Bidwell Lore – The Death of Margaret Hull

Welcome to Bidwell Lore number 168! This week we have a short post about the end of the life of Margaret Hull.

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Portrait of Agrippa Hull, unknown artist, unknown date. Acc# 47.002. Courtesy of the Stockbridge Library Museum & Archives. Painted from an 1845 daguerreotype taken by Anson Clark in West Stockbridge, also in the collection of the Stockbridge Library Museum & Archives.

The Death of Margaret Hull
Rick Wilcox, 2022

Today we share a short post about Agrippa’s wife Margaret (Peggy) Hull and how she spent her last years. Keep in mind that the quote from the Lee newspaper was written in 1870, a time very different from our own.

“When Margaret Hull was 83, Mary Gunn took care of her. Mary Gunn was born in New Lebanon, New York in 1821 and was adopted by Margaret and Agrippa about 1827. In 1865 she lived with Margaret, along with her own three sons and two other children. Mary Gunn’s story is as remarkable as all the rest – for another time. She lived to be 85.” [1] 

”The family line was carried on by adopted daughter Mary from New Lebanon, New York, who married a man named Gabriel Gunn. They are the local originators of the Gunn line in the Berkshires, with descendants living in Great Barrington, Stockbridge and Sheffield.” 

Margaret Hull died May 15, 1870, age 87.

After her death, a letter was sent to the Lee newspaper, the Gleaner and Advocate:
Dear Gleaner – Yesterday we buried one of our oldest dwellers in our quiet town, Mrs. Peggy Hull, relict [3] of Agrippa Hull of Revolutionary fame, and I think, the last pensioner of the War of Independence who resided among us. Mrs. Hull was always a quiet, useful, exemplary character, whose strong native common sense as well as Christian deportment secured her a warm place in the hearts of all who knew her. Since the death of her husband, more than twenty years ago, the widow has dwelt in his former home, made comfortable by a competency left by him for the few wants, cared for by devoted kindred of her own color, and respected by everyone, until the flickering lamp of protracted age went out … last Friday morning. Not far from 90 years had left their infirmities on her wasted frame, but had seemingly ripened her for a better land, where all souls are white in the same garments of imputed righteousness.

The engraving on her tombstone reads as follows: “Margaret Timbrook wife of Agrippa Hull known as “Peggy” Born in New York a slave, came to Stockbridge at the age of 18, was a Christian, faithful & gentle. In the work of life resolute & cheerful, she was trusted by parents and loved by children, she died May 15, 1879 in her 90th year. Her strong and lifelong attachments are tenderly remembered.” [4]

Next week we will talk about the end of Agrippa’s life and his will.

1. The Family of Agrippa Hull, Emily Piper, Berkshire Genealogist, Volume 22, Number 1.
2. One Minute a Free Woman: Elizabeth Freeman and the Struggle for Freedom, Emily Piper & David Levinson, 2010, Upper Housatonic Valley National Heritage Area, Salisbury, Ct, Page 106.
3. Relic/Relict: An object esteemed and venerated because of association with a saint or martyr, b.: souvenir, memento. 2. Relics plural: remains, corpse. 3. A survivor or remnant left after decay, disintegration or disappearance. Merriam-Webster.
4. Stockbridge Library Museum & Archives, via email from Josh Hall. “Peggy’s gravestone in the Old Section of Town Cemetery.