Bull–Randall Family Genealogy Wiki

Thomas Bull, Sr.

It is “believed” that our most distant ancestor (discovered so far) was Thomas Bull, Sr. – who first appears in the Brunswick County, Virginia Poll List dated 1748.

BRUNSWICK COUNTY, VIRGINIA, POLL LIST 1748

Brunswick Co. was created by Act of Assembly in 1720 from Prince George County (see Robinson, Virginia Counties, p. 76) with additions from Isle of Wight and Surry in 1732. The first court for Brunswick was held May 2, 1732, from which the records of this county date. The following poll list for 1748 gives the names of the residents of Brunswick voting for representatives in the House of Burgesses for the sessions of October, 1748, and April, 1749, and which resulted in the election of Sterling Clack and Drury Stith.

William and Mary Quarterly

63

William Stroud
William White
Samuel Crafts
Geo. Cain
Ath. Robinson
John Duke
Henry Jones
David Sinclair

William Wall
Francis Deloach
James Denman
Henry Embry
John Moutry
Giles Kelley
William McKinney
William Maclin
James Speed
Hezekiah Massie
Thomas Lloyd
Lewelling Jones
Robert Christy
Thomas Bull
Richard Hagood
Randall Brasie
William Jones
Augustine Hightower
Geo. Tilman
Stephen Caudle
Major Bishop
Hubbard Quarles
John Averie
William Brewer
William Smith
Roger Reece
Abraham Burton
Thomas Lanoir
William Lyndsey
William Scogging
William Green
George Deardon
Robt. Dunkley
Robt. Cunnel
Francis Lett

Griffin Humphris
George Clark
Richard Scogging
John Moorson
James Parrish
William Scoggin
Richd. Burnett
Edward Davis


Note: It is speculated that the Thomas Bull listed in this poll is Thomas Bull, Sr. It is also speculated that Thomas Bull, Jr. appears in the same list in “Capt. Edmunds Pole”; because his suspected Father-In-Law, John Sulivant, is also identified in that poll. Alternatively, their names could have appeared in reverse order.
Source: https://archive.org/stream/jstor-1914578/1914578_djvu.txt

His name next appears in Brunswick County, Virginia court records documenting his testimony during May, 1752.

BRUNSWICK COUNTY, VIRGINIA - RECORDS
Order Book 4, page 182 -

May Term 1752 - THOMAS BULL, of this County, came into Court and made oath that he imported himself into this Colony of Virginia, directly FROM THE KINGDOM OF GREAT BRITAIN, about 31 years since (thus about 1721) and that this was the first time of his proving such importation. Ordered by the Court to be Certified.

COMMENT: If he was about 21 years when he arrived in Virginia then he was born circa 1700 or thereabouts.


Source Information: Hamlin, Charles Hughes. Virginia Ancestors and Adventurers. Baltimore, MD, USA: Genealogical Publishing Co., 2003.

Because we have no evidence of which ship he used to immigrate to the colonies, we have no link to his exact port of origin (although he was probably English). We only know that he arrived in the Virginia Colony from Great Britain in (or about) the year 1721. This lack of certainty is due to the multiplicity of “Thomas Bull” families in the colonies at that same time, many sharing the same ‘given’ names. There was a Thomas Bull from Connecticut who fought as an officer in the American Revolution. There was another Thomas Bull in Accomack County, VA at the same time. The other lines of Bull include the William and Sarah (Wells) Bull, of the Bull Stone House, in Orange County, NY. And a William and Henry Bull (loyalists to King George) in the Carolinas. But there is some degree of certainty that our family line includes the Thomas Bull who made his way to Brunswick County, VA. So it is with him that our story will begin…

On July 12, 1725, Thomas Bull, Sr. married Susanna Harwell (between the age of 17-21) in Brunswick, VA. Susanna was the daughter of Ambrose Harwell (1686-1739) and Elizabeth Browne; who were originally from Lowestoft, Suffolk, England – and had settled in Brunswick, Virginia.

