1890: Mary E. (Blakeslee) Bull gets probate help from a veteran

Sepia Saturday 435: Third in a series on the settlement of my great-great grandfather Arthur T. Bull’s estate. A Union Army veteran of the U.S. Civil War, he was the father of my paternal great grandmother Eva (Bull) Charboneau.

On 13 Aug. 1890, two days before my paternal great-great grandmother Mary Elizabeth (Blakeslee) Bull received her Letters of Administration to oversee disposition of her late husband Arthur’s estate, she signed a financial bond for $150 — a sum she would forfeit if she failed to fulfill her duties.

In the last post, I wrote about one of the co-signers for her bond –lawyer Carey D. Davie, who may have been her attorney. Yet from a family history perspective, the second co-signer William H. Crandall seems to be the more interesting of the two.

http://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/2006678944/
Panoramic view of the Giesboro cavalry depot near Washington, D.C. (1865). William H. Crandall, who co-signed my widowed gg grandmother Mary Bull’s administration bond, served here during the U.S. Civil War. Did he and my gg grandfather Arthur know each other from Union Army service? Image: Library of Congress

A Civil War veteran

Because friends, associates and neighbors (FANs) can help flesh out a person’s day-to-day life, I always want to know more about those whose names crop up in ancestor-related documents.

So I got to work seeing what I could find out about William H. Crandall and his possible relationship to Arthur and Mary Bull and their family.

My first discovery was his listing in the 1890 U.S. Census of Veterans and Widows of the Civil War as excerpted below.

1890 Special Schedule – Surviving Soldiers, Sailors, and Marines, and Widows, Etc. Salamanca, N.Y.Source: FamilySearch
Name Rank Co. Rgt. Enlisted Discharged Served
William H. Crandall Private B 9 NY Cavalry 26 Sep. 1861 8 Oct. 1864 3 years 16 days
Post Office Disability Incurred Remarks
Salamanca, Catt. Co., N.Y. 1862 Fever and Asthma

I have not found my great-great grandmother Mary in this census — the census-taker may have missed her since Arthur’s 1890 death was so recent. But finding that William Crandall was a veteran like Arthur was my first clue to how he might know my Bull ancestors.

Friends from the Army?

That got me wondering whether William and Arthur’s service time overlapped. Had they known each other before my ancestors moved to Salamanca — maybe from the army?

My great-great grandfather Arthur began service in the 6th New York Heavy Artillery in January 1864 — partially overlapping William Crandall’s service during 1864. So I looked up William’s 9th NY Cavalry regiment to see what I could find — and there he was on the muster roll.

William’s Company B was recruited in Little Valley, in Cattaraugus County, N.Y. — which is where he signed up. Below is his listing in the 9th NY Cavalry unit roster, printed in 1895.

CRANDALL, WILLIAM.—Age, 21 years. Enlisted, September 23, 1861, at Little Valley; mustered in as private, Co. B, October 8, 1861, to serve three years; transferred, December 10, 1863, to One Hundred and Sixteenth Company, Second Battalion, Veteran Reserve Corps.

The Veteran Reserve Corps (VRC) allowed ill or injured service members — such as William, who developed asthma — to do light duty tasks, freeing up well/uninjured soldiers to remain in the field.

A Washington, D.C. connection?

Below is a summary of William’s VRC unit from the U.S. Civil War Archive site. (Depot Camp was probably Giesboro cavalry depot near the capital city.)

Organized at Depot Camp, Washington, D.C., December 9, 1863. Consolidated with 100th Company, 2nd Battalion, July 29, 1865.

After my ancestor Arthur Bull fell ill in the spring of 1864, I have found no evidence that he was assigned to the VRC. However, he served briefly in Washington, D.C. in September 1864 after returning from hospital — when some VRC units were also deployed on capital defenses. Did his service coincide with Crandall’s?

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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1890: An administration bond for Mary E.(Blakeslee) Bull

Sepia Saturday 434: Second in a series on the settlement of my great-great grandfather Arthur T. Bull’s estate. A Union Army veteran, he was the father of my paternal great grandmother Eva (Bull) Charboneau.

Nine months after great-great grandfather Arthur T. Bull, 57, died without a will on 30 January 1890, his widow Mary Elizabeth (Blakeslee) Bull was appointed administratrix of his estate by the Surrogate Court of Cattaraugus Co., N.Y.

