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Letter from William Bull to Thomastown Post Master, November 28th, 1913 - Transcribed
1426 Pierce Building
St. Louis, Mo., U.S.A.
Nov. 28th 1913
In the early history of this country families came here the members of which settled in widely separated localities. The inadequate mail facilities then cause them, after a time, to lose track of each other and it is difficult now to find such persons and ascertain what became of them. My father before his death in 1898 at the age of 86 years gave what he knew of his immediate ancestors but there were some whose fate he did not know nor have we since been able to get any information regarding. As the present generations taking more interest in genealogy than formerly I write hoping you can (place) my letter in the of some relative still in your city, who may be able to supply the desired information and who it may be, would like to know something of their American relatives.
The history of the family as related by my father was as follows:-
The Bulls were formerly English and crossed over to Ireland during the insurrection of Strongbow and settled at Thomastown County of Kilkenny. They were proprietors of flour mills called Grennan Mills. One of them Robert was the grandfather of my father John Cardwell Bull. Said Robert married Dorothy Bassett who lived to the age of 105 years.
They had five sons and one daughter. Christopher, William (for whom I am named), James, Robert (my father?s father), John, and Jane. The last married a man named Minchin and emigrated to Newfoundland. Christopher settled at Charleston, South Carolina. William bought Christopher?s interest and remained proprietor of Grennan Mills, he had one daughter named Ellen who married a mill owner named Robert Pilsbury. James emigrated to Canada and had a large family.
Christopher and Robert met at Cork, Ireland, a relative Capt. Dillon of Baltimore and the elder brother (Christopher) took out papers for indenture for Robert who served seven years in Capt. Dillon?s cordage works in Baltimore after receiving a most honourable discharge he was made superintendent of the works. He afterwards moved to Shelbyville, Kentucky where he established his own cordage works which he conducted prosperously to the time of his death.
John, the remaining brother followed Robert to Kentucky and for many years conducted a large and lucrative mercantile business at Harrodsbury, Kentucky, and finally retired and spent the balance of his life in the family of Robert in Shelbyville, Kentucky. In 1810 Robert married Martha Kelly Cardwell. My father was born in 1812.
He married in this city in 1848 where he was in business until his death. He and my mother who was Eliza Sprigg Payne had eight children, I was the second born in 1843. There are but three of us living ? two sisters and myself. I retired from business 12 years ago I have travelled extensively in this country and to a limited extent in Europe. I have not had a serious (illness) since I was a child and am physically younger than I am in years.
Bull is a very prominent name in the history of South Carolina but we know nothing of Christopher nor of James or Jane. I would like to know of them and of the Pillsbury family. There is a very prominent milling family of the name at Minneapolis, Minnesota. I have wondered if they are related I would like to know of the early history of the family before coming to Ireland.
I will be very grateful for any assistance you can give in the matter.
Very truly yours
James Bull from Somerset, England went to Ireland in the early 18th century. A son Robert was born in Thomsatown, Kilkenny, Ireland in 1736. Robert married Dorothy Bassett and had several sons. James born about 1776 married Jennie Steves and had 10 children. He emigrated to Canada about 1818.
Roberts other sons John, Christopher and Robert emigrated to South Carolina and Kentucky. Another son Willam remained in Thomastown to operate the mill. William died in 1850 and his daughter who married a Pilsworht inherited the Grennan Mills. It remains in the family today.
James (1776) settled in Port Hood, Nova Scotia, Canada and one of his sons William born in 1803 in Thomastown married Margaret McNeil and moved to Prince Edward Island in the 1830's. Our family descended from William.
We have copies of some early correspondence between Nova Scotia and Thomastown, and between Kenticky and Thomastown.
We are looking for information about the Bulls from Somerset.
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