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Stories from my Uncle Don

December 25, 2011

The following piece was written by my uncle, Don Bull, in March 1990.  It was written for his two sons, David and Michael Bull, as a sort of memoir.  Don sent me a copy as it gave some insight into his, as well as my mother’s (Charlotte, his sister) life as they were growing up.  Don, and his wife my aunt D.Zay Bull were some of the best people I’ve ever known.

March, 1990 – David and Micahel:  This is something that I have been going to do for a long time.  I thought it might be a good idea to sit down and write about some of the things that I could remember about my childhood days.

Your grandparents names were George Delano Bull and Alida Alice (Hoffman) Bull.  Both were born in New York State.  My brothers and sisters, (your uncles and aunts) were numerous, from oldest to youngest, Emily; Harriet; Lois; Kenneth; Charlottte; William; Dorothy; Elmer; Dad; Amy; Robert and Mildred.  I had one stepbrother George, on my father side, whom I recall seeing only once.

To the best of my knowledge I was born on Cragin Ave. in Troy.  We moved shortly thereafter to 69 Middleburg St. where I lived until I went into the service. This was a two story house facing on Middleburg St. and the side was like a three story house.  The house sat on a corner, and since Middleburg St. was so steep there weas a basement under our flat.  (A two story house had tw0 flats; if it were a two family house.  A three story house; three flats.  Three stories were common then nad there were several in our neighborhood.  Duplexes were not common then.

We lived on the first floor and the Smiths lived in the second floor.  The basement with the entrance on 9th Street, was a meat market and grocery store.  These were the neighborhood “convenience” stores.  We had to Super Markets, these neighborhood stores served all your food needs, they had telephones, took your over over the phone and delivered if necessary.  You trusted the butcher to cut your meant just line you wanted it.  If you wanted a Pot Roast, say 5 lbs with bone in, trimmed, leaving a little fat, and a piece of suet (to provide a little grease for browning the meat prior to cooking), that is exactly what you got.  If he had a special going on he would tell you.  In the summer he would let you know what fresh vegetables had arrived.  Many people would order a whole weeks groceries over the phone.  The market was first owned by Eddie Cohan and then Joe Harbour.  It was called, what else but Harbours Market.  Here I had my first real job  delivering handbills, stocking the shelves, and bagging potatoes.  Most people bought potatoes by the peck, so each Thursday I would bag about 25 pecks of potatoes.  That is one thing I will never forget, 15 lbs. equals a peck.  Joe also owned the building.  I believe that the house rent was $25 a month.  We had 4 bedrooms living room, dining room, kitchen, bath with tub, a back porch and a fairly large fenced in yard.

Another store that was located in each neighborhood was a so called Candy Store.  These were almost as common as 7-11s.  The sold penny nad nickel candy, soda, ice cream, newspapers, a few groceries, and most had a slot machine or two, and they wrote policy numbers (took gambling best in the numbers).  Within three blocks there were four of these stores.

In the 20’s and early 30’s there was another place, the speakeasy.  I guess they called it that because they didn’t want tyou to speak loud when you were in there.  This was the local bar room.  Most places made their own beer, and hard liquor was made somewhere else and weas called bathtub booze or gin.  I was what you would call a “rum runner” becuase I used to go to a womans house and get a lpint or quart for the saloon down the street.  I actually saw this woman get the stuff out of her bathtub.  How good it was I don’t know, I never had nay of it.  I know it sold for fifteen cents a shot.  The saloon (Obriens) had a candy store in front as a cover.  The might as well have had a clear sheet of plastic (that wasn’t even invented then) between the store and the saloon as everyone knew what was there.  The saloon was right across from the railroad yards and business was very good.  The police knew it was there and they enjoyed the drinks as much as any one else.  A two quart tin bucket with lid was popular in those days.  That was how you got your beer home.  (Six packs were a thing of the future).  As I said brew was made by the owner.  One of my jobs was on the way home from school (7th and 8th grades) was to go to the A & P and buy 25 lbs of sugar and to the bakery and buy a 1 lb cake of yeast.  Jimmy the owner would buy the rest, malt, hops and what ever else was needed to brew the beer.

