Friday, October 22, 2010

Letter from Epaphras W. Bull to Zalmon Wildman, 1811

Epaphras W. Bull, a graduate of Yale College, was a distinguished lawyer in Danbury, Connecticut. In September of 1811, Epaphras Bull, along with his wife Polly, their three small children, and an African American servant named Patience, headed from Connecticut to Danbury Township, located in what is now Ottawa County, Ohio. The Hoyt Patch family and two hired men also made the trip. The group shared a common wagon, which was led by a saddle horse. On October 5, 1811, Epaphras W. Bull wrote a letter to Zalmon Wildman, of Danbury, Connecticut. The letter was written while the Bull family was at Buffalo, New York for five days during their westward journey. He discussed seeing various acquaintances during his trip, and his plans to take a schooner from Buffalo to Sandusky, Ohio. Bull wrote, “It now seems to be conceded by the different Capts. on the Lake that Sandusky is the Best harbor the Island excepted.” He also spoke of the great expense associated with moving a family. He said that “upon my arrival at Sandusky I shall have completely got rid of the bigger part of my money.”

President James Madison appointed Epaphras W. Bull to be the first Collector of Customs of the Port of Sandusky. Mr. Bull was also the first owner of the property now known as Johnson’s Island. The Marblehead Lighthouse was situated on property that had originally belonged to Epaphras Bull. Mrs. Bull wrote in a memoir in the March 1859 issue of the Firelands Pioneer that fish and game were abundant in the Sandusky Bay area, and there were orchards of apple, peach and cherry trees. Native Americans, who sometimes camped nearby, behaved in a friendly manner. After the War of 1812 broke out, the Bull family moved to Cleveland, Ohio. Epaphras W. Bull died in Cleveland on October 6, 1812, at the age of 33. Mrs. Bull and her youngsters moved to Connecticut after the death of her husband. She lived to 93 years of age.

Visit the Sandusky Library Archives Research Center to read Mr. Bull’s original letter, or its transcription, or to read the “Firelands Reminiscences” of Mrs. Polly Bull 1859 issue of the Firelands Pioneer.

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