Nancy and John Bullard: North Carolina to Tennessee

In my search for John Bullard’s parents, I came across Nancy and John Bullard who lived in Columbus and Robeson counties in North Carolina and later lived in Cannon and DeKalb counties in Tennessee. Using my grand uncle’s Ancestry DNA test, I discovered we are closely related to this couple. I have created a records timeline to learn more about Nancy and John.

North Carolina 1856 Map: Focus on Bladen, Columbus and Robeson Counties

NC

Timeline

1798 – 1810 – John is born in Robeson County, North Carolina according to the 1850 census. His approximate birth years are compiled from the 1830, 1840, 1850, 1870 and 1880 censuses. My guess is his birth year was 1800.

1803 – 1820 – Nancy is born in Bladen County, North Carolina according to the 1850 census. Her approximate birth years are compiled from the 1830, 1840, 1850, 1870 and 1880 censuses. My guess is her birth year was between 1810 and 1815. People often kept poor record of their age/birthdays. I think she was at least 10 years younger than John based on their early census records. However, it IS possible that Nancy was not his first wife and that this was his second wife. It could explain the age discrepancy. I have not found any reliable source for any marriage records for John.

1820 Census – In Robeson County, North Carolina, John as between the ages of 16 and 25. His neighbors include Lewis Wiggin, Elijhia Stivions, William Beetle, Benjamin Butle, Elias Little, Charles Bullard, Josiah Burnis, Jas Wilcox and Thomas Deen.

1830 Census – In Columbus County, North Carolina, John is listed as between the ages of 20 and 29. He lives with three females. Relationships and marriage status are unclear. Neighbors include James Lee, Mary Williamson, Hambleton Wilborn, Samuel Elkins, John Boyt, Robert Hooks, Neil Shaw, William Wells, Samuel Porter and Andrew Nobles.

Free White Persons – Males – 20 thru 29: 1
Free White Persons – Females – Under 5: 1
Free White Persons – Females – 10 thru 14: 1
Free White Persons – Females – 40 thru 49: 1

1840 Census – In Columbus County, North Carolina, John is listed as between the ages of 30 and 39. He appears to be married with three children. Neighbors include Caswal Halaway, David Ward, Barnabas Batter, Ambrose Bullard, Rebecca Flowers, William Ganns, John Edmond, Hemsted Shepherd, Jordan Hinson and Amos Hinson.

Free White Persons – Males – Under 5: 1
Free White Persons – Males – 30 thru 39: 1 *John
Free White Persons – Females – Under 5: 1
Free White Persons – Females – 5 thru 9: 1
Free White Persons – Females – 20 thru 29: 1 *Wife

1850 Census – This is the first census that names all members of the household. The family is now living in Southern Division, Robeson, North Carolina. We get a clearer picture of John’s family. Neighbors include heads of household Allen Britt, Stephen Bullard, Aldrige Barnes, Caleb Sutton, Elias Barnes, Crisa Bullard, Ephraim Bullard, Sarah Milican, Willis Ivey and Joshua Barnes.

John Bullard 50, laborer, born in Robeson County, North Carolina
Nancy Bullard 45, born in Bladen County, North Carolina
Mary A Bullard 20, born in Columbus County, North Carolina
Alfred Bullard 17, student, born in Robeson County, North Carolina
Beda Bullard 10, student, born in Robeson County, North Carolina
Benjamin Bullard 8, born in Robeson County, North Carolina
William J Bullard 8, born in Robeson County, North Carolina

1860 Census – Family is absent from this record.

1870 Census – John and Nancy have settled in District 9 of Cannon County, Tennessee. Post office is Woodbury.

John Bullard, 71
Nancy Bullard, 65, keeping house

1880 Census – John and Nancy are now living in District 5 of DeKalb County, Tennessee, neighboring county to Cannon. Next door is widowed daughter, Mary Bullard Lawson, and her family.

John Bullard, 82, laborer
Nancy Bullard, 77, keeping house

After 1880 – I haven’t located any records for John and Nancy after 1880.

Children of John and Nancy

Mary A. Catherine Bullard, Abt. 1830–1893
She married Isaac Lawson and moved to DeKalb County, Tennessee by the 1870 census.

Alford/Alfred Bullard, Abt. 1832–1920
He married Maranza Ann Hardin in Robeson County, North Carolina. They settled in Gonzales, Texas by the 1880 census.

Obedience “Beady” Bullard, Abt. 1834–?
Obedience first married Mack Shaw. She married Charles Osbourne second. They resided in Cerro Gordo, Columbus County, North Carolina.

Benjamin Bullard, 1839–1922
Ben married Mary Jane Bullard in Robeson County, North Carolina in 1866. They moved to DeKalb County, Tennessee by 1870. In 1872, they settled in Shelby County, Texas.

William J Bullard, 1842–?
The only record we have of William is the 1850 census. He disappears after that. Could the census taker have made a mistake? Could his name really be Isham and not William?

Theory

  1. My hypothesis is that Nancy’s maiden name was Elkins and her father was Samuel Elkins from Bladen, North Carolina. This is solely based on DNA and their close proximity on the 1830 census.
  2. My other hypothesis is that my third-great-grandfather, John Bullard, was the son of Nancy and John Bullard. This is solely based on DNA. My grand uncle has many HIGH DNA matches to descendants of John and Nancy. I have yet been able to prove this or provide another explanation.

This line is still a work in progress. If you have information, no matter how insignificant it may seem, please email me at downhomegenealogy@gmail.com.

Originally posted Feb. 19, 2020

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