Editor’s note: This is the first of two columns depicting the history of selected families who have a legacy in Madison County.
Madison County Museum continues to offer computer discs of the first local history collection for $50 and the hard copy of the second one for $75. I have shared a few of Volume 1’s interesting stories below, and mixed in information I’ve gathered.
The local community called Bullard lies south of Madisonville, to the left of Highway 90. Ranch Road was first called Bullard Road. Calvin Cullee Bullard (1824-1882) was born in Alabama in 1880. In one essay in our first county history book it says Calvin received an original land grant in the Bullard community from Texas Gov. O.W. Roberts in 1880. In another place in that book, it says that he applied for a land grant of 160 acres in Madison County in 1873, and that those 160 acres are part of the Bullard community now. For many years several Bullard families resided there, and descendant Patrick Bullard still lives there. The original Calvin was a blacksmith and a farmer, raising cotton, corn, peanuts, ribbon cane, and sweet potatoes to name a few of the crops.
Calvin C. Bullard married Martha O’Neal in 1848 in Mississippi. Their first four children were born in Mississippi, and the last two were born in Greenville in Hunt County. One of those, George, died as a child. Benjamin Wills Bullard (1859-1935), was the other, and I’ll get back to him later.
Martha died in Hunt County, though I don’t find record of that at Findagrave. Calvin remarried, Zillah Ann Woodbury Jones, who had been married to a Jones who had fought in the Civil War and not returned. Calvin and Zillah moved to Madison County shortly after they married, and not long after that, her first husband appeared. He had not been killed in action as reported. Zillah was pregnant with her and Calvin’s first child, and she decided to stay with Calvin, and I’ve never heard about the Jones man.
There was a school in the Bullard community before 1900 until about 1921, when the students were transferred west to the school in the Center community. Bullard School was used as a church, and there was an arbor. Preachers came to preach and pick cotton or whatever was going on in the way of work. Preachers would stay a week or two and preach at night, staying with different Bullard families.
Back to Benjamin Wills Bullard. He grew up in Bullard and first married Elizabeth Lucretia “Eliza” Wilson (1866-1866). They had one child, Hermine Inez Bullard, who lived only 10 days in November 1886, and Eliza died soon after, Dec. 31, 1886. For some reason Hermine and Eliza are buried in Bedias Methodist Cemetery.
On August 8, 1891, Ben married again, to Emma L. Culbreth (1875-1930). They were blessed with 8 children all of whom lived to be adults. They included Royden Porter “Roy” Bullard (1893-1968), Winnie O’Neal Bullard Hendrix (1895-1978), Hallie Ione Bullard Lindsey (1897-1963), Annie Leona Bullard Goodrum (1899-1966), Jack Rufus Bullard (1900-1960), Berry Benon “Pete” Bullard (1904-1980), Buna Bernice Bullard Wilson (1905-1989), and Maudine Bullard Morgan (1912-1977). The children attended the Bullard community school, and my grandmother, Buna (we are an irreverent family, we called her by her given name), later told of playing basketball at that school when she was young. She rode a horse to school, with Maudine riding behind her. Supposedly she loved to run the horse, Star, when they got out of sight of their father, and it always frightened Maudine.
Maudine’s youngest son, Wayne Morgan, told me that years later she complained to her father, and he laughed, saying he’d always known what Buna was up to.
For many years, Bullard family members here were prolific. There is not a cemetery (or known one) in the Bullard community. Bethel Cemetery in Grimes County is not far from Bullard as the crow flies and contains Bullard graves dated from 1880-1967. Madison County cemetery records show 42 Bullards, by birth or marriage, mostly in Madisonville City Cemetery and starting with one Bullard buried here in 1908. Bullard blood runs in the veins of many local residents today, including mine.
Madison County Museum, at 201 N. Madison St., Madisonville, TX, is open to the public Wednesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Museum curator Jane Day Reynolds welcomes your visits. Memorials or donations may be mailed to the Museum at P.O. Box 60.