Reuben Bullard ca 1740-1797
Our first Reuben's birth date and place are unknown, as are his parents, and there is no known tie to earlier Virginia Bullards, although not for lack of looking! An Ambrose Bullard died in 1754, Spotsylvania Co, Virginia, and his son Ambrose Bullard witnessed our Reuben's will in 1797, so it is believed that there is a familial relationship to these Ambrose, father and son.
Another, earlier Reuben Bullard died in Caroline County, Virginia, and a will appears on the Caroline County will register, but unfortunately the will did not survive, and only the index is left to indicate it was once registered with the court. The widow of this Reuben, Catherine, along with her son Reuben, emigrated to Kentucky, where they established a KY line of Bullards. Perhaps this KY Reuben was a first cousin of his Virginia "cousin" Reuben. Our Reuben lived for some time, in Port Conway, Caroline County, so this may well have been his place of birth, rather than Fredericksburg, with which we commonly associate him.
The only marriage we can document for Reuben is that with our ancestor, Fannie Davis, which took place on Jan 5, 1787, in King George County, Virginia. Fannie was the daughter of James and Francis Berry Golding Dobyns Davis, also of King George County, Virginia. However, there had to have been an earlier marriage, for Reuben's eldest daughter, Lucy, was born ca. 1776, and thus could not have been a daughter of Fannie. A family researcher believes that this first wife was a Woolfolk, from Caroline County, but this is undocumented and must be considered a working theory only.
Reuben and Fannie lived in Fredericksburg, where he died in 1797. As Reuben does not mention his wife in his will, it is believed that she preceded him in death, and that his obvious concern for his children's education is an indication that they were still minors of school age. The local newspaper says; "Bullard, Reuben d. on Sunday the 19th instance, in this town (Fredericksburg) in an advanced age."
Fredericksburg, Va will book A-3 pg 67
In the name of God, I Reuben Bullard of Fredericksburg, being in perfect sense and memory do make and appoint this my last will and testament. It is my desire that what property I die possessed of shall be equally divided between my children Lucy L. Jackson, George, Reuben and Polly Bullard excepting Negro woman Grace who it is my will and desire shall be free after my death. I hereby appoint James Dishman, and Aaron Thornley and Jerem. S. Stone exects. of this my will giving them full power to dispose of appropriate all or any part of my property as they may judge best for the interest of my children who I wish as well educated as the little proberty left them will allow. Fredericksburg 17 March 1797.
(proved and admitted 29 April, 1797. Aaron Thornley and James Davis qualified as Executors by giving bond in the amount of $3,000. James Davis was Reuben's father-in-law, and his children's grandfather, who ultimately raised them.)
The following was an partial inventory that accompanied the will...it is strange, considering it doesn't mention any household goods, and I suspect that this is only the portion that pertains to the non-personal items. Incredible, isn't it, to see human beings listed among farm tools and livestock?
"1 rone horse, 1 sorrel colt, l bay mare, l old horse, l blind mare, l sorrel horse, 1 ax, l yoke, 2 set gear, l ox chair, l lot hoes, l ax, 2 burrows,2 ploughs, l cutting box, 1 cross cut saw, l saddle with bridle, 1 negro man, old John, l woman and her 3 children Hannah Mariah, Henry and Judy, l woman Silvy, l woman Betty, l girl Sharlot, l girl Tulip, l boy Nat, l grindstone, 2 sythes, 2 brand irons, l yolk of oxen, 9 cows, 8 yearling, 2 bulls 4 calfs, 18 sheep, 1 gun"
The children of Reuben Bullard were;