Another store what was in our area was a cigar manufacturing store.  It was fun to see them mix the coarse tobacco, put it in a form, (looked like a miniture corn bread stick pan) get it together so it formed a preetty good shape then take a nice leaf and roll out a cigar.  Every one was just about the same size.  A good cigar maker could probably make 10 to 15 cigars in a day.  A had made cigar would probably sell for 10 cents or a quarter depending on the quality of tobacco.

A half-a-block away was a good size machine shop.  All ytpes of special tools and small machines were made there.  The thing I rememver best is the horse and wagon they used to haul the coal in for the furnaces.  The horse barn was on 9th St. and when they cleaned out the stalls, the manure went on a big pile right next to the barn.  That was a great place to dig for worms, if they didn’t catch you.  Nice red wigglers.

There were many horse and weagons int eh early thirties.  The rag man would come around each week yelling “any old rags, any ole bottles”.  Back in those das we had returnable bottles, 3 cents for the small soda bottles and 5 cents for the quart size.  He had a scale hangin on the back of his wagon to weigh the rags, paper, scrap metal or whatever he took.  The rag man wasn’t dressed in rags, and he usually turned up as one of the richest men in town.

Two other popular horse drawn wagons was the milkman and the bread man.  Friehofer Baker which is at 125th St. In Lansingburgh had many horse drawn wagons.  Although Kellers Bakery was just a couple of blocks from our house, we had bread delivered every morning by Friehofers.  They make a great rye bread and bake goods, especially their “hot cross buns”.  They were a specialty during Lent.  Every Wednesday your Grandmother would order a dozen.  That was a treat for us. A store brought sweet roll.

Another treat for us was to go down to Kellers Bakery on a Saturday morning and get 10 or 15 cents worth of yesterdays or maybe een the day brfores so called “day old buns”.  You never were sure of what you would get.  Maybe a half dozen donuts, sweet rolls, coffee cake, sticky buns or maybe even  a pecan roll.  Since this was during the depression, Bus or Guy Keller the owners, nkew that you didn’t have much money, and since the bakery was only open till noon on Saturday they would start to clan out their cases.  Gus was the best giver.  It wasn’t anything to come home with a 10 to 15 lbs. bag of goodies.  Most if it was a day old as they didn’t back on Saturday.  The delivered bread and cakes like Friehofers but mainly to retail outlets.  The bakery for pastries was across the street from the main bakery.

On Sunday afternoon Kellers would start to bake for Mondays delivery.  The bakery would et up an area where you could buy fresh from the oven bread.  This made great fresh sandwiches.  I or maybe my brother Elmer and I would go down to get bread for supper and sandwiches for school lunch, and since we knew most of the bakers they would let us come in a and watch them. A lot of the work was mechanical and a lot was done by hand, sucha as measuring out the ingredients, dumping the loaves from the bread pans, greasing the pans, putting the dough into the bread pans, checking every now and then to see that the machine put the right weight, putting the pans of bread into the warming oven to rise, putting the racks into the ovens, pulling the racks out of the ovens so the bread could cool, dumping the bread out and putting the loaves on a conveyor belt to go into the slicer and wrapping machine, then putting the wrapped loaves into the delivery boxes.  the ovens were hand fired and burned coke.  With no TV to watch that was a good evenings entertainment.

