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Capt. Thomas Bull, b. 1605
Posted by: Elizabeth Chain Date: February 06, 2002 at 02:29:08
  of 33

One of my ancestors fought in the Pequot War. Here is what our family genealogy book says about him.

Capt. Thomas Bull was born on 10 Jun 1605 in London, England. He died in Oct 1684 in Hartford, CT. He was buried in Hartford, CT.

Thomas Bull was one of the founders of Hartford, Connecticut.

Thomas Bull sailed from Sandwich, England, on the 'Hopewell', Capt. Babb commanding, on 11 September 1635. THomas Bull, aged 25, was included among those to be transported to New England in Capt. Babb's ship 'p. Cert. from the Ministers C. Justices of the conformitee in Religion to our Church of England and yt they are no Subsedy men.'

In any case, Thomas Bull landed in the Massachusetts Colony in 1635 and remained either in Boston or Cambridge until the following spring when he was enrolled in a company of volunteers sent to aid the new settlement in Connecticut. 'On Tuesday, May 31, the company of 35 men with twice as many wives, children, servants, started on its pilgrimage along the Indian Path (to Hartford). Hooker carried letters to the younger Winthrop from his father the governor, who took advantage of the opportunity to send also, in charge of Lt. Thos. Bull of the company, assisted by one of Winthrop's servants, six cows, four steers and a bull, which were to be delivered to his son at Saybrook.' Lt. Bull was later desccribed by Winthrop as 'a godly and discreet man.'

In volume I of the Colonial Records of Connecticut, we find that Thomas Bull served under Capt. John Mason in the Pequod war in 1637. [New England colonists feared the Pequot Indians of the Connecticut River valley more than any other Native Americans of the area.] The Pequots, after invading the Connecticut River valley, passed southeastward toward the Thames River and the present boundary of Rhode Island, through several Indian tribed who occupied this land. The war lasted three weeks and was not an easy one for the new settlers. The soldiers under Capt. John Mason, Capt. John Underhill and Lt. Robert Seely, along with some Pequot who were allies, attacked and burned the Pequot fort at Mystic on 5 June 1637. They burned alive between 600 and 700 inhabitants. They pursued survivors, captured most of the surviving Pequot, and sold them into slavery in Bermuda. According to Capt. Mason's report, Arthur Smith was wounded in firing the fort so that he was unable to move out but 'was happily espied by Lt. Bull and by him rescued.' Another story is that Thomas Bull had an arrow shot into a hard piece of cheese in his pocket, which 'may verify the old saying: a little armor would serve, if a man knew where to place it.' It was Thomas Bull who found the gun marked J.W. belonging to the murdered John Wood.

Land was granted to five of Capt. Mason's companions for their service against the Pequods. The land originally granted in 1642 was described as 500 acres in the Pequot country, apparently meaning the vicinity of Pequot Harbor. This was later set as land north of Black Point on Nahantick Bay. The grant being neglected and the land otherwise occupied, the General Court in 1650 transferred the soldiers' grant to Niantecutt, lying at Sargent's Head. As laid out this included a tract secured to Indians under Chief Obed. This 100 acres of Obed's land on the south was exchanged for 200 acres to the north. The Indians sold their 100 acres to the priprietors of the grant 9 March 1691/2. A few days later, Joseph and Jonathan Bull, who were apparently sole proprietors sold the entire 700 acres to Nehemiah Smith of New London. In his will in 1684 Thomas Bull had called this property the 'Great Swamp Land I received from the Country.'

Hartford town records show that Thomas Bull was married in 1643 to Suzannah whose last name is unknown as is the exact date and place of the marriage. She was born in 1610 and died in Hartford 12 August 1680. Both Thomas and Suzannah Bull are buried in the old Center Church Burying Ground. Theirs are the oldest stones still standing: 'Here lyeth the body of Capt. Thomas Bull, who died October 1684. He was one of the first settlers of Hartford; a lieutenant in the great and decisive battle with the Peqots at Mystic May 27th 1637; and Commander of the Fort at Saybrook in July, 1675, when its surrender was demanded by Major Andross.' Thomas Bull's name is included among the 101 inscribed on the monument erected in memory of the first settlers of Hartford.

From 'A Search for Thomas Bull of Hartford, Connecticut'; by Mary L. Todd, Lake Bluff, Illinois; in 'Genealogical Notes' in 'The New England Historical and Genealogical Register,' Volume CXXXV, April 1981 (p. 135).


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