Benjamin Pierce Hull
Just west of the village of Sunset and along the waters of Sandy, in Montague County, lies the farm over which Benjamin P. Hull has dominion, and upon the bluff overlooking the valley and the landscape beyond stands the modest castle which suggests an ideal country home. To this home and to the varied interests of this farm has Mr. Hull been attached since 1887 and, unless providentially ordained otherwise, it marks the spot which shall witness the closing hours of his industrious life. Born amid scenes of industry and brought up where industry prevailed, his life has been wedded to that implacable priestess, and it has been his pleasure to do the bidding of her stern commands.
At Chester, Meigs County, Ohio, Benjamin P. Hull was born on the 22nd of May, 1834. His father, Jesse Hull, was a house and ship carpenter—and at times owning and operating a farm—and about a shipyard in Cincinnati and on a farm in Illinois the minority years of his life were spent. The father was born in the Empire state of New York on January 22, 1808, and was a son of Joel and Mary (Wallace) Hull, natives of the same state, whose other children were: Joel; William; Lester; James; Hiram; Mary, wife of Alexander Hutchins; Nabbie, wife of Mark Halsey; and Harriet, who married James Maston. There was another son, but his identity cannot now be recalled.
Jesse Hull migrated from his native state when approaching manhood and learned his trade in Ohio. He was married in Meigs County and after the birth of his second child went to Adams County, Illinois, and bought a tract of cheap land near Quincy, when there was only one brick building in the town. There he improved and cultivated his farm by proxy, while his own labors were devoted to barn and house carpentering for many miles around. He left Illinois in 1847, returning to Meigs County and later to Cincinnatti, where he again found work on the boatyard and remained till 1851, when he settled in Pike County, Illinois. There he continued his favorite labors until death overtook him in January 1869.
During the rebellion he served for a time in the Union army, but his age eliminated him from the scenes of the deadliest of the conflict, and he was discharged, without casualty, before the war ended. His regiment was the Sixteenth Illinois Infantry, and his service terminated with one year.
The union of Jesse Hull with Helen, a daughter of Hezekiah Bosworth, was productive of five children, and Mrs. Hull died at Barry, Illinois, in 1882. The issue of their marriage were: Otis, of Oklahoma City; Benjamin P., our subject; Wesley F., who died in Illinois; Elam W., of Los Angeles, California; and Emma, of Oklahoma City, widow of Riley Moore.
The common schools of Illinois and Ohio provided Benjamin P. Hull with an elementary education, and be began contributing to his own support at about sixteen years of age. He married while in Pike County, Illinois, and with his family left that state in 1867 and located in Sheridan County, Missouri, where he continued his farm work for ten years.
In 1877, he brought his family to Texas, locating for four years in Sherman and for six years in Denison. While in those cities he was engaged in teaming and in various other occupations which offered remunerative employment, and it was while in Denison that he fell to contracting, a business which proved most advantageous to him for several years.
While the Denver, Katy, and T. & P. railroads were being equipped with water service, he secured contracts for digging wells for water supply, and he executed many good contracts on the three lines. He dug the first square wells, with dimensions 16 x 16 feet, and some of them 100 feet deep; the one at Sunset in particular being that depth; and for its construction he was paid the sum of three thousand six hundred dollars. He completed a contract on the Fort Worth & Denver road, embracing all the wells from Fort Worth to Cheyenne, Texas, and the prosperity which came to himself and son John—who remained loyally by him—was sufficient to locate him desirably on a good farm for the remainder of his life. He was attracted to his present home by the presence on the farm of an extensive and undeveloped quarry of fine sandstone; and he purchased, surrounding it, nearly seven hundred acres of land and opened out the quarry and shipped much of the stone. Many prominent buildings in Fort Worth, Dallas, and other points along the Denver road are trimmed, yet inexhaustible quantities [still remain] for the building age of the generations of the future.
For some years Mr. Hull has given his individual attention to stock breeding on the farm, while the farming operations have been conducted by his son. Their dual industry has yielded them a competence worthy of their labors and has placed father and son in circumstances generally to be desired.
In Kinderhook, Illinois, January 29, 1855, Benjamin P. Hull and Elizabeth Fitzpatrick were united in marriage. She was born in Meigs County, Ohio, August 29, 1836. The children of Mr. and Mrs. Hull are: George, of Archer City, Texas; John Hull, the company and mainstay of his parents on the farm; Ella; Millie; Jennie; and Lottie.
While the early generations of the Hulls seem to have been Whigs and then Republicans, Benjamin P., our subject, espoused Democracy for many years, and he holds these opinions still, but with over-towering Prohibition tendencies and sentiments. He and his household are ardent followers of the teachings of the Savior, and he is a leading and active spirit in the doctrines of the Holiness church of this county.
[Source: B. B. Paddock, History and Biographical Record of North and West Texas, Vol. I (Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1906), pp. 596-597.]
Elaine Nall Bay