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Home: Surnames: Bullitt Family Genealogy Forum

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Bullitt's, Bronaunt's, Bronaugh's, Trigg
Posted by: Steve Collins Date: July 04, 1999 at 14:55:54
  of 118

Hello Christian and Doris,

I'm glad to make contact with others looking into the Bullitts, especially one of the "genuine" Bullitts!

Christian, I'm descended from Thomas Bullitt as follows:

Thomas Bullitt and Martha Bronaunt (unmarried)
Sarah Bronaunt m. Clement Trigg
Matilda Trigg m. Reuben Stanley
Mariah J. Stanley m. Lawson Nathan Wells
Melissa Wells m. Fredrich Antonio Sattes
Daisy Sattes m. John Calvin Blackwood
Jean Catherine Blackwood m. Charlie James Collins
Steven Lee Collins, unmarried.

There is also a microfilm of the Bullitt family genealogical archives. These are the files of the Bullitt's in Louisville. They are available from the Mormon family history library. There are also papers in the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill manuscript collection. One of the Louisville Bullitts moved there and was a member of the medical school faculty for 30 years. When he died his papers were donated to the University library. There is a national union list of manuscript collections--basically a guide to manuscript collections--in which this collection is listed. You can find the union list in any large research library--ask the reference librarian.

Bullitt is also mentioned in the Draper Manuscripts. I forget Draper's first name. He was an ambitious collector of historical materials, primarily letters and interviews. His voluminous manuscripts have been microfilmed and indexed, and may be found in almost any large research library.

I suspect all was not well between the Bullitt family and Martha and Sarah Bronaunt. Thomas could have left the bulk of his estate to Martha and Sarah, which would have made them very wealthy. Instead he left it to his brother Cuthbert and left only a token to Martha and Sarah. This is done sometimes when a testator (author of a will) does not want an heir to inherit anything of value. This way, the heir can not have the will nullified on the grounds that the testator meant to include the heir, but simply forgot to.

The 400 acres Sarah inherited is presently the west side of Charleston, West Virginia. It is situated immediately west of the Elk River where it enters the Kanawha River. Immediately east of the Elk, Thomas owned 1,000 acres which he willed to his brother. To give you an idea of the value of the land, in 1794 Cuthbert "sold" the 1,000 acres to George Clendenin for the cost of recording the deed; in other words, he gave it away. Clendenin, then, laid out the city, and named it after his father, Charles. Not only did Sarah not receive most of the land in Charleston, the part she did receive was second-best, much of it being hilly, while the 1,000 acres is completely flat, and obviously valuable for development. If uthbert had the slightest feeling for Sarah he could just as easily have given the 1,000 acres to Sarah. Cuthbert's heirs still would have been rich because of the enormous wealth of Thomas, and the capital of West Virginia would now be "Thomasville."

Like you Doris, I suspect that Bronaunt is a variant of Bronaugh. I have found no Bronaunt's but Bronaugh is easy to find. A William Bronaugh is mentioned frequently in George Washington's papers from the Colonial Period: http://www.virginia.edu/gwpapers/indexes/colonial/index.html I wonder if the name Bronaugh was intentionally corrupted in the will and court records to disguise the
connection of this illicit relationship with the "respectable" Bronaugh family.

Bullitt is also mentioned frequently, and one reference in Washington's diaries says that Bullitt ate dinner at Mt. Vernon and spent the night there.

Christian, below I quote a Genforum posting by Doris which you have not yet seen. Doris, I have this case too, and it is my only proof of Martha and Sarah's relationship to Thomas Bullitt. Do you have anything else to prove he was Sarah's father?

There is a contract in Kanawha County, West Virginia (Charleston) which proves to my satisfaction that Clement and Sarah Trigg had four daughters and one son. C&S sold their property to James Trigg for an annual payment for so long as they would live. If James died before they did, the property was to be divided evenly among four female Triggs (don't remember the names off hand,
one was Matilda, my g-g-g-gm). James did die before his parents, and the property was split among the four females. Although this document does not say that the five are C&S's children, I don't know what else would explain it.

Something to be considered is that, despite the relationship having been proven in court, Thomas Bullitt may not have been the father of Sarah Trigg. It could be that Thomas was framed. When Martha got pregnant, she may have pointed to the nearest rich guy on whom she could make the charges stick. There was no DNA test, you know. This could account for the brush off she received from the Bullitt's.

On the eve of the revolution, Thomas Bullitt was something-or-other over the Southern District, which was all the territory south of southern Virginia. I think he had around 1,000 troops under his command. He felt that he deserved better, and on July 3, 1776, wrote George Washington telling him that and requesting a better appointment. There is no record in Washington's papers that Washington replied to this letter. At about the same time, Bullitt returned to his family farm. He died in 1778, at the age of 48.

By the way, the Bullitt family farm was one creek north of Quantico Creek in Virginia. This is where the Quantico Marine base is, but the former Bullitt property is adjacent to the Marine base on land owned by American Electric Power. The County has very good quality color aerial photographs of this spot.

Draper conducted some correspondence trying to learn if Bullitt resigned from the Army before returning home, but could not find out. In several letters from people acquainted with Bullitt's death, no one mentioned why he died, and no one knew whether he had resigned.

It is a misonception to think that the death rate for middle aged people was much higher then than it is now. Life expectency at birth was much less than now, primarily because many children died of infectious diseases. If you made it to age 10 or so, your life expectency then was not much less than it is now. Thus, it was a little unusual for a 48 year old to die. I suspect that he died of an embarassing cause, or there would be mention of his cause of death. If he did not die of an embarassing cause, I suppose that anyone who wrote about his death would have said something like, "Poor Thomas Bullitt. He was in the prime of life and got kicked in the head by a horse!" I would bet that he died of something like syphillis. This may also explain why Draper did not ask the obvious question, "Why did he die?" Maybe Draper knew it was an embarassing cause which he did not want to record. I looked for his obituary in papers in Williamsburg, but there were none surviving from the time that he died.

Christian, you mentioned that Thomas Bullitt and someone else laid out the city of Louisville. I doubt that they marked it off into streets. Here in Charleston all he did is to survey the boundaries of the 400 acre tract and the 1,000 acre tract. In 1773 he took a party down the Kanawha River to the
Ohio, and down it as far as Louisville. Their purpose was to survey land to be given to Washington's officers (including Bullitt) as bounty for their service in the French and Indian wars. I think all they did with any tract is to survey it's boundaries.

I live in Nitro, West Virginia on one of the tracts that Bullitt surveyed and that he acquired as bounty. I don't know to whom the ownership passed after Bullitt died. My great-grandparents (Fredrich Antonio and Melissa Sattes) bought this property in 1869. So, for around 70 years it was out of the family.

Christian, do you have any idea whether there is a Thomas Bullitt portrait? It does not seem farfetched that he would have had one made. Also, are you in contact with other Bullitt researchers? If you are a beginner, I would suggest you devote a lot of effort to collecting the research that has already been done. There is more out there than I ever imagined before I got started in this. To collate the existing research is a worthy goal!


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