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Seth Bullock Biography | Seth Bullock's Children & Genealogy Links | Information Sources

Seth Bullock
The original

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the HBO

The following biography is of the real-life of Captain Seth Bullock of Deadwood, South Dakota.

Seth Bullock was born at Sandwich, Ontario, Canada on July 24, 1847 and came to the United States about 1867-8, locating at Helena, Montana. According to various census records, his father George, a retired British Major living in Canada. His mother was Agnes Findley who was born in Scotland.

Seth had at least three sisters ( Agnes, Jessie and Alma) and a brother.  Lieut. Frederick F. Kislingbury married Seth's sister Agnes in 1867.   Kislingbury was an explorer who died with Greely's expeditition to the North Pole. Agnes died in 1878, and Frederick Kislingbury married her sister, Jessie.

In the 1870 U.S. Census the then 22-year-old Seth Bullock was living with a grocer and his family in Helena, Montana.  Seth's occupation was listed as "auctioneer."  [See the 1870 U.S. Census - JPG]

Seth was quickly chosen a member of the Montana legislature, after moving to that state.  The Seventh & Eighth Sessions of the Montana legislature, held at the capital city of Virginia, from December 4, 1871 to May 8, 1873 under Benjamin F. Potts, governor, notes among the Members of the Council:  "Seth Bullock - Lewis and Clark and Jefferson counties."

Seth Bullock, Helena Montana fireman in 1875
PHOTO: Here are four members of the volunteer fire department of 1875, left to right, A.J. Davidson, Charles Jeffries, Seth Bullock, and T.H. Kicinschmidt, all prominent Helena (Montana) residents of
that day.. This picture from the Jorud historical collection, from the Independent Record - Helena Montana, Sunday October 1944

Seth Bullock married Martha [Marguerite] Eccles in 1874 in Salt Lake City. She was born about 1849 in Ohio, with her parents being both born in Pennsylvania.  In 1876 Seth took his wife and children to Michigan, where they stayed while he travelled to Deadwood to set up a business.

Seth and Martha Bullock had three children:   Margaret ("Madge"), born about 1876 in Montana; Florence ("Floy"), b. October 3, 1878 in Tecumseh, Michigan; and Stanley, born October 1, 1880 in Lawrence Co., SD . [See CHILDREN below].

Seth was engaged in hardware and mining supplies business. After the gold discovery in the Black Hills, with his partner, Sol Star, he moved his stock to Deadwood, arriving there August 2, 1876.

In 1880 Seth, his wife Martha, and two daughters, "Madge" and "Floy," were living in Deadwood, South Dakota.  Seth was a hardware merchant at this time. [See the 1880 U.S. Census - GIF]

Abstract of 1880 US Census - Deadwood, Lawrence Co., South Dakota
BULLOCK, Seth, Male White 31, Hardware Store, born Canada, father born England, mother born Canada
BULLOCK, Martha, Female White 28, Keeping House, born Ohio, Father born Penn., Mother born Penn
BULLOCK, Madge, White Female 5 daughter born Montana
BULLOCK, Floy, White Female 3 daughter born Michigan
Steward, Nettie, White Female 45 servant VA VA VA

Seth Bullock was made sheriff of the provisional government in what is now known as South Dakota. He was also sheriff of Lawrence County after its organization and rendered effective service in clearing out the rough element.

When Theodore Roosevelt was ranching in North Dakota [Theodore Roosevelt was a Deputy Sheriff from Medora, North Dakota around that time] they formed a close friendship, which lasted through life.

"Teddy" Roosevelt on a visit to Sioux Falls, accompanied by Seth Bullock and Major Burnside.
Photograph from A comprehensive history of Minnehaha County, South Dakota : its background, her pioneers, their record of achievement Smith, Charles A.. A comprehensive history of Minnehaha County, South Dakota : its background, her pioneers, their record of achievement and development. Mitchell, S.D.: Educator Supply Co., 1949, page 300

As President of the United States, Roosevelt appointed Bullock U.S. Marshall for South Dakota. Captain Bullock promoted and built the fine monument to Roosevelt that stands upon Mount Roosevelt, a few miles north of Deadwood.

In South Dakota there are two men who claimed the distinction of having introduced alfalfa into the state, namely Seth Bullock of the Black Hills region in the western part of the state and W.W. Bell of Valley Springs, in Minnehaha County. It is claimed that Bullock introduced it in 1881, while Mr. Bell claimed to have introduced it from Stockton, California in 1879.

In 1888, Seth Bullock of Lawrence Co. was a member of the Republic Central Committee in South Dakota.

Seth was a Spanish American War Veteran, who served starting about 1898.  In 1920 his widow, Martha, applied for his pension [See Seth's official Pension record - JPG].  He was a captain in the 3rd Regiment of the U.S. Cavalry.

