Tuesday, September 27, 2011


Bullamore Bros. General Store and Post Office in the "village" of Somers, Wisconsin
c. 1937
Photo Courtesy of Kenosha County Historical Society, Kenosha, Wisconsin

Bullamore Bros. General Store in the "village" of Somers, Wisconsin
c, 1905
Photo Courtesy of Kenosha County Historical Society, Kenosha, Wisconsin

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James H. Bullamore
c. 1890-1940
Photo Courtesy of Kenosha County Historical Society, Kenosha, Wisconsin
Photo Contributor Milwaukee Sentinel

"James H. Bullamore and his brother, Albert E. Bullamore, were proprietors of the general store in the town of Somers for almost fifty years, from 1890 to 1940.  The brothers devised a homemade burglar alarm system in 1925 to protect the store from theft.  The system was quite efficient; the brothers caught seven burglars and shot and killed the eighth.  Albert was Postmaster of Somers; the brother retired from the general store business in 1940."

Learn more about the Bullamore brothers!
There is a reason why the stories are still told by old-time locals about these two fellows.
Read and enjoy.
(Source: Racine Journal Times publication August 3, 1940)

"The Bullamore brothers, owners of one of the last country general stores in this area, are retiring from business.   And burglars all over the land will draw a sigh of relief, for the brothers have captured nine men who have tried to rob their store in the past 15 years.
Success in burglar-nabbing is due to the efficiency of the Bullamore home-made burglar alarm, connected by wires with the Bullamore home. As soon as the alarm sounds in James’ room, both brothers leap out of bed and grab their guns. A flip of a switch on the side of the house floods the store with light.
Three years ago James shot and killed an intruder who ignored a command to halt. One other burglar was a victim of James’ marksmanship, and, although critically injured, the man survived and was sent to Waupun. Only one thief has escaped the Bullamores, while eight others have been captured and sent to prison. Their most recent capture was on June 26 of this year, when the brothers caught a man leaving the rear of the store after the alarm sounded. Not a shot was fired.
Frequent raids on the Bullamore store is explained by the fact that the building is near a railroad line and offers a tempting mark for transients who ride the rods or occupy side door Pullmans.
James H. Bullamore and Alfred E. Bullamore have owned their store in Somers for nearly 41 years, and now, primarily because of failing health, are selling out. Clearing out of stock began on May 1 of this year, and will continue, they say, until there is nothing left to sell.
The Bullamore store was begun over 50 years ago in Winthrop, Illinois. James Bullamore and a partner named Truesdale owned a concern called “Truesdale and Bullamore” a concern which soon was moved to Spring Bluff, Illinois, where it stayed for 10 years. Then James moved to Somers and joined his brother in establishing the present store.
The store itself is typical of the mercantile establishment once found in very small town and rural community. Pitchforks and straw hats vie for space on the counters with copper rivets and cans of peas. Several of the top shelves are empty now, and the long table running down the center of the store carries less merchandise than ever before.
In addition to his duties in the store, Alfred served as Postmaster of Somers. The Post Office is located at the back of the store and will continue in operation, Alfred says, after the store has gone out of business. We have not decided yet, he said, where the Post Office will stay where it is or whether we will remodel the back of the store and use that, but at any rate, I will continue as Postmaster.
During their 40 years as residents of Somers, the Bullamore’s have observed many changes in the community. Most of the old folks who were here when we came are gone now, James said. The community has progressed much as other communities do, finding new and better ways of doing things all the time.
And with that remark, he retired to the Post Office counter to fill out a money-order blank for a customer."

