Category Archives: Arthur Bull

1888: Hannah (Hance) Blakeslee R.I.P.

Sepia Saturday 404: Fourth in a series on my Union Army great-great grandfather Arthur Bull and his final years in Salamanca, Cattaraugus County, N.Y.

The year 1888 was significant for my great-great grandparents Arthur and Mary (Blakeslee) Bull, who experienced the ups and downs of family life while living in Salamanca, N.Y.

The first momentous event was the death on 8 Jan. 1888 of Mary’s mother — my widowed great-great-great grandmother Hannah (Hance) Blakeslee — who was living with them at the time.

My ggg grandmother Hannah (Hance) Blakeslee’s stone in Shawsville Cemetery, Conklin, Broome Co., N.Y. Hannah was living with her daughter Mary Elizabeth (Blakeslee) Bull and son-in-law Arthur in Salamanca, Cattaraugus Co., N.Y., at the time of her death. Photo: Paul R/Find a Grave 1.
Hannah’s history

Hannah has appeared in only one post on Molly’s Canopy, as I have not yet researched her or my Hance ancestors in detail. However, the recent discovery of her obituary stating that she lived with Arthur and Mary at the end of her life prompted me to review what I know about her.

Excerpted Timeline for Hannah (Hance) Blakeslee
Year Source Age Details
1850 U.S. Census, Conklin, Broome Co., N.Y. 37 She lived in household of farmer Z. Blakeslee, 42, with child Mary E, 12. Farm valued at $2,000.
1860 U.S. Census of Hancock, Delaware Co., N.Y. 48 She was living without Z. Blakeslee in household of William and Rhoda A. Whitney.
1880 U.S. Census of Binghamton, Broome Co., N.Y. 68 Living in Butternut St. household of grandson Albert Whitney, 27, wife Kate, 25, and daughter Zara, 5.
1888 Death Certificate, Salamanca, Cattaraugus Co., N.Y. 73 and 11mos. Hanna Blacksley: Widowed, worked as a nurse, born in Susquehanna, . buried in Conklin, N.Y., her father was Waples Hance.
1888 Cattaraugus Republican Jan. 13 obituary 76 Hannah Blakesley: Mother of Mrs. A.T. Bull, at whose residence she died. Transported to Binghamton, N.Y., for funeral, burial.
Shawsville Cemetery stone, Conklin, Broome Co., N.Y. 75 and 11 mos. Hannah Blakeslee, wife of Zebulon, Died Jan . 8, 1888 aged 75 yrs. & 11 ms.

Hannah is mentioned briefly in an 1887 Centennial History of Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania as a daughter of Waples Hance who married Zebulon Blakeslee, a local merchant.

She also appears as a daughter of Waples and Rachel (Chapman) Hance in a family tree of  “John Hance and Some of His Descendants” by Rev. William White in the the New York Genealogical and Biographical Record. 2

Yet questions remain: Where was she living in 1870? What became of her husband Zebulon? What can be learned about her early life? When exactly was she born?

Multi-generational household

In 1888, Hannah was the senior member of the three-generation Bull household in 1888. Arthur was the wage-earner. Mary kept house. And the three youngest Bull children (Jessie,19; Alice, 11; and Waples, 10) probably still lived at home.

Arthur was receiving a one-half disability pension for health effects of his Union Army service and unable to work full-time. So possibly trying economic times — and then came the sad occurrence of Hannah’s passing.

Back home to Broome County

Obituary of my ggg grandmother Hannah (Hance) Blakeslee (Cattaraugus Republican, 13 Jan. 1888). From this obituary I learned that Hannah was living with Arthur T. and Mary (Blakeslee) Bull in Salamanca, N.Y., at the time of her death. Scan by Molly Charboneau

According to her obituary, Hannah was transported from Salamanca to Binghamton in Broome County, N.Y., for her funeral and burial — a location she probably considered home.

