My grandmother Grace Maria Bransford Bulls, born in 1882, grew up in Jack County Texas. She married her childhood sweetheart, James Robert Bulls when she was about 18. Jim was the youngest of the 10 children of Barnabus and Eliza Herman Bulls. Before moving to Texas after the Civil war, they lived at the plantation owned by Eliza's parents near Center Star, Alabama.
After the crop failed their first year of Grace and Jim's marriage, they decided "after talking over with our families and after long discussions and heart searchings" to rent a farm in Oklahoma. This quote is from her autobiography which covers information that goes back to when her father remembers the meteor showers call the "Leonids" in 1833. She also tells of her husband's parents who were married sometime in the 1850's. Their first two children were born before the civil war. Her husband, "Jim" remembers crossing the Mississippi River in a ferry boat when he was three years old in 1880.
This autobiography is filled with little anectdotes from every generation. She tells about her mother-in-law who "never weighed more than ninety pounds soaking wet, but one day the Union soldiers came to her house [in Alabama] and demanded food. The food was hidden under the floor and behind the steps of the stairs. She took her gun and sat on the stairs and kept the soldiers from searching and finding the food but they took everything else. I have a feeling that the admiration they felt for such a spunky little thing did more to deter them than the gun she held."
Grandmother tells of the long and difficult struggle to finally have a plot of land to call their own. She writes, "We heard that land in the Panhandle of Oklahoma was being opened for settlement. Land fever began to run high... When the Davidson boys returned from filing their claims, they spoke glowingly of this beautiful land that could be had simply by living on it and 'proving it up'. Jim had been longing for some time to have some land of his own..." Many events and struggles are survived until one day... "The wagons were put back together and loaded with all the essential things that would be needed before another trip could be made back for more. The chickens were loaded, and the cow tied behind the wagon and shortly after sunrise, we started out across the prairie following a faint trail. After reaching the Carrumpa Creek, a sandy, dry creek, there was not even a trail. However, Jim knew the way, reaching the claim [of land] about five o'clock. Jim unlocked the door to the dugout and said, 'Welcome Home.' and indeed it did look good to us.
"The claim was 166 acres of good fertile land that had never had a plow on it. It was as level as the palm of your hand and grass was growing knee high all over it. To our youthful eyes it looked like the Garden of Eden and we looked forward to building a good home on this, the first piece of land we had ever had claim to. We put up the beds and fixed a bite of supper then placed a rug by the side of the bed and dedicated our new home and our lives to God. We asked the good Lord to give us health and strength, and promised Him that we would work for everything else needed to give us a good life in this raw, new country."
This is only a sampling of a wonderful story of a woman who was devoted to her family and God, educating her 6 children, and used every ounce of determination to make a good life for her family, church and friends. It is a remarkable story if only because she wrote everything down. The book is a treasure for her decendants now and for generations to come.
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