Background: This regiment (also called "Grigsby's Cowboys") was unique among the military organizations of the time, and were the "Cowboy" regiments of Melvin Grigsby and Theodore Roosevelt. Mr. Grigsby, a veteran of the Civil War and a prisoner in Andersonville prison during part of the war, "imbued with the Spirit of the Plains," decided to raise a regiment of "Rough Riders" and to offer its service to the country. The idea was favorable to the Secretary of War. On April 11, 1898, he went to Washington and found that a bill was before Congress, inspired by Theodore Roosevelt, for the organization of "Cowboys." It was later insisted that the publicity given to Grigsby's Rough Riders is what inspired "Teddy" to have such a bill introduced.

These "Rough Riders" were for the greater part men from the Dakota plains, but other men from the plains states were enlisted in the regiment.  Five of the troops were alloted to South Dakota.  Troop A reported to CAPTAIN SETH BULLOCK of Deadwood.  After being ordered to barracks near Manila, preparatory to return home, the regiment embarked on the Transport Sheridan, August 10, 1899.  They arrived at San Francisco, via Japan, September 7, camped at the Presidio, and the troop was mustered out October 5, 1899.

Seth was instrumental in securing the contract to obtain the stone markers for the boundary between South Dakota and Wyoming in June of 1904.

In the 1910 U.S. Census Seth was living at 28 Van Buren Avenue in Deadwood, Lawrence County, South Dakota, with his wife Martha, and daughter Margaret. His occupation is shown as U.S. Marshall. [View 1910 Census - jpg]

Seth Bullock died September 23, 1919, at his home in Deadwood, South Dakota after an illness of several weeks (of cancer) and is buried in Mount Moriah Cemetery in Lawrence County, South Dakota [ See the article from the Reno Evening Gazette (Reno, Nevada), JPG ]

SEE more photographs of Seth Bullock and his burial place.



Daughter, Margaret "Madge" Bullock Mackall
Resided in NYC, New York, eldest daughter

Son, Stanley Bullock
1. From: South Dakota Births, 1856-1903:
     Name: Stanley Bullock
     Gender: Male
     County: Lawrence
     Mother's Name: Martha Eccles
     Father's Name: Seth Bullock
     Birth Date: October 01, 1880
2. From: Social Security Death Index
   SSN: 525-52-0292
   Last Residence: New Mexico
   Born: 1 Oct 1880
   Died: Mar 1964
   State (Year) SSN issued: New Mexico (Before 1951)
Stanley Bullock 3-WD BELLE FOURCHE, BUTTE, South Dakota 31 1878 South Dakota White Male

Daughter, Florence "Floy" Bullock
b. Tecumseh, Michigan, Oct 3, 1878; married Chambers Kellar, son of William Chambers Kellar who was born in 1867 in Memphis. He received a B.S. degree from Vanderbilt University in 1887, and was a member of the S.A.R., Masons and Shriners. They resided in Lead, South Dakota. They had a son, Kenneth Chambers Kellar, b. Lead, South Dakota, 1908; A.B. U. Mich., 1926, L.L.D., Stanford University, 1929

My thanks to reader, Eric Stahl who solved the reported story of a relationship between Seth Bullock and Bruce McCandless Jr, (He was an astronaut on the 1984 Challenger mission. He was the first man in space to conduct an extra vehicular activity, where the astronaut flies in space untethered to the spacecraft. McCandles was also on the 1990 Discovery mission that launched the ill-fated Hubbell Telescope). CORRECTION: The relationship is NOT to Seth Bullock. According to Eric Stahl, the relationship is one of those "six degree of separation things. Bruce McCandless II great-great grandfather was killed by Wild Bill Hickok. The last name was McCanles at the time. SEE HICKOCK page.


Information Sources:
1. "Doane Robinson's Encyclopedia of South Dakota," Published by the Author, Pierre, 1924.
2. "Montana, Its Story and Biography," Tim Stout, The American Historical Society, Chicago and New York, 1921.
3. 1870 U.S. Census of Helena, Montana
4. 1880 and 1910 U.S. Census of Deadwood, Lawrence Co., South Dakota
5. South Dakota Births, 1856-1903
6. Reno Evening Gazette, Reno Nevada, September 23, 1919
7. U.S. Army Historical Register, 1789-1903, Vol. 2
8. Mitchell Daily Republican (Mitchell, South Dakota), September 5, 1888
9. "A Comprehensive History of Minnehaha County, South Dakota," by Charles A. Smith; Educator Supply Company, Mitchell, S.D., 1949

10. "History of Dakota Territory," by George W. Kingsbury; "South Dakota Its History and Its People," ed. by George Martin Smith, B.A., A.M.; Chicago: The S.J. Clarke Publshing Company, 1915.
11. Find-A-Grave at http://www.findagrave.com/

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