Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Sheriff Seth Bullock in old Deadwood Newspapers

In yesterday's post, I looked at the historical figures who correspond to the characters in the HBO series, Deadwood. I also presented some news articles regarding the real Al Swearengen.

Today, I will focus on Sheriff Seth Bullock. Bullock was a somewhat famous character of his time and there are about ten times as many articles in which he appears than does Swearengen.

Seth Bullock had that Eastwood-type stare. (Photo from 1893)

Bismarck Tribune, Wednesday, July 19, 1876, p. 5.


A Party of Two Hundred and Fifty and One Hundred Team Leave for the Hills.

The largest party which has ever left Bismarck for the Black Hills crossed the river Saturday and Monday and took up its line of march Wednesday morning for the land of golden nuggets. The party consists of one hundred wagons of which we have an account and several of which we have not, and about two hundred and fifty men, the names of whom we give below, so far as we could obtain them. The wagons are all heavily loaded ranging from twenty-five hundred to forty-five hundred lbs.; the men are well-armed and woe be unto any party of less than a thousand Indians that should attempt to test their mettle.

[cutting out some lists of names]

Manning's party of fifteen Montanians should be added to this and a party of ninety-six Montanians who arrived by the Carroll Monday afternoon. Among this party we notice ex-sheriff Bullock, of Helena, Mr. Star, former Receiver of the U.S. Land Office at Helena, Mr. Carter and other prominent citizens. Bullock & Star will establish themselves at Crook City handling crockery, etc., principally. Mr. Carter will establish a wholesale liquor house. Sheriff Bullock says these Montanians have not taken any stock in newspaper reports but are satisfied as to the value of the Black Hills mines from the report of men they know and in whom they have confidence. Mr. Bullock says a party of one hundred or more will arrive from Montana enroute for the Black Hills of the Key West. He says not all are leaving Montana but large numbers are going to the Hills.

This ad began running in the Bismarck Tribune from July 26, 1876 and continued for eleven months. Star received first billing.
Bismarck Daily Tribune, Friday, Aug 17, 1877, p. 2.

This article paints a nice contemporary picture of the Black Hills and its people, including Calamity Jane and Seth Bullock.


A final Clean up -- Personal and Other Paragraphs -- Politicians and Other Characters in the Hills -- Newspapers, Hotels, etc.

Editorial Correspondence.

CROOK CITY, Aug. 11 -- In my last [sic] I tried to give something of an idea of the country between Bismarck and the Hills, something of Crook City and its surroundings together with such points of interest as were suggested while preparing hurriedly my communications. In my first letter I undertook to give an idea of the mines. I shall now 

as they say in the mines, and clean up for the present my Black Hills work, referring for the first time to my notebook, which is full of all sorts of memorandums.

of the Hills is delightful. The days are warm but not oppressive, in summer, while the nights are cool. In winter the snow is not deep and the gulches are partially protected from the heavy winds by the hills and timber.

is generally good but much of it is impregnated with mineral. Most of the streams are used for mining purposes, and the water, of course, is muddy and unfit for other purposes. Water can be obtained at almost any point by digging or drifting into the hill sides.

is mixed and you will find occasionly [sic] a high toned citizen tripping the light fantastic in the hurdy gurdy with Can Can Dolly, Calamity Jane or some other "character" in the Hills as a partner. Can Can Dolly, by the way, is a good looking woman of about twenty. "I saw her but a moment." Having proposed to "kick your hat off for the drinks," a fellow six foot four accepted the wager and she was engaged in that pleasant pastime.

is married now and was living comfortably on a ranche with her husband, but the fire fiend came and destroyed their all and Jane returned to the Hills and, now, like the ballet girl Prentice, speaks of in the Louisville Journal, she waltzes on one leg and polkas on the other (in the hurdy gurdy dances) and between the two she gets her living. Jane is not very bad and has many interesting features. Left in a Mormon camp without father or mother when a mere child like Topsey, she "growed just like the corn." Her associates having been rough she has been rough. But I never met a person more readily brought to tears by kind words or gentle reproof for evil deeds. At first a waif in a Mormon camp, then she passed through the mining excitements in the west, now a prostitute, now striving to mend her ways, then a scout wearing men's clothes for General Crook, then the lioness of the hills, afterward a devoted wife, then forced by circumstances to return to her old mode of life because she knew no other, she deserves kind words rather than reproach. The Hills are full of

male as well as female. The female gambler and the male prostitute. The innocent boys and the gentlemanly road agent. The man who would cut your throat for a few dollars or the gentlemanly fellow would roap [sic] you into bunko or other games and call it a square thing to whack up with you from your own means, and yet law and order prevails and life and property is secure to those who attend to their own legitimate business.

occurred in the town of Bismarck during the first two years of its existence than has occurred in all the towns of the Black Hills.
Speaking of the characters in the Hills we must not forget

