Sepia Saturday 430: Fifth 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.
At times during my genealogy research I have been surprised to learn that my life unknowingly crossed paths with areas where my ancestors lived — yet I was oblivious to the connection until I began exploring my family history.
In this context, I want to pause and examine the 1856 marriage of my paternal great-great grandparents Arthur T. Bull and Mary Elizabeth Blakeslee in Brookdale, Susquehanna Co., Penna. — which was detailed in her 1890 application for Civil War widow’s benefits.
A cross-border courtship
Arthur T. Bull was raised in New York State’s Catskills region, where he learned the leather tanning trade. He later moved with his parents and siblings to Conklin, Broome Co., N.Y., where they were enumerated in the 1855 federal census.
Conklin is located along Little Snake Creek, west of the Susquehanna River and just north of the Pennsylvania border — about an eight-minute drive today from Brookdale, Penna.
Mary Elizabeth Blakeslee resided in Brookdale at the time of her 1856 marriage to Arthur — likely with her parents Zebulon and Hannah (Hance) Blakeslee. An abstracted newspaper announcement of their wedding gives Arthur’s residence as Corbettsville, N.Y. — a bit closer to Brookdale.
Then, as now, cross-border interactions were common — with Broome County in New York’s Southern Tier just a stone’s throw from Susquehanna County, Penna. So it’s not unusual that my Bull great-great grandparents met and married while residing in different states.
Crossing paths with the Bulls
Fast forward a century to 1956, and it was my family of origin that was moving to Endwell in Broome County, N.Y. — just one block north of the Susquehanna River. Thus begins the study in similarities, contrasts and crossed paths with the Bulls.
Like Arthur’s father, my dad Norm Charboneau was relocating with our family for a new job — setting up house just 17 miles from where the Bull family lived in 1855. However, we had no idea the Bulls even existed — much less that they were paternal ancestors of ours!
Path to Page Lake
My parents grew up in the Adirondack foothills of northern New York — where everyone who could afford it had a lakeside camp where they went in the summer. So that’s how the next crossed path originated.
As children, my parents learned to swim, fish, boat and trek through woods filled with flora and fauna at their families’ camps — and they wanted the same for their children.
So my dad found an affordable lot and built a small lean-to on Page Lake in New Milford, Penna. (shown on the map above) — just 13 miles south of Brookdale where Arthur and Mary Bull were wed in 1856!
We spent most summer weekends at Page Lake throughout the 1950s-60s — commuting back and forth past Conklin and Corbettsville and Brookdale, yet never imagining our proximity to these family history landmarks from 100 years before.
By contrast, today it’s a genealogical treat for me to examine ancestral areas discovered through research — and trace my own family’s paths running through them.
More on this in the next post. Meanwhile, please visit the blogs of this week’s other Sepia Saturday participants here.
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