After the start of the American Revolution, loyalists from the thirteen colonies, primarily New York state, began moving north along Lake Champlain and the down the Richelieu River and settled in Christie Manor. The seigneurial system of land tenure in Christie Manor was carried over from the French regime. Loyalists who settled in this area became tenants i,e, censitaires and paid fees to the seigneure, Colonel Gabriel Christie and subsequently his heirs. The first record of our ancestor, Benjamin Bullock, shows up on a lease agreement between Benjamin and Napier Christie Burton, the seigneur at that time.
Loyalist were those leaving the American colonies following the American revolution sometime in the 1780s and 1790s. Benjamin’s arrival in Noyan sometime in 1819 or following is too late for him to be considered a loyalist. However, it is possible that he was following either a family member of family friend who had migrated here as a loyalist.
As Herb Derick states in his article The Loyalists of the Eastern Townships of Quebec:
It appears that strained patriotic relations between relatives and former friends did not last for many years, as within a very short time, non-loyalists were coming forward to take up crown lands east of the seigniories and also to purchase titles on conceded lands in the seigniories. Many references may be found to this effect, in particular, the list of persons who took the oath of allegiance at “Missiskoui Bay” in 1795. Also, agents travelled to the colonies to encourage people to come northward. Nevertheless, perhaps the settled loyalists themselves were the greatest propagandists for the development of the new country. Relatives of various degrees came to the manor and settled likely due to the good reports from the loyalists.
This may be another clue as to the origins of our Benjamin Bullock
The settlers of British origin were dissatisfied with the seigneurial system of land tenure. Petitions were made over the years to have it changed. After many attempts to modify it, the seigneurial system was abolished in 1854. Seigneurs were compensated. Censitaires were given free and clear ownership of the land they were leasing.
I have posted the chart for the family of Cynthia Bullock (daughter of Benjamin Bullock and Hannah Danford) and her husband, John Leonard Fletcher. In the interest of keeping the blog post to a reasonable length, I have not included the tree in the blog. Access the Cynthia Bullock & John Leonard Fletcher tree here or on the Family Chart link in the sidebar.
Cythia and John were married in Caldwell & Christie Manors, Missisquoi, QC on 29 Dec 1829. Their first two children were born there as well. By the time of the birth of their third child, Melissa J. Fletcher, they had move to Michigan where Melissa was born. Cynthia and John Fletcher are buried in the Midland Cemetery, Midland, MI. The children and their children are found in Michigan, Ohio and California.
The process of tracing your ancestry involves starting from what you know in the present and working your way back through each preceding generation. This research leads us back to the early 1800s and Benjamin Bullock. We don’t actually know where Benjamin came from. We see his name on a document dated February 22, 1819 showing that Benjamin had leased Lot #6 in the first concession on South river in the Seigniory of Noyan from N. C. Burton, Seignior, through the notary, Edme Henry. Nothing in this document or any subsequent documents actually say where he was born or where he came from. We do have a number of clues however.
We do have a few clues to point us in the right direction:
- On the death record of Benjamin’s son, Henry, Benjamin’s birthplace is given as England. Henry’s birthplace is given as Albany, NY.
- On the death record of Benjamin’s son, Prentis, Benjamin’s birthplace is given as Canada.
- On the death record of Benjamin’s grandson, James Edward Bullock, James Edward’s father John’s (son of Benjamin) birthplace is shown as England.
- On the death record of Benjamin’s granddaughter, Ann Eliza Hordly, Ann Eliza’s father John’s (son of Benjamin) birthplace is shown as Boston.
- On the 1880 census for Orlando Stever, his wife Mary Jane Stever née Bullock and daughter of Benjamin Bullock, shows father’s birthplace as Vermont.
- Benjamin’s son married Harriet Dent, daughter of Robert Thompson Dent. It is possible that the families are close friends. Robert Thompson Dent’s headstone shows that he was born in Yorkshire. This might also be the birthplace of Benjamin.
- On the 186 Canada East Census, a Henry and Mary Bullock are shown as part of Benjamin’s son, John Bullock’s household. Henry and Mary are about the same age as Benjamin would have been. They are clearly family members, possibly Benjamin’s brother and sister/sister-in-law, and their place of birth is shown as England. This might tell us where Benjamin was born1
None of these clues tell us where Benjamin was born. They provide us leads, places to explore which might lead us to where Benjamin married Hannah Danford, to where some of the children were born, and maybe, to where Benjamin Bullock was born. This is the great brickwall for our family. So far, none of these leads has turned up anything to show where Benjamin was born. Somewhere, someone out there may have a piece of information, a document which holds the key to enabling us to unravel our ancestry back still further than Benjamin, perhaps to the American colonies, or to England or to some other unthought of place.
This chart shows the family of Benjamin Bullock’s eldest child (as far as we know) and his wife Harriet Dent. I hope you find the information useful in your research. I’d be happy to add any information you might have which is not shown, e.g. birth, death and marriage dates, the cemetery where an individual is buried. Two families for which I would especially appreciate any leads or hints you might have to point me in the right direction:
- John Melvin Bullock and Alice W. Meeker
- William Elmer Bullock and Sarah B. Parker
As we work through the process of adding more information about our family, it is important to ensure that each fact can be supported by evidence. This evidence can take many forms e.g. birth, marriage & death record, newspaper obituary, will, to name but a few sources. This helps us answer the question, “How do I know that fact?” In doing my research into the family of Benjamin Bullock, I have found sites and family trees stating facts about Benjamin and his family which are unsubstantiated.
1. A number of sites show Benjamin’s name as Benjamin John William Bullock. When I contact the owners to ask how they know this, the most common answer I receive is they got it from someone else’s family tree. No one has produced any evidence to show how this conclusion was arrived at. The large number of documents which I have accumulated show Benjamin’s name to be, simply, Benjamin Bullock.
2. I have come across family trees naming Benjamin’s parents. To the question, “What is the evidence supporting the conclusion as to who his parents are?“, there has been no response. To this point, I have seen no evidence linking Benjamin to any parents. This continues to be a brick wall which I hope we will break through someday.
If the family trees we build to share with others are to have any value and not be just wishful thinking, they must be based on a firm foundation. Each fact in the chain must be solid. For each fact, the answer to the question, “How do I know this?” must be based on reliable sources which can be cited to substantiate the fact.
Building a family tree which is a true and accurate history is hard work. I hope we can help each other build a better picture of Benjamin Bullock and his descendants.