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Seth Bullock

Seth Bullock

Born near Windsor, Ontario in 1849, Seth Bullock headed to Montana to seek his fortune. He distinguished himself in Helena where he was elected to the Territorial Senate. After a trip into Yellowstone, he introduced a resolution to protect the land from settlement. His resolution was adopted and Yellowstone Park was established March 1, 1872.

Seth Bullock married Martha Eccles (b. 1851) in Salt Lake City in 1874. Two years later he took his wife and infant to stay with family in Michigan while he and partner Sol Star went to Deadwood to establish a hardware business. Bullock and Star arrived in Deadwood in August 1876 with wagons loaded with Dutch ovens, frying pans, chamber pots, dynamite, axes, rope, picks, pans and shovels. They set up their hardware store on the corner of Main and Wall Street (the current site of the Bullock Hotel).

The murder of Wild Bill Hickok on August 2, 1876 triggered a demand for law and order in the turbulent town. Seth Bullock was appointed Deadwood’s first sheriff.

With Deadwood becoming a law and order town, Bullock sent for his family. Seth’s wife Martha became a pillar of the city, bringing stability and culture to the community. Bullock diversified his interests into ranching near present-day Belle Fourche, where he raised cattle and horses. He is credited with founding Belle Fourche and introducing alfalfa to the region.

While on the range near his ranch in 1884, Bullock met Theodore Roosevelt, who at that time was a Deputy Sheriff from Medora, North Dakota. Bullock and Roosevelt became instant friends. During the Spanish American War, Bullock volunteered as one of Roosevelt’s Rough Riders and was named Captain of Troop A in Grigsby’s Cowboy Regiment. From that time on Seth Bullock was known as “Captain." In 1905, Bullock organized a group of 50 cowboys to ride in President Roosevelt’s inaugural parade in Washington, DC.

After Theodore Roosevelt’s death in January 1919, Bullock enlisted the help of the Society of Black Hills Pioneers to erect a monument at present day Mt. Roosevelt. Dedicated July 4, 1919 it was the first monument to the President in the country. Bullock died just a few months later in September at the age of 70. His burial plot is on a hill above Mt. Moriah Cemetery opposite Roosevelt’s monument.

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September 29, 1881
Sol Star was removed from office as Postmaster of Deadwood on a charge of complicity with the contractor for the star route "in arranging arbitrary arrival of mails."
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