Bull, William, II

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Bull, William, II

BULL, WILLIAM, II. (1710–1791). Acting royal governor of South Carolina and son of South Carolina's lieutenant governor, William Bull (1683–1755). William Bull II was born on 24 September 1710 on the family plantation outside of Charleston. He was the first native-born American to receive the Doctor of Medicine degree at the University of Leyden, in 1734. On his return to South Carolina he turned to agriculture and politics, serving many years in the legislature, including several as speaker, and gaining appointment as brigadier general of the militia in 1751. Becoming lieutenant governor in 1759, he was acting governor for a total of eight years, during the period from 1760 to 1775. He particularly distinguished himself in Indian affairs. Governor William Henry Lyttleton's refusal to follow Bull's counsel of moderation led in part to the Cherokee uprising in 1759.

While acting governor in 1761, Bull secured the outside support that led to the Cherokee expedition, led by James Grant, that temporarily subdued the Indians. He handled the Regulator crisis, from 1769 to 1771, with diplomacy and intelligence, avoiding the violence that disrupted North Carolina. During the critical years just before the Revolution, his sympathy for his fellow Carolinians came into conflict with his loyalty to Britain. In 1775 he was succeeded by Lord William Campbell, and although his extensive estates were not confiscated by the Patriots—whose respect and affection he had retained—Bull left Charleston with the British troops in 1782 and spent the remaining nine years of his life in London. He died there on 4 July 1791.

SEE ALSO Cherokee Expedition of James Grant; Regulators.


Meroney, Geraldine M. Inseparable Loyalty: A Biography of William Bull. Norcross, Ga.: Harrison Co., 1991.

                                   revised by Michael Bellesiles