Friday, June 9, 2017


Pages 6 & 7, Susan Crowley's document:

"Perhaps because of declining health, Charles Bullis deeded the farm to his physician son, Abraham, in 1863. Dr. Bullis graduated from the Geneva Medical School, which soon afterward became noted for graduating America's first woman physician, Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell. Abraham Bullis was touched by the fame of an even  more aggressive feminist. His cousin was women's suffrage leader, Susan B. Anthony. In later years his own granddaughter would become a leader in the corporate world. Dr. Abraham Bullis married Lydia Lapham, a member of one of Macedon's founding families. The oldest of their seven children, John Lapham Bullis, became renowned as a military man, fighting in the Civil War, and going on to become a legendary Indian fighter.

     John Lapham Bullis, son of A.R. and Lydia Bullis, was born in New York state on
     April 17, 1841 and was educated at Macedon Center and Lima, New York. On
     August 8, 1862 he enlisted in the 126th New York Volunteer Infantry; in 1864 he
     was captain of the 118th Infantry. He served on the Texas border during 1865 and 
     1866 and entered the regular army in 1867. The greater part of his military career
     was spent in Indian warfare in Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona. He gained national
     recognition for his work with the Seminole scouts along the Rio Grande, and the 
     Texas Legislature adopted a resolution thanking him for his service against the
     Indians and other enemies of the frontier .. President Theodore Roosevelt approved his
     appointment as brigadier general on April 13, 1905 ... He lived in San Antonio from his
     retirement until his death on May 26, 1911. Camp Bullis was named in his honor.

Dr. Bullis was a popular and dedicated physician adding the teaching of anatomy at the academically fine Macedon Academy to his list of accomplishments. Charles H. Bullis and his son Dr. Abraham Bullis both died in 1866, within a month of each other. The cobblestone house was bequeathed to Abraham's son, Abraham R. Bullis, III."

Thursday, June 1, 2017


Volunteers continue to review Bullis Room documents and process them according to subject. This task is proving to be more time consuming than originally planned. One reason for the additional processing time is the temptation to pause in the process, in order to read through these fascinating old papers.

Recently, a  documents titled "Bullis House: Home of a Notable Family"  caused this volunteer to put aside the sorting task to read Susan E. Crowley account oft the original Bullis home on Canandaigua Road in Macedon.  Here is the beginning of the story of a house that was (and still is) a true home.

Page 1:
"Bullis House: Home of a Notable Family

     For more than four decades, from the 1940's until the 1980's, people glanced briefly or not at all at the old cobblestone house on Canandaigua Road in Macedon, its simple yet elegant lines all but hidden from view by the towering trees and tangled vines surrounding it. Only in spring and summer did those who passed hesitate to better observe the tulips, daffodils, and masses of oriental poppies which flooded the yard. There always seemed to be a widespread peace over the house and fields, a quiet testimony, as it were, to the pioneer farmer, physician, mathematical genius, botanist, and corporate leader who were among the inhabitants of the Bullis House throughout a time period of 144 years."

Page 2 & 3:
"Charles H. Bullis

     In 1837, a depression threatened the economy of Vermont and the migration of farmers in search of more fertile fields was facilitated by the Champlain and Erie Canals which provided easy transportation to the West. Charles Bullis and his family were among the pioneers who made the decision to "go West", doing so in 1838. Leaving their farm in Manchester, Vermont, they supposedly started for Ohio, interrupting their trip to visit Charles' sister in Macedon. The rolling hills and fertile land of western Wayne County apparently appealed to the Vermont farmer for he abandoned plans to go further west when he purchased a fifty-nine acre farm adjacent to the Erie Canal from Charles and Lydia Smith for $2,631.64.

     In addition to the rich fields, Charles Bullis' farm was ideally located approximately one half mile from the Erie Canal and one half mile from the Main east-west road.

     The immediate housing need for the Bullis family was solved by moving a wooden structure, most likely a shanty type building, to the site where the house was to be built. The west wall of the cobblestone house shows evidence that the wooden rear section of the house was built first and the family lived there while the stone portion was being constructed. Charles' wife Ellen and his three children Abraham, Emma, and Kelcy were kept busy gathering stones into piles for the masons. Some of those piles of stones and also bricks are still in evidence on the property and many of them were used in the 1983 restoration process."

Page 4 & 5:
"The Construction

     It took three years to construct the Bullis House, started in 1839. The architectural plan was much the same as the wooden rural homes of Vermont. It is supposed that Charles Bullis was satisfied with the type of house he had left behind and was pleased to reproduce it, this time in stone for his family.

    The two story cobblestone house is federal style, constructed of irregular, rough and moderate sized (2" to 4" diameter) cobblestones. The pattern of the horizontal mortar is v-shaped with pyramids cut off at the bottom in the raised vertical mortar.

