I shall attempt no such evaluation of my father, Wingfield Minor Bullock, as I have tried to make of my grandfather, Mordecai Redd Bullock and of my great-grandfather, Thomas Bullook (1766-1841). Writing an objective biography of one's father is an impossible task to expect of any daughter. All good fathers , I imagine, are objects of an almost religious veneration to appreciative daughters. My father was no exception. Whatever else my sisters, brothers, and I might disagree on, we were all of one opinion on the subject of ray father. "He was the best ever."
Wingfield Minor Bullock was born in a log cabin on a farm from which his father, Mordecai Redd Bullock donated five acres of land for the town square of Versailles, the first county seat of Woodford County, Illinois. The county of Woodford had been formed largely through the efforts of Thomas Bullock(1803-1888) my father's uncle, and named for his old home county, Woodford County, Kentucky, but Mordecai Redd Bullock had the honor of naming the county seat, probably because he had donated part of the land upon which the county seat was located. He, too, honored the county of his birth by calling the town Versailles, after Versailles, county seat of Woodford County, Kentucky. I do not know upon which side of Versaillesthe Mordecai Bullock farm was located, but I know that it joined Versailles.
Wingfield was the third son and fourth child of Mordecai Bullock and Sarah Hannah Saltonstall, daughter of Dr. Gurgon Folwer Saltonstall and Mary Thomson, his first wife. He was the first child born to them after they came to Illinois. The three older children were born in Christian-County, Kentucky. The names Wingfield and Minor were the family names of two of hisgreat-grandmothers, but he was probably named for nearer relatives bearing those names, in honor of Rebecca Wingfield and Agatha Minor.
My father was educated in a private school kept by his father and mother in their home for their own and their neighbors' children. According to Professor B.J. Radfod's History of Woodford County, Illinois, this school was the first school in Olio Township. Mr. Radford once told me that Mordecai Bullock was the best educated of all the early settlers of WoodfordCounty. I do not know much about his education, but I know that he was a graduate of Woodford Academy, in Versailles, Kentucky, that he was a surveyor and surveyed much of the land in Woodford County, Illinois, and that he had evidently studied Greek, for he left us one of his Greek books. I am sure that no descendant of his ever read a Greek book.
When father was fifteen years old, he worked as water boy for the men who were building the Illinois Central Railroad, fifteen or twenty miles from his home at Versailles, for this service he received six dollars per month, and out of this small sum he saved some! My father never over estimated money as such. He liked to make it, save it and investe it, but he never judged men by the amount of money they possessed. He was generous to his family, his neighbors, and his relatives. Probably because of his early poverty, he sought financial success and finally achieved it. One of his favorite words was the word success, which he emphasized by stress - the first syllable. We used to smile when in his old age , he spoke of some old friend's being a suc' cess.
My father had a profuound respect for education, realizinag, no doubt, the paucity of his own educational opportunities. After his prelimary education in his parents' school, he walked back and forth every day to attend school in Eureka, four miles away.
In 1856, he attended a boarding school in Eureka called Walnut Grove Academy, which soon turned into Eureka College. While in Walnut Grove Acadeny, he had two room roommates, Si Benson and Harvey Rowell, afterward Congressman from Illinois. Hisprincipal interests apparently were English and mathematics. He has left us specimens of his early efforts at writing poetry, and he was an almost perfect speller. When we got to highschool age, he had no difficulty in assisting us with our algebra. I think he studied geometry, too. When we were of grade school age, he drilled us in Ray's Mental Arithmetic, which took most of the kinks out of arethmetic calculations.
After leaving school, my father had a great deal of interest in politics and political history, but I do not know that he studied them in school. He had a many-volumed collection of Southern oratory, which he studied repeatedly. Perhaps I should say read repeatedly.
