Tag Archives: Norris C. Bull

Mary E. (Bull) Tamkins: The 1865 sandwich generation

Second in a series on my ancestor Arthur Bull’s parents and siblings at the end of the US Civil War (1865).

Locating early records pertaining to female ancestors is seldom easy. But those I have found on Mary E. (Bull) Tamkins — my ancestor Arthur Bull’s younger sister — reveal a young woman with many responsibilities during the Civil War era.

From a book of calisthenics for women (1864). Mary E. (Bull) Tamkins might have have needed these to keep in shape for her many duties: caring for two toddlers and her aging parents, and running a farm while her husband served in the Union Army during the US Civil War. By: Internet Archive Book Images
Illustration from a book of calisthenics (1864). Mary E. (Bull) Tamkins might have have needed these exercises to keep in shape for her many duties: caring for two toddlers and her aging parents, and running a farm while her husband served in the Union Army during the US Civil War. By: Internet Archive Book Images

The dutiful daughter

In the 1855 New York State census, Mary, 15, was enumerated as M. E. Bull in the household of her parents — Jeremiah and Mary Bull of Town of Conklin, Broome County, N.Y. Her brothers Arthur and Milo were also still living at home.

Five years later — according to 1860 US Census returns — brothers NorrisArthur and Milo had moved away for work and started their own families. Yet Mary E., 20, was still living at home with her parents in Conklin — about 13 miles southeast of Binghamton, N.Y.

Mary’s father — my great, great, great grandfather Jeremiah Bull — was 57 and required the assistance of a live-in farm hand, who was enumerated in their household. So Mary was probably tasked with whatever housekeeping duties her mother, 51, could not handle.

Mary marries the local butcher

The following year, however, Mary’s life took a new direction as she began a family of her own. According my notes from a Philadelphia Free Library research trip (later supported by a newspaper abstract), she married Edward C. Tamkins, a local butcher and farmer who was born in Dutchess County, N.Y., on 4 May 1861 in Great Bend, Susquehanna Co., Pa. — just across the border from Conklin, N.Y.

By the time the New York State census taker called on 8 June 1865, Mary E. (Bull) Tamkins, 24, and husband Edward, 25, had two children — Carrie, 3, and Norris, 21 months. Also living in their Conklin household were Mary’s parents –Jeremiah, 62, and Mary, 56 — neither of whom had an occupation listed.

So Mary was an early example of the “sandwich generation” — minding two toddlers while also keeping house for her aging parents. Nor were these the only responsibilities she shouldered.

A Union soldier’s wife

On 30 August 1864, Mary’s husband Edward C. Tamkins was called to war — serving in the Union Army as 1st Sergeant in Co. L of the 137th Regiment, New York Infantry. According to information from his N.Y. Civil War Muster Roll Abstract, Edward’s fighting unit took part in Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman’s march through Georgia — and he was hospitalized in January 1865 in Savannah.

This meant Mary had the added duties of a Civil War wife — taking care of the farm while her husband was away at war and worrying about what might become of him in the heat of battle. She likely relied on Edward’s town and county military bounties totaling $900 (about $13,500 today) to keep the household going.

Fortunately, Edward survived the war and was mustered out with his unit on 9 June 1865 at Bladensburg, Maryland — a couple months before my great, great grandfather Arthur Bull, who mustered out in August.  One can imagine Mary’s relief to have both her husband and brother return safely at the end of the US Civil War.

Still, I can’t help but wonder: Was she entirely pleased to have her husband take up part of the workload she’d been handling alone? Or was she a bit wistful about giving up some of the independent decision making she engaged in during his absence?

There will be more on Mary in future posts. For now we turn to  Arthur’s oldest brother Norris C. Bull  to see where he lived and worked in 1865.

To be continued.

© 2015 Molly Charboneau. All rights reserved.

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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.

© 2015 Molly Charboneau. All rights reserved.

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Sojourn to the Land in the Sky

Fourth and last in a series on searching for the birthplace of my great, great grandfather Arthur Bull.

In the 1840 U.S. Census, a Jeremiah Bull was enumerated as the head of a six-member household in the mountainous Town of Windham, Greene Co., N.Y. — also known as the Land in the Sky. Was this my great, great, great grandfather? And what could this census tell me about the birthplace of one of his sons — my great, great grandfather Arthur Bull?

JB 1840
Listing of Jeremiah Bull’s household in the 1840 U.S. Census for Town of Windham, Greene County, N.Y.  His name appears fifth from the top and hash marks note the race, age and gender of those who lived with him. Is this the family of origin of my great, great grandfather Arthur Bull? Screen shot: Molly Charboneau

Alas, the 1840 U.S. Census only names the heads of household. Others living under the same roof are simply denoted by hash marks in columns by race, age and gender (see census image at right).

Yet based on knowledge of the Bull family from previous research, I decided to take a close look at the hash marks to see if they matched up with what I already knew [shown in brackets below].

Living in Jeremiah Bull’s household in 1840 were the following (including the head of household):

  • A male under 5.  [probably Milo Bull, Arthur’s younger brother, born in 1836 and age 4 in 1840 ]
  • A male 5 – 10. [probably Arthur Bull, born in 1834 and age 6 in 1840]
  • A male 10-15. [probably Arthur’s older brother Norris C. Bull, born in 1827 and age 13 in 1840]
  • A male 30-40. [probably Jeremiah Bull, the head of household, born in 1803 and age 37 in 1840]
  • A female under 5. [probably Arthur’s younger sister M.E. (Mary Elizabeth) Bull, an infant who was born in 1840]
  • A female 20-30. [probably Mary Bull, Jeremiah’s wife. Born on 7 Aug. 1809, she would have been age 30 if the census-taker enumerated the family in June or July 1840.]

Under the occupation heading “Number of Persons in Each Family Employed in” there is a single hash mark under the column titled “Manufactures and trades” [probably for Jeremiah Bull, the head of household, who worked as a leather tanner].

Although it can’t be considered definitive proof, this 1840 census entry certainly seemed like a pretty good fit with my ancestor Arthur Bull’s family of origin — with ages, genders and occupation matching my previous research on the family. And this would place Arthur in the Town of Windham, Greene County, N.Y., six years after his birth.

Was he born further north in the land that later went to Schoharie County? Or had his life begun in the same Windham location where the census taker called in 1840? That is a subject for future research — but a task made easier by geographically narrowing down Arthur’s possible birth locations.

For now I am satisfied that he enjoyed a Catskill Mountains childhood in the Land in the Sky — along with my other Bull ancestors. And I am also pleasantly surprised that I can now claim a Catskills heritage.

More on that in the next post.

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