Hannah grew up and married in the area, where she also raised her daughters Rhoda and Mary.

Rhoda and husband William Whitney still lived there in 1888 — and cemetery records show that he paid for Hannah’s plot.

Hannah is buried in Shawsville Cemetery in Conklin, N.Y. with her extended Bull and Whitney family — and just down the road from Stillwater Cemetery, the final resting place of her parents Waples and Rachel (Chapman) Hance in Corbettsville, N.Y.

A difficult start to 1888 Arthur and Mary (Blakeslee) Bull with Hannah’s passing. Yet despite this loss, happier times were ahead as their daughter Jessie prepared to marry and set up a household of her own.

More in the next post. Meanwhile, please visit the blogs of this week’s other Sepia Saturday participants here.

© 2018 Molly Charboneau. All rights reserved.

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Footnotes

  1.  Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed 28 January 2018), memorial page for Hannah Blakeslee (Feb 1812–8 Jan 1888), Find A Grave Memorial no. 91413754, citing Shawsville Cemetery, Conklin, Broome County, New York, USA ; Maintained by Paul R (contributor 47317162)
  2.   White, William (1904). John Hance and Some of His Descendants. New York Genealogical and Biographical Record, 35(2), 130.

Arthur Bull and the GAR in the late 1880s

Sepia Saturday 403: Third in a series on my Union Army great-great grandfather Arthur Bull and his final years in Salamanca, Cattaraugus County, N.Y.

When my great-great grandfather Arthur Bull joined the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) in 1886, the Civil War veterans’ group had recently reorganized — which led to an explosion in recruitment.

114th Regimental Reunion, May 30, 1897, Norwich, N. Y.
The 114th Regimental Reunion in Norwich, Chenango Co., N.Y. (30 May 1897). G.A.R. is penciled on the back of this photo. My ancestor Arthur Bull, a Union Army veteran of the 6th New York Heavy Artillery, might have attended similar gatherings during his time in the GAR. Photo: Library of Congress

The New York State Archives online finding aid to its GAR records describes the group’s founding and metamorphosis.1

The Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) was a large multi-faceted organization (fraternal lodge, charitable society, special interest lobby, patriotic group, and political club) founded in 1866 by Union Army Surgeon Benjamin Franklin Stephenson. The organization was originally envisioned as a brotherhood of veterans who were dedicated to helping other veterans.

Transformation of the GAR

The GAR initially structured itself along military lines — with sentries at the door, members transferring from post to post, and a local, state and national chain of command.

In 1869, the GAR transitioned to a fraternal group with lodges, similar to the Masons — but an unpopular internal grading system prompted a mass exodus of rank-and-file members.

So in the late 1870s, the GAR transformed itself again — and its new focus on pensions likely prompted my ancestor Arthur Bull to finally join as a pensioner in 1886. 2

As a result of these changes, the GAR’s membership rose sharply in the 1880’s….It was through the GAR, and the pension lobby, that many soldiers and their families received pensions. The Grand Army of the Republic also promoted patriotism through parades, national encampments, placement of war memorials, and the establishment of Memorial Day as a national holiday.

An integrated fraternal order

Unlike other fraternal orders in the 1800s, the Grand Army of the Republic was racially inclusive and integrated — as befitted veterans who had fought together to end slavery — and welcomed all honorably discharged Union vets, including at least two women. 3 According to the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War: 4

Membership was limited to honorably discharged veterans of the Union Army, Navy, Marine Corps or the Revenue Cutter Service who had served between April 12, 1861 and April 9, 1865.

http://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/2003668501/
African-American GAR veterans parading in a New York City (30 May 1912). Unique among fraternal groups of the era, the GAR was integrated and open to all honorably discharged Union Army veterans of the U.S. Civil War Photo: Library of Congress

The GAR was also quick to embrace Memorial Day — a commemoration begun on 1 May 1865 by African-American freepeople with a march of 10,000 in Charleston, S.C., to honor 257 Union soldiers who died in a Confederate prison camp there. 5

Because the group was indispensable to Union Army veterans and their families, my great-great grandparents Arthur and Mary (Blakeslee) Bull likely found comfort in the milieu of the GAR — and perhaps its affiliated women’s group, too. 6

And they might have turned to the GAR for assistance as Arthur’s war-related health issues reduced his ability to work, requiring him to apply for pension increases.