Perhaps not the best time for Mary, who was simultaneously applying for Civil War pension benefits for herself and her two youngest children.

Pixabay - Creative Commons - no attribution required
Law books. Probate documents generate information that can help illuminate an ancestor’s story. That was certainly true of my great-great grandfather Arthur T. Bull’s estate settlement.

But with Arthur and Mary’s seven other adult children scattered throughout New York State, she was the logical beneficiary to take on the task. And as the surviving spouse, by law Mary was also the first one the court was obligated to turn to since Arthur left no will naming an executor.

Letter and bond

When the court appointed Mary as administratrix, it required a guarantee that she would responsibly carry out her duties.

So on 13 Aug. 1890, two days before Mary received her Letters of Administration to oversee disposition of her husband’s estate, she signed a financial bond for $150 — a sum she would forfeit if she fell short on the job.

Mary had no income at the time. Where could this money come from? That’s where her two cosigners stepped in — Carey D. Davie and William H. Crandall — each with a different relationship to the Bull family.

Carey D. Davie, an attorney, has appeared on this blog before — as a witness on Mary’s 14 March 1890 application for her late husband’s accured U.S. Civil War pension benefits.

On that application, Mr. Davie testified that he knew Mary was Arthur’s wife “from acquaintance with Mr. Bull and family and from general reputation.”

Family friend, attorney or both?

So was he a friend of the family? Or did he serve as Mary’s lawyer after Arthur’s death? Or possibly both?

Whatever the circumstances, on 13 Aug. 1890 he was willing to step up as a co-signer on Mary’s administration bond and provide the following notarized details of his assets. (Handwritten portions are underlined below.)

Carey D. Davie of Salamanca N.Y, the surety named in the foregoing bond  being…duly sworn,…deposes and says that he owns in his own right real estate in the town of Salamanca consisting of house and lot and the same is of the value not less than eight hundred dollars…exempt by law from levy and sale under an execution.

And…that he owns personal estate in the town aforesaid and that its value is not less than two thousand dollars that it consists of bonds. stock…and that he is worth in good property not less than twenty five hundred dollars over all the debts and liabilities which he owes or has incurred  and exclusive of property exempt from levy and sale under an execution.

In short, Mary had a backer for her $150 bond with sufficient collateral to satisfy the court should she default in her administratrix duties. Nor was he the only one, for William H. Crandall also co-signed the bond and listed his assets.

More on Mr. Crandall and his unique relationship to the Bull family 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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1890: Settling Arthur T. Bull’s estate

Sepia Saturday 433: First in a new series on the settlement of my great-great grandfather Arthur T. Bull’s estate. He was the father of my paternal great grandmother Eva (Bull) Charboneau.

When my great-great grandfather Arthur T. Bull, 57, died on 30 January 1890, he did not have a will.

Because he died intestate, his wife — my great-great grandmother Mary E. (Blakeslee) Bull, 50 — had to sign and file a number of documents in New York State Surrogate Court to become administratrix of his estate. In so doing, she unknowingly created more family history records of interest.

http://historicpath.com/historic-site-tours-rt-16/park-square-franklinville
Park Square in Franklinville, N.Y. (undated). In this town my gg grandmother Mary Elizabeth (Blakeslee) Bull was named administratrix on 15 August 1890  of  the estate of her late husband, my gg grandfather Arthur T. Bull. Image: Historic Path of Cattauraugus County

Mary had to do this while simultaneously applying for U.S. Civil War widow’s benefits from her late husband’s Union Army service. And it appears that at least one of her attorneys from her widow’s application, Carey D. Davie,  rendered services in the probate process, too.

Mary named administratrix

My Bull great-great grandparents lived in Salamanca, Cattaraugus Co., in western New York at the time of Arthur’s death. However, Mary had to travel to the county surrogate court in Franklinville, about 50 miles south of Buffalo, to file the estate documents.

On 15 Aug. 1890, almost seven months after he died, Mary was granted letters of administration naming her “administratrix of all the singular goods, chattels and credits which were of the said Arthur T. Bull, deceased.”

She was directed to execute an accurate inventory of Arthur’s estate “to exhibit, or cause to be exhibited, in the office of the Surrogate of the County of Cattaraugus, at or before the expiration of three calendar months from the date thereof.”

After that, the document was witnessed and signed. (Handwriting underlined below.)

