Notes for Richard Bullock


Richard Bullock's ancestry has never been satisfactorily proved in spite of research by many people. He first appeared in Rehoboth, Plymouth Colony, in 1644 when he purchased the lot that had been set aside for the Governor. The lot was valued at 200 Pounds. Richard was only about 22 years old at the time, if we accept the statement he made in testifying on a matter regarding the estate of Alexander Winchester in 1648. It is thought that Richard was born in Essex, England in 1622. There is no satisfactory proof of his parentage. It has been said that he came to America with two older brothers, Henry and Edward Bullockin 1635 and that since he was not yet 21, stayed with or near them until he received his patrimony when he came of age (Davis, Davis Family of Rehoboth). Another possibility which has not been researched is the Richard Bullock , son of John Bullock who was baptized 26 May 1622 in Pitchford, Shropshire, England.

Considering the fact that 200 Pounds was a large sum of money for such a young man at that time and that he apparently had a good education since he was chosen to be a town clerk, it would seem that his family in England were of a substantial class. It has also been said that Richard came first to Rhode Island and associated with Roger Williams, also with no proof (Pierce, A Bullock Family History).

On 7 April 1635, an Edward Bullock, 32, arrived in New England on the ship "Elizabeth". His will was dated at Dorchester, Mass. On 25 May 1649 when he was about to return to England. On 20 June 1635, Henry Bullock , age 40 and wife, Susan arrived with 3 children, Henry 8, Mary 6, and Thomas 2. He settled in Salem, Mass. No positive connection with Richard has been found with either of these men, but most of the original proprietors of Rehoboth came from either Dorchester or Salem. Rev. Samuel Newman who was the "real founder of Rehoboth" came to America in 1635 and resided for four years in Dorchester, then went to Weymouth, Mass. as Pastor. He remained there until the spring of 1644 when the majority of his church with others of Hingham Mass. migrated to the place that the Indians called Seekonk and to which Newman gave the name of Rehoboth, whose scriptural name means enlargement (Tilton, A History of Rehoboth, MA).

On August 4, 1647, Richard Bullock married Elizabeth Ingraham in Rehoboth. She is said to have been the daughter of Richard and Elizabeth (Wignall) Ingraham and a descendant of Sir Arthur Ingraham of Watertown, Mass. Elizabeth was born about 1629 and died at the age of 30 on January 7, 1659/60, shortly after the birth of her sixth child, Hopestill.

On July 21, 1660, Richard married Elizabeth Billington, daughter of Francis and Christian (Penn) Billington and grand-daughter of John Billington who arrived in New England on the Mayflower. The Billington family was described by Gov.William Bradford as "ye profanest family" and John Billington received the distinction of being the first man hanged in the Plymouth Colony for committing a murder.

Richard Bullock's home lot was along the road leading to the common opposite the lot of Rev. Samuel Newman. During his lifetime, Richard was given additional lands. He drew rights in the "Great (Seekonk) Plain " in 1644 and in 1647 he was allotted the rights of Nathan Pratt's land after Mr. Pratt left Rehoboth. In June 1653 he was one of 49 residents who were allowed to draw meadow lands and in 1658 he again shared in a drawing of lands in the northern part of the town. On 1 October 1661 he was given "soo much land at the watersyde, against the end of his lott as should be judged to be convenient to sell". In 1666, he also shared in the division of the Wannamoisett lands. He spent all of his life in Rehoboth. It has been widely accepted that he was in Newtown Long Island in 1656, but this was probably the Richard Bullock who was named as having a debt to our Richard’s estate - probably a relative, maybe a nephew. It could not have been his son, Richard who was only a baby when his father died.

Certainly, Richard was a farmer as were most of the men of that time, but in addition, he was the Town Clerk of Rehoboth from 1659 to the time of his death. Colonial records show he was made a freeman in May 1646 but do not state his residence. As town clerk, he was paid a salary plus an additional amount for each birth, marriage and death record that he inscribed. He appeared to be an honorable citizen of the town. He took the Oath of Fidelity in 1656. In 1662 the records show that he was appointed to serve on a committee regarding liquor and powder shipments and that on June 8, 1664 he was chosen to collect the "Assize" tax.

Richard Bullock was licensed to keep a ferry at Palmer's River on 1 March 1664 by the Plymouth Colony. This allowed him to ferry horses from Rehoboth across the Pawtucket (Blackstone) River to the Providence Plantation of Roger Williams . It appears that he already had a ferry and this allowed him to build a horse ferry in addition. He also was granted the right to sell liquor "to strangers and passengers but not to town dwellers ."

It has been suggested that Richard was a member of the Baptist church of which the Rev. John Myles was pastor. We do know that shortly after Richard's death, several of his children were active in that church. As a respected citizen and a freeman, Richard almost certainly attended the Congregationalist Church of the Rev. Samuel Newman. Since the Bullock property was closer to Swansea and the church in Swansea was Baptist, the family may have attended it after Newman's death in 1663. Rehoboth town records show that in 1666, Richard protested at a town meeting that the church, rather than the citizens should choose the minister.

Richard died on 22 November, 1667. Books were listed among the items on his inventory along with a pewter spoon, arms & ammunition, and 3 blankets as the items with most value. Livestock consisted of "2 yearlings, 2 steers, one heefer, one horse and 6 cows". He had dairy vessels with beer barrel and was owed 23 shillings from Richard Bullock. This could not have been his son, Richard who was born shortly before he died, therefore, there must have been another Richard Bullock in New England at that time. Possibly the Richard who was listed in Newtown, Long Island was this other Richard Bullock.

Elizabeth Billington Bullock was left a young widow with small children when Richard died. On 20 October, 1668, Elizabeth, along with Samuel, Richard's oldest son, petitioned the court for division of his lands. On 5 July 1670, the Court directed three men to "take some paines in settling matters about the estate of Richard Bullock" and they were to settle all matters between the "Widdow Bullocks" and her son-in-law [stepson] Samuel. Elizabeth was given the house and home lot and the little island of salt marsh near the house, one acre of upland and the use of five and twenty Pounds "Commanage" and the use of 1 acre broken up ground for three years.

Deciding that debts due from Richard's estate were satisfied, on 29 October 1670, the Court gave widow Elizabeth, the remaining cattle from Richard's estate, stating that she had "with care and industry, brought up divers smale children since the death of her husband and still is careful and industrious to bring them up, some of them yet being smale". She was given three cows and a mare which were left from the estate.

By 1673, Elizabeth (Billington) Bullock was remarried to Robert Beere, an Irish brickmaker, and the court ordered the estate of Richard Bullock settled. However, her second marriage ended in tragedy when her husband, Robert was killed by the Indians on 29 March 1676 during King Philip's War and she was left with a young son, Benjamin by that marriage. In June 1677, with her second husband dead, the court again ordered Richard's estate settled. Elizabeth was married for a third time about 1679 to Thomas Patey of Providence, Rhode Island. Tragedy followed her again when on 19 August 1695 he borrowed a canoe and later that day his hat was found on the river. Five days later his body was found. It is not known when Elizabeth died but she is mentioned in a land transaction to her brother Isaac in 1707.

Information from The Descendants of Colonel William Bullock of Rehoboth, MA by Virginia Miller Deagan, 1997

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