William Bull, Jr.

Lt. Governor & Acting Governor of South Carolina Province 1760-1761, 1764-1766, 1768, 1769-1771, and 1773-1775

In 1759, William Bull, Jr. was appointed Lieutenant Governor of South Carolina. When Governor William Henry Lyttelton accepted the governorship of Jamaica and set sail on April 4, 1760, Lt. Gov. William Bull, Jr. took the reins of the government in Charles Town until the arrival of Governor Thomas Boone on December 22, 1761.

In May of 1764, Governor Thomas Boone sailed for London, and Lt. Governor William Bull, Jr. again took the reins of the government in Charles Town until Governor Lord Charles Greville Montagu arrived on June 17, 1766.

On May 23, 1768, Governor Lord Charles Greville Montagu traveled to Philadelphia and Boston. Lt. Governor William Bull, Jr. ran the South Carolina government from that date until October 30, 1768, when Governor Montagu returned.

On July 29, 1769, Governor Lord Charles Greville Montagu went to England for his health. Lt. Governor William Bull, Jr. ran the South Carolina government from that date until September 15, 1771, when Governor Montagu returned.

On March 11, 1773, Governor Lord Charles Greville Montagu resigned his office and set sail for England. Once again, Lt. Governor William Bull, Jr. took the reins of the South Carolina Government until the arrival of Governor Lord William Campbell on June 18, 1775.

William Bull, Jr., the son of William Bull, was born at Ashley Hall on September 24, 1710. After schooling at home, he was sent to Europe to study under the famous physician, Herman Boerhaave, of Leiden in the Dutch Republic (now, The Netherlands). He was the first American to graduate from there in medicine.

Upon his return to South Carolina, he was appointed a Justice of the Peace, then elected to represent St. Andrew's Parish in the 11th Commons House of Assembly that met from 1736 to 1739; he again represented St. Andrew's Parish in the 12th Commons House of Assembly that met from 1739 to 1742, in which he was elected as Speaker of the House after Charles Pinckney resigned on June 22, 1740; he represented St. John's Berkeley Parish in the 13th Commons House of Assembly that met from 1742 to 1745, in which he was again elected Speaker of the House after Benjamin Whitaker resigned on May 23, 1744; he represented Prince William's Parish in the 14th Commons House of Assembly, in which he was again elected Speaker of the House; he again represented St. Andrew's Parish in the 15th Commons House of Assembly, in which he was again elected Speaker of the House, but he resigned on January 27, 1746 due to illness.

He also served as a Captain in James Ogelthorpe's expedition against St. Augustine, an Assistant Judge from 1740 to 1749, commissioner under the Church Act, and Brigadier General of the provincial militia from 1751 to 1759. He was appointed to His Majesty's Council (known locally as the Executive Council) on December 15, 1749, and served on the Executive Council under Governor James Glen and Governor William Henry Lyttelton.

On May 20, 1751, William Bull, Jr. was appointed a commissioner to treat with the Six Nations. Having considerable knowledge of Indian affairs, he strongly advised Governor William Henry Lyttelton against war with the Cherokees, but accompanied him on his expedition.

In 1759, he was appointed Lieutenant Governor, an office he held for sixteen (16) years. On Governor William Henry Lyttelton's departure, he took the reins of government on April 16, 1760. After organizing his military forces he checked the incursions of the Cherokees and forced them into submission. He led the government until December 22, 1761, when Governor Thomas Boone arrived.

A staunch supporter of the Crown, his position was quite difficult at times, but he adhered to the line of duty so strictly that he was honored and admired by all classes. After the American Revolution, his name was excluded from the Confiscation Act. He left South Carolina in December of 1782 along with the British Army, and spent the remainder of his life in voluntary exile from his beloved South Carolina.

William Bull, Jr. was married on August 17, 1748 to Hannah, daughter of Othneal Beal. They had no children. He died in London on July 4, 1791.