In the News
"Bullamore Bros. are building an addition of 20 feet onto the store.  Benjamin Serry and Henry Howarth are doing the concrete work.  William Lauer will do the carpenter work."
(Source:  Racine Journal, April 28, 1915)
Siver - Bullamore Wedding
"On Wednesday afternoon, October 31, a very pretty home wedding was solemnized at the home of the bride's parents, Mr. and Mrs. J.R. Siver of Racine, when their daughter, Miss Lottie Siver, was united in marriage to James H. Bullamore of this village.  The Rev. George Mitchel of Chicago, the bride's uncle officiating.  About seventy-five friends and relatives of the contracting parties were present.  After the hearty congratulations of their friends and a dainty wedding feast, the happy couple departed south for a brief wedding trip.  The display of the wedding fits was both beautiful and useful.  The bride is an estimable young lady and has been a teacher in northern Illinois a number of years.  The groom is a young man of  quality and conducts a store of general merchandise in our village.  Mr. and Mrs. Bullamore will make their home in the village."
(Source:  Racine Daily Nov 7, 1900)

Miss Clara S. Bullamore marriage to Edward E. Pearson
"A very pretty home wedding was that of Miss Clara S. Bullamore to Mr. Edward E. Pearson of Winthrop Harbor, Illinois, on Thursday evening August 30, at the home of the bride's father in this village.
Rev. E.D. Kohlstat officiated.  Only the immediate friends of the bride and groom were present.  The house was beautifully decorated.  The display of wedding presents was both costly and beautiful.  The bride has been a successful teacher in the schools of Northern Illinois for some years, and is a sister of the Bullamore Bros. who keep a store in the village.  Mr. and Mrs. Pearson will be at home after Sept 12 at Winthrop Harbor, Illinois.  Mr. James Bullamore of Milwaukee and Mrs. and Mrs. G.A. Truesdell of Winthrop Harbor, Illinois were among the guests who attended the wedding of Miss Bullamore and Mr. Pearson on Thursday evening."
(Source:  Racine Daily September 5, 1900)

Grant Bullamore
Grant Bullamore, who carries on general farming on Section 29, Somers Township, has throughout his entire life been identified with agricultural interests in that locality.  He was born in 1864, in the Township in which he still resides, his parents being William and Susan (Gray) Bullamore, the latter a daughter of James Gray, who was born in Scotland.  The father was born in 1839 in New York state and came west with his parents to Pleasant Prairie Township, Kenosha County.  He married Susan Gray in 1863 and they became the parents of two sons.
Spending his youthful days under the parental roof, Grant Bullamore attended the common schools until seventeen or eighteen years of age and in the summer seasons aided in the work of the home farm.  When his textbooks were put aside he concentrated his efforts on the farm work, to which he has since devoted his energies.  He is busily engaged in the further development and cultivation of the farm, his efforts resulting in the harvesting of food crops.  He displays energy and determination in all that he undertakes and his activities result in success.  The improvements upon the place have been largely put there by him and the farm now presents a most neat and attractive largely put there by him and the farm now presents a most neat and attractive appearance, indicating the careful supervision of a practical and progressive owner.
Mr. Bullamore married Miss Clara Barter, and to them have been born three children; Will, Evelyn, and Everett.  The family are well known in Somers Township where Mr. Bullamore has now resided for more than a half century.
(Source:  The City and County of Kenosha Wisconsin Vol II Chicago S.J. Clarke Publishing Cop 1916)

Partial 1899 Map of Somers Township
Bullamore Parcels

Bullamore - Roddle

Mary Ann Roddle Bullamore (Mrs. James Bullamore)
(Source:  Original photo courtesy of Robert Swartz)
(Note:  James Bullamore is the great-great grandfather of Robert Swartz.)
(Note:  Oren Bullamore (see photo below) is the great grandfather of Robert Swartz.)

Mrs. Mary A. (Roddle) Bullamore, born in Lincolnshire, England in 1813,  was descended from Anna Marie "Mary" H. (1796-1884) Roddle and Stephen Roddle (1798-1873), an Englishman, who was the overseer of a big farm in England. In 1838 he crossed the Atlantic, settled in Utica, New York, until 1843, and then went West to Wisconsin.  After a few years in Pleasant Prairie Township he moved to McGatt's Corners in Racine County, from which place he again moved to Sparta, Wisconsin where he died well advanced in years.  His wife, Ann Roddle, bore him a large family and lived to the age of eighty-eight.
Mary A. Roddle Bullamore died December 9, 1889 in Kenosha County, the mother of five sons and two daughters.  Those who survived are:  Ellen, widow of Newcomb Waldo of Bristol Township, Kenosha County; Maria, Mrs. Moses Johnson, of the same Township; Charles A., of Cass County, N. Dakota; and Henry L.

