Martha James Bull Waln

(1860-1944)

 

 

            Martha James was born in Northern Wales, March 4, 1860/1862.     Locating Martha James until she reached the Big Horn Basin was not clearly defined, but it is believed she was in a Cleveland, OH household and listed as a servant in 1880 U.S. Census.  She married Frank Bull in Buffalo, Johnson County, Wyoming, April 24, 1883—the marriage license indicating she is 20 years of age.  The couple had five children:  Gwendolene [Gwendolyn), Gertrude, James, Bessie and Frank Bull, Jr.     She testifies that in 1889  (Mollie Carshire incident) she and her husband were on a Big Trails ranch and they were invited to dine with British representatives of Lord Leigh in his purchase of the Bay State Ranch on lower Ten Sleep Creek.  As per the 1900  U.S. Census, Frank and Martha were in Lovell, Big Horn, WY and she indicated that  she immigrated in 1878.  With those data, research proved she appears to be Martha James on the ship Cornwall landing in New York port 7 November 1877 at the age of 17. Her point of departure was Bristol, ENG.   Sometime between 1900-1910, Martha James Bull became the first telephone operator for the Ten Sleep line.  After Frank Bull, Sr, passed away, she married the widower, Robert Arnold Waln, 1 August 1909 in Big Horn, Wyoming and became stepmother to several Waln children at home on Spring Creek: Viola, Clytie, Clarence, Ray Arnold, Eula and Reese Waln.  She passed away 4th December 1944 in Ten Sleep, Wyoming [Northern Wyoming Daily news reported) having lived a pioneer in the Big Horn Basin over 60 years and has been named the first white woman in the Basin.

 

Memories:  I was five years old when I took the San Francisco Examiner  (a newspaper) to Martha Bull Waln’s little house in Ten Sleep.  I was substituting for my brother that day!  I knocked on the door and it was opened by a short, round woman with a cheerful voice, “Come in, little girl, and have a cup of tea!”  I didn’t have tea, but she gave me a cookie and I studied her the entire time.  Her printed apron had a hipline sash and she had brown brogans on her feet and her hair wound up in a donut on the very top of her head.  I’ll never forget that loveable old Welsh lady offering me tea!  Fb