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Sarah Bull (Wells)

Birthdate:
Birthplace: New Jersey, United States
Death: Died in Hamptonburgh, Orange County, NY, United States
Place of Burial: Family yard - "Burrying Hill", Hamptonburgh, Orange, New York, United States
Immediate Family:

Daughter of Christopher Denne and Elizabeth Denne
Wife of Johannes Miller and William Bull
Mother of John Bull; William Bull; Sarah Booth; Thomas Bull; Isaac Bull and 7 others

Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

About Sarah Bull (Wells)

Note: Adopted by Mr. and Mrs. Christopher Denne

Sarah was an orphan who lived with Christopher Denne and his wife after her parents died. Sarah's parents are unknown.

The Dennes lived on Staten Island. Even as a young girl, Sarah was frequently the one to travel by open ferry to New York City, to do the marketing for the Dennes.

Mr. Dennes and some associates held a patent on hundreds of acres of land called "the Wawayanda Patent," in what is now the area of Goshen in Orange County, New York. A condition of securing their patent was that one among them had to live on the land before a certain date. The land was remote and unsettled by Europeans.

In 1712, when Sarah was younger than 16, Mr. Denne sent Sarah to live on the land to secure the patent for him and his associates.

With a few American Indian men of Denne's choosing, Sarah was sent to secure the land patent "of unknown wilderness twenty miles square, infested by serpents, tenanted by savages of unknown fidelity, and roamed over by beasts of prey."

In 1718, she married William BULL, a master stonemason. He had arrived in the colonies in 1715.

Soon after they married, they began building the family house. Building the house was a joint effort: Sarah carried the stones to the site and William cut and laid them. It took 13 years to build the house. It is a four level, ten-room house. The lowest level (the basement) would be described today as a "walk-out basement" since the house was built into the side of a hill. The top level is the attic, fully floored, and with it's own "look out window," reached by climbing a ladder.

The house is 40-feet square and has walls that are three feet thick -- all stone. The house survived the 1728 earthquake, undamaged. It was built on bedrock and has a small stream running through an area of the basement. The house was situated over that small stream intentionally, so that there could be access to water inside the house if, for some reason, the residents could not safely exit the house.

While the house was being built, Sarah, William, and their growing family lived in a log cabin.

It must be noted that William had help in addition to Sarah for the building of the house: Sarah's husband "owned" two slaves, a husband and wife who ultimately lived in the basement of the Bull Stone House. They lived there with the Bull family. The basement had its own stone fireplace, and the slave family likely used the same privy as the Bull family. It is assumed that the slave man worked with William as William built houses, and that the slave woman worked with Sarah, cooking, cleaning, and doing work required for Sarah's growing family. The names of the slaves are unknown.

In about 1756, Sarah was widowed when William died. About six years later, she secondly married the widower Johannes MILLER. Johannes was the father-in-law of Sarah's daughter Ester; Johannes died in 1782.

The house that Sarah and William built has remained in the Bull family's ownership. A descendant lives in the house as a resident caretaker.

Since 1868, Sarah's descendants from all over the United States have returned to the house for a family picnic on a Saturday in August. The day is organized potluck style, with everyone bringing food to eat and to share.

In Sarah's honor, the area of county road Route 8 that is near the house is called "Sarah Wells Trail." The local council of Girl Scouts USA was named for Sarah, and the house that Sarah and her husband built has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1974. -------------------- Sarah Wells Bull was the first white woman to settle on the Wawayanda Patent.

She was an indentured orphan girl bound over by public authority as a domestic handmaid to Madam Elizabeth Denne, an original owner, among 12, of the Wawayanda Patent.

At the age of 18 (May 1712), she sailed on a sloop from New York City with 2 carpenters, 3 Indian guides and enough provisions to establish a home on the Otterkill, near what would become the Orange County Seat, Goshen, New York with the promise of 100 acres to be given to her.

She was the mother of 12 children with William Bull, five sons and seven daughters, the last being born just before Sarah's 52 birthday.

She married Johannes Miller; her second marriage.

She is buried at Hamptonburgh Cemetery upon her death on the 21st of April 1796 at the age of 102 years. On April 23, 1796, the day of Sarah's funeral, a family memorial was written listing her 12 children who bore 98 grandchildren, 212 great grandchildren and 13 great-great grandchildren, totaling 335 descendants.

Information provided by both the 2008 Bull Genealogy Line of John on page 1 as well as "Some Interesting Facts about William Bull and Sarah Wells" provided by the William Bull and Sarah Wells Stone House Association, Inc.

(Note: "Some Interesting Facts about Wm. Bull and Sarah Wells" spells Elizabeth Denne's last name as Denn.)

entered by Virginia Porter Harkness 1/1/2009

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Sarah Bull's Timeline

1694
April 6, 1694
New Jersey, United States
1718
August 24, 1718
Age 24
Hamptonburgh, Orange, New York, United States
1721
May 3, 1721
Age 27
Hamptonburgh, Orange, New York
1723
March 13, 1723
Age 28
Hamptonburgh, Orange, NY, United States
1725
September 1, 1725
Age 31
Hamptonburgh, Orange, New York, United States
1727
December 27, 1727
Age 33
Hamptonburgh, Orange, NY, United States
1729
November 17, 1729
Age 35
Hamptonburgh, Orange, NY, United States
1731
May 29, 1731
Age 37
Hamptonburgh, Orange, NY, United States
1733
February 3, 1733
Age 38
Hamptonburgh, Orange, NY, United States
1736
May 1, 1736
Age 42
Goshen, Orange, NY, United States