Increasing numbers of Scots-Irish from the north arrived in the upcountry of South Carolina between 1750-1760, with the peak around 1755. New lands had opened up in 1753 when Governor James Glen made a treaty with the Cherokee Indians for the purchase of Indian lands. When Lt. Governor William Bull, Jr. took over the reins of government in 1760, however, the Cherokee were on the warpath. Bull sent some British soldiers and local militia to conquer the Indians who surrendered this northwest portion of South Carolina. This conquered Indian land includes present day South Carolina counties of Edgefield, Abbeville, Laurens, Newberry, Union, and Spartanburg. It became known as the Ninety-Six District.
In 1760, William Henry Lyttelton was made Governor of Jamaica, and the charge of the colony devolved on William Bull, Jr., a native -- "a man of great integrity and erudition."
In his memoirs, Colonel Wiliam Moultrie tells us: "A little time after we were in possession of Fort Johnson, it was thought necessary to have a flag for the purpose of signals: (as there was no national or state flag at that time) I was desired by the Council of Safety to have one made, upon which, as the state troops were clothed in blue, and the fort was garrisoned by the first and second regiments, who wore a silver crescent on the front of their caps; I had a large blue flag made with a crescent in the dexter corner, to be in uniform with the troops: This was the first American flag which was displayed in South Carolina."

Well, from where did the idea for the silver crescent cap badges come? Looking back to 1760, South Carolina raised a Provincial Regiment as part of a force to quell the Cherokees. Interestingly, the headgear for this regiment was the light infantry cap with a silver crescent badge. That venerated historical scholar, Fitzhugh McMaster, suggests the crescent for the caps came from the coat of arms and seal of Lt. Governor William Bull, Jr., in which a crescent is prominently displayed.

William Bull, Jr. was serving as Acting Governor, and appealed to General Jeffrey Amherst for help in fighting the Cherokee. Amherst sent Lt. Col. James Grant and 1,200 regulars to Charles Town to march against the Cherokee. Governor Bull ordered the formation of a regiment to join them. It was led by Col. Thomas Middleton, Lt. Col. Henry Laurens, Maj. John Moultrie, with William Moultrie a captain, who recruited Francis Marion as a lieutenant. As was custom in those times, this regiment was known as "Middleton's." Also in this campaign, Francis Marion experienced his first combat.

A fort against Indian attacks was built in 1761 in what is present-day Abbeville County, South Carolina. It was called Bull Fort in honor of William Bull, Jr., the Lt. Governor of South Carolina. Lt. Governor Bull made peace with the Indians in 1761 and ended the French and Indian War in South Carolina. Peace brought great expansion and prosperity to the backcountry. Bull Fort was later used as protection against the British and the Tories during the American Revolutionary War. Today it no longer exists.
The cultural ambivalence of outlaws was a common concern for the more industrious backcountry settlers. Rather than practice settled agriculture, many of the bandits were instead part of a marginalised hunting population. A justice of the peace in 1762, for example, placed an advertisement in the Gazette concerning one Samuel McKay who escaped from him while en route to the Charles Town jail. The peace officer called for the recapture of McKay so that he could obtain information about “a gang of Villains who are associated on the borders of this and the North province."

It was reported that McKay was near thirty years old and “follows hunting". A petition by backcountry settlers near the North Carolina border also made the connection between hunters and outlaws. They grieved “that there are Numbers of Idle Vagrant Persons, who follow no other employment than hunting and killing of deer…and after the season of hunting is over Steal cattle, Hogs, and Horses". Lieutenant Governor William Bull, Jr. empathized with the petitioners, noting that those whites who lived by “the wandering indolence of hunting” could “endanger the public peace of our Frontier Settlements” by destabilising Indian-white relations. Governor William Tryon of North Carolina warned Bull more specifically that “such lawless settlers on our frontier I apprehend may soon provoke the Cherokees to commence hostilities."

