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.

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.

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10 thoughts on “1890: Mary E. (Blakeslee) Bull gets probate help from a veteran”

    1. True enough. I was fortunate to find William H. Crandall enumerated in the 1890 Civil War veterans and widows census, since the regular 1890 census burned in a fire. Knowing he was a Union Army veteran led to other records about him.

  1. So much of family genealogy focuses on family relations, but friendships and business relations certainly offer more connections and clues.

    I was fascinated by the Giesboro cavalry depot photo as my grandparents lived outside of D.C. and I must have driven by the site of the depot countless times without knowing of its history. The land was procured in 1863 from one of the richest slave owners in Maryland. The Union army then built an enormous logistic base with hundreds of horse barns, paddocks, blacksmith shops, and barracks. The depot was designed for 30,000 horses and from 1864 to 1865 processed over 170,000 horses. Here is a link to another blog which describes the cavalry depot. http://civilwarwashingtondc1861-1865.blogspot.com/2011/08/geisborough-point-cavalry-depot-parking.html

    I imagine the army needed soldiers with business skills to account for all the livestock, fodder, blacksmith iron, leather, etc. required for remounts. Perhaps Arthur was assigned duty there since horses were surely needed for moving artillery too.

    1. Thanks for this background information and the link. I also find the Giesboro cavalry depot’s history fascinating, and your comment and link add a great deal to my post. Much appreciated!

  2. Such a great investigation. I’ve just been working on brothers and sisters of my ancestors…never thought to try to find “friends and neighbors!” Oh my goodness, so much to do!

    1. Smile…yes, the ancestor trail does seem endless, doesn’t it? However, for our forebears who lived away from family members, FANS certainly help complete the picture of their lives.

  3. I like to investigate the people who testify on pension files too. I often make a tree for them on ancestry and look them up. I agree that it helps round out your veteran.

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