Legends of America

Follow the links to the various pages of Legends of America

The Old West Legends of America Outhouse Madness Ghostly Legends Outlaws Old West Saloons Rocky Mountain General Store Legends Photo Store The Book Store Make your travel reservations here! Route 66 Native Americans The Old States - Back East

Legends of America    |    Legends General Store    |    Legends Photo Shop

 

Legends Of America's Facebook PageLegends Of America's Twitter PageLegends on Pinterest

Legends Home

Site Map

What's New!!

 

Content Categories:

American History

Destinations-States

Ghost Stories

Ghost Towns

Historic People

Legends & Myths

Native Americans

Old West

Photo Galleries

Route 66

Travel Center

Treasure Tales

 

   Search Our Sites

Custom Search

Google

 

About Us

Advertising

Article/Photo Use

Copyright Information

Blog

Facebook Page

Guestbook

Links

Newsletter

Privacy Policy

Site Map

Writing Credits

 

We welcome corrections

and feedback!

Contact Us

 

Legends' General Store


Old West/Western

Route 66

Native American

Featured Items

Sale Items

Books/Magazines

CD's - DVD's

Nuwati Herbals

Personalized-Engraved
Postcards

Wall Art

Custom Products

and Much More!

 

  Legends Of America's Rocky Mountain General Store - Cart View

 

Legends' Photo Prints

Legends Photo Prints and Downloads
 

Ghost Town Prints

Native American Prints

Old West Prints

Route 66 Prints

States, Cities & Places

Nostalgic Prints

Photo Art Prints

Jim Hinckley's America

David Fisk (Lens of Fisk)

Specials-Gift Ideas

and Much More!!
 

Legends Of America's Photo Print Shop - Cart View

 

Family Friendly Site

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Old West Legends IconOLD WEST LEGENDS

Seth Bullock - Finest Type of Frontiersman

Bookmark and Share

Seth Bullock

Seth Bullock, courtesy Adams Museum

 

"Seth Bullock is a true westerner, the finest type of frontiersman."  - Teddy Roosevelt

 

Seth Bullock was born in Amherstburg, Ontario, Canada on July 23, 1849 to George Bullock, a retired British Major, and his Scottish wife, Agnes Findley Bullock. By the time Seth was five, the family had moved to Sandwich, Ontario when his father became involved in politics.

 

Little is known of his boyhood, except that he was frequently at odds with his father's strict discipline. No doubt, his father’s military like attitudes concerning politics, discipline, and other view points ultimately led to Seth's personal "code of honor.” At the age of 16, Seth ran away from home, ending up in Montana where his older sister lived. However, she quickly sent him home to his parents.

 

 

 

 

Not to be deterred for long, as soon as Seth was 18 he left home for good. By the time he was twenty, he was back in Montana, arriving in Helena in 1867. Following in his father’s political footsteps, he ran for the Territorial Legislature, but was defeated. However, he did manage to get himself elected as a member of the Territorial Senate, where he served for two years in 1871-1872. During this time, Bullock was instrumental in creating the first ever United States National Park – Yellowstone.

After serving on the Montana Territorial Senate, Bullock was elected Sheriff of Lewis and Clark County in 1873. Quickly making his presence known, he not only acted as a lawman, but also as an auctioneer and entrepreneur, entering into a hardware business with Sol Star. In 1874, Bullock married his childhood sweetheart, Martha Eccles in Salt Lake City, Utah. But when the hardware partners saw a better opportunity in Deadwood, South Dakota, he sent his wife and newborn baby girl back to the security of her family home in Michigan.

Arriving in Deadwood on August 1, 1876, in wagons filled with hardware goods, including picks, pans, shovels, dynamite, cooking utensils, and more, Seth and Sol immediately set up their hardware store in a tent.  Later, the entrepreneurial pair bought a lot and built a false front building to house their business, advertising furniture, wall paper, lamps, and hardware.

 

By the time they arrived, Deadwood had already gained a reputation as a hell-raising camp, filled with miners, transients, gamblers, outlaws and prostitutes. The day after their arrival, Wild Bill Hickok was shot by the coward Jack McCall. Outraged, the camp began to demand law enforcement in the ungoverned territory.

 

Though it is commonly thought that Bullock served as Deadwood's first marshal, that is incorrect. Actually, the camp's first marshal was a man named Isaac Brown who was elected by the Miner's Court after the trial of Jack McCall on August 5, 1876. However, when Isaac Brown, along with the Reverend Smith, and two other men named Charles Mason and Charles Holland were traveling between Crook City and Deadwood, they were ambushed and killed on August 20th. Leaving an open position, the miner's court soon met again, this time electing Con Stapleton as the new sheriff.

 

However, in March, 1877, Seth Bullock was appointed by Governor Pennington as the Lawrence County Sheriff.

 

Undaunted by the county's lawless and dangerous nature, Bullock wasted no time appointing several fearless deputies to help him "clean up” the town. Before long, order had been established in the former hell-raising camp.

