullis Sr. and Esther Fithian.

Robert Tullis Sr. and his wife, Esther Fithian had five children together.

My ancestor is William Tullis Sr. and James Dean’s ancestor was Moses Tullis Sr. they were brothers. see generational records below: (relationship chart)

James Dean was born February 8, 1931, in Marion, Indiana, to Winton and Mildred Dean. His father, a dental technician, moved the family to Los Angeles when Jimmy was five. He returned to the Midwest after his mother passed away in 1940 and was raised by his aunt and uncle on their Indiana farm. After graduating from high school, he returned to California where he attended Santa Monica Junior College and UCLA. James Dean began acting with James Whitmore’s acting workshop, appeared in occasional television commercials, and played several roles in films and on stage. In the winter of 1951, he took Whitmore’s advice and moved to New York to pursue a serious acting career. He appeared in seven television shows, in addition to earning his living as a busboy in the theater district, before he won a small part in a Broadway play entitled See the Jaguar. During his short lifetime he had made three movies.

James is remembered as a cultural icon of teenage disillusionment and social estrangement, as expressed in the title of his most celebrated film, Rebel Without a Cause, in which he starred as troubled teenager Jim Stark. His co-star was actress Natalie Wood.

James Dean’s Family and Ancestry

James Byron Dean was born in February 8, 1931, in Marion, Indiana, to Winton and Mildred Dean (ńee Wilson). James’s mother Mildred passed away on July 14th 1940. Winton and Mildred was married in 1929 their only son was born in 1931. (see below)

James Dean’s Birth Certificate

James’s father Winton lived to be 88 years old and passed away in 1995. Winton Dean’s parents were: Charles Dean and Emma Woolen (James Dean’s paternal grandparents)

Winton Dean’s father Charles Desco Dean married Emma Woolen on August 29, 1900 in Marion, Indiana. They had three children. Here is the picture of James Dean as a toddler with his paternal grandmother Emma. (see blow)

Emma with her young grandson, James Dean
Charles Desco Dean’s Death Certificate

Charles Decso Dean passed away in Fairmount, Indiana on January 25th 1961. Charles Decso Dean’s parents is Calvin Dean and Arminta Alice Cree. Calvin and Arminta were married in January of 1877. see will and death certificate of Calvin Dean. Calvin and Arminta is James Dean’s paternal great-grandparents (see below)

James Dean’s paternal great-grandmother, is Arminta Dean (ńee Cree), daughter of Robert Hamilton Cree and Sarah Elizabeth Marshall. Arminta Cree was born in Indiana according to the 1870’s Indiana state census listed with her parents and siblings. Arminta was born on March 27, 1854 (see below)

1870’s Indiana State Census for James Dean’s paternal great-grandmother Arminta

Arminta’s mother Sarah Elizabeth Marshall was born in Ohio on March 12, 1823 and she passed away on August 9, 1871. She was not mentioned in her husband will (see below) because the will was dated May 6, 1876.

Sarah Marshall and her husband Robert Hamilton Cree were married on March 8, 1844. Sarah and Robert is James Dean’s paternal 2nd great-grandparents.

Sarah Elizabeth Marshall was the daughter of James H. Marshall and Sarah Burr. Sarah’s mother married James H. Marshall on October 8th 1818 in Clinton County, Ohio. Sarah Burr and James Marshall was James Dean’s 3rd paternal great-grandparents.

The marriage record of James H. Marshall and Sarah Burr.

Sarah Burr was the daughter of Peter Burr and Hannah Sewell. Sarah Burr was born on August 17th 1799 and died on June 17th 1831. Her parents were married in Berkeley County, VA on February 9th 1790.

the marriage record of Peter Burr and Hannah Sewell.

Hannah Sewell was the daughter of David Sewell and Mary Elizabeth Tullis, she was born on December 27th 1769 and died on June 4th 1838. Hannah and Peter Burr was James Dean’s paternal 4th great-grandparents

Mary Elizabeth Tullis, was the daughter of Moses Tullis Sr. and Mary Elizabeth VanDyke. Mary was born in Cumberland County, New Jersey on July 25th 1752, during her childhood she moved to Berkeley County, VA with her father, Moses Tullis Sr. and her mother, Mary Elizabeth VanDyke along with many of her siblings. Mary Elizabeth Tullis and and David Sewell is James Dean’s paternal 5th great-grandparents.

Mary Elizabeth Tullis, met and married David Sewell, son of Peter Burr on February 7th 1768 in Berkeley County, VA. the marriage is recorded in the Sewell Family Bible.

Mary, the wife of David Sewell died a few months after her daughter Hannah Sewell’s death. She left a will that mentioned Hannah Burr and a grandchild Sarah Marshell.

The will of Mary Elizabeth (ńee Tullis) Sewell.

Moses Tullis Sr., the 6th great-grandfather of James Dean was the brother of my ancestor, William Tullis, Sr. (1715-1796), my 6th great grandfather. (see below):

In a diary written by Rev. Philip Vickers Fithian (another cousin of the Tullises) stated this:

Robert Tullis Sr. the ancestor of late actor James Dean, is his paternal 7th great-grandfather. Robert Tullis married Esther Fithian, they had five children.

The children of Robert Tullis, one of them is named after the grandmother Priscilla Burnett of Leys.

This is how James Dean and I are related.

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