Seth Bullock Grave

Seth Bullock
The Law of the Black Hills

Seth Bullock is one of the more famous, and notable, characters to reside in the famous town of Deadwood SD.

Seth was quite a man, a man who accomplished much in his life.

Seth Bullock was born in Canada in 1849. His Dad was a here in the British Army, his Mother was a woman of Scottish decent.

Life must not have been ideal for Seth at home, as he ran away at the tender age of 16. He didn't stray to far tho, he ended up at his sister's house in Montana.

By the age of 22 he had already been instrumental in the making of Yellowstone into a National Park.

By 1873 he had worked himself into the job of Sheriff in Montana. While he was Sheriff here, he was introduced to his life long friend, Theodore Roosevelt. Teddy was a Deputy Sheriff for Medora North Dakota at the time.

Seth Bullock met and married Martha and together they had 3 Children. Margaret (Madge), Florence (Flo), and Stanley (Stanley was born in SD). He left his little family in Michigan when he headed for Deadwood to set up business.

Deadwood View from Seth Bullocks Grave Site

In 1879 Seth headed for Deadwood South Dakota, like so many others he hoped to get rich. Getting to Deadwood in the height of the gold rush, he found Deadwood to be the notorious place it really was.

Camp Deadwood was a rowdy, drunken camp, laced with immoral activities. No law was present, no law was observed.

Within a month of Bullock arriving in Deadwood, the town had suffered the devastating loss of Preacher Smith (believed to have been killed by Indians) and the tragic death of Wild Bill Hickok, who had been shot in the back of the head by an assassin in the No. 10 Saloon.

The town was screaming for justice, and for protection.

Seth Bullock with his background as Sheriff, and being part of Theodore Roosevelt's Rough Riders, was an obvious choice. He was promptly elected Sheriff by the people of Deadwood.

Legend has it that Wyatt Earp showed up in town to apply for the Sheriff's position. He allegedly headed back for Dodge City after Seth told him that his services were not needed.

Seth thought the Gold Prospectors would need hardware supplies, so he and his friend Sol Star opened up a hardware store. They operated this until it burned down in 1879.

Seth and Sol then opened up the most plush and modern motel in that area, the Bullock Hotel.

The bullock hotel is still in operation today on Main St Deadwood SD. It has been updated thru the years and now houses a casino.

Seth passed away from cancer in 1919 just several months after Theodore Roosevelt. Some say he died at home, others say he passed away in Room 212 at the Bullock Hotel. Supposedly his ghost still roams the halls of the hotel, and haunts room 212.

Interesting facts

  • He is credited with bringing Alfalfa to South Dakota as a crop to raise
  • During his lifetime he was a Rancher, Law enforcer, Auctioneer, Entrepreneur, Politician, Roosevelt's Rough Rider, and a Captain in the US Calvary
  • He established the first Monument to Theodore Roosevelt, a stone Memorial 3 miles outside of Deadwood on Mount Roosevelt
  • Seth is buried with his wife in the famous Mount Moriah Cemetery
  • His grave is 750 FT above the main cemetery
  • His grave faces Mount Roosevelt, as he requested
  • Was an Officer in Teddy Roosevelt's Rough Riders
  • He founded the town of Belle Fourche
  • Bullock was the US Marshall for SD for 9 years, being appointed that by 3 different Presidents
  • President Roosevelt appointed him the first Forest Supervisor for the Black Hills
  • His Obituary called him a "Real Westerner" and the "Last of the Pioneers"

A foiled Stage Coach Robbery

Seth Bullock was a man of very few words. Once in awhile tho, if you got lucky he would tell a story. This is one of them.

Wes, a man he "never really liked" was the driver of the Coach.

Late at night he and Wes were on the Wells Fargo Buillion Coach headed on the trail to Cheyenne from Deadwood. They carried over $65,000 in gold bullion. Wes made Seth nervous talking about how much money they were carrying, and how they were bound to be a target for getting robbed. As they came down a particularly dark gorge, Wes commented that if they were to get robbed, it would be here. When they got to the bottom, sure enough a man jumped out in front of them wearing a bandana telling the to "hold your hands in the air". Seth mused that he never remembered his Mom saying to do such a thing at such a request. The lead horse jack knifed from left to right and then got turned around and bolted back up the gorge.

All Seth would say after this is that the robber was found dead and was buried the next day.

Where to find Gold in the Black Hills

Deadwood's Famous Cemetery

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Sources: Seth Bullock Obituary, US Marshall Service, Wikipedia, The Adams Museum


Hi, I am Jo. Welcome!
I have lived and played in the Black Hills all my life. I grew up camping, fishing, hiking, kickin it up at the Motorcycle Rallies and touring our area attractions. I want to show you the locals Black Hills, our secret  places to play, visit and eat! Please stay and browse around, and come back often too, I am always adding new reviews. Thanks for stopping by.

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