 

Bullock never killed a man while serving as the Lawrence County Sheriff. According to his grandson, he could "outstare a mad cobra or a rogue elephant” which was generally enough to convince the rowdy elements to settle down before any violence ever took place.

 

With Deadwood becoming more stable, Bullock sent for his family. Seth's wife Martha soon became a pillar of the community. With Seth having more time on his hands, he spent much of it ranching and raising horses on a section of land he and Sol had purchased at the divergence of the Belle Fourche River and Redwater Creek. Bullock also dabbled in mining and politics while continuing to serve as Deputy United States Marshal.

 

In 1884 while bringing a horse thief named Crazy Steve into Deadwood for trial, Bullock encountered Theodore Roosevelt for the first time. Roosevelt was then the Deputy Sheriff from Medora, North Dakota, and the two shared coffee and beans over the tailgate of a chuck wagon on the rangelands near Belle Fourche. The pair quickly formed a friendship that would last through Bullock's lifetime.

 

In the late 1880s Bullock persuaded the Fremont, Elkhorn and Missouri Valley Railroad to build across the ranch, free of charge. Located three miles northwest of the town of Minnesela, the railroad arrived in 1890, and Seth founded the town of Belle Fourche. Bullock and Star offered free lots for any building moved from the town of Minnesela and soon the new settlement soon took over the county seat.  Belle Fourche would later become the largest livestock shipping point in the United States.

 

In 1894, the hardware store in Deadwood was struck by fire and Bullock decided to build Deadwood's first hotel over the original store and warehouse.  At a cost of $40,000, the three-story, 64 room hotel boasted steam heat and a bathroom on each floor. Completed in 1896, the Bullock Hotel quickly became the most sought after luxury hotel of its time. This historic hotel still stands today, continuing to providing lodging as well as a 24-hour casino.

 

When the Spanish-American War broke out in 1898, Bullock volunteered as one of Roosevelt’s Rough Riders and was named a Captain of Troop A in Grigsby's Cowboy Regiment. However, the outfit never saw combat as they sat out the short war in a Louisiana training camp. After his short stint in the war, Bullock was from thereon referred to as "Captain.”

 

When Theodore Roosevelt was elected president, Bullock organized a group of fifty cowboys, including Tom Mix, to ride in the President’s inaugural parade in 1905. Later that year, Roosevelt appointed Seth Bullock as the United States Marshal for South Dakota, a position he held for the next nine years.

 

Seth Bullock and Sol Star

Sol Star, left, and Seth Bullock on the Redwater Bridge, Belle Fourche at the time of a horse sale on the Star & Bullock Ranch, 1880s. Photo courtesy Adams Museum.

 

Sol Star and Seth Bullock's Harware Store on the corner of Wall and Main Streets c.1877.

Star & Bullock Hardware Store on the corner of Wall and Main Streets, 1877. Photo courtesy Digital Deadwood.

 

When Roosevelt died in January, 1919, it was a terrible blow to Bullock. Soon he enlisted the help of the Society of Black Hills Pioneers and erected a monument to the deceased president. Dedicated July 4, 1919 it was the first monument to the president erected in the country.

Just a few months later, Seth Bullock died of cancer on September 23, 1919 at his ranch near Belle Fourche. He was buried in Mount Moriah Cemetery along with several other colorful characters of Deadwood's past including Wild Bill Hickok and Calamity Jane. The gravesite once faced toward Mount Roosevelt across the gulch, but the view is now obscured by a half-century growth of ponderosa pines.

 

 

©Kathy Weiser/Legends of America, updated December, 2012.

 

 

Also See:

 

Black Hills Historic Characters & Tales

Deadwood - Rough & Tumble Mining Camp

Deadwood, South Dakota Timeline

The Haunted Bullock Hotel

HBO's Deadwood - Facts & Fiction

Martha Bullock - A Pillar of Deadwood Society

Solomon Star - A Natural Leader

 

 

Bullock Hotel

Bullock Hotel courtesy Bullock Hotel Properties

 

Roundup on the Belle Fourche

Roundup on the Belle Fourche, 1887. This image available for photographic prints HERE!

 

Free eNewsletter

 

Our eNewsletter features articles on the Old West, travel destinations, ghostly legends, and subscriber only specials from our Legends' General Store. Sent directly to your inbox, grab a cup of coffee and travel the historic paths of the American West. Sign up today!

 

Legends of America Lodging

Book Your Lodging in Deadwood

 

From Legends' Photo Print Shop

States, Cities, & Historic Places Photos - From the deserts and ghost towns of Arizona to the towering buildings of New York, the plains of Kansas and Nebraska, to the mining camps and cities of Colorado and California, the beaches and historical sites of Florida, and everything in between, you'll find hundreds of vintage and current images of historic destinations across the United States. These images are available in high quality individual photographic prints, as well as editorial downloads for publishers and commercial enterprises.

 Current and vintage photographs of states and cities across the USA.

 

                                                            Copyright © 2003-Present, www.Legends of America.com