(Note:  Stephen Roddle and Anna Marie "Mary" H. were married June 28, 1814 in March, Cambridge, England.  Stephen and Anna Marie "Mary" died in Sparta, Monroe County, Wisconsin.    More information is available in the "History of Waseca County, Wisconsin" and other family sites on Ancestry.com.)

(Note:  A biography of William Henry Roddle is available:  "History of South Dakota" by Doane Robinson, Vol. II (1904), pages 1469-1470.  William Henry Roddle was born December 28, 1850 in Kenosha County and was the son of William and Mary Roddle.  It appears this family moved from Wisconsin in 1860.  This may provide additional information for families searching the Roddle name.)
James Bullamore was born in Lincolnshire, England in 1809, son of Henry L. and Mary A. Roddle Bullamore.
Children of James and Mary A. Roddle Bullamore
Ellen B. (1834-1911)
Maria (1837-1915)
William F. (1839-1876)
Orrin (Oren) (1844 - ?)
Charles A. (1849-1928)
Henry L. (1855-1943)
Unknown (The Kenosha County 1906 Commenorative Biographical Record for Bullamore states that Mary and James had five boys and two daughters.  The 5th boy is unknown).

James Bullamore
by Robert Swartz, Feb. 2, 2012

James was the first Bullamore in our family to come to America. His tombstone records that he was born November 2, 1808 and he died July 24, 1886. A biography of his son, Henry (Beers, J.H. Co., 1906), indicates that James was from Lincolnshire, England. As stated in the discussion of John and Catherine Bullamore, their son James, was recorded as having been born on Nov. 3, 1809, in Cambridgeshire. I believe that the James who was my ancestor was the same as the one who was listed as the son of John and Catherine. There is no proof, however the similarity of the birth dates is remarkable and I think there is evidence that the birth date listed on the tombstone of James is wrong.
The problem of Cambridge versus Lincoln is not a great one. The two counties are adjacent. Many Americans are born in one place and move to another. It is even possible to be born in one place and live in another, without really moving. Another possible explanation deals with the accuracy of the information relating to our James Bullamore. As stated above, his tombstone indicates that he was born on November 2, 1808 and the information on the Cambridgeshire James indicates that he was born one year and one day later. Beers (1906) also indicated that James was born in 1809, not 1808. In the 1850 Federal census, our James listed has age as 40. He was listed as 50 and 60 on the two subsequent censuses. This suggests that he was born in 1809, rather than 1808. If he were born in November, 1808, he would have been 41 years old when the 1850 census was taken. If the information about when he was born was slightly inaccurate, it would be equally possible that information about where he was born could also be wrong.

James Bullamore came to America in 1835. Beers (1906) indicated that the parents of James died "...when quite young, leaving a number of children." This article indicates that James spent his first seven years in America at Utica, N.Y. The residence in Utica has never been confirmed but, according to the 1840 Federal census, there was a James Bullamore living in Seneca Falls, Seneca County, N.Y. The 1840 census did not list the names of anyone except the head of the household. Other members of a family were categorized by gender and age groupings. The gender and age characteristics of the Seneca Falls James Bullamore family perfectly matches the gender and age characteristics of our James Bullamore family, living in Wisconsin later.

1840 Federal Census of Seneca Falls, NY
1850 Federal Census of Paris Township, Kenosha, WI
James Bullamore Household     
Male - b. 1800-1810 James Bullamore - b. 1810
Male - b. 1835-1840 William - b. 1839
Female - b. 1810-1820 Mary Ann - b. 1814
Female - b. 1830-1835 Ellen - b. 1834
Female - b. 1835-1840 Maria - b. 1836
An article about Moses Johnson (Portrait and Biographical Record, 1892) contains some information about his father-in-law, James Bullamore. It indicates that he was one of the early settlers of Cayuga County, N.Y. The Cayuga County boundary is within about five miles of Seneca Falls, in Seneca County, N.Y.