Perhaps his interest in education was innate: Alexander Campbell, in his obituary of Dr. Gurdon Flower Saltonstall, my father's grandfather, said of him that he was the best friend of Bethany College in West Virginia, and that he gave a child's portion of his estate to that institution; as I have said before, my grandfather, Mordecai Redd Bullock, was called the best educated of all the early settlers of Woodford County by Professor B. J. Radford, at one time president of Eureka College; Thomas Bullock(1766-1841) arranged in his will to have all his slaves taught the Bible, and to be given their liberty if they desired it and would go to Liberia or some other place outside of the United States; Professor John McGarvey, my grandmother's cousin and step-brother, was president of the College of the Bible in Lexington, Kentucky; Ben Major and his wife Lucy Major were both cousins of my grandfather. Ben Major's contribution to education was the founding of Eureka College; William Fontaine Bullock, son of Lieutenant Governor Edmond Bullock of Kentucky, has on his tombstone the simple inscriptions "William Fontaine Bullock (1807-1889) "The Common Schools of Kentucky" (Edmond Bullock was a double first cousin of fahter's grandfather); The rev. Joseph James Bullock, first cousin of Mordecai Redd Bullock, founded a famous school for girls in Kentucky, and was the first superintendent of public instruction in Kentucky. He was also at a later datechaplain of the United
States Senate in Washington, D.C.; my father's sister, Mary Ann Bullock, taught for a number of years; Crawford Quincy Bullock (C. Q.) my father's brother, and his wife Sophia taught for many years in Kansas, and Uncle "Q" as we called him was county superintendent of schools in Kingman County, Kansas. When he died he made arrangement for the education of the grandchildren of his brother, Gurdon Flower Saltonstall by willing fifty dollars a month to their parents for every month one of their children attended high school or college.
In 1862, Wingfield Bullock was elected captain of Company E, 108th Regment, Illinois Volunteers, a group collected largely from Woodford County. His commission is dated October, 1862, but he was chosen by a vote of the company, in August, 1862, while encamped at Peoria, Illinois. His cousin Thomas Bullock, Jr. was chosen first lieutenant in the same company. The fathers of both men must have been very much grieved when their sons joined the Northern army, for both Wingfield's father, Mordecai Redd Bullock and Thomas Bullock, Jr.'s father, Thomas Bullock, Sr. were strongly Southern in their sympathies during the War. My father's father refused to send his picture to his son in the South because he 'did not want his picture down there among all those Yankees"! Lieutenant Thomas Bullock's father even went so far as to make his home a refuge for Southern soldiers escaped from Northern prisons. One such Southern soldier, David Chenault, one of Morgan's men, later married Mary Ware Bullock, daughter of Thoma Bullock (1803-1888} and took her back to Kentucky, I remember Cousin David Chenault many years later while visiting at our house near Eureka, Illinois, saying in his delicious Southern drawl, "I started out to conquer the whole North, and I let one little Northern woman conquer me."
While on his way South, my father wrote to my aunt Mary Ann Bullock about seeing Lexington, the ancestor of most of the race horses that have since won the Derby. My father never lost interest in race horses, and he always took his whole family to the races at the ElPaso Fair once a year. He was at one time president of the ElFaso Fair association, largely I believe because of his interest in horses. Father always had a good carriageteam, and we children had a lovely little riding horse named Nina. The horses that he raised and sold, however, were Normans and Percherones.
Just which of his relatives welcomed my father as he went through Kentucky on his way South, I do not know. I know that many of then were Southern sympathizers, and probably didn't appreciate visits from Northern soldiers. Then, too, by 1862, his uncles , aunts, and cousins were in Missouri. I know he visited the Flemings, his Uncle Waller's people, and after the fall of Vicksburg, he visited his cousin, Lucy Ann(McClanahan) Isaacs. He mentioned going to the old James Bullock farm, near Lexington, and seeing the graves of his great-grandfather James Bullock(1735-1813) and his second wife Ann (Waller) Bullock.
Captain Wingfield Bullock served during most of the War. At one time he was deprived of his command for a short time for refusing to act as colonel of a negro regiment. If he had been willing to compromise on a question involving principle, I suppose we could now call him Colonel Bullock, but there was no compromise with principle in Wingfield Bullock.
He did not think the slaves should he allowed to fight or to be armed, and he refused to lead them in battle. His rank, however, was soon restored, and he served until March 27, 1865, when he was wounded in front of Spanish Fort, just above Mobile, Alabama.
My father never talked much about his experiences in the War, perhaps because the War had cost him too much, but I never heard him complain about his suffering, or for that matter about anything else. One experince I heard him mention was, that after a long hard day's march he sat down and leaned up against a tree to rest. He went to sleep, and, when he woke up in the morning, he was sitting in four inches of water. He must have been pretty tired.
The only thing that could persuade my father to talk about the war was a visit from an old friend from the 108th Regiment. He helped arrange a number of Soldiers reunions, and enjoyed meeting his old comrades in arms, but he never joined the G.A.R. or attended memorial services, saying that a civil war is like a family quarrel---when it is over, the best thing to do is to forget it as soon at passible. I suspect, however, that his refusal to join the G.A.R, stemmed in part from from the fact it had very soon become a Republican propagandan machine. The evil that the G.A.R. did was to keep the American people voting on sectional differences and dead issues by encouraging the voters to think about "The Boys in Blue" and "The Flag" while Big Business got control of the government and the country. I am glad that my father was capable of seeing what was happening, but of course, at a time of such extreme prejudice, there was nothing that could be done about it. We have not yet yet recovered all that we lost at this period. My father was a very enthusiastic and loyal Democrat, always in my childhood spending the entire day on
electic day in bringing Democrats to the polls. He was often prominent in County Democratic Conventions, and had
considerable influence in nominationsas well as elections. One disgruntled Republican called him "King Bullock and his friend and neighbor, "Prime Minister Felter" (But more of politics later.)