     A unique feature of the Bullis House is the brick which was used to make the quoins, the lintel over the front door, and the trim around the windows. Masons most often used stone quoins at the corners of the buildings. Later, brick and wood pilaster were introduced as quoin materials. The unusual color of the bricks used on the Bullis House is puzzling. The particular pink shade is not found in any other building in the area. It has been suggested that the bricks may have been made on site which would help explain the generous piles left on the property.

     The cobblestone portion of the Bullis House consisted of four large rooms and four smaller rooms, while the wooden addition had four rooms. A fireplace in the dining room and one in the bedroom directly above were a simple style again reminiscent of the New England style hearths. The chimney on the north end of the house accommodated these fireplaces while the chimney on the south end of the house was purely ornament.

    All of the ornamentation found on the woodwork, mantels, and stairway was hand carved by the Bullis'. While the work was uncomplicated, it is a reminder of a time when personal pride had a part in the building of a home. The delicate fineness of the cherry wood stair railing and newels is particularly unique in its perfect and graceful lines. This style continues in the plain door surrounds and baseboards, combining to give a broad, sweeping cleanliness to the interior of the house.

     The house suggests that simplicity and economy were a part of the Bullis family's taste and lifestyle. Whether by necessity or choice this simplicity remains as a tribute to the original owners of the Bullis House."

Pages 1 through 5 of Susan Crowley's record of the Bullis House cover the early history. In the next several posts, the account covers Bullis family occupants of the house, down through the ages, and their influence on the family home.

Friday, May 26, 2017


This week, June Hamel's interesting and informative presentation on John Lapham Bullis gave attendees an overall look at Macedon's military hero --  as a son, brother, husband, and father.

Over the past nine years, we've posted information about his distinguished military career and his relationship with his parents and siblings. So today, we're sharing with you John Lapham Bullis's "husband and father side" with this photo of his second wife, Josephine Withers Bullis, holding their three daughters: Octavia, and twins Lydia, and Anita.

Josephine Withers (of San Antonio, Texas) and John Latham Bullis were married on September 8, 1891. Twins Lydia and Anita were born September 7 & 8, 1892; Octavia, on April 5, 1894. 

So far, volunteers have found very few documents relating to this family's private life; however, we think that "Papa" John Lapham Bullis must have been quite proud of his family (after all, he waited over 50 years to be a dad). So we think it's fair to surmise that he doted over them as much as he could, given his demanding life.  And, at the end of the day,  he must have looked forward to returning home from his assignments, knowing that his four girls were waiting to greet him.  

Wednesday, May 17, 2017


Please plan to join us at  2 PM on May 24th in the Bullis Room at Macedon Public Library  as June Hamell  presents a program on John Lapham Bullis.

As you probably know from our many blog posts on John Latham Bullis, he was a distinguished and much-decorated soldier in the Civil and  Spanish-American wars.  

So ... You are invited to June Hamell's presentation on May 24 for the "rest of the story" of this great man.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017


For those of you who are unable to visit the Bullis Room in person, here are some photos to give you an idea of what the Bullis Room is and what goes on within its walls.

First, a photo of a frequent Bullis Room visitor, relaxing in one of the room's "easy chairs" and soaking up that wonderful old-book atmosphere and aroma.

Second, a scene looking out the north-facing window into the main library and showing the room's computer work station.

Third, a photo of the state and local history section which can be enjoyed while sitting in the rocking chair (which includes an afghan for chilly days).

Fourth, a photo looking out one of the room's southern-exposure windows with the work table in the foreground, and the US history section on the right.

We hope you've enjoyed this virtual visit. And if you're in the area, please stop in soon and experience the room and its contents.

Monday, May 8, 2017


It's that time of year again ... and here's Charlie Bullis's poem, written when he was a young man. 

"written and read Arbor day May 4 1906                                 

The Robin.

                                                               by C. R. Bullis

In the bight days of early spring
A robin from the south took wing
Thrilled by memories of the past
He flew to the north straight and fast
Through the pale ethereal blue
Unto his native land he flew
Through the bright day and strlit night
He proceded in his long flight.
At last all wearied from his flight
As the first reays of the suns light
Appeared over the eastern hill
At home on a pine he sat still.
For a few weeks he flew about
In every tree and bush and out
And in the balmy evening air
His song resounded clear and fair"

Friday, May 5, 2017


Today is May 5, the day commemorated in Mexico (and here, as well) as Cinco de Mayo, in remembrance of that country's 1862 victory in the Battle of Puebla.

One way to celebrate this day is to partake of some wonderful local Mexican cuisine available at several restaurants in this area.  (Some of our Bullis volunteers are planning to do just that!)

And - another way to commemorate this day is to stop by the Bullis Room and look through some of the books on Mexico. Here are two to get you started:

Mexico and the United States;
their mutual relations and common interests
by  Gorham Dummer Abbott (1807-1874
Published: New York, G. P. Putnam & Son, 1869

Mexico: the wonderland of the South
by William English Carson (1870 - )
Published: New York, Macmillan, 1912

As you know, you have an open invitation to look on the shelves for more books on this topic and any other area you're interested in. Remember ... the Bullis books are waiting! Please don't disappoint them!