Tag Archives: Moose River Settlement NY

Moose River and Otter Lake

When Dad and I made our first family history trip together in August 1992, we knew next to nothing about the family of our ancestor Arthur Bull — the father of Eva (Bull) Charboneau, my dad’s paternal grandmother. In fact, we didn’t even know he had fought with the Union Army in the U.S. Civil War.

DadOtterLakeAug1992img093(2)_2
Aug. 1992: Norman J. Charboneau in his Otter Lake home town. Dad is standing at the edge of Otter Lake, in Town of Forestport, Oneida Co., N.Y., during our first family history trip together. The group of pines in the background was planted decades before by my grandfather, William Ray Charboneau. Photo by Molly Charboneau

All we had in hand was a copy of the 1880 U.S. Census showing that the Bull family, with Arthur at its head, lived in the Town of Lyondsale, Lewis County, N.Y. where he worked as a tannery foreman.

One of our goals, besides visiting where Dad grew up, was to find out more about Arthur and our other Bull ancestors. And it was on that trip that I first saw Moose River.

Driving north on Route 28, Dad initially passed right through his hometown of Otter Lake (in Town of Forestport, Oneida Co., N.Y.) because — as official tour guide for the trip — he wanted to start our journey at the old McKeever train station.

Dad pulled the car onto a sun dappled forest ledge with a clear view of the vacant station below — a lovely building that is now a renovated stop on the Adirondack Scenic Railroad. There, he gave me a lively rundown on how McKeever bustled with passengers during his youth.

Then the problem arose of how to get the car off the overlook and back onto the road — and I was suddenly transported back to my childhood and our family road trips with Dad behind the wheel.

He nearly pitched us over the edge trying to do a k-turn in the narrow space — his face reddening by the minute. Glancing over the precipice, I had a fleeting thought that our family history trip might end right there.

But much like the dodgy car maneuvers I remembered from years before, Dad somehow managed to turn the car and, sending an avalanche of dirt from the soft shoulder down toward the station below, headed us safely south to Otter Lake.

First view of Moose River

Back on the road, Dad calmed down and at one point cocked his head and said, “That’s Moose River over there.” I looked out the window at the narrow river, with its gravelly shoreline bordered by trees and no evidence of habitation or industry. It seemed like a place that time forgot, yet it was still touched by world events.

“My mother was riding in the car heading north from Moose River to Otter Lake when she heard the start of World War II announced on the radio,” Dad added, another of the spontaneous tidbits he regularly shared about my paternal grandmother.

Because of his brief comment, Moose River stuck in my mind — and the memory came back when I later discovered that Arthur Bull and his family once lived in Moose River Settlement.

“Exactly how close was it to Otter Lake?” I wondered. And I was very surprised by what I found when I went looking for historic maps.

More in the next post.

© 2016 Molly Charboneau. All rights reserved.

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A Lyonsdale loss

Fifth and last in a series tracking my ancestor Arthur Bull’s family from the Catskills to the Adirondack foothills (1870-1875).

Three generations of my Bull ancestors — my great, great grandfather Arthur Bull, his wife and children, and his parents — appear to have moved north together from Broome County on New York’s Southern Tier to Lewis County in the Adirondacks region.

http://digitalcollections.archives.nysed.gov/index.php/Detail/Object/Show/object_id/220
Distant view of a 600-tree maple sugar bush near Lowville, Lewis Co., N.Y. (1911). The landscape and climate in New York’s North Country marked a change from what the Bull family was used to on the Southern Tier. Perhaps the harsher 1875 winter proved too much for my great, great, great grandmother Mary Bull. Image: New York State Archives Digital Collections

The Bulls seem to have pulled up stakes in late 1874, after the marriage of Arthur’s oldest daughter in Binghamton, N.Y.

For by early 1875 the extended family was already in Town of Lyonsdale, Lewis Co., N.Y. at the time of the next major event in their lives — the death of Arthur’s mother, Mary, at Moose River Settlement on 15 Jan. 1875.

Vital records registration was not required in New York State until 1881, so I have not found a death certificate for my great, great, great grandmother Mary Bull.

However, a notice of her death and burial (141 years ago this month) appeared in the Broome Republican and was abstracted in the book Genealogical gleanings from early Broome County, New York newspapers (1812-1880) abstracted and compiled by Maurice R. Hitt, Jr. — yet another clue my dad and I discovered together at the Onondaga County Public Library.

BULL, Mary [BR, 27 Jan. 1875] Died 15 Jan. at Moore [sic] River, Lewis Co., NY: Mary Bull, wife of Jeremiah Bull. Age: 65 yrs. 5 mo. 8 da. Bur. in the Shawsville Cem., Conklin, NY.

The abstract does not say whether my ancestor Mary Bull’s funeral took place in Lewis County (where she died) or in Conklin, Broome County, N.Y. (where she lived for much of her adult life and was buried).

But I have visited my great, great, great grandmother’s grave in Shawsville Cemetery, and the inscription on her stone is consistent with the date in the newspaper abstract.

MARY
WIFE OF
JEREMIAH BULL
DIED JAN. 15, 1875
Aged 65 y’rs & 5 m’s.

Mary’s death must have been particularly difficult for the Bull family, coming so soon after they moved north in search of a better life. Was the relocation too much for her? Had the harsher winter weather laid her low? Once again I long for family letters or a diary to fill in these personal details.

With Mary’s death, my great, great, great grandfather Jeremiah Bull became a widower. According to the 1875 New York State Census for Town of Boonville, Oneida County, N.Y. — enumerated on 7 June — he took up residence in a boarding house in the village of Hawkinsville, N.Y., and at age 70 returned to work as a tanner.

The Bull family surely mourned the loss of my great, great, grandmother Mary Bull. But before long they had a happier occasion to celebrate — the 1876 birth at Moose River Settlement of Arthur and Mary Elizabeth’s eighth child, daughter Alice Istora Bull.

More on my Bull ancestors at Moose River Settlement in the next post.

© 2016 Molly Charboneau. All rights reserved.

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