We find them of every grade. The brilliant and wealthy Spencer, U.S. Senator, from Alabama has taken up his abode here, and though he still retains his position in the Senate, we will be greatly surprised if he does not figure largely in the politics of Dakota a few years hence. The brilliant Burleigh is also here, and while he is now paying strict attention to business, his friends will surely urge him for public position. Clagget of Montana, the silver-tongued orator of the West, Steel of Wyoming, and other ex-members of Congress, are on the ground. Deadwood has sixty odd lawyers and several doctors, some of whom are known to hanker for glory in the political field. The Governor, unwisely we think, filled all of the county offices in the Hills from outside polititians [sic] with one exception,

sheriff at Deadwood, and though his appointees were good men, Bullock is probably the only one of them who will be sustained by the people, or who will stand any chance for re-election. Bullock is a good one. He has the nerve and experience, is above reproach, and personally popular, no better man could be found in the whole territory for the position he occupies. Seth does not deserve to be classed among the politicians, however, but among the business men of the Hills, for he is old bnsiness [sic] whereever [sic] you find him, whether in the discharge of official duties or as an active go-ahead merchant.

[The above article goes on at length to include several more profiles of Deadwood personalities, including newspaperman A. W. Merrick.]

Black Hills Daily Times, Friday, November 23, 1877, p. 2.

[When the owner of a mine refused to pay his workers their wages, the miners seized the mine and began a stand-off. The protestors claimed that they loaded the mine with explosives. Bullock, with the backing of the U.S. Military, sought to put an end to the situation.]

Keets War Ended

About 9 o'clo k [sic] last night, the last of the miners who had forcible possession of the Keets mine, came out and surrender to Sheriff Bullock and men, conveyed to the jail in Deadwood and locked up, to await the action of the proper authorities.
The sheriff is deserving of much credit for the lenient and masterly manner in which he handled the difficult. That the majesty of the law must be sustained at all hazard, is the unqualified opinion of all sound thinking men, although their [sic] is a sympathetic feeling existing strongly in favor of the miners being paid their hard earned wages. Still, the community at large, do not countenance any unlawful means to procur [sic] the same. Our report er went early this morning to the Keets mine. Through the kindness of Mr. Thompson, one of the guards, procured access to the mine, in company with a guide, each taking a candle. They made a thorough examination, as it had been reported that the mine had been charged preparitory [sic] to being blow up. Nothing was found  which indicated such intention. At the entrance, the bottom of the tunnel was covered with water, which produced a wet, mushy, and obnoxious smell, which pervade the whole cavern. These men had lived in for seventeen days. The amount of provisions found, was two cans of coffee and about two hundred weight of flour; no butter, meat or wood.
There were eight men in the mine yesterday afternoon, of which number Messrs. J. Jenkins, W. H. Maxwell, and R. H. Hocks came out yesterday afternoon, and S. Long, T. Butler, W. Dobson, A. G. McCarty, P. Lynch, emerged last night at nine p.m. The whole party were lodged in jail, and will have a hearing before Justice Dawson to-morrow morning.
The mine is now in possession of the owners and work was begun under their orders this morning. Lieutenant Edgerly and his command have departed for the scene of Indian hostilities.

Black Hills Weekly Pioneer, November 2, 1878, p. 1.

[Reelection time for Bullock.]


The time is fast approaching when the official canvass of votes will again decide whether Seth Bullock or John Manning shall hold the important office of sheriff. Comparisons are always odious, and we shall therefore avoid them during this campaign; but we desire to call the attention of the voters who are about to cast their ballots in the coming election to some of the many reasons why Seth Bullock should receive their votes: In the first place, Mr. Bullock's qualifications for the office are patent to all, as his former incumbency has given every one an opportunity of judging for himself. As an officer of strict integrity, unvarying attention to business, and the impartial discharge of his official duties, Seth Bullock stands the peer of any man in a similar position in any community. This office is the most important one in this county, and should be filled by a man of cool and determined nerve, of good judgment, and unbiassed [sic] opinions. Where can a man be found who possesses the above quality in a more perfect degree than Seth Bullock? His long experience in discharging the duties of the office, both in Montana and Dakota, render him entirely competent and equal to any emergency. He is most undoubtedly the right man in the right place when in that official capacity, and should he meet with that success he deserves, will make good his promise that the power and majesty of the law shall become a terror to evil doers in Lawrence County.

Bismarck Tribune, Saturday, August 23, 1879, p. 5.

[Sometimes Bullock was up against stone-cold fowl.]

Killed in Self Defense
[Deadwood Times.]

Seth Bullock, who returned to town the other day with a string of prairie chickens, said he kill them in self defense, that while crossing a secion of valley land a large covey of the savage birds attacked himself and dog, and he was obliged to handle his gun lively in self protection. Young prairie chickens are very ferocious in the Black Hills country, especially before the 15th of August, and those killed before that date are killed only in self defense.

Next up: Seth Bullock and the highwaymen.


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