Celebrating William and Sarah Wells Bull

Jul 26 2019 | 06:00 AM

At 16 years old, indentured servant Sarah Wells traveled up the Hudson River from Manhattan in a single-mast sloop with three Munsee Indian men and three hired carpenters to settle in the wilderness frontier of Goshen in 1712.
William Bull was a young European immigrant when he arrived in Manhattan aboard a sailing ship in 1715. He traveled to Orange County as a hired stone mason for the merchant - and by some reports, a pirate - Daniel Crommelin.
Knox's Headquarters
In 1718, William and Sarah were married in the town of Goshen and became one of Orange County’s first American families.
William Bull built many stone houses throughout his life around Orange County, including what is now called Knox’s Headquarters in Vails Gate. That stone house is a New York State tourist attraction because it was used by General Knox during the American Revolution.
Sarah Wells Bull, who began her life as a British subject in the colonies, lived to age 100 years and 15 days and died in 1796 as an American citizen. She lived most of her life in the Bull Stone House in Campbell Hall, just off the Sarah Wells Trail.
She led a remarkable life as an independent and hearty pioneer woman who still inspires awe in people today.
The 152nd reunion
This year, on Saturday, Aug. 3, hundreds of descendants of this intrepid and pioneering couple will gather at the fieldstone homestead built by William and Sarah, to reunite for the 152nd time. The reunion is the second longest, unbroken annual family reunion in the country.
“When I think about how many thousands of ancestors before me have gathered in honor of our incredible progenitors, I am amazed and thankful to be a part of this rich legacy,” said Lyle Shute, president of the William Bull and Sarah Wells Stone House Association and a ninth generation descendant. “I look forward to seeing cousins from distant places and reconnecting again.”
The Bull descendants have been gathering every summer for more than a century, and for the last 98 years at the Bull Stone House, which is the original home built by William Bull and Sarah Wells in the early 1700s.
In 1920, the family incorporated and bought the home and acres of farmland from the last descendant to own the property individually.
13 generations, 20,000 descendents alive today
Descendants, who now are up to 13 generations removed from William and Sarah, will come from all over the country and Canada to celebrate their common heritage and the original couple’s 12 children.
There are more than 20,000 descendants of the couple alive today.