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California Genealogy and History Archives

Sacramento County



The significance of lifelong identification with California appears in the loyalty uniformly exhibited by the native sons of the commonwealth. Patriotic devotion to the land of his birth forms one of the chief attributes in the character of George Spencer Bullock, the son of an honored pioneer and himself a native of Yolo county, where his earliest recollections are associated with sights and scenes around the then insignificant village of Woodland. The Hesperian College, which in 1861, his father had assisted in founding, afforded him the advantages of a classical education and later he completed a commercial course in the Woodland Business College, of which he is a graduate. Availing himself of these excellent educational opportunities, he laid the foundation of a broad fund of in- formation and by habits of continued studiousness and close observation he has become the possessor of a high degree of culture. To some extent he has specialized in the acquisition of knowledge, being particularly interested in financial problems and in monetary matters. From early manhood he has been connected with the banking business, first at Woodland, where he clerked in a bank for two years, and later in Sacramento, where he entered the national bank established by D. 0. Mills and from a clerkship won his way to the position of paying teller. After twenty years of service he resigned this position in November, 1911, to fill the offices of director and cashier of the Citizens Bank of Oak Park to which he had been elected. After six months with this firm he again resigned, having been elected assistant cashier of the Fort Sutter National Bank, the duties of which office he assumed in May, 1912. It may be predicted that future years will witness a steady advance in his prominence in banking circles, for he possesses the keen insight, fine discrimination, conservative judgment and unfailing tact that almost invariably bring success to men in every line of activity. Some years ago lie purchased the old homestead of five hundred and ninety acres on Grand Island from the estate, and this he has now under process of perpetual reclamation. The tract is devoted to the raising of grain, alfalfa and garden produce. Aside from a growing prestige in financial circles he devotes some of his leisure hours to the activities of the Sutter Club and the Benevolent Protective Order of Elks. Under Governor Gillett he was appointed a member of the board of commissioners of Sutter's Fort and at the expiration of his first term he was again appointed to the position by the same executive.

In studying the lineage of the Bullock family we find that they are of English stock and southern associations. As early as 1830 Thomas and Agnes (Ware) Bullock (the latter of Scotch-Welsh descent) 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 tile 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 se- cured the necessary funds, so that early in 1850 he crossed the plains with an expedition of Argonauts. When he arrived in Sacramento in July he had only seventy-five cents in his possession. How- e^•el•. he was strong and willing, hence a lack of capital did not discourage him in the least. The first job lie found was that of cutting cordwood on L and M streets 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 lie 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 retired to private life and resumed the management of his farm, also superintended the Colonel Hagar land 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 in the Christian Church and was one of its most influential workers in Woodland. His wife likewise was prominent in the activities of that 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, whose name introduces this articles; Lela; Fred, proprietor of the Bullock clothing store in Woodland; Mrs. Mary Nelson de Merritt, 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. Her father, Jeremiah Powell, was the son of a Virginian, of Scotch descent, who served in the Revolutionary war as a boy and long afterward gave further service to Ids country during the war of 1812. This Virginian patriot spent many years of his later life in developing land in Kentucky, where Jeremiah Powell was born and reared and whence lie removed to Missouri during the original settlement of that state.

During the summer of 1853 Jeremiah Powell and Capt. Levi Blunt crossed the plains with five hundred head of cattle. In the expedition were Mrs. Powell and three children. At Downieville they were met by James Powell, a brother of Jeremiah, and with him the journey was completed on horseback to Sacramento. Taking up land in Colusa county Jeremiah Powell began to raise stock, but he later discovered the land to be a grant, hence he removed to Kellogg 's slough near Colusa, where he bought a tract of raw land. The development of the farm was a difficult task and occupied the remaining years of his busy existence. On that farm he died in 1887 at the age of eighty years. Fraternally he was a Mason, in politics a Democrat, and in religion a member of the Christian church. His first marriage united him with Amanda Noe, a native of Kentucky, her father, George Noe, having removed to that state from Virginia and later making another move to Missouri, where he died. The second wife of Mr. Powell was Priscilla Ferguson, a native of Virginia. In April of 1900 she passed away at the 'age of ninety-four. Mrs. Bullock is now the sole survivor of the Powell family, her elder brother, George Spencer, having died in Mexico, while the younger brother, Charles Shelton, passed away at the old homestead in the vicinity of Colusa. 

History of Sacramento County, California
Biographical Sketches of The Leading Men and Women of the County Who Have Been Identified With Its Growth and Development from the Early Days to the Present
History By: William L. Willis
Historic Record Company, Los Angeles, California (1913)

Transcribed by Peggy Hooper 2011