My father never recovered from his wound. Kis leg was permanently shortened, and he suffered from a running sore for the rest of his life. He wore a heavy boot and a brace on his leg. However, he never let his crippled condition interfere with a normal life. He did whatever other men could do, only a little more of it! After being seven weeks in a New Orleans hospital, he returned home. He was soon able to "break prairie", and he did a great deal of that kind of work in LivingstonCounty for some time after the war, using yoked pairs of oxen for power. I have a picture of my father in front of the Woodford House in Secor with his riding horse and two pairs of oxen, yoked and ready for work. My father has told me that he plowed round and round a field, and when he came to the center of the plot, the ground would be alive with snakes of all kinds, they not liking to cross the plowed ground.
In 1865, Wingfield Minor Bullock was elected sheriff of Woodford County and served two years in that office at Metamora, Illinois, the county seat having been taken away from Versailles, its first location, in 1843 much against the will of the Bullock Clan in that neighborhood. When father was a child he come into contact with a number of famous lawyers, among them Abraham Lincoln, who boarded at the Thomas Bullock home while practicing in the Versailles court. I think he boarded at one time in the Mordecai Bullock home, but I am not sure. At the time of the Lincoln-Douglas debates, Wingfield Bullock drove one of the hayrack covered wagons in the cavalcade that went to Metamora from Eureka. My mother's sister, Elizabeth McCullough, was one of the banner waving crowd on the hayrack. I am not sure who talked that day, but I think it was Douglas. I have forgotten a good deal of the early history of Woodford County.
In 1866-1868, while sheriff, my father knew David Davis. Adlai Stevenson, and other interesting people, Robert Ingersol, among others. In the campaign of 1956 my sister, Lela gave Adlai E. Stevenson a receipt to my father signed by his grandfather, which had been resting among our family archives for 89 years! I treasure among my keepsakes a letter from Adlai E. Stevenson, thanking me for kindnesses to him in the campaign.
In 1872 Wingfield married at Eureka, Illinois, Mary Marsalenia McCullough daughter of William Shields McCullough and Delilah Jane MCCardle. Mary McCullough was a rural school teacher in Woodford and Marshall Counties, and had attended Eureka College. She had taught three years before her marriage. After marriage and a honeymoon trip to what is now the stateof Oklahoma, they moved to a farm four miles east of the south edge of Eureka, and engaged in stock and grain farming. The next year they built a seven room house in front of the old house, leaving the old house for a summer kitchen and smoke house.
It was on this farm that all their ten children were born and spent most of their lives as children. It was while living here that Jessie, Edna , and Forrest attended Eureka High-School and Eureka College, and it was from here that my sister, Florenceand left to attend the Normal University at Normal, Illinois.
In the presidential campaign of 1876, my father's interest in politics and in horses combined to make him bet on the Tilden Hayes election. He bet three horses against his neighbor, William Rowan's two that Tilden would be elected. The morning after the election, Mr. Rowan delivered the two horses to my father, for it was perfectly evident that Tilden had won. This was the time that the Republicans stole the election from the
Democrats, and after the decision of the Electoral Commission, my father had to return his neighbor's horses and deliver three of his own. Nobody seemed to mind much, however, and my father and Mr. Rowan remained firm friends as long as they both lived, my father later lending him money to send his daughters away to normal school.
After his term as sheriff, my father never sought offfice, but he served for twenty years as school director of Panther Greek School, where we children attended two miles from our home, and he really served. The county superintendent of schools said Panther Creek was the best rural school in Woodford County, and better than some of the village schools. We had well prepared teachers, educated in Eureka College, Illinois State Normal University, Vlparaiso, Indiana etc. One teacher, John Ward, whose educational background I do not know was a powerful influence on his students and on the neighborhood. F.B. Jeanpert taught for many years in Woodford County. William J. Whetsel became county superintendent of schools . I.B. Moore, one of the best, went to the North Wett to teach. Arthur Patton later taught in the University of Colorado.
One of my earliest memories involving my father has to do with a remark made by a man who sat in front of me at an old settlers' meeting. He not knowing me of course remarked to his companion as he sat down: "Well I see Cap is presiding to-day.
