Local history enthusiast Syd Bullen has suggested that we should run a feature where people reveal what they have discovered in researching their family history.
We think it’s a great idea – and Syd has written a piece to get the ball rolling.
My paternal 2x great grandfather Silas Bulley/Bullen was born in Devon in 1832, after completing a printing apprenticeship in Exeter circa 1853 he came to work in Sheffield sometime around 1855.
Eventually he was employed at the Sheffield Telegraph, usually on the night shift, in time being promoted to head compositor. He went back to Exeter in 1855 to marry Mara Southcott, using the surname of Bulley with which he was baptised, but was using the name of Bullen by the time his first child was born in Sheffield in 1857.
It is not known why he chose to alter the family name. He was a literate man so presumably wouldn't knowingly allow his name to be altered in error. He lived at various addressess including Robert Street, Cromwell Street and finally at 56 Roebuck Road in Walkley.
A violin player and possessing a good singing voice, he had been a member of Exeter Cathedral choir and over the years he worshipped at various churches in the Sheffield area around where he lived, including St Mark's in Broomhill where he was a paid chorister.
Silas was thought to be a strict, stern, authoritarian Victorian gentleman who wore a black stove-pipe hat and whose grandchildren hid their comic books under the sofa cushions whenever he visited because he didn't approve of such things.
On one of his usual after-service Sunday walks from St Mark's down to the Telegraph office to set up the printing presses for the Monday morning edition of the paper, he came across a group of young boys playing the old gambling game of pitch and toss.
He chased them off then picked up their dropped coins and put them in the church collection the following Sunday!
Silas retired from the Sheffield Morning Telegraph in 1898. He died at Roebuck Road in 1906 after developing pneumonia a few weeks after attending his eldest son William George's burial in Walkley cemetery on a bitterly cold day. Family legend has it that Silas uttered words at the graveside to the effect of 'farewell my son, it won't be long before I join you'. Silas was buried in the General Cemetery.
In the 1970s a family member became aware of plans to clear old headstones from that part of the cemetery where Silas was buried so had his relocated against a boundary wall in Crookes cemetery.