More on Arthur’s life in Salamanca in the next post. Meanwhile, please visit the blogs of this week’s other Sepia Saturday participants here.

© 2018 Molly Charboneau. All rights reserved.

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Footnotes

  1. New York State Archives, New York State Historian Grand Army of the Republic Records finding aid, webpage. http://www.archives.nysed.gov (http://iarchives.nysed.gov/xtf/view?docId=ead/findingaids/B1706.xml accessed : 20 January 2018): Administrative History.
  2. Ibid.
  3. Wikipedia, Grand Army of the Republic, webpage. https://en.wikipedia.org (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grand_Army_of_the_Republic accessed : 21 January 2018): Women members.
  4. Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War National Headquarters, Grand Army of the Republic History, webpage. http://www.suvcw.org (http://www.suvcw.org/?page_id=167 accessed : 20 January 2018).
  5. Blight, David W., “Forgetting Why We Remember.” The New York Times, 29 May 2011. Online archives. http://www.nytimes.com/ref/membercenter/nytarchive.html (http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/30/opinion/30blight.html accessed : 20 January 2018).
  6. Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War National Headquarters, Ladies of the Grand Army of the Republic, webpage. http://www.suvcw.org (http://suvcw.org/LGAR/History.html accessed : 20 January 2018).

1886: Arthur Bull joins the Grand Army of the Republic

Sepia Saturday 402: Second in a series on my Union Army great-great grandfather Arthur Bull and his final years in Salamanca, Cattaraugus County, N.Y.

On 21 July 1886 — seven months after receiving his Union Army pension — my great-great grandfather Arthur Bull, 52, mustered into the Grand Army of the Republic in Salamanca, Cattaraugus Co., N.Y.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grand_Army_of_the_Republic#/media/File:Grand_Army_of_the_Republic_medal.svg
Grand Army of the Republic medal. As a Union Army veteran of the 6th NY Heavy Artillery — and a member of Nathan Crosby Post 550 of the GAR in Salamanca, N.Y. — my great-great grandfather Arthur Bull was authorized to wear one of these medals on his uniform. Image: Wikipedia

Having recently moved to Salamanca from the Adirondacks, he probably missed the colleagues, friends and family that he and his wife Mary left behind.

What better way to make connections at his new home than by signing up with a fraternal organization of Civil War veterans who were around his age, shared similar wartime experiences and faced the same pension challenges?

Nathan Crosby Post 550

Specifically, my ancestor joined Nathan Crosby Post 550 of the Department of New York, Grand Army of the Republic — headquartered in Salamanca, N.Y.

He appears as A. T. Bull on the membership roster in the post’s Descriptive Book, which is filed at the New York State Archives and also available online as digital images.1

From entries in the Descriptive Book, it appears that Post 550 was founded in April 1885 by a group of about twenty Salamanca Civil War veterans from various ranks and regiments of the Union Army. Over time the post grew to thirty-seven members as more locals — as well as new arrivals like my ancestor — mustered in.

My ancestor’s details

The Descriptive Book used by Post 550 appears to be standard issue, with printed ledger column headings to facilitate handwritten entries. The table below excerpts the penned listing for my great-great grandfather Arthur T. Bull, member No. 30.