Pretty fine fellow, no style about him, but a pretty straight fellow to deal with. His word is as good as his bond". I have never forgotten the thrill of pride I felt at his remark. I may add here that I never heard either my father or my mother tell even a white lie. If I fall down in historical accuracy in writing these articles on my ancestors, the God of Truth should punish me severely. I was brought up to tell the truth!
In 1896 my father interested himself in a campaign to bring the county seat to Eureka. Versailles was gone, with nothing but a church and a school house to show where the village had been, but Eureka was not far away, and so after fifty-three years Versailles was avenged. Eureka became the county seat, and my father had his part in the triumph.
In 1898 my father sold his farm near Eureka, and purchased a large farm near ElPaso, which had once belonged to his grandfather, Dr. Gurdon Flower Saltonstall. He built a ten room house on it with all the modern improvements, furnace, bath, and electric lights! Later he bought eighty acres to the east of it, and 311 acres in White County, Indiana.
My father did not make a will. He sold his land and divided the trust deeds among his heirs.
In 1907 he quit farming and moved to the town of ElPaso, bought a twelve room house, and settled down to enjoy a well earned rest. He lived in ElPaso almost twenty years, and died there August 18, 1927, at the age of almost 91 years. I shall never forget the people whom he had befriended who came to his funeral and to tell us of the kindnesses he had done for them.
Especially I recall the remark of a very old neighbor as he looked down on my father in his coffin the tears streamed from his eyes and in a voice choked with emotion he said: "They don't make them like that anymore!"
My mother was a very beautiful woman, and gentle reader, if you doubt my artistic judgment or my objectivity on this subject, I can only say that we have photographs, some taken when she was young and some when she was old, which prove the point.
She was frank, original, and outspoken and both her husband and all her children found her interesting and stimulating at all times. She was not as tactful as her husband, but her uncensored remarks seldom got her into trouble. One time a neighbor came into the house and remarked, "I shouldn't think you would talk about your neighbors". "Why", exclaimed my mother,"that is my main amusement!"
This was far from a literal fact, for my mother had little interest in gossip. However, the neighbor was so astonished at Mother's reply that she didn't even tell what she came to quarrel about. She stayed quite a while and left in a good humor.
My mother could never be depended on to say the conventional thing. We seemed to be surrounded by lovely old ladies who inspired my mother to unconventional remarks. On the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of her marriage, one such dear old lady said to her, "Mrs. Bullock, as you look back on the fifty years of married life, what fact impresses you most?" I suppose she expected some sentimental remark, but Morher immediately responded, "The fact that I have cooked fifty thousand meals."
My father was fourteen years older than my mother, and during the last few years of his life, spent much of his time lying on a sofa. When mother came in after being away from home, she would sit down on the sofa by his side and tell him the events of the day. One day a good Methodist neighbor took Mother to a missionary meeting. When she came home, my father was waiting to hear of her the story of her adventures among these pious ladies. Mother told Father that Mrs, Blank had said, "Mrs. Bullock, your bright happy face was an inspiration to me as I lead the meeting." Father, knowing Mrs. Blank's propensity for flattery, grinned. *What did you say, Mary?" I said, "I'll be damned!" replied Mother. "Mary, you didn't. He feared for a moment that she really had said it, and then he realized that she was only trying to shook him.
My mother never grew old, and never intended to grow old, To the day of her death, she was as erect as in her youth. She once said, "I can walk straight to-day, Why can't I to-morrow? When she went to Chicago to live after father's death, she went with my sister Florence to the Cub ball games, and knew the batting averages and home runs of the players as well as the highsohool boys did.
My mothers life was not an easy one. Bearing and rearing ten children is not a task for a weakling, but she shouldered her responsibilities with Spartan courage. She did not feel sorry for herself. We are all very proud to be her children.
Putting a large family of children through college is no slight task, but my parents finally accomplished it When the money gave out, we helped each other through school. I got my degree from the University of Illinois the same year as two of my younger sisters. When we had received our diplomas, and the academic procession had broken up, we stepped out from among our classmates and handed the diplomas to our mother. She deserved them much more than we did. We had spent four years working for them, but she had put many times that number of years on them.
When my sister Edith handed her diploma to Mother she said;"Here, Mother, is what you bought!" Mother's reply was characteristic! "I wonder if it is worth what it cost!"
This is the story of my mother, but the reader, if he was blessed with such a mother, could adapt the story with a few changes of incidents and details to his own mother's life, and so I shall end my story with: "Blessed be my mother, Mary Marsalenia (McCullough) Bullock and all mothers like her!"
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