Western Life

Seth Bullock

Seth Bullock, the famous business proprietor, sheriff, politician, U.S. Marshal and Canadian-American frontiersman was born in 1849 in Amherstburg, Ontario, Canada. His father was George Bullock who was a retired British Major. Seth Bullock was a popular citizen in Deadwood which is located in South Dakota. He lived there from 1876 until his death in 1919. He opened a hardware store and also a hotel which was later known as the Bullock Hotel.

Early Life

There is little information regarding Seth’s childhood, only that he was not in the very best terms with his father George Bullock. Without any doubts, it was the military like attitude of his father with respect to description, politics and other viewpoints which actually resulted in Seth’s personal “code of honour”. When Seth was 16 years old, he ran away to Montana to live with his sister. However, he was quickly sent back home. When he turned 18, he left his house for good this time.

By the time he turned 20, he returned to Montana in the year 1867. He decided to follow his father’s footsteps and run for the Territorial Legislature. However, he was not able to win the position. Instead, he didn’t lose hope and got himself elected as a member of the Territorial Senate. This is where he worked for two years. During this time period, Seth managed to form the very first United States National Park called Yellowstone.


In 1873, after completing his services as a member of the Territorial Senate in Montana, Seth was elected in Lewis and Clark County as Sheriff. From then onwards, he was able to create a name for himself. With Sol Star, Seth entered into the hardware business and not only acted as a lawman, but also as an entrepreneur and auctioneer. In the year 1874, he married Martha Eccles who was his childhood sweetheart. The marriage took place in Salt Lake City. However, when Seth’s partners found a better opportunity in Deadwood, he had to send his wife and his new-born baby back to Michigan where they would be secure.


Deadwood was basically a rowdy and a lawless camp. Just one day after Seth arrived at Deadwood, Jack McCall murdered Wild Bill Hickok while he was playing poker. Later on, McCall was released and found not to be guilty of the crime. Following the murder of Hickok, Seth’s experience made him the perfect choice for becoming the first sheriff of Deadwood.

Seth took this job very seriously and maintained a reputation of being a person of uncompromising and fearless nature. He used to manage the tasks without having to kill anyone. During his assignments, Seth had several ‘run ins’ with the proprietor of a notable brothel called ‘Gem Theater’. When Seth became somewhat stable in Deadwood, he brought his family from Michigan to stay here.

In the year 1919, Seth Bullock died in Deadwood suffering from colon cancer.

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