Dennis Hayes, a backcountry storekeeper, related what these consequences entailed when he informed the Commons House of Assembly a full year after the Regulators disbanded that the “interior parts of this Province has and do still abound with a Number of Villains, who make practice of committing Robberies". A backcountry constable likewise said of the outlaws, “the Country doth abound with such though the Regulators thinned them."

Lieutenant Governor William Bull, Jr. verified these reports during a tour of the backcountry in the summer of 1770. When Bull called the militia together at the Congarees, he remarked that hardly a man showed because of the “apprehension of having their horses stolen away, if they were all absent from home." Indeed, the outlaw gangs were still such a problem that the Lieutenant Governor issued a proclamation against “several persons of notorious ill Fame, have lately molested the Western Settlements of this Province, by going in confederate Gangs, with Fire-Arms, stealing Horses, robbing Houses, and committing other Outrages."

To put a stop to the bandits, Bull offered £20 to those “who shall apprehend, and bring to Gaol, within One Twelve-Month from the Date hereof," all persons who had committed such atrocities.

Minutes of the December 24, 1763 meeting of the Executive Council in Charles Town carry the following:

"His Honor the Lieutenant Governor William Bull informed the Board that he had this morning sent an Express to Patrick Calhoun to desire him to proceed directly to the spot where the Dutch People were to be settled and there to build a large Log House to shield them on there arrival from the Inclemency of the Weather, That he expected Wagons in Town in about Ten days to carry up their baggage, That he should write to Mr. Fairchild the Deputy Surveyor to proceed with them and survey Lands for them and settle them on them immediately, That they might avail themselves of the earliest opportunity in raising there Hutts and there planting there Crops and several of them attending they were Called in when they were sworn to their petitions and also took the Oath of allegiance."

Then the minutes list 56 names and allotments of land from 100 to 400 acres each. The route of the Germans and their baggage wagons to their new home is not given.

The Executive Council minutes for January 31, 1765 note that two Charles Town merchants, William Woodrop and Andrew Cathcart, presented petitions for "bounty" due them "as agents for the Committee in London for the relief of poor German protestants lately arrived."

Named in the minutes are 175 adults and children over 12, bounty of five pounds sterling apiece; 86 children between two and 12 years old, bounty of three pounds sterling each; and 45 names of persons who died either aboard ship or after landing in Charles Town.

A township totaling about 25,000 acres was allotted to the Germans. Its name Londonborough honored the colonists' benefactors. The occasional use of "Londonderry" for the township is incorrect.

Palatines settled Cuffee Town in January of 1765 - Lt. Governor William Bull, Jr. strongly encouraged the Germans to clear their lands and bring in a crop of hemp (what we know today as marijuana, but at that time, its uses were benign) as soon as possible. He provided the seed for that purpose and established a system of appropriately situated agents to distribute the supplies on which the immigrants were to subsist while they waited for their fields to produce. The benevolent committee in London had provided funds for their subsistence, but only until the end of September of 1765.

No doubt the living conditions were extremely difficult and the process of clearing, planting, and cultivating was slow and tedious, but Lt. Governor William Bull, Jr. was nevertheless irritated when Peter Dorst and Henry Adolph appeared before the Executive Council on October 11, 1765, to request relief for their fellow Germans. The flow of supplies had stopped and the Palatines were unable to provide for themselves. But the Lt. Governor was not impressed. He criticized them vehemently for having been so slow in moving onto their land that they had missed out on the best growing season, and sent the two representatives home with nothing more than payment of their travel expenses.

