[[File:2093.jpg|thumb|left|Fig. 3, Mark Catesby, "Ilex cassine L. dahoon," in ''The Natural History of Carolina, Florida, and the Bahama Islands'' (1754), vol. 1, pl. 31.]]
Bull settled on land a few miles west of peninsular Charleston along a wide river, later named the Ashley. In 1676 he received a formal grant of 400 acres there, and an additional 100 acres of adjoining property in 1694.<ref>Bull's son, William Bull, would acquire an additional 500 acres in 1707, as well as properties in nearby Granville County, which yielded his principal source of income. See Henry A. M. Smith, "The Upper Ashley; and the Mutations of Families," ''The South Carolina Historical and Geneaological Magazine'' 20 (July 1919): 193, [https://www.zotero.org/groups/54737/items/itemKey/MIFTQ36J view on Zotero]; Henry DeSaussure Bull, "Ashley Hall Plantation," ''The South Carolina Historical Magazine'' 53 (April 1952): 61, [https://www.zotero.org/groups/54737/items/itemKey/VIMR65QVA view on Zotero]. S. Salley Jr., "The Bull Family of South Carolina," ''The South Carolina Historical and Genealogical Magazine'' 1 (January 1900): 76&ndash;77, [https://www.zotero.org/groups/54737/items/itemKey/UMNXUMGU view on Zotero].</ref> Bull pioneered the cultivation of rice on his [[plantation]], and also conducted some of Carolina's earliest agricultural experiments in growing tobacco, indigo, ginger, and potatoes.<ref>"''Ashley Hall," '' 1975, [https://www.zotero.org/groups/54737/items/itemKey/QTGI37VX view on Zotero].</ref> The small, one-story, tabby-walled house that he built c. 1675&mdash;one of the oldest extant buildings in South Carolina&mdash;was succeeded in 1704 by a larger, but still quite modest two-story brick house, built for his son, William (1683&ndash;1755) [Fig. 1].<ref>Meroney 1991, 2, 11, [https://www.zotero.org/groups/54737/items/itemKey/ZDU4XXDA view on Zotero]; Bull 1952, 61&ndash;62, [https://www.zotero.org/groups/54737/items/itemKey/SPT8JW7G view on Zotero]; "''Ashley Hall," '' 1975, [https://www.zotero.org/groups/54737/items/itemKey/QTGI37VX view on Zotero].</ref> William Bull resembled his father in serving in a number of important official capacities, including Lord Proprietor's deputy (1719), Commissioner of Indian Affairs (1721), and lieutenant governor (1737&ndash;1755). A trained surveyor, he assisted General James Edward Oglethorpe (1696&ndash;1784) in settling Georgia and selecting the site of Savannah.<ref>Edgar and Bailey 1977, 2: 120&ndash;122, [https://www.zotero.org/groups/54737/items/itemKey/G89DVTV3 view on Zotero]; Salley 1900, 77&ndash;78, [https://www.zotero.org/groups/54737/items/itemKey/UMNXUMGU view on Zotero].</ref>
[[File:0552.jpg|thumb|right|Fig. 4, Charles Fraser, ''Monument of Lieutenant Governor Bull'' (Ashley Hall), c. 1800.]]
In 1722 the English naturalist [[Mark Catesby]] visited him at Ashley Hall, and, according to the Charleston artist [[Charles Fraser]], [[Mark Catesby|Catesby]] "planted by his hand" an [[avenue]] of live oaks leading from an [[orchard]] of pear trees to the house [Fig. 2].<ref>[[Charles Fraser]], ''Reminiscences of Charleston'' (Charleston, SC: J. Russell, 1854), 68, [https://www.zotero.org/groups/54737/items/itemKey/VTRNRRX8 view on Zotero]; Hartley 1984, 59, [https://www.zotero.org/groups/54737/items/itemKey/KD3GH3QU view on Zotero].</ref> In the first volume of his ''Natural History'', Catesby illustrated the evergreen dahoon holly (''illex Cassine L.''), which he described as "a very uncommon Plant in ''Carolina'', I having never seen it but at Col. ''Bull's'' Plantation on ''Ashley'' River, where it grows in a Bog" [Fig. 3].<ref>Mark Laird, "From Callicarpa to Catalpa: The Impact of Mark Catesby's Plant Introductions on English Gardens of the Eighteenth Century," in ''Empire’s Vision: Mark Catesby's New World Vision'', eds. Amy R. W. Meyers and Margaret Beck Pritchard (Chapel Hill and London: The University of North Carolina Press, 1998), 207, [https://www.zotero.org/groups/54737/items/itemKey/VIMR65QV view on Zotero].</ref> Fifteen years later, the Anglican divine [[John Wesley]] noted other rarities at Ashley Hall. <span id="Wesley_cite"></span>Declaring the estate "the pleasantest place I have yet seen in America," he observed that the [[orchard]] and garden abounded with "those sorts of trees and plants and flowers which are esteemed in England," but which American colonists rarely took the trouble to cultivate ([[#Wesley|view text]]).
In 1742 William Bull transferred much of the Ashley Hall property (including the two houses) to his son, [[William Bull II]], who in 1770 laid out gardens interlaced with serpentine paths between the house and the water's edge.<ref>Meroney 1991, 2, 11, [https://www.zotero.org/groups/54737/items/itemKey/ZDU4XXDA view on Zotero].</ref> A long, straight [[avenue]] bisected the garden, affording an uninterrupted [[vista]] of the Ashley river and the city of Charleston beyond. It may have been at this time that broad [[lawn]]s were planted on either side of [[Mark Catesby|Catesby's]] oak-lined [[avenue]]. A [[lake]] bounded by cypress trees lay to one side of the house, abutting an open [[park]] and elk and [[deer park]]s. The property also featured a pool encircled by cypress trees and a [[statue]] of Diana atop a prehistoric Indian [[mound]].<ref>For a reconstruction of the garden, based on "considerable data and a few sketches," see Loutrel Winslow Briggs, ''Charleston Gardens'' (Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 1951), 106&ndash;107, [https://www.zotero.org/groups/54737/items/itemKey/A3NA59DZ view on Zotero]. See also Bull 1952, 62, [https://www.zotero.org/groups/54737/items/itemKey/VIMR65QV view on Zotero].</ref> Following [[William Bull II|Bull's]] death in 1791, his widow erected a monumental [[obelisk]] in his memory on the grounds [Fig. 4].<ref>Bull 1952, 66, [https://www.zotero.org/groups/54737/items/itemKey/SPT8JW7G view on Zotero].</ref>

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