Witness: Alfred Spring, Surrogate of said County at Franklinville the fifteenth day of August in the year of our Lord, one thousand, eight hundred and eighty ninety.

More work for a grieving widow

Being named administratrix was just the beginning of the estate-settlement process for my grieving great-grandmother. She then had three months to tally up all of Arthur’s holdings and report back to the court. Alas, more work for a grieving widow.

Maybe this activity distracted Mary from waiting to hear about her Union Army widow’s pension — and the dependent pensions for her two minor children.

Or perhaps it was a burden that her nearby married daughters and their husbands helped her with. Either way, there was also the matter of an administration bond — which is the next record that will be reviewed in this series.

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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1892: Pensions approved for Civil War widow Mary E. (Blakeslee) Bull and children

Sepia Saturday 432: Seventh and last in this series about my great-great grandmother Mary Elizabeth (Blakeslee) Bull, a U.S. Civil War widow. Mary was the mother of my paternal great-grandmother Eva (Bull) Charboneau.

After two long years, in 1892 my great-great grandmother Mary E. (Blakeslee) Bull, 53, finally received her U.S. Civil War widow’s pension — which must have come as a great relief as she took a leap into an unknown future with her two youngest children.

Mary’s $12-a-month pension was retroactive to the 30 Jan. 1890 death of her husband — my great-great grandfather Arthur T. Bull, Union veteran of the 6th N.Y. Heavy Artillery who suffered Civil War-related illness and injury.

http://ageofuncertainty.blogspot.com/2010/11/last-month-i-posted-some-highlights.html
Woman in dark dress (circa 1870s). My widowed gg grandmother Mary E. (Blakeslee) Bull was likely relieved to finally receive survivor pension payments for herself and her dependent children. Image: ageofuncertainty

Her minor children, a daughter Alice and a son Waples, also received a dependent pension — but not before additional proofs assured the pension board that they indeed were Arthur and Mary’s children.

In the last post, I detailed an affidavit from their older sister Carrie A. (Bull) Graff testifying to their birth details. Two additional proofs were submitted: a statement from Mary and a copy of the Bull family bible, which was examined by a Justice of the Peace.

A mother’s statement

On 9 May 1892, Mary appeared before a Justice of the Peace in Salamanca Cattaraugus Co., N.Y. and swore that Alice and Waples were her and Arthur’s children:

I am the above named claimant and the widow of Arthur T. Bull. There was living at the time of the death of said Arthur T. Bull the following named children, the offspring of said marriage of said Arthur T. Bull and this claimant. The years, names and dates of birth of such children are as follows: Alice I. Bull, Residence Salamanca, Born Sept. 29, 1876. Waples H. Bull, [Residence Salamanca], [Born] April 12, 1789. Both of the above were under the age of 16 years at the time of the death of said soldier Arthur T. Bull which took place on the 30th day of Jany 1890. A certified copy of the Family Record is attached. [Signature of Affiants.] Mary E. Bull

The Bull family bible

The “certified copy of the Family Record” referred to in Mary’s General Affidavit above appears to be the Bull family Bible, in which family details were recorded.

An antique Bible. Records in a similar Bull family Bible were used to verify the birth dates of Arthur and Mary E. Bull’s minor children so they could receive pension payments.

For the final record in Mary’s file is a typewritten affidavit from Justice of the Peace T. H. Dowd indicating he had seen and verified the Bible record. (Handwritten portions are underlined below.)

This is to certify that I the undersigned a justice of the peace in the county of Cattaraugus County have this day examined the family record kept by Arthur T. Bull in his family Bible and I find the said Bible to have been published in the year 1873 and to contain the following entries: Alice I. Bull born September 29th 1876 and Waples H. Bull born April 12th 1879.

And I further certify that the said entries appear to have been made years ago and that form all appearances the writing appears to have been done at about the times and dates of the birth of said children mentioned above. I further certify that I am not interested in this claim and have no interest in its prosecution in any manner whatsoever. Dated May 10th 1892. T.H. Dowd Justice of the Peace Certificate on file at the Pension Bureau, Washington, D.C.

Widow’s and children’s pensions approved

With all evidence submitted and verified, on 13 Aug. 1892 — 126 years ago this week — Mary E. (Blakeslee) Bull was approved for her $12 monthly Civil War widow’s pension. Not an extravagant sum, but something to keep the household going.