Our kitchen stove was a monsterous big iron stove with a fire box on the left and  a big oven on the right, above and all across the op were warming ovens.  The main oven was either warmed by the fire box or by as.  In the winter my mom would use the fire box to heat the oven as the stove was our main source of heat in the kitchen and it was burning all the time.  Behind the stove stood a hot water tank and the firebox had a tank in it and that was how the water was heated.  The stove was hooked up to the cold water supply and to the tank.  On the right side of the stove were four gas gurners (natural), and over the firebox there was a flat surface with two round lids which could have been used as a griddle.  Having a stove like that meant that you burned wood or coal or coke (not the sniffing type). And burning those things meant you bought the fuel or got it by other means.  Wood was no big problem, we burnet any type that we could scrounge and very seldom did we find logs like we burn in today’s stoves.  As for coal, my mother could turn any and all types.  Te grates in the stove were rather close together so the coal would not fall thru.  The ideal coal size was “chestnut” which about the size of chestnuts.  When we had the money or when the city welfare would give us coal, we would get chestnut.  It was long burning and very hard.  Tow other hard coals were “pea” the size of lima beans, and “stove” about the size of tennis balls.  These two along with “soft coal” usually large chunks but as the name indicates were gotten from the “coal yard” at the foot of Middleburg St.  There were several factories in the near area and all had coal fired furnaces, each of them burning a different variety.  The coal would come into the yard in the same type of coal cars you see today.  Most of the factories had their own trucks so it usually took two or three days to unload a car. Before we boys went to school we had to see to it that Mom had enough coal for the day.  Sometimes we would go down to the yard at night and get a coal bag, a box, or a home made wagon full of coal.  So you were never sure what type you were going to get.  If there weren’t any cars there you would to up to where they would load the trains and you would get soft coal.  There was a round house and railroad yard down at Middleburg and 8th St. (that was also where the saloon was.)  If there was some around where they loaded the rains you then went over to the back of Kellers Bakery and stole and I mean stole coke.  I think they knew that we were doing it, but since we were not stealing a truck load they never chased us or caught us.  In any case it was stealing from both places as we were trespassing each time.  As you can see, we had to be pretty versatile and prepared to burn whatever was on hand.  Of course burning coal and wood meant another job.  Taking out the ashes each day.  What a messy job.  In the winer time we would scatter the ashes on the snow on Middleburg St. so the cars could make it up the hill.  A favorite pastime was to watch the cars slide down the hill.

In Lansingburgh there was the Fro-Joy Ice Cream CO. and since they needed cream to make a rich ice cream it had to be shipped in.  There were no tankers to haul it like there is now, it was shipped in 20 gallon cans (like the one you painted David).  About every two weeks a railroad car would come into the yards at the bottom of the hill.  We new it was loaded with cream because the cars drain outlets would be dripping water.  The cars were not mechanically refrigerated and they packed the cans in ice.  The news that a cream car wan in travelled fast and all the neighborhood kept an eye open for them to start to unload the cans.  The creamery was not interested in the ice, and when they unloaded the car the ice was thrown on the ground.  Then all the kids and adults would come with wagons, wheelbarrows, boxes of what every you could carry ice in and get as much as you could carry.  There were not many refrigerators then and most people had ice boxes.  I had a make shift wagon, I don’t recall if it was an orange crate to not but it would hold a lot if ice.  It was quite a job to pull the wagon up the hill.  After I filled out ice box I would then go and sell what was left to the neighbors.  On a good day I could make a dollar.

Since we lived in a rather congested neighborhood there were not too many people that had gardens.  A few people had grape vines, apple tress, cherry and pear trees.  As the fruit would get ripe, the kids including myself would try to steal it.  Most of the time the people would chase us out, and nobody would call the police.  Right across the street from us was a vacent lot and on that lot were several pear trees.  They weren’t as much fun to get as nobody chased you out.

We did have a policeman that lived in the area, but since everyone knew him, he never bothered anyone.  The only think I remember him doing was directing traffic at the intersection of Hoosick Street and 5th Ave.  That was a major intersectionand there was no traffic light.  The Palace Theater was on one corner and that was usually our destination on Saturday afternoon.  For 10 cents, you would see a main feature, newsreel, cartoon and the big drawing attraction, the current chapter of the suspense serial.  Usually the serial had 10 or 12 chapters and it was a shame if you missed one.  We would hiss and boo the bad guys and cheer and clap for the good guys.  Popcorn was  nickel a bag.  Candy was also a nickel and you bought something that would last through the show.  A cowboy or a murder mystery would draw the biggest crowd.

I remember the street gangs.  They were a rowdy bunch mostly doing devilish tricks.  The didn’t carry guns or clubs or such, just groups having fun like tipping over garbage cans, or running up and ringing door bells, etc.  The most damaging times came at election time.  That was a night to hold a bonfire.  We would start a couple of weeks before election to start to gather stuff to burn.  Anything we could haul we would start to stock pile.  Sometimes we raided rival gangs piles and if they showed up a good fight would occur, or else you dropped what you had and ran like hell.  Many times we would end up putting all the loot together and have a gigantic fire.  Usually the spot for the fire was a vacant lot and the police or fire department would not bother us, unless there was a possibility of the fire spreading.  It was quite a night for the fire department because all over town there would be fires.  Just imagine a stack of boxes, woods, railroad ties, fences (yes sometimes we would tear down fences) and anything we could get, piled 15 to 20 feet high burning.  That made quite a fire.  Sometimes they would even do it in the street and that is when the fire department would come.  Many of the streets were cobblestone or some type of brick, so a fire usually didn’t hurt them too bad.  Most of the gangs consisted of kids in the same age bracket.  13 thru 15; 16 thru 18, etc.  so you can see there were quite a few gangs.  There were the 9th streeters; the 10th streeters, etc., each maybe ten or twelve kids.  They were strictly neighborhood gangs, schoolmates.

