Taps for Private Tussie Characters

Jesse Stuart


(Great Characters in Literature)

Characters Discussed

Grandpa Tussie

Grandpa Tussie, the head of the Tussie clan. He lives with his family in a schoolhouse coal shed until the supposed death of a son. After the funeral, the son’s wife uses her insurance money to set up the family in a rented mansion, where they and descending relatives live high. Grandpa’s relief check is taken away and later, when the last of the insurance money is used to buy a farm in his name, his old-age pension also is taken away.

Grandma Tussie

Grandma Tussie, his wife. When she counts forty-six Tussie relatives living in the mansion, she will stand for no more.

George Tussie

George Tussie, Grandpa’s brother, the first relative to move in. A fine fiddle player, he has been married five times. His nephew’s “widow” falls in love with his fiddle playing and marries him.

Uncle Mott Tussie

Uncle Mott Tussie, Grandpa’s son. He is in love with his brother’s wife and therefore hates George. When he finally shoots George’s fiddle from his hands, George shoots him through the head.

Aunt Vittie Tussie

Aunt Vittie Tussie, the “widow” who has inherited ten thousand dollars in government insurance and spends it lavishly on the family.

Uncle Kim Tussie

Uncle Kim Tussie, the supposedly deceased son. He reappears at the end of the novel; his brother Mott had falsely identified the body in the hope of inheriting his sister-in-law. Family life is resumed as it was before his “death,” except for the presence now of Uncle Mott’s body.

Sid Seagraves Tussie

Sid Seagraves Tussie, a grandson. He is revealed at last by Kim to be Aunt Vittie’s son by a rich man who wronged Aunt Vittie and paid Kim to marry her. Now he is to be Kim’s and Aunt Vittie’s son.

George Rayburn

George Rayburn, whose mansion the Tussies rent and almost wreck. He evicts them with difficulty.

Sheriff Whiteapple

Sheriff Whiteapple, who has to serve legal papers before the Tussies will leave the Rayburn mansion. After George Tussie’s shooting of Mott, the sheriff comes for George.

Uncle Ben

Uncle Ben,



Young Uncle Ben

Young Uncle Ben,






Sabie, and


Abe, some of the Tussie relatives who move in. Uncle Mott shoots Young Uncle Ben and Dee for reporting Grandpa to the relief agency.