Brunswick County, Virginia

Thomas Bull, Sr. and Susanna are “believed” to have had the following children:

  1. Thomas Bull, Jr. (b. 1726 – d. between 1794-1800 in Halifax, NC, at approx. age 68-74)
  2. Henry Bull (b. 1728 – d. 1789 in Johnston, NC, at age 61)
  3. Susanna Bull (b. about 1730)
  4. Robert Bull (b. 1730 – d. between 1758-1762)
  5. Ann Bull (b. about 1732)

We also have records supporting Thomas Bull, Sr. having a son named Robert Bull; as well as Robert's relationship to his grandfather, Ambrose Harwell:

BRUNSWICK COUNTY, VIRGINIA - RECORDS
Deed Book 5, page 456 -

26 September 1753 - DEED OF GIFT FROM THOMAS BULL OF BRUNSWICK COUNTY IN VIRGINIA - for love and affection for his well beloved son, ROBERT BULL OF SAID COUNTY, a tract of land containing 150 acres on the Reedy Creek in said county, adjoining lands of Edward Robertson - land of said THOMAS BULL, etc. Witnesses: Edward Goodrich, James Cook, Stephen Sisson. Recorded same date.

NOTE BY CHH: Robert Bull and Rachell, his wife, sold the above land 27 December 1757 (£45) to Ambrose Harwell of Brunswick Co., stating therein that the land was his by deed from his father, Thomas Bull and which was part of a patent granted said Thomas Bull January 12, 1746.


Source Information: Hamlin, Charles Hughes. Virginia Ancestors and Adventurers. Baltimore, MD, USA: Genealogical Publishing Co., 2003.

Also on December 27, 1757, records show that Thomas Bull, Sr. sold an additional 99 acres of land to his brother-in-law – Lemuel Harwell (approx. age 51 in 1757).

BRUNSWICK COUNTY, VIRGINIA - RECORDS
Deed Book 6, page 223 -

27 December 1757 – THOMAS BULL AND SUSANNA, HIS WIFE, of the County of Brunswick sell 99 acres of land to Lemuel Harwell, being the land he lives on, etc.


Source Information: Hamlin, Charles Hughes. Virginia Ancestors and Adventurers. Baltimore, MD, USA: Genealogical Publishing Co., 2003.

Some time between 1757-1761, Thomas Bull, Sr. and much of his family moved from Brunswick County, Virginia to Halifax County, North Carolina. Robert Bull selling his land to his grandfather, Ambrose Harwell…. and Thomas Bull, Sr. selling his land to his brother-in-law, Lemuel Harwell, was probably a prelude to moving to Halifax County, NC. It appears that most of the Harwell family was intent upon staying in Brunswick County, VA. There were only a few grants in Halifax, NC before Thomas Bull, Jr. had a survey done on 13 Feb 1761, patented 13 Aug 1761. Thomas Bull, Sr. had a survey done 14 Nov 1761, patented 10 Jan 1762. In the same vicinity, James Hogun (Hogan), the Revolutionary War hero, had a survey done 6 May 1762, patented 25 Jun 1762. This is significant because one of the chain carriers for the survey was Thomas Bull (probably Thomas Bull, Jr. since Thomas Bull Sr. stated in his Will, dated 22 May 1762, that he was “…sick and weak in body…”).

Thomas Bull, Sr.'s son, Henry, also obtained land in Halifax County, but later moved to Johnston County, North Carolina.

The distance from Brunswick, VA (A) to Halifax, NC (B) is approx. 43 miles.
A portion of John Collet's 1770 map of North Carolina depicting the environs of Halifax and the Roanoke River.
Halifax County, North Carolina as it appears today. In from 1758-1774 it extended further southeast (as depicted here).

Why did Thomas Bull, Sr. move his family to Halifax, NC?

The route from Edenton, NC (A) to Halifax, NC (B).

The most likely reasons Thomas Bull, Sr. moved the family to Halifax, North Carolina is because (1) it was a new County – created from a portion of Edgecombe County on January 1, 1759, and (2) Halifax, NC was a trade-route crossroads located approx. 74 miles West of the port city of Edenton, NC.

