Life on Jeremiah’s farm

Third and last in a series on the occupations of my paternal great, great great grandfather Jeremiah Bull in the 1800s

BULL, Jeremiah NYSA-An 1860 Non-Pop Agric Census Conklin, Broome, NY 31520_B00466438B-00269_2
Jeremiah Bull’s farm facts. Searching through the digital census holdings of the New York State Archives, I was pleased to find that my great, great, great grandfather Jeremiah Bull was enumerated in the 1860 U.S. Census Non-Population Schedule for Conklin, Broome County, N.Y. (Kirkwood post office). Screen shot: Molly Charboneau

Searching through the digital census holdings of the New York State Archives recently, I was pleased to find the name of my great, great, great grandfather Jeremiah Bull in the 1860 U.S. Census Non-Population Schedule for Conklin, Broome County, N.Y. (Kirkwood post office).

The census taker called on 3 Nov. 1860 and — in addition to filling out the population portion of the census — completed Schedule 4 – Products of Agriculture listing my ancestor Jeremiah’s farm details on Line 25 (shown at right).

According to the 1860 agricultural census, Jeremiah had a good amount of land and some farm animals:

  • Acres of Land – 40 Improved and 73 unimproved [113 total]
  • Cash Value of Farm – $1,200 [about $26,400 today]
  • Value of Farming Implements and Machinery – $100 [about $2,200 today]
  • Working Oxen – 2
  • Swine – 2
  • Value of Live Stock – $114 [about $2,500 today]

On a second page, under the broad category of “Produce during the year ending June 1, 1860,” the agricultural census indicates that the Bull family farm produced the following:

  • Irish Potatoes – 40 bushels
  • Buckwheat – 140 bushels
  • Hay – 4 tons
  • Value of Animals Slaughtered – $10 [about $220 today]

How was life on the farm for my ancestor Jeremiah and his family? Hard to know exactly without any inherited evidence — but an analysis of Jeremiah’s census entries offers some clues. For one thing, the Bull family had a live-in farm hand.

In the 1860 U.S. Population Census for Town of Conklin, Broome County, N.Y., Howard Traver, age 26, is enumerated in the same dwelling as Jeremiah Bull and his family. Next to his name — in the column for “Profession, Occupation , Trade of each person, male and female, over 15 years of age” — Traver’s occupation is given as “farm labour.”

Even if wife Mary Elizabeth and daughter Mary pitched in, Traver’s labor was likely also needed for certain jobs because Jeremiah — who also worked in the tannery business — was not fully available for work on the farm. Jeremiah, 57, may also have been hired Traver because his sons, who might have assisted, had left the household.

One son — my great, great grandfather Arthur Bull — had married and was living with his family in Town of Hancock, Delaware County, N.Y., in 1860. So he was not available to help on the farm.

Arthur’s older brother, Norris C. Bull, also lived too far away to lend a hand. He and his family resided in Town of Colchester, Delaware County, N.Y., at the time of the 1860 U.S. census. And his younger brother, Milo, was also apparently out of the house, since he is not enumerated with Jeremiah — though I have not yet found records that indicate his whereabouts in 1860.

So there you have it. My great, great, great grandfather Jeremiah Bull of Corbettsville, in Town of Conklin, Broome County, N.Y., was a “Merchant” in 1860 — possibly a tannery owner — and also lived on a working farm substantial enough to require a live-in farm laborer.

What to make of this newfound information? More on that in the next post.

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4 thoughts on “Life on Jeremiah’s farm”

    1. Great to meet you, Don. I believe you may be right! I took a quick look at the Bull family groups on the Wade Prater site you mentioned, and it appears we have the same gggg grandparents: Jeremiah Bull and Hannah Seeley (F22609). They are the parents of my ggg grandfather Jeremiah Bull (b. 1802) and of his brother Joseph Bull [father of your gg grandfather Jeremiah (b. 1826)]. If all this proves accurate, that would make us fifth cousins! I totally agree, family history researching is the best. Thanks so much for reaching out. I will be in touch. Molly

  1. My great great grandfather was also named Jeremiah Bull. He was born in 1826 in Conesville, N.Y. After the Civil War he married and moved to Silver Lake, Pa. just south of Binghamton, where my grandfather was born and also my dad. Haven’t gotten that far but we are probably cousins. My great great grandfather also listed occupation as tanner and farmer. Found lots of info on Wade Prater site. Love researching; lots of fun. Sincerely, Don B. Name was changed in 1920.

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