Arthur T. Bull listing in the Descriptive Book of Nathan Crosby Post 550 NYS GAR – Salamanca, N.Y. – Source: Ancestry.com – New York, Grand Army of the Republic Records, 1866-1931 2
No. Name Age Birthplace Residence Occupation
30 A.T. Bull 52 Greene Co., NY Salamanca Tanner
Entry into the Service
Date Rank Co. Regiment
Jan. 4th, 1864 Private F H. A. NY
Final Discharge
Date Rank Co. Regiment Length of Service Cause of Discharge
Aug. 24th, 1865 Private F H. A. NY 1 year 2 m. General Order
Date of Muster into the GAR: July 21st, 1886

I was grateful to find this GAR information about my ancestor Arthur Bull — particularly since he probably provided the information himself, lending accuracy to the particulars.

Here we find Arthur’s age, birthplace, occupation and military service details — all of which reinforce what I have learned about him from other sources.

Of special interest

Of special interest is his service time, given in the book as 1 year 2 months. This is shorter than the 1-year-7-month period between when Arthur entered and mustered out of the Union Army.

However, he was was away in hospital for war-related illness for a total of about five months. Did the GAR only count active, front-line duty when registering members?

The other new  information is Arthur’s 21 July 1886 muster date into the GAR — which shows him integrating into Salamanca, N.Y., community life by joining the veterans’ group after his move there.

What more can I learn about my great-great grandfather Arthur Bull and the GAR? More in the next post. Meanwhile, please visit the blogs of this week’s other Sepia Saturday participants here.

© 2018 Molly Charboneau. All rights reserved.

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Footnotes

  1. New York, Grand Army of the Republic Records, 1866-1931, N. Crosby Post 550 Descriptive Book, entry no. 30, A.T. Bull, digital images, Ancestry.com (https://www.ancestry.com/ : accessed 12 January 2018)
  2. Ibid.

Arthur Bull: The Cattaraugus County years

Sepia Saturday 401: First in a new series on my Union Army great-great grandfather Arthur Bull and his final years in Salamanca, Cattaraugus County, N.Y.

When I last wrote about my great-great grandfather Arthur Bull, a Union Army veteran, he had finally received a military pension in 1885 for partial disability from his Civil War service. He was 51 years old.

http://www.salamancanyhistoricalmuseum.org/photos
A river-crossing float on the Allegheny River at Salamanca, Cattaraugus Co., N.Y. (undated). This is where my great-great grandfather Arthur Bull, a Union Army pensioner, spent the last years of his life. Image: Salamanca Historical Society & Museum

A tanner by profession, Arthur had also relocated  from the Adirondack foothills to Salamanca in Western New York’s Cattaraugus County — which is where his story now resumes.

An ideal tannery environment

The Historical gazetteer and biographical memorial of Cattaraugus County, N.Y., edited by William Adams and published in 1893, describes an area that was ideal for the leather tanning industry — with tree bark for tannin and an ample water supply. Shipping finished leather was also easy since Salamanca was a railroad hub.

Before departing the Adirondacks, Arthur worked as a tannery foreman — his stated occupation in the 1880 U.S. Census of Lyonsdale, Lewis Co., N.Y. He probably had to continue working, at least part time, since his Civil War pension was for one-half disability. So he appears to have moved to Western New York in search of tannery work.

Salamanca’s unique history

When Arthur and his wife Mary (Blakeslee) Bull relocated to Salamanca they were among an influx of people moving there (see Table 1).

Table 1. Population of Salamanca, Cattaraugus Co., N.Y. (1855-1890) Source:  Historical gazetteer and biographical memorial of Cattaraugus County, N.Y. (Adams: 1893)

Year Population
1855 453
1870 1,881
1880 3,498
1890 4,572

According to Adams’ gazetteer, Salamanca, N.Y.,  was well equipped to handle residential newcomers.

The principal streets have sufficient sewers to afford good drainage, an adequate water system is in operation, and electricity is employed for lighting.

The city was also unique in one other respect. Salamanca was, and still is, located entirely within the Allegheny Reservation of the sovereign Seneca Nation and the land is leased from the Seneca people.

