August 1: Seth Bullock's Arrival
Seth Bullock arrived in Deadwood, Dakota Territory, on this date in 1876. Bullock’s history as Deadwood Sheriff and U.S. Marshal was featured in the HBO television series, "Deadwood," but his lasting legacy on Dakota Territory is much more legendary than his portrayal in the television show.
Bullock was born on July 23, 1847, in Amherstburg, Ontario. At age 16, Bullock ran away from home and went to his older sister’s home in Montana. Although caught and brought back home, he returned to the territory of Montana as soon as he turned 18.
He went into politics, and in 1867 was elected to the Territorial Senate of Montana. He introduced the resolution to create Yellowstone as a national park, and was only 22 when the park was established.
Bullock also worked as an auctioneer and began a hardware business with his partner, Sol Star. He began his legendary career in law as a deputy sheriff, and by age 26 was elected sheriff of Lewis and Clark County.
In 1876, Bullock and Star heard about the business boom in Deadwood and decided it would be a good place for their hardware business. The day after Bullock arrived, Wild Bill Hickok was killed and the mining camp decided they needed a sheriff. The miners quickly chose Bullock, who served until his appointment in 1884 as U.S. Marshal of western Dakota Territory.
Bullock met Theodore Roosevelt and the two became lifelong friends, Roosevelt called Bullock "a true Westerner, the finest type of frontiersman." Bullock would become one of Teddy’s Rough Riders, serving as a Captain in the Cowboy Regiment, but the Spanish-American War ended before his unit was deployed.
In 1891, when Roosevelt was vice president under President William McKinley, he appointed Bullock as the first forest supervisor of the Black Hills Reserve. In 1905, Roosevelt, now President, appointed Bullock as U.S. Marshal of South Dakota. Bullock served in this capacity for nine years, and was reappointed by Presidents Taft and Wilson.
In September 1919, Seth Bullock died of cancer in the Bullock Hotel in Deadwood, the city’s first hotel, erected by Bullock himself. His grave is located in the Mount Moriah Cemetery, next to Calamity Jane and Wild Bill Hickok.
Dakota Datebook by Jayme Job