Records show that the first land grant in Halifax County was made to John Alsobroke, who is mentioned as a witness to the “Will” of Thomas Bull, Sr. Alsobroke may have encouraged the Bulls to move to Halifax. The town of Halifax, NC was a crossroads and trading center of the Roanoke valley. The town was located on the south bank of the Roanoke River, just below some falls and rapids, thus making it the head of river navigation. Located along major north-south and east-west roads, the town was the center of commercial activity for back country fur traders, planters, and merchants to move their goods to markets upriver to Virginia or into the back country of North Carolina.

The first permanent settlement in North Carolina, Edenton is the “mothertown” of the State. Originally incorporated in 1715 as “The Towne on Queen Anne's Creek,” and later as “Ye Towne on Mattercommack Creek” and, still later as “The Port of Roanoke,” the spot was named Edenton in 1722 in honor of Governor Charles Eden. In 1728, Edenton was established as the colonial capital of North Carolina, and the home of the Royal Governors. Edenton soon became the cultural and economic capital as well. Hundreds of ships made the town a regular port of call, offloading food, goods, and slaves and shipping the prolific agricultural products of the region to European ports.

The American Revolution

By 1776, the American colonies were preparing for war with England. And the first official action by any province in America for independence from England took place at the Fourth Provincial Congress of North Carolina at Halifax. The Congress, in part, “Resolved, that the delegates for this Colony in the Continental Congress be empowered to concur with the delegates of the other Colonies in declaring independency…” three months prior to the signing of the “Declaration of Independence” at Philadelphia, PA. These “Halifax Resolves,” were adopted by the 83 delegates present at the North Carolina Congress on April 12, 1776.

Halifax became a recruiting center for Continental soldiers, a battalion headquarters for the state militia, and a powder magazine and supply depot for the armies. An arms factory, called the “Public Works” factory began operations, where armorers, blacksmiths, carpenters, tailors, wagoners, and wagon-makers produced articles needed by the Revolutionary soldiers.

Robert Bull's son, Ambrose served in the American Revolutionary War as a Private under Captain Roach. Revolutionary War soldiers were not paid for their service until it ended. They received land grants, with the amounts of land being proportional to their rank and length of duty. Ambrose served for six months or less; and received 300 acres for his service.

James Hogun's home was located near Hobgood, NC; Latitude & Longitude: 36° 4' 8.3172“, -77° 25' 32.304”

Remembering that Ambrose Bull had been an apprentice surveyor for James Hogun (Hogan) before the war, Ambrose’s eldest son was named in his remembrance; James Hogan Bull (June 23, 1780 – Aug. 25, 1840). Thomas Harvey (aka Hervey – whose daughter Sarah Harvey would later marry Thomas Bull Sr's grandson, John Bull), served with the state militia as a Colonel. State militiamen were generally recruited for short terms, 3 months or 6 months at a time, so that they could return to their plantations and keep them operating. Col. Harvey had to hire a substitute to replace him in one of his commissions toward the end of the war, as is learned from a letter written on March 8, 1780 to Gov. Caswell by Gen. Isaac Gregory: “Col. Thomas Hervey being drafted to march the Militia that was drafted in July and December last, he being in such a bad state of health at present it is out of his power to march with them, and he is very desirous to do every thing in his power, hath employed Mr. Benj. Dillen as substitute in his place… Col. Hervey was drafted about 8th or 10th of Dec. last.

Except for the disruptions of the Revolutionary War years (1776-1781) daily life in Halifax County remained stable from 1760 to 1840. The population of Halifax Co. varied little – and most of the people were descendants of English colonists who had moved southward from Virginia. [Source Information: http://www.beakleydavisgenealogyhomepage.net/William_harvey.html)

Map depicting the location of Hobgood, NC.

Considering the relationship between James Hogun and the Thomas Bull family, since James Hogun lived in Hobgood, NC, it is likely that Thomas Bull, Sr.'s family lived nearby.

