Authors to guests on radio talk show about early settler Sarah Wells Bull Pioneer is a 'wonderful example of a strong, young women'
Photo by Julie Boyd ColeA page from an early 19th century document describing Sarah Wells Bull's journal into Orange County in 1712.
Warwick — Local authors and researchers Julie Boyd Cole and Sarah Brownell will be guests on “History Alive” on Monday, July 30, on WTBQ 93.5 FM to talk about one of Orange County’s earliest European settler Sarah Wells Bull. Cole and Brownell wrote the book Sarah, An American Pioneer. The Circumstantial and Documented Evidence of the Courageous Life of Sarah Wells Bull, released in December 2017. “Sarah is such a wonderful example of a strong, young women who came from nothing,” Brownell said. “By sharing her story of strength and courage, I hope we are able to encourage anyone facing hardships or challenging circumstances. And of course, inspire folks to discover and share their own family stories.” In 1712, teenager and indentured servant Sarah Wells Bull became the first to settle the interior of Orange County when she lead a small group of three Native people and three Manhattan hired tradesmen to make a land claim for her master. There were only 300 Europeans and 300 Native people living in what is now Orange County when she arrived. No Europeans lived in the vast forested hills of the interior. She made the land claim along the Otter Kill on what is now the Sarah Wells Trail and saved her master Christopher Denne’s stake. The journey opened the floodgates of rapid development of the area by people from around the globe. “The history of our county can not be studied too often; for it is one of great interest, and the record reveals a proud one,” wrote historian Russel Headley in his 1908 book titled The History of Orange County, New York. Headley was one of the sources of information for the book. “There is no section of the country processing more historic interest, nor does one exist, as closely identified with those crucial events connected with the formation period of the Republic.” Sarah Wells Bull entered Orange County as an owned person with nothing to her name, according to the authors. When she died in 1796, at 100 years old, there were 30,000 residents of Orange County. She began her life living under the British Crown, and left the world an independent American, owning land, a four-story stone house and more than 335 children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, according to the research. She outlived two husbands and several of her offspring. Cole and Brownell, both 9th-generation descendants of Sarah Wells Bull and Orange County residents, took a year to research Bull’s life and released the book in December of 2017. “There is no need to romanticize any of Sarah’s life,” they write in their book. “It is remarkable standing on its own. Her journey into the howling wilderness ... is just part of what makes her tale so fascinating and worth retelling.” “History Alive” is an hourlong radio talk show featuring famed historian Dr. Richard Hull. Hull is Warwick’s Town Historian, Professor of History Emeritus of African History and Civilization at New York University and a trustee of the Warwick Historical Society. He hosts the talk show about history every Monday from 11 until 12 p.m. and a podcast available online at www.wtbq.com. The radio station can be dialed in from Milford, Pa., Northern New Jersey and the great Lower New York areas. WTBQ is an independent community radio station broadcasting from Warwick, N.Y., featuring live local talk shows and specialty programming at 93.5 FM or 1110 AM. Cole is the Managing Editor of the West Milford Messenger, a Straus News paper. For information, go to www.wtbq.com or information on the book “Sarah, An American Pioneer. The Circumstantial and Documented Evidence of the Courageous Life of Sarah Wells Bull” go to https://www.facebook.com/sarahwellsbull/