The first public museum in South Carolina – January 1773 - A special committee of the Charles Town Library Society met to discuss the establishment of a museum in Charles Town. Several months later another committee was appointed by Lieutenant Governor William Bull, Jr. (1710-1791) to collect materials for the new Charles Town Museum, which is now located on Meeting Street. 
During the Stamp Act crisis the now venerable fort played its role. The populace of Charles Town was incensed at the arrival in the colony of the offensive stamps. Lt. Governor William Bull, Jr., fearing violence in the streets, sent the hated stamps to Fort Johnson for safekeeping. The colony was outraged by the Stamp Act legislation - legislation which was destined never to be enforced. The garrison at Fort Johnson was strengthened, and there the hated stamps were to remain until Parliament rescinded the Stamp Act.
On December 22, 1773, Robert Dalway Haliday, the Collector of Customs for Charles Town, had the tea shipment seized, unloaded, and stored in the warehouse under the Exchange for non-payment of duties. Since the consignees refused to receive the tea, it became liable to seizure by the Crown after twenty days in port. A second meeting of the citizens on December 17th had resolved that the tea should not be landed, and Captain Curling received several anonymous letters threatening damage to his ship unless it was moved away from the wharf.

When Lieutenant Governor William Bull, Jr. was informed of the threats, he called an emergency meeting of the Executive Council at his home. The sheriff was instructed by the Lieutenant Governor to assist the Collector of Customs if necessary, and to arrest anyone who attempted to obstruct the landing of the tea. Accordingly, the customs officers began moving the chests into the Exchange warehouse at sunrise on December 22nd, and at noon their task was almost finished. The Patriots were taken completely by surprise, but they declared themselves satisfied as long as the unpopular merchandise remained under lock and key.

The tea remained in the Exchange until the government of the province fell into the hands of the Patriots, and it was sold in 1776 to provide funds for defense against the British.

In February of 1774, the Earl of Dartmouth, the king's secretary for American affairs, wrote South Carolina Lt. Governor William Bull, Jr.:

"What passed at Charles Town ... although not equal in criminality to the proceedings in other colonies can yet be considered in no other light than that of a most unwarrantable insult to the authority of this kingdom."

This was about the tea shipment seizure described immediately above.

On the nineteenth of April in 1775, the day when the first blow was struck for liberty at Lexington, the packet ship Swallow arrived at Charles Town, bringing dispatches for the governors of the Southern colonies. Among others was a dispatch for the acting governor of South Carolina, William Bull, Jr. His disputes with the Committee of Safety and the Provincial Congress had risen to a high pitch of acrimony, and the public mind was greatly excited.

Yet all hoped for reconciliation, and few could believe that civil war would actually ensue. The arrival of the Swallow extinguished these hopes, for a secret committee who had been appointed to seize the next mail that should arrive from England, performed their duty well. On opening the dispatches to the governor, it was found that the British ministry had resolved to coerce the colonies into submission.

The royal governors were ordered to seize the arms and ammunition belonging to the several provinces, raise provincial troops, if possible, and prepare to receive an army of British regulars to aid them. Gage and Dunmore, we have seen, acted upon these instructions, but the Patriots of Lexington, Concord, and Williamsburg thwarted them; and the Charles Town Committee of Correspondence, giving those of North Carolina and Georgia timely warning, enabled them to assume an attitude of defense before it was too late. A messenger, with these dispatches, was sent to the Continental Congress, and this was the first intelligence which that body had of the real intentions of the British ministry.

Bull Street in Charleston, South Carolina was named for William Bull, Jr., a native South Carolinian, who was the last to fill the Royal office of Lieutenant Governor of South Carolina.
Given sixty days to leave the colony or suffer imprisonment and perhaps death, Alexander Hewat left his congregation and his property and took passage to Nantes; from there, he went to London. Before leaving Charles Town, Hewat had secured a testimony of his loyalty to the king from James Henderson, moderator of the Presbytery of South Carolina, and upon arrival in London he secured testimonies from Governor Lord William Campbell and from Lieutenant Governor William Bull, Jr. With these testimonies, Hewat secured a temporary Treasury allowance of £100 per year until he could return to Charles Town. He now devoted himself to completing his history, which he published anonymously in 1779.
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