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Seth Bullock

Infamous Deadwood: Sheriff Seth Bullock

Infamous Seth BullockIn its early days the town of Deadwood took pride in being lawless, murdering anyone who dared to bring civility. After the death of Wild Bill Hickok and the acquittal of his killer, Jack McCall, it became apparent that Deadwood needed law and order. Seth Bullock, a Deadwood businessman, answered the call to be the first appointed town’s sheriff.

According to local legend, Bullock’s tall stature, broad shoulders and steel-gray eyes were so intimidating that he could stare down an angry cobra. His fearlessness helped Bullock tame the wildest town in the West without killing anyone. Ironically, Bullock arrived in the gold camp two days after Hickok was killed.

Bullock and his business partner, Sol Star, owned and operated the town’s first hardware store. But when it burned in 1894, they decided not to rebuild but construct Deadwood’s first hotel instead. The three-story, 64-room Bullock Hotel was the most luxurious of its time with steam heat and indoor bathrooms on each floor. The Bullock is still a Main Street fixture today. Seth Bullock is buried at the top of the hill in Deadwood’s Mount Moriah Cemetery.

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