Any family member seeking membership in either the “Daughters of the American Revolution” (DAR) or “Sons of the American Revolution” (SAR) should list Colonel Thomas Peyton Harvey (aka Hervey) as their direct, lineal ancestor in their application.

Death of Thomas Bull, Sr.

Thomas Bull, Sr. signed his “Will” (thomas-bull-sr_will.pdf) on May, 22 1762 and filed it in Halifax County Inferior Court during April 1763.

In it, he mentions his wife, Susanna, his daughters Susanna and Ann, his sons Thomas and Henry, his son-in-law Thomas Bates, and his daughter-in-law Rachel, and her heir, who received a bequest of 5 shillings. No mention was made to Robert, but because he specifically includes his “daughter-in-law Rachel, and her heir”, this indicates that Robert died between Dec. 27, 1757 (when he sold the 150 acres) and May 22, 1762 (when Thomas signed his will). Also, referring to Rachel's “heir” indicates that she and Robert had a child (“believed” to be Ambrose Bull (b. Abt. 1750 – d. March 27, 1789), named in honor of his Grandfather, Ambrose Harwell).

Thomas Bull Sr.'s Will - Partial Transcript:
North Carolina Halifax County in the name of God. Amen.
I Thomas Bull of Halifax County being sick and weak in body but of Perfect mind and memory, thanks be to almighty God, in the same do ordain and appoint this to be my last Will and Testament in manner and form following .
Imprimis I Recommend my soul into the hands of Almighty God who gave it, in _ of his Glorious Resurrection at the last days & after I _ will not reject me a Returning penitent sinner when I came to him for mercy since he ever liveth to make intercession for me through the merits of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ Amen.
I give and bequeath unto my Wife SUSANNAH BULL all my estate during her life time and Widowhood. Item. I give unto my two Daughters, SUSANNA and ANN, the Plantation whereon I now live, to be equally divided .
Item To them _ is to leave the Plantation _ After my wifes decease.
Item. I give and bequeath unto my children after my wifes decease, all my estate lands, stock, chattels mentioned unto my sons, THOMAS BULL, HENRY BULL, SUSANNA BULL and ANN BULL _ give to be equally _.
Item. I give and bequeath unto my son-in-law JESSE BAILS, five shillings Virginia money to be paid out of my estate to him or _ his heirs for ever.
Item. I give and bequeath
_ unto my Daughter-in-law, RACHEL BULL, five shillings Virginia money to her or her heir for ever.
Item, I do desire that for appointment _.
Item, I desire
and appointment my two sons THOMAS and HENRY BULL to be executors of this my last will and testament.
Item. I appoint my
sons THOMAS and HENRY BULL to _ of my estate. Thomas X Bull _ this to be my last will and Testament this 22 day of May __ 1762.
Thomas Bull Sr.'s wife and daughter are both named “Susannah”. Sometimes their names are spelled with an “h” at the end, and other times the “h” is left off. This appears to make no difference.

A typed abstract of Thomas Bull Sr.'s will appears in “Abstracts of North Carolina Wills & Testator Index”, Book #975.6, pp. 133.

Will #72- pg. 103 - THOMAS BULL - 22 May 1762 - Apr. Ct 1763
wife SUSANNAH BULL all my estate during her life or Widowhood 2 daughters SUSANNAH BULL and ANN BULL the Plantation whereon I now live all the estate after wife's decease to go to my children: sons THOMAS BULL and HENRY BULL and daughters the sd. SUSANNAH and ANN son-in-law JESSE BAILS and daughter-in-law RACHEL BULL 5 shillings VA. money each
Wit: JOHN HUCKABY, JOHN LETT, ROBERT WHITAKER
Extrs: my 2 sons THOMAS & HENRY


Source: “Genealogical Abstracts of Wills, 1758-1824, Halifax County,North Carolina”, Margaret M. Hofmann.


Additional Information:
Descendants of Thomas Bull, Sr.
Descendents of Robert Bull (Son of Thomas Bull, Sr.)
Descendents of James Hogan Bull (Son of Ambrose Bull, Grandson of Robert Bull, Great Grandson of Thomas Bull, Sr.)

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