The Buffalo Pension Board also approved the “Additional sum of $2 a month for the following children, until arriving at 16 years of age, commencing Jan. 20, 1890: Alice I. – 16 yrs. – Sept. 28, 1892 [and] Waples H. – 16 yrs. – April 11, 1895.” So that meant support for the children, too.

Thus ends the trail of documents in the Civil War pension file of Arthur T.  and Mary E. (Blakeslee) Bull — with a measure of recompense for the war’s impact on their family.

But this is not the end of their story. For Mary also had to deal with probate issues stemming from Arthur’s passing.

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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1890: Widow Mary E.(Blakeslee) Bull’s minor children

Sepia Saturday 431: Sixth in a series about my great-great grandmother Mary Elizabeth (Blakeslee) Bull, a U.S. Civil War widow. Mary was the mother of my paternal great-grandmother Eva (Bull) Charboneau.

As the surviving spouse of U.S. Civil War veteran Arthur T. Bull, Mary E. (Blakeslee) Bull was entitled to a widow’s pension – which she applied for shortly after his January 1890 death.

However, minor children of deceased veterans were entitled to pension benefits as well. Since Mary’s two youngest children — daughter Alice, 13, and son Waples, 11 — were still living at home, her widow’s pension file also includes paperwork on their behalf.

http://www.costumecocktail.com/2015/08/07/lovely-young-mother-with-children-1850s/
Daguerreotype of a young mother with children (circa1850s). When my great-great grandmother Mary E. (Blakeslee) Bull was widowed in 1890, her two youngest children, daughter Alice and son Waples,, still lived at home. As dependent children of a deceased U.S. Civil War veteran, they were also entitled to pension benefits. Image: www.costumecocktail.com

As with Mary’s marriage details, the birth dates of her minor children had to be verified for years when New York State did not require statewide vital records registration. So yet another Bull family member stepped up to help.

Birth details from an older sibling

In June 1891 Carrie A. (Bull) Graff, 31 appeared as a witness before Cattaraugus County Justice of the Peace T. H. Dowd. She stated she was present in the home for the births of her youngest siblings Alice and Waples Bull.

A General Affidavit submitted to the Pension Board sums up Carrie’s testimony about the births of her youngest siblings. (Handwritten portions are underlined below.)

State of New York, County of Cattaraugus, ss: In the matter of Claim for pension No. 427.089. of Mary E. Bull, widow of Arthur T. Bull Co. L. 6” Regt. N.Y.H.A. Vols.

On this 20th Day of June A.D. 1891 personally appeared before me a Justice of the Peace in and for the aforesaid County duly authorized to administer oaths, Carrie A. Graff aged 31 years, a resident of Salamanca in the County of Cattaraugus and State of New York whose Post Office address is Salamanca well known to me to be reputable and entitled to credit, and who, being duly sworn, declared in relation to aforesaid case as follows.

I am a daughter of the above named claimant and was at home with my mother at the time of the birth of her two children Alice I. Bull, who was born at Moose River, Lewis County, N.Y. on the 29th day of September 1876 and at the time of the birth of Waples H. Bull who was born at Moose River, Lewis County, N.Y. on the 12th day of April 1878.

Affiant further says that she was well and personally acquainted with the midwife who attended the claimant at the times and she knows said midwife has since died.

I further declare that I have no interest in said case and that I am not concerned in its prosecution. [Signature of Affiants.] Mrs. Carrie A. Graff

Some Bull family history

Each time I read this affidavit I am amazed at how much I learned from it. Not only did Carrie identify herself as Mary’s daughter, but I learned that Graff was surname of her first husband.

I also learned the exact dates and locations of Alice and Waples’ births — and that they were delivered by a midwife. And Waples’ 1878 birth in Moose River helped me establish that Arthur and Mary Bull remained in Lewis County at least until April of that year.

Carrie also indicated that, like her parents, she lived in Salamanca, Cattaraugus Co., N.Y. — opening up new research questions. Did she move there along with them? Did they decide to relocate to Western New York because daughter Carrie and her husband already lived there? Or did Carrie and her spouse move to Salamanca later, in order to assist her mother after Arthur’s death?

Whatever the sequence, Carrie’s testimony, received at the pension  office on 25 June 1891, surely helped verify her siblings’ claims for dependent pension coverage — while providing valuable Bull family history in the process.

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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Growing family trees one leaf (and road trip) at a time