Moving as a family

My paternal great-great grandparents Arthur and Mary Bull moved to Cattaraugus County during the hard-to-document period after the 1880 U.S. Census. Nevertheless, there is some evidence — from his Civil War pension file, later censuses and other sources — that they did not relocate alone.

When the Bulls set out for Western New York in 1885, their younger children Jessie (16), Fred (13), William (11), Alice (8) and Waples (2) were still young enough to be living with their parents and likely moved with them. Some of them show up there as adults in later censuses.

Two older, married daughters — Carrie and Emma — appear to have relocated to Western New York as well, since they were also enumerated there in later censuses.

In addition, I have found evidence that Mary (Blakeslee) Bull’s mother — Hannah (Hance) Blakeslee — lived in Arthur and Mary’s Salamanca household at the end of her life.

Thus, as with previous moves, the Bulls appear to have relocated with family to Cattaraugus County — maintaining an extended support system in their new Salamanca, N.Y., home that would sustain them as they aged.

More on this in the next post. Meanwhile, please visit the blogs of this week’s other Sepia Saturday participants here.

© 2018 Molly Charboneau. All rights reserved.

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Dec. 1885: U.S. Pension Board approves Arthur Bull’s claim

Sixth and last in this series on my Union Army ancestor Arthur Bull’s reapplication for a US Civil War pension and his family’s life at the time.

On 10 Dec. 1885, the U.S. Pension Board finally approved my Union Army ancestor Arthur Bull for a one-half disability pension of $4 a month for “disease of heart.” The decision followed both a legal and medical review — and came more than five years after he applied for his Civil War pension.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Union_Army#/media/File:Union_Private_infantry_uniform.png
Union private infantry uniform in the U.S. Civil War. My great-great grandfather Arthur Bull’s 6th New York Heavy Artillery unit primarily fought as infantry. The rigors of battle, along with double-quick marches through rough environments carrying heavy packs and gear likely contributed to the war-related illness he was pensioned for in 1885. Photo: Wikipedia

Today, Arthur’s $4 monthly pension would be worth about $102 in purchasing power — or about $1,224 per year. Not an extravagant sum, but something coming into the household on a regular basis to supplement his reduced earnings.

In addition, the start date for Arthur’s monthly pension was 2 July 1880 — the day he filed his application — so the family likely received a retroactive sum of about $256 (worth $6,136 today) to cover the years of waiting.

Entering the pension system

Also important, once Arthur entered the U.S. Civil War Pension system he was eligible to apply for additional support if his ability to work diminished.

No longer would my great-great grandfather have to prove that he served or that his illness was war-related. Henceforth, Arthur would only need to document any further decline in his health.

These pension developments must have come as a relief to my aging ancestor and his loved ones after their long wait.

Landmark dates

I particularly cherish the document admitting my ancestor Arthur Bull to the pension system because it contains the dates of his Union Army service and pension application — as well as health details that place him at Cedar Creek, Va. at a turning point in the Civil War:

Elisted Jan’y. 4th 1864 — Mustered Date not stated — Discharged Aug. 24, 1865 — Declaration filed July 2, 1880 — Continuous service from Jany. 4th, 1864, to Aug. 24th, 1865, in Cos. L, E & F 6th N. H. Art. (by transfer) — Not in service since Aug. 24th, 1865

Basis of Claim (Claimant writes): Alleges in declaration, filed as above, that in service and line of duty, near Cedar Creek, Va., about Nov. 10th, 1864, he contracted disease of the heart and lungs and was treated at Point of Rocks Hospital, Bermuda Hundred; also in hospital at Fortress Monroe.

These details, and others in Arthur’s pension file, helped me piece together my ancestor’s military history — which I wrote about during the 2014 Sesquicentennial of the U.S. Civil War.

Fortunately for Arthur and his family, his re-application for a Union Army pension was successful — but his story does not end here. There will be more on Arthur Bull and his family in future posts.

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© 2017 Molly Charboneau. All rights reserved.

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