Carrie Choate Bullis
At a glance:
Born: April 25, 1878- Paradise Valley, Humboldt County, Nevada
Carrie Choate Bullis and her twin sister Clara Choate were born in Paradise Valley, Humboldt County, Nevada to Christopher Columbus Choate ((1836) and Catherine C. Mullinix (1838). They were two of twelve children of the marriage. According to legend, the twins’ births occurred in the wooden stockade at Paradise Valley during one of the last Indian uprisings in that area.
The Choate and Mullinix families had come to Nevada from Tennessee. The Choate line is traceable to Robert Choate born 1470 in Essex, England. The Mullinix line is traceable back to Robert Milnor born Wrapping, Middlesex, England 1650.
Carrie and her twin sister, Clara graduated from the Normal School of the University of Nevada in 1897. Carrie was a Nevada public school teacher all of her adult life and a devout member of the Christian Science Church; in later years becoming a certified church practitioner.
She married Angus Cameron Bullis, a railroader and sometimes farmer, on June 26, 1907 in Winnemucca, Nevada but they divorced and Carrie raised her children on her teacher’s salary and did not remarry. She used the Golden Rule and the Ten Commandments as her guides and expected her children to do the same. She closely monitored the language used by her children and did not permit them to use ‘street language’.
Corporal punishment did not have a place in her child rearing efforts; rather she relied on oral persuasion. As a teacher she refused to implement an order issued by Howard Westerfelt, Principal of Winnemucca Grammar School to spank the eight girls who had played hooky from school to see the first airplane land in Winnemucca. Her contract was not renewed for the next school year because of her refusal to spank these girls.
Carrie was a pioneer public school teacher in the State of Nevada, teaching all grades first through eighth, often in a one room school house with living quarters attached. She taught in the mining town of Unionville where Mark Twain had spent some time. She taught on ranches, at whistle stops along the railroad, on stage lines and in the small northern Nevada towns.
Her “Teacher’s State Certificate”, State of Nevada” dated 1899 was signed by Nevada Governor Reinhold Sadler, Superintendent of Public Instruction Orvis Ring and University of Nevada President J.E. Stubbs.
A partial list of some of her teaching posts in her handwriting dated September 14, 1938 and addressed Gerlach, Nevada, included: Clover Valley-Hammonds, Golconda (1899-1900); Grass Valley-Nelsons, Winnemucca (1901-1902); Denio, Nevada (1902-1903); Field’s Station, Andres, Oregon (1903 Summer); Unionville, Nevada (1903); Winnemucca, Nevada (1904-1907); Winnemucca, Nevada (1919-1925); Paradise Valley (1925-1931); Big Creek (1931-1932); Gerlach (1932-1938).
During her teaching career in Winnemucca, a time before the federally supported hot-lunch program, Carrie and some of her colleagues made hot dishes at home and brought them to school each day to feed their students, using hot plates to warm the food. Carrie’s specialty was homemade soup and on occasion she would also treat her students to a cup of hot chocolate.
In her retirement years she lived for a while across the street from the Winnemucca Grammar School where her grandson, Ben Bullis-Echeverria would check in on her after school. She would often ask Ben, “Do you have your wheel (bicycle) today, Benny?” When he would reply, “Yes, Gram, I have my wheel today.” She would then ask him if he would go to the store for her, and of course he was more than willing to do this for his Gram because when he returned she would serve him a cup of hot chocolate and her home-baked cookies.
Researched and written by Ben Echeverria, Posted to Web site November 2012
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