Mary Ware (Bullock) Chenault

 Mary Ware Bullock Chenault

Photo provided by Julie Ross, my long lost 5th cousin.

Mary Ware Bullock was was the daughter of Thomas Bullock , Jr (1803-1887) and Agnes Reed Ware (1806-1882).  Mary Ware Bullock was born in Woodford County, Illinois but married David Chenault, a conferderate solider and a member of Morgan’s Raider’s, in 1865 and moved to Kentucky. She wrote a letter to my great-grandfather, Wingfield Minor Bullock- her cousin, describing her new life in Kentucky. My great aunt Agnes Irene Bullock transcribed the letter sometime between 1945 and 1965 and I inherited that transcription from my grandmother and mother because Agnes Irene Bullock was unmarried and had no children.  Below is a copy of that transcription.  Many thanks to my great Aunt Agnes for her work on our family history.

“Cane Springs,

 March 14, 1866.

 W. M. Bullock.
Dear Cousin:

In the quiet of my new home I am seated to write a few lines to you. It is pleasant to sit even at this great distance and have a short chat.

When I came to Ky. six months ago, I thought of writing immediately to you and several others that I have neglected until now, but I was staying at Mr. Chenault’s father’s, where company came in every day there being a large family connection, and, of course , I was called for on all occasions. You know each one must see and comment on me. I neglected for a time to write and then concluded to wait until I went to housekeeping, thinking that by that time you would be well enough to write me without any injury to yourself. From my corres­pondents at home I learn you are improving. I am glad to hear it, Wink, and sin­cerely hope that another six months may find you entirely well.

I have been housekeeping about one month. I am living on what is called the Cane Springs farm. Our house is about two hundred yards from the old Calvinistic Baptist Church of the name of the farm. Our house is heavy log, story and a half high, four rooms below and one above, arranged in quite an old fashioned manner, but quite comfortable for all that. I have gotten about settled and begin to feel at home. I think I can hear you ask what kind of a country I am in and among what kind of people. The country is rough (hilly) and rocky. If I had to do a farmer’s work I would greatly prefer a smooth prairie farm, but as far as my work extends, I had as soon live here as anywhere. The climate is delightful compared with Illinois. The grass remains green all winter, feeding season often not lasting, more than two months. The farmers raise stock instead of grain, only having enough land, under cultivation to feed during the winter. We have horses that have been on a farm eight miles from here and have had nothing to eat all winter but blue grass. They are in good order now ard look like horses in Illinois that are fed on corn from October until May or June. There will be but little more feeding now. The weather is warm enough for gardening. I have been trying it today, and more than likely,– you are shivering over the fire. Come to see me and I will give you young potatoes. The finest sweet potatoes I ever saw -are raised, in this county. Mr. Chenault’s father raised hundred bushels last year.

I heard from Charlie last evening and I also had a couple of letters from Bettie. Most of our friends and relatives are well, but a letter from Mattie Shockley surprised me a little with the information that “Aunt Susan”, (Mrs. Compton) was married. I had as soon thought of Uncle Jimmy Kidd’s marrying. Tell me, if you can, whom she married; the name Hedges is given, but I have no idea who he can be. The people are old fashioned, tight living men in this neigh­borhood. I mean the old settlers are generally this kind of people. The men think more of one hundred dollars than they do of their wives. I don’t like the neigh­bors, with some few exceptions, at all,but that doesn’t annoy me much, since I can do very well without them.

Mr. Chenault’s oldest brother lives in the neighborhood, on the farm adjoining this, the farm on which Mr. Chenault was reared. I like the people very much—regular sociable Kentuckians. While Father’s sons were in the army he sold nearly all the land he had near Richmond and moved eight miles further from town (he at first lived a little over four) thinking his negroes would be less trouble to him and, like most old men, thought of nothing else then.Now he is restless and uneasy —all of his negroes gone, his boys come home and no society. He may sell and leave but I expect we will remain some time. I would like to have about five or six hundred acres of land in and around Henthorn Grove, and if the climate were more mild, I could have hopes (well founded) of one day being gratified, but Mr. Chenault stayed in Illinois two winters and had a spell of sickness each winter. He doesn’t think the climate fit for anything but snowbirds and rabbits, but in other respects was delighted with the country.Tell Mary Ann she- would like this country—plenty of hills and besides, my front door gives a full view of the Ky. Mountains. Cane grows in small patches over the country, often growing fifteen to eighteen feet high. The people let a little of it stand to show what kind of soil there is. Only the best will yield cane. I passed through Boonsboro this last winter and saw a part of Boon’s old fort still standing. Wink, I could talk a long time yet but both my paper and time are out. The first is just expiring but the last has been out some time since. Write to me but don’t follow my example by waiting six months.

Give my love to your mother, Mary Ann, Uncle Q, and all the boys. I had some word I fully intended sending my Uncle Q about how the Bullocks had fallen, but I have neither time nor space now.

Remember me as,

Your cousin, Mollie  ”


In addition to this letter, my great Aunt Agnes wrote about David Chenault and his wife Mary Ware in a biography that she wrote on her father Wingfield Minor Bullock.

“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 Thomas Bullock, Jr (1803-1887} 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.” ”

To read the complete biography of  Wingfield Minor Bullock at the History of Woodford County, Illinois.


Mary Ware (Bullock) Chenault — 1 Comment

  1. Judy, Thank you very much for posting this wonderful story. I know others will enjoy it. Please feel free to post stories about you family whenever you like. I’m glad you included some military documentation, since this is Veterans month.

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