Hull History

Over 200 years ago, Warren and Polly Hull traveled from Killingworth, Connecticut through New York State and decided to settle and build their permanent home on the old Batavia Road in the town of Clarence. This location is now known as 5976 Genesee Street in the Town of Lancaster. A visit to the Hull Family Home & Farmstead will take you back in time to hear the many stories that can be told about the house, the family and the historic events that took place in the early 19th century. You can return time and again to observe the progress of the restoration of this landmark, which was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1993 and is also on the New York State Register of Historic Sites. Visit us and learn the stories from first-person interpreters and through interactive experiences – in 19th century fashion! We hope to see you soon!

The Family

Warren Hull (born 1762, died 1838) married Polly Gillett (b. 1765, d. 1834) in 1783 in Killingworth, Connecticut. Prior to his marriage, Warren served in the Revolutionary War with his father, Peter. Before settling in Western New York, Warren and Polly lived in Otsego County, Madison County, Ontario County and Livingston County. Their family grew as they moved westward; when they purchased their property from the Holland Land Company in 1804, they already had ten children.

It is difficult to imagine how this family survived in this virtual wilderness in 1804. Warren and Polly appear to have been intelligent and well-educated, and they were obviously able to take advantage of whatever resources were available to them. They worked their farm and were able to take grain and wood to nearby mills. It is safe to assume that Polly taught her children until the nearest schoolhouse was built on the corner of Gunnville Road.

After the death of Warren and Polly, their daughter Polly Hull Lewis lived in the family home; she had six children and had been widowed in 1830. Rebecca married a man named William Tyler, who bought land adjoining the Hull property. James married Betsy Crosby, and they settled in Fredonia/Chautauqua area with their five children where he was a newspaper publisher. Anna Hull Tyler had one child and was widowed; and Maria Hull married Ezra Sheldon, whose family owned land east of the Hull property. Edmund Hull married Eliza Garrett, had six children, and was a lawyer who represented Erie County as a legislator in Albany. Justus Hull, a brick maker, married Harriet Bivens, had seven children and lived in Buffalo.

The Hull Children

  • Polly: 1786-1863
  • Rebecca: 1788-1871
  • James: 1789-1867
  • Anna: 1791-1851
  • Maria: 1793 - ?
  • Edmund: 1795-1852
  • Justus: 1797-1863
  • Sophia: 1799-1866
  • Miranda: 1802 - ?
  • Minerva: 1804-1830
  • Aurilla: 1805-1898
  • Vilera: 1808-1835

Sophia married Eber Howe, a printer/publisher; they moved to Ohio where they demonstrated their commitment to the abolitionist movement. Miranda Hull married her sister Vilera’s widower, William Conley, after Vilera’s death in 1835; she raised her own son and Vilera’s two children on property across the road from the Hull house. Vilera is buried in the family cemetery with her parents. Minerva Hull died at age 26, unmarried and childless, while Aurilla married twice and had seven children in all. Aurilla, with her second husband, Robert Wheelock, purchased the Hull house from her sister, Polly, in1849. Several Wheelock family members are buried in the Hull Family Cemetery. Most of the Hull children lived and died in the Lancaster area. However, their offspring were part of the westward movement, and many of them settled in Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, and Wisconsin.

The House

The Hull House is the oldest stone dwelling in Erie County, New York. Built c.1810 by Warren Hull for his wife, Polly, and their children, the federal style dwelling was built into a hill so that, from the street, two stories are apparent. From the back, however, the basement level is accessible. Throughout the house, one can find the original woodwork in flooring, doorways, some original windows, window seats, stairways, banisters and fireplace mantels and jambs.

The main floor of the house consists of an entrance hallway with a common room (kitchen), pantry and back hallway on the right (east) and the parlor and sitting room on the left (west). The two original fireplaces in the parlor and the sitting room are still in place, while the larger common room fireplace that had at one time been removed, is now fully restored.

The second story includes the Hulls’ master bedchamber and the boys’ bedchamber on the left (west) and the girls’ bedroom (the north bedchamber) on the right. The original fireplaces in all these rooms are still intact. A small room at the top of the staircase may have been an office for Mr. Hull or a bedchamber for hired help.

In the attic (or garret) one can see the 40-foot hand-hewn timber that serves as the main beam under the gabled roof. The four chimneys have been restored along with the oval windows facing east and west.

In the basement stands the large kitchen hearth which has been restored. The original cistern lies beneath the basement floor. It was used to collect rainwater for household use. The most unique feature, however, is the original beehive oven which is in such good condition that it could still be used for cooking.

The Stories

When we examine the lineage of Warren Hull, we find that he is descended from the immigrant, George Hull, who came to the colonies from England in the early 1630’s. Warren and his father served the country as soldiers during the Revolutionary War. Soon after Warren had settled in Western New York, the War of 1812 was fought in and around the area. In 1825, the Erie Canal was completed, drastically changing the economy across New York State. The abolitionist movement and the Civil War engaged Hull family members in the middle of the century. While Hull family members were part of these dramatic historic events, they also contributed to their communities in more ordinary ways as farmers, teachers, attorneys, printers, artists, business owners and church and government leaders. All of these events and contributions are part of the Hull Family stories, which are imparted to visitors in a variety of events and programs at the site.