Beers (1908) indicated that James moved to Wisconsin in 1842 and spent several years in Pleasant Prairie Township. The History of Racine and Kenosha Counties (1879) included an item about James' son, Charles A. Bullamore. It said, "...his father having located in Kenosha County, town of Somers in 1844 and engaged in farming."

He is listed in the 1860 federal census of the Town of Paris, Kenosha County. He was listed as a farmer. His wife and four children were living with him. In the 1870 census his wife and only his son, Henry, were living with him.

The first known purchase of land by James Bullamore was recorded on Feb. 9, 1852, when he purchased 110 acres in Section 23 of Paris Township from Flavel Blackman. There is another document that relates to this transaction that is dated Sept. 10, 1852. I think it may constitute a quit-claim deed. It states:
 "Know all men by these presents that I William Blackman of the County of Kenosha in the State of Wisconsin, am held an firmly bound unto James Bullamore of the same place, in the sum of One Hundred dollars, to be paid to said Bullamore his executors, administrators or assigns, to which payment well and truly to be made. I bind myself my heirs executors and administrators, firmly by these present. Sealed with my seal, Dated this tenth day of September 1852.

Whereas my Son Flavel Blackman is about to sell and convey to said Bullamore in fee simple, by deed bearing date Feb. 9th 1852 the following tract of land to wit: [a legal description of the land] And whereas said land has been sold on account of the taxes not having been paid upon the same and a conveyance thereof has been made by the authority of the county of Racine: and whereas said Bullamore is afraid that said last mentioned sale and conveyance may affect his title - in case he should purchase the same from said Flavel: Now I hereby agree to indemnify and save harmless said Bullamore against said last mentioned sale and conveyance and all costs expenses which he may incur in defending the title of said land against the same:"
 On October 14, 1853, he registered the purchase of 40 acres from Ephraim Perkins in the same section. On October 30, 1860, he bought 80 acres from John Le Poidevin in Somers Township. This was his first purchase outside Paris Township and signaled his eventual total move to Somers.

On January 24, 1866, he purchased 80 acres from Samuel Devereaux. This land is in Section 2 of Somers and is not near the land he bought from Le Poidevin. It is located at what is now the intersection of Highway 31 (Green Bay Road) and Kenosha County KR (County Line Road). This purchase is puzzling because there was no known family tradition of Bullamore ownership in that area. It is also puzzling because the record indicates that it was 80 acres but the boundary description does not seem to describe an area that large. Also, James bought the land in 1866 but, in the 1861 plat mat, Devereaux is not shown as being the owner and the property lines don't match with the James Bullamore purchase. James is not shown as the owner of the land on the 1873 plat map. More research is necessary about this purchase.

On March 15, 1865, James purchased the land that would be considered the home farm for the next 100 years. He bought 469 acres from Joseph Newman in Sections 30 and 31 in the Town of Somers. The record isn't real clear, but it would appear that James made another land purchase in Paris Township on March 16, 1874. On July 25, 1878, a man named Daniel Head signed a warrantee deed selling 200 acres in Sections 14 and 15, of Paris Township, to James' son, Henry. On the deed there is reference to, "...a land contract made to James Bulamore March 16th A.D. 1874 and by his request..." On April 12, 1879, James signed a quit claim deed to Henry, for one dollar, for the same property. It would appear that perhaps James bought the land in 1874, Henry took over the contract in 1878, and James signed the quit claim, to give Henry clear title, in 1879. If this interpretation is correct, James owned about 900 acres of land in the mid-1870s. Beers (1906) indicated that James owned 900 acres. 
On January 11, 1873, James sold most of his Somers land (244 acres) to his son, Orin. In 1885, it would appear that James and Mary Ann probably disposed of most of the rest of their land. On June 9, 1885, they sold ten acres in Paris Township to Orin, "...in consideration of the sum of one dollar and in further consideration of love and affection...". On the same date, they sold 220 acres to Henry, "...for the sum of $2,900 and a certain bond this day given them and natural love and affection...". James died about a year later, on July 24, 1886. He is still listed as the owner of 40 acres, in Section 20 of the Town of Somers, on the 1887 plat map.

