James Porter Bullock (1829 – 1888)

photo from Turtzin-Swearingen Family Tree on Ancestry.com

“In studying the lineage of the Bullock  family we find that they are of English stock and southern associations.  As early as 1830 Thomas ans Agnes (Ware) Bullock (the latter of Scotch-Welsh descent)”  (The Wares migrated from England to Ireland to America.) “removed from Kentucky, their native commonwealth, and settled in Illinois, taking up a large tract of raw land in Woodford county near the county-seat of Eureka.  He was one of the first settlers in his locality, and he named the county Woodford from his native county in the Blue Grass state.  From there Mr. Bullock went to the front to assist in subduing the savages during the progress of the Black Hawk war.  Both he and his wife continued to make their home in Woodford county until they died.

Of their nine children James P., the third in order of birth, was born in Woodford county, KY., May 24, 1829.  During boyhood he attended country schools in Illinois.  Later he matriculated in a Presbyterian college near Hannibal, MO., and continued his studies there until he was graduated at the age of twenty.   It was his father’s ambition that he should become a physician and accordingly he was sent to Palmyra, MO., to begin the study of medicine, but the discovery of gold in California changed all of his plans and caused him to relinquish all intention of becoming a professional man.  Having no money to pay for the trip to California he began to teach school and thus secured the necessary funds, so that early in 1850 he crosses the plains with and expedition of Argonauts.

When he arrived in Sacramento in July he had only seventy-five cents in his possession.  However, he was strong and willing, hence a lack of capital did not discourage him in the least.  The first job he found was that of cutting cordwood on L and M street in Sacramento.  Next he engaged in teaming and freighting to the mountains.  While thus engaged he went on a trip to Downieville, Sierra county, became interested in the place, and later opened a butcher shop there.

During the fall of 1852 he located on the Sacramento river in Sutter county, taking up a claim on what he supposed to be government land, but when he discovered it to be a grant he removed to Yolo county. During February of 1858 he bought five hundred and ninety acres fifteen miles northeast of Woodland, on Grand Island, and there he engaged in stock-raising and general farming.

As assessor of Yolo county James P. Bullock served from 1864 to 1870 and the tact with which he discharged the responsibilities of the position won for him many friends.  During 1870 he was elected sheriff of Yolo county by a large majority, and at the expiration of his first term he was honored by re-election to the office.

Meanwhile he had established his home in Woodland and had built a substantial residence on Court street.  After having served as sheriff for two terms he retied to private life and resumed the management of his farm, also superintended the  Colonel Hagar grant in Yolo county, which he had managed in previous years.

After having been an invalid for five years he passed away September 25, 1888.  He was buried in Woodland cemetery with Masonic honors under the auspices of the Knights Templar.

Politically he always voted with the Democratic Party.

For years he served as a trustee of the Christian Church and was one of its most influential workers in Woodland.  His wife  likewise was prominent in the activities of the church and she was also for years a leading worker in the Woodland Chapter of the Eastern Star.

The marriage of James P. Bullock and Mary Jane Powell took place in Sutter county November 9, 1854.  Six children were born of their union, namely Agnes, Mrs. C.F. Thomas, of Woodland; George Spencer; Lela;Fred, proprietor of the Bullock clothing store in Woodland; Mrs. Mary Nelson deMerritt, and Mrs. Helen Fregidgo.

During 1902 Mrs. Bullock and those of her family yet at home removed to Oakland, but later became residents of San Francisco and she is now living in that city, retaining, however, her property interests in Yolo county.”

Transcribed by Sally Kaleta from William L. Willis, “History of Sacramento County, California”, pages 867-887.   Historic Record Company. Los Angeles, CA 1913.

Photos from Turtzin-Swearingen Family Tree on Ancestry.com


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