I sang in the men and boys choir at St. Barnabas Episcopal Church.  It was a paid choir and I started out at 75 cents a month.  Now when you got 75 cents all at once you were rich.  On Christmas Eve we boys couldn’t wait until the service was over because we knew that in the choir room there would be a box of Finger Horns pastry waiting for us. This is the pastry light and fluffy filled with real whipped cream.  There were sent to us by Father Merns the Catholic priest at St. Patricks Church just up the street.  I think it was his way of saying Merry Christmas.

After signing in church on Sunday I would go up to Grace Methodist Church for Sunday School and then in the evening for the youth group.  The Episcopal church didn’t have a youth group.  In the winter the YMCA had a church basketball league and Grace Church always had a team.  We never won but it was fun.  I remember one year on the very first play of the very first game, I tried to stop a fellow from making a basket, fell flat on the floor and broke my left arm.  That was the end of my basketball for that year.

I guess at the outset of my school years I was pretty smart. I skipped half of fifth and half of sixth grade.  I can vaguely remember that it was rather difficult the first few weeks in the sixth grade but I finally caught up.  I remember I was an excellent speller, but that sure has changed now.  After sixth grade at School No. 2 (that was all they taught there( I went to School No. 1.  We were taught the usual subjests; English; Math; History; Geography; Civics; (the study of gov’t) Music; Penmanship; and once a week Shop (Woodworking), and the girls were taught Home Economics (Sewing, Cooking, etc)  This was also where we first started to change rooms and have different teachers for each subject.  I graduated from Grammar School when I was 12 years old.

High School was loads of fun, and that is where I made the mistake, that I didn’t take it seriously enough.  I took then the Commercial course, since I new that we did not have enough money for college, and in those days only the very smartest ones were considered for college.  They the time I graduated I realized that college was for any one who had the grades.  If I had done well with the commercial courses I could have gone to college.  In New York the final exams for all courses, both in Grammar School and High School were prepared by the Board of Regents and everyone throughout the state took the same exam.  That way the questions were the same degree of difficulty for each student.  It took me 5 years to graduate High School, but I did in 1939.

I consider myself very lucky for the opportunities that I had while growing up.  The Kiawanis Club sponsored a Boys Club, called the Junior Builders, and they gave us a membership to the YMCA.  Each summer they would sent us to the “Y” camp for two weeks.  I really enjoyed that and the only think I am sorry for is that I did not learn to swim.  I just had the fear of the water.  I was not afraid to go out in a canoe or a boat, but just to go into the water.  I was always interested in cooking and in the kitchen and one year I got the opportunity to stay and work in the kitchen until the end of the season.  The chef and I got along real well and he asked me to work in the kitchen at the “Y”.  They always had two or three dinners a month.  I had to help set the tables, clean them, do things as help make the salads, peel potatoes or anything else to get the meal ready, but the main thing was to help wash dishes and pots and pans.  I think I was paid 25 cents an hour, and usually make a couple of dollars.  I also got my supper and many times took some of the leftoevers home.  the next year I was aksed to work all season at the camp.  The pay was room and board.  This gave me all summer out in the open.  I worked at that until I graduated from Hight School.  David, one fo the things I really enjoyed the most was when we took at three day trip to Mt. Greylock and hided the mountain.  I think we ended up in Vt.  This was the highlight of the summer.  A week at summer camp ran $25.00 so you can see this was great even through I didn’t get paid.

Haloween was a great time.  The city always had a big parade and gave prizes for the best, funniest, horrible, scariest, craziest, etc. costumes, floats and what have you.  Only a very few had store boughten costuems as there just weren’t any in those days.  I was a big event in town.

My first year of High School I sang in the Choral Group and I sang soprano.  I was just going on 13 and my voice had not yet changed, and by the second year I could sing a pretty good soprano but I was in the tenor section.  I sang in the Choral Group all through school.  I think in my second year I took up the clarinet and was saddled with the E Flat clarinet.  I played in the band and only occasionally did we play for a football game.  We never did integrated programs like the bands do nowadays.  My last two years I was on the tennis team and I was also a cheer leader.