In the 1850 Census of Agriculture, Jame Bullamore was at his Paris farm and is listed as having 80 improved acres and 80 unimproved acres. The cash value of his farm was $2,400. The value of his implements was $80. He had 2 horses, 11 milk cows, 2 oxen and 7 other cattle. He had 5 pigs and the total value of his animals was $525. He produced 800 bu. of wheat, 60 bu. of corn, and 500 bu. of oats. He grew 20 bu. of potatoes and 10 bu. of barley. His cattle produced 800 lbs. of butter and he grew 50 tons of hay. The value of animals slaughtered was $24.
At the time of the 1860 Census of Agriculture, James owned land in both Paris and Somers Townships. I only have information of the Somers farm. At that time, he owned 40 improved acres and 100 unimproved acres. The cash value of the farm was $4,000 and the value of his implements was $200. He had 4 horses, 10 milk cows, 2 oxen, 15 other cattle, 2 sheep and 8 pigs. The value of his livestock was $600. In 1859, he produced 480 bu. of wheat, 200 bu. of corn, 150 bu. of oats and 80 bu. of barley. He also produced 60 bu. of potatoes, 46 tons of hay and 1,100 lbs. of butter. While it may seem humble, by today's standards, it was a fairly prosperous farm. In 1860, it was the most valuable of the six family farms, in my various family lines, that I have researched.
In the 1870 Census of Agriculture, the value of James' Somers farm had increased to $10,750. He now had 230 acres of improved land and only 8 acres were unimproved. He also paid-out $800 in wages in 1869. He still had only 4 horses but he now had 20 milk cows. He had 6 pigs and the value of his livestock was $1,381. He produced 400 bu. of wheat, 300 bu. of corn and 145 bu. of barley. He produced 100 bu. of potatoes, 80 tons of hay and 2,400 lbs. of butter. The value of animals slaughtered was $415 and the total value of all farm produce was $2,004.
He was listed in the 1875 Kenosha County Directory on page 223 of the Town of Paris. He was listed as a farmer who owned 430 acres in Section 23.

An obituary in the Kenosha Telegraph (7-30-1886), said, "Bristol - on Monday the bell on the Plank Road Church gave us notice of the death of Mr. Bullamore Sr. A rather sad affair but expected. The funeral took place on Tuesday. Religious services at the house of Rev. E. Savage."

James Bullamore
(Source:  National Archives, U.S. National Homes for the Disabled Vol. Soldiers 1866-1938)
Wood VA Home/Hospital Milwaukee
Admitted at age 65.  Information provided by nephew, James H. Bullamore, Somers, Wisconsin
Click on image for larger view.

Henry Bullamore Passport Application including photo.
Click on image for larger view.

Ellen Bullamore Waldo, daughter of James and Mary Ann Roddle Bullamore, (1834-1911)
Married Royal Newcomb Waldo January 1, 1856 in Paris Township, Kenosha County
(Source:  Photo and Information Spitzer-Powell family Tree at Ancestry.com)

Oren Steven Bullamore
Great-grandfather of Robert Swartz
(Source:  Original photo courtesy of Robert Swartz)

Oren Steven Bullamore
by Robert Swartz, Feb. 2, 2012
The History of Racine and Kenosha Counties (1879) indicates that he was born in Wisconsin in 1844, the same year that his father came to Wisconsin from New York. He was married in 1873 to Annie Gray, in Bristol. It says he owned 248 acres of land.

I have his marriage certificate which identified him as Oren Bullamore of Somers and his wife as Anna W. Gray, of Bristol. It is dated June 5, 1873, and was witnessed by Lizzie Gray and Henry Bullamore. The clergyman was Rev. Thomas Gillespie, of Bristol.

In the 1850 and 1860 federal censuses, he was living in the home of his parents. In the 1870 federal census, he was listed as living with his brother, William. He was not listed as owning any real estate, but he had personal property listed as worth $330. In the 1880 population census, he was listed in the Town of Somers. His wife and two children were living with him. There also was a 20 year old woman named Lillie Roddle listed as a boarder. This may have been a relative, possibly a cousin, since his mother was a Roddle. Four other workers were also listed in the household.

