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Below is a family biography included in History of Union County, Iowa published by S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., in 1908.  These biographies are valuable for genealogy research in discovering missing ancestors or filling in the details of a family tree. Family biographies often include far more information than can be found in a census record or obituary.  Details will vary with each biography but will often include the date and place of birth, parent names including mothers' maiden name, name of wife including maiden name, her parents' names, name of children (including spouses if married), former places of residence, occupation details, military service, church and social organization affiliations, and more.  There are often ancestry details included that cannot be found in any other type of genealogical record.

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James G. Bull has been an able and successful practitioner at the Union county bar since January, 1882, and the confidence of the public in his professional ability has been indicated by the fact that he has three times served as. county attorney. A native of Columbus, Ohio, he was one of the eight children, four sons and four daughters, born unto Alanson and Hannah (Leonard) Bull.

The father, a native of Vermont, died in 1858 at the age of sixty-one years. He was of English descent, and that the family was founded in this country at an early day is indicated by the fact that among his ancestors are those who fought for American independence in the Revolutionary war. Alanson Bull was a farmer by occupation. In 1805 he removed with his parents to Ohio, settling on a farm in Franklin county, that state, where the grandfather of our subject had a large grant of land. As the years passed Alanson Bull became a prosperous farmer, carrying on the work of tilling the soil until 1853, when he removed to Columbus in order to educate his children. His death occurred in that city. He was a member of the Methodist Episcopal church and a most active worker in its behalf, his labors contributing in substantial measure to its growth and improvement. He was also a large contributor to educational institutions, principally the Ohio Wesleyan University at Delaware and the Female Seminary at Worthington. He was a delegate to the free soil convention that met at Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, was a stanch abolitionist, did all in his power to favor and promote public sentiment in that direction and was associated with the underground railroad in his neighborhood, whereby many a poor negro was assisted on his way to freedom in the north. He became an ardent admirer of Salmon P. Chase, for whom he voted for governor. He held to high ideals of citizenship and to business life and was never known to overreach or take advantage of another man. His wife, who bore the maiden name of Hannah Leonard, was born in Massachusetts and died in 1888 at the age of eighty-eight years. She was of French extraction and was a faithful member of the Methodist Episcopal church.

In their family of eight children but three are now living: William Bull, president of the First National Bank at Pawnee City, Nebraska, who has devoted his life to farming, in which he has made gratifying success; Abbie L., the widow of Samuel A. Jones, of Louisville, Kentucky, who was manager for the Adams Express Company but is now deceased; and James G.

In taking up the personal history of James G. Bull we note that his early life was quietly and uneventfully passed. He was reared upon a farm until he became of school age, when he entered the public schools of Columbus, Ohio. He was comparatively young when he entered Ohio Wesleyan University at Delaware. The outbreak of hostilities between the north and the south led him to become interested in raising a company of infantry for the war at Columbus in 1862, this becoming Company H, Ninety-fifth Ohio Volunteer Infantry. Mr. Bull was mustered in as first lieutenant and for gallantry on the field of battle at Richmond, Kentucky, on the 5th of December, 1862, was promoted. The battle took place in August of that year and there Mr. Bull was captured by General Kirby Smith’s command but was soon afterward paroled. Following his resignation from the army he returned to Columbus and entered the law office of Robert Hutchinson. A course of thorough preliminary reading was followed by admission to the bar and he began practice at Columbus, remaining there until 1878. He figured prominently in public life of that city and in 1865 was chosen mayor of Columbus, remaining in the office for four years. Then after a lapse of two years he was re-elected in 1872 and again held the position for four years, his re-election being incontrovertible proof of his fidelity and trustworthiness during his earlier incumbency and also indicating the further confidence reposed in him by his fellow citizens, to whom he gave a public-spirited, business-like and progressive administration. In 1878 he removed westward to Iowa, settling at Burlington, where he practiced until 1881, and in January, 1882, he came to Creston, where he has since been identified with the legal fraternity.

On the 12th of May, 1885, Mr. Bull was united in marriage to Miss Josephine D. Donaldson, who was born in Illinois and lived many years in Lucas county, Iowa, and comes of Scotch-Irish blood, her parents being Serano and Frances Donaldson. Her father was a bridge carpenter and in 1882 removed with his family to Creston. Unto Mr. and Mrs. Bull have been born four children. Alice D. is the wife of Arthur W. Martin, a minister of the Methodist Episcopal church, who is now a professor in Nanking (China) University, where he went soon after his marriage, in June, 1906. Mary A., Jason H. and James G., Jr., are the other children of our subject.

The parents are members of the Congregational church, in the work of which they take an active and helpful part, while to its support they contribute liberally. Mr. Bull is a member of the Masonic fraternity and of the Elks. He also belongs to T. J. Potter Post, No. 440, G. A. R., of which he has served as commander. His study of the questions and issues of the day has led him to give loyal support to the republican party, which was the defender of the Union in the dark days of the Civil war and which has ever been the party of progress, reform and improvement. In 1892 he was elected county attorney of Union county and served for one term. Again he was elected in 1898 and for a third term in 1902. While serving in that office he tried and convicted every man indicted for murder. He was a successful prosecutor and a most faithful conservator of law and order. His success in a professional way affords the best evidence of his capabilities in this line. He is a strong advocate with the jury and concise in his appeals before the court. Much of the success which has attended him in his professional career is due to the fact that he prepares his cases with great thoroughness and care, looking at the question from every possible standpoint. He has won for himself very favorable criticism for the careful and systematic methods which he has followed. He has remarkable powers of concentration and application and his retentive mind has often excited the surprise of his professional colleagues. As an orator he stands high, especially in the discussion of legal matters before the court, where his comprehensive knowledge of the law is manifest and his application of legal principles demonstrates the wide range of his professional acquirements.

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This family biography is one of 247 biographies included in The History of Union County, Iowa published in 1908.  For the complete description, click here: Union County, Iowa History and Genealogy

View additional Union County, Iowa family biographies: Union County, Iowa Biographies

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