One year a group of us got the occarina craze.  We had different size instruments and we would gather in one of the class rooms at lunch time and play away to our hearts content.  We wounded pretty good by the end of the year.  The occarina or acorina is a hand held instrument shaped like a potato with a mouth piece and six finger holes and one thumb hole. It has been quite some time since I have seen one so I am not sure of the fingering.  some of us played the Jews Harp.  We should have gone on the stage but we couldn’t find an agent.

My mother was just a housewife whose duty I guess was to keep house and raise children.  As you know I had seven sisters and four brothers.  My father died when I was 14, and Mom died when I was in India in November 1944.  She died on the 11th and I was notified on the 30th by the Red Cross.  I don’t know why it took so long to notify me.  There was no need of my trying to get back home as she would have been buried and my being there would not have been of any help.

I will try to bring you up to date on my Army career, at least as far as I think you can remember.  I joined the army on 11 March 1943 with the hopes of going to the Army Air Force (so called at that time).  They sent me to basic training at (then) Camp Polk, Leesville, LA.  We traveled by train and arrived at the camp at night, and when I awoke in the morning I could hear, what I thought was airplane engines and I was real happy, but when I looked out the window, it was the roar of tanks.  The tanks were powered by radial airplane engines.  I was assigned to 105mm howitzer Field Artillery Batttalion.  I had tested real good on aptitude tests, IQ 132 and that set me in a rather select group.  At one point I interviewed for Army Specialized Training Program.  This was a program where people were chosen to go to specialized school for special training, such as meterologists, engineering school or such.  Most programs were taught at olleges.  I missed out because my math was not so good.  If it were as good as you two boys, no telling where my career would have gone.

I did real well despite that lacking and soon made Pfc, and Corporal and Tank Commander.  Each outfit had 6 tanks and the crew consisted of 6 men.  By the end of our unit training in Sept. I was promoted to Sgt.  That was pretty good for six months.  Then in December I was chosen to go to China to help train the Chinese and at that time I was promoted to Staff Sgt.

I left Newport News on 25 January, 1944, sailed down the Atlantic Coast thru the Panama Canal, across the Pacific to Bora Bora Island (Society Islands down to Australia, Perth and Fremantle on the western side, and then up to Bombay India.  The trip took about three months landing in India in late April.  We sailed across the Pacific without any escort ships and needless to say it was a little scary at times, when you could see smoke on the horizen or a plane in the sky.  We did not see many as I can recall.  The outfit I travelled with was a Casual Unit formed just for travel purposes.  We had 40 Full Colonels and 32 Lt. Colonels and all the enlisted men where Cpl and higher.  Wouldn’t you call that a pretty rank outfit?

We travelled across India on a passenger train.  It sure wasn’t first class.  The seats were almost as good as school bus seats.  It took us six days to get to Calcutta.  By the time we arrived at our destination they had disbanded the training force (called Z Force) I was to be assigned to, so I was sent to a unit stationed right in the center of Calcutta.  It was in a park and the main street was just outside the gates.  I was on Special Duty Assignment so I was paid money for my meals, since many times I was not near a mess hall, which was rather funny because by job was inspecting mess halls.  I worked with a Major and we travelled from camp to camp inspecting the mess facilities.  It was a boondoggle job, but I enjoyed it.

If did that for maybe a month or more and was then assigned to an Engineer unit that was fighting in Burma.  The unit was located in the north part of India near the Burma border and the Ledo Road.  By the time we reached the unit, the fighting at Mytkina was over and we stayed back at the main camp.  (For which I was real happy.)  I was appointed 1st Sgt. but not promoted though.  So I didn’t have to pull guard duty or such.  About that time they were looking for volunteers to kick supplies out of airplanes and again I moved this time to an Air Supply Drop Unit.  We flew supplies from an airfield near Dinjan, India.  This town was right on the Burma Road.  There were 3 men in the crew and pilot and co-pilot.  I flew with a fellow from Erie PAand one from NY.  We flew out to Intelligence targets, maybe 2, 3 or 4 men roaming the jungles gathering information on the Japanese, to Merrils Marauders, to British and Chinese Units, and to Radio units located on the tops of mountains.  We dropped all sorts of items, food and clothing, good for the horses an mules, gasoline to run generators, money to the intelligence units also bright red blankets for use in bartering with the natives and to buy information from them.  You name it, we dropped it.  Most of the stuff had parachutes But some was free fall, such as feed for the animals, or rice for the Chinese.  Originally men laid on their back and kicked the supplies out.  The Colonel who was the head of the unit was the innovator of the air drop system and packaging of the supplies.  He was a Quartermaster officer.