In the 1880 Agricultural Census, he is listed as the owner of 244 acres of tilled land, 213 acres of permanent pasture and 4 acres of woodland. the value of his farm was $12,250, which was the third most valuable of the ten various family farms that I researched in the 1880 census. His implements and machinery were worth $350 and his livestock was worth $3,675. This was easily the highest livestock value, with his sister-in-law, Susan Bullamore, being second with animals worth $2,500. He spent $100 on fence-building in 1879 and paid $500 in wages. The estimated value of all farm production was $4,000. In 1879, he mowed 100 acres of grassland and had 120 acres not mown. He cut 100 tons of hay. He had 8 horses on hand on June 1, 1880. He had 8 milk cows and 45 other cattle. Most other farms only averaged around 10 "other cattle". He had 10 calves dropped in 1879 and sold one live, sold two slaughtered and one died. He made 700 lbs. of butter. He had 375 sheep and shearing fleeces, with a weight of 375 lbs. He had 90 lambs dropped, purchased 50 and sold 80. He had 29 pigs and 80 chickens. His chickens produced 200 dozen eggs. He had 16 acres of corn which produced 1,000 bu. He had 11 acres of oats that produced 650 bu. He had three-quarters of an acre of potatoes that produced 40 bu. He had 3 acres of apples with 140 bearing trees producing 100 bu. He produced 18 lbs. of honey.

I have a letter that he sent to his family. The date is not fully legible, but it is September 11 and the year may be 1879. It reads:

St. Paul
Sept. 11 ___
Dear Wife and Children
We got to St. Paul this morning 7:45. The State Fair was held here so we took that in today. it was fairly good. Had quite a view of the city. Will start for Tower city 4:15 this afternoon. We bought our ticket by the way of Portland San Francisco Ogden Salt Lake Denver Kansas City St. Lewis. Went to Will Packmans to dinner. In the afternoon we went out to the Stockyards. Went to Wills to supper. Have you heard from Gamble. I did not see him. he did not come in on the train that day. It is raining here now. It is most train time now. Will close with love to all.
O.S. Bullamore.
Saw A. Benedict at the fair with his Swine and Dog.
The reference to "Tower City" suggests that he was going to North Dakota to visit his brother, Charles.
I also have a small leather account book that belonged to him. It has various expenses listed in it and dates run from about 1868 to around 1879. It includes some records of men who did work for him and appears to list expenses that were held out of their pay for expenses. It also appears that his brother William sometimes grazed livestock on Oren's land and there is an accounting of that. One interesting aspect of the book is that fact that he seems to have used the spelling, "Bullamore". I also have a small (3" x 4 1/2") leather-bound Bible. It is identified as, "The English Version of the Polyglott Bible". It was published in 1848 by George and Charles Merriam. Inside, it is inscribed, "Orin Bullamore Presented to him by his sister M. B." This would be from his sister, Maria. I have a large document which is, in effect, a marriage certificate. It is perhaps not the official certificate but one that someone might frame and hang on a wall, as it is somewhat decorative.
In the 1880 census, they had boarding with them , as a servant, a 20 year old woman named Lillie Roddle. Oren's mother was a Roddle, so it is likely that Lillie was a cousin. I am nearly certain that Lillie was Oren's cousin. It is interesting that Lillie's father was born in England, as would be expected if she were a cousin, but her mother was born in Canada. This is a perfect match for the daughter of James and Katherine (Eastwood) Roddle, named Lillie (Roddle) Goff, who was living at Tomah, WI, in 1942. 

Royal Newcomb Waldo
Married Ellen Bullamore January 1, 1856
(Note:  Substantial information about the Waldo family can be found in a Google search for
Record of Descendants of Cornelius Waldo of Ipswich, Mass.  See pages 737-738 for this family.)
(Source:  Photo courtesy of Spitzer-Powell Family Tree on Ancestry.com)


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