I guess I stopped flying in early 1945 with about 214 hours flying time.  I earned the Air Medal w/1st Oad Lead Cluster (200 hours).  I had a desk job then and decided one way to get back to the states was to go to OCS.  So I applied and was accepted and got back to the states in time to celebrate VE day.  I was at home in Troy on leave waiting to go to Ft. Benning, GA for OCS.

OCS (Officer Candidate School),as quite demanding.  There was no time for goofing off at night as you spent your time studying, shining boots and brass and going to bed early so you would be rested up for the next day.  Georgia is plenty hot in the summer, and the fatigues were extremely warm as the material didn’t breathe and was heavy weight. We carried a 13 lb. rifle with us everywhere we went.  But I vowed that I would stay right in there with the best of the men.  It payed off as on 16 October 1945 I became a “2nd Looie”.  Oh how proud I was.  I served with a few infantry units as I graduated from Infantry OCS and eventually I was assigned to the Occupation Forces in Korea in 1947.

Before I went into the service, the two jobs that I had were desk jobs.  One a payroll clerk and the other a file clerk.  That came in handy as my assignment in Korea was as a Personnel Officer.  I worked in a Replacement Depot that received troops from the US and shipped them back to the US.  I was stationed just a few miles from Seoul and then I was assigned to the Headquarters in Seoul.  That was a 2 year assignement to Korea and I returned to the US in 1949 and was assigned to an Artilllery Battery.  While there I was sent to a Food Service Management Course at Ft. Sam Houston.

With plenty of chances to go to the club at night I met a nurse by the name of D. Zay who had just joined the newest branch of the service, the United States Air Force.  The Air Force broke away from the Army as the Air Force was getting to be a pretty big branch and their mission was a little different than that of the Army.

This nurse D.Zay played a pretty important part of the separation of the branches of service as she and her friend, Bot Horton, were the first two nurses taken into the Air Force.  they were not the only two nurses in the Air Force as those serving with the Army Air Force had the option of which branch of service they wanted to be in.

As you know D. Zay became pretty good friends as on 4 March 1950 in Lincoln, Nebraska we became your future mother and father.

I hope that I have given you a little insight as to what my childhood was like and want you to know that I really enjoyed it. I can’t remember too much what happened before the depression in 1929 other than what I have already stated, but things that happened after that are a little clearer.  I was 8 years old when the depression hit and just vagly recall the problems the depression caused.  Fortunately my family survived with little or no money, plenty of help from the city, Federal Gove, (surplus food)Salvation Army and from Joe Harbour who ran the market below us.  I believe he didn’t charge my mother half the time for food.  We weren’t the only family in the neighborhood who found themselves in the same condition.

I have been writing this epistle for about six months, but it has been on my mind for over a year.  I probably could go much deeper but I tried to stick to those things that might interest you.  I hope that you enjoy it as much as I did recalling about my life.  Love, Your Father.

I hope these words from my uncle give you some insight into a wonderful life, blessed not by  material wealth but by faith, friends and a wonderful family.  My grandmother Bull, during WWII, had 5 of her sons all serving in different branches of the military at the same time.  Don and DZay both had a wonderful life and they remain an inspiration to me.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Jacquie Bowman Maurice permalink
    April 14, 2012 4:14 am

    I am wondering if here is any relation. I am from upstate NY and my maternal grandmother and her family were Bulls in northeast Pennsylvania from before WWII.

    • April 14, 2012 8:18 am

      There are many Bulls in the area where I live now, Hudson Valley/New Paltz, but I can find no relation. It’s a very common name. My maternal Grandfather was named George Bull, and my Grandmother’s maiden name was Alida Hoffman. They lived in Troy or nearby as far as I can determine. My mother was one of 12 siblings, but none of them lived in PA before WWII that I know of.

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