Posts Tagged ‘South Dakota’

Election 1894: Get the Vote Out!

October 28, 2010

THE Republican victory should be made so complete this year that its significance will be understood by the whole world.

Reno Evening Gazette (Reno, Nevada) Nov 5, 1894

Get the Vote Out!
There is just one thing left for republicans to do — get out a full vote. There is where the danger lies. The voters are all right. They don’t want any more democratic policy. They was a change. Their experience has been bitter enough. Thousands who voted the democratic ticket in 1892, and who have in recent years been getting into the way of voting the democratic ticket at least occasionally, see their mistake. They regret it. They would not do it if they had it to do over again. This is their genuine feeling. The drift is apparent.

— Sioux City Journal.

After this election the democrats will have to re-organize again, and work like nailers to get the populist pitch off their garments.

Republican success will induce capital to enter upon enterprises that will keep men at work and render a profit. That’s what it will do for capital.

There can be no mistaking the signs over the country. They mark a veritable revolution.
— Sioux City Journal.

The best way in all the world to distribute wealth is to give big wages for good work, and provide good work for all.

Vote for business. There is always a dead-beat faction in every city, but its tickets should never win.

Keep everybody busy. That is the way to keep everybody out of mischief, and out of despondency.

No good man in this section can afford to take any risks on losing a sound republican United States senator. Vote for the republican legislative ticket.

Let every republican come out, rain or shine. No ballot will be lost, although it may be only one in a vast majority. There is more in the election than the mere choice of candidates.
— Sioux City Journal.

Republican success will put labor to work. That’s what it will do for labor.

Daily Huronite (Huron, South Dakota) Nov 5, 1894

Voting Time in Tyrone.

It seems beyond belief that from the placid precints of Hollidayburg may proceed the ?ome frollicking poetical exhuberance. Yet so harmoniously combined are a retrospective remembrance of Tyrone hustle and an intelligent appreciation of the sweep to be made tomorrow by the Republican broom, in at least one active mind there, that the anomaly really appears, to set aside conventialities and demonstrate what queer things may happen.

To one given to writing for the press, it is a certainty that the time comes at least once in his career that he will essay poetry. So it is that our Hollidaysburg friend has unburdened himself of an effusion which has doubtless been formulating in his mind for many years. It is a rare poetic achievement, for the article breaks over all precedents f license in versification, and the stupendous thought conveyed in the lines moves with a vigor and frolic that seems almost to reveal a tumbling over each other of the alphabetical elements which compose it, in the endeavor of each individual letter to reach the end of the poem first and execute the most violent impact against the concluding exclamation point. But here are the verses, to which our old friend and fellow-editor, Samuel Beswick, signs his name:

Voting time in Tyrone
Comes once in four years.
Ketch the coon by his long curl’d tail,
Or ketch him by the ears.
But ketch him! O ketch him!
On the post of honor place him.
Be sure and ketch him
Once in four long years.

Voting time in Tyrone,
Speakers on the stump.
Ketch the coon on the high fence rail,
Or ketch him on the jump.
But ketch him! O ketch him!
In the ballot box secure him.
Make sure and ketch him
Once if four long years.

Voting time in Tyrone,
Here the roosters call!
In the Democratic barn yards!
Just ketch ’em — tails and all.
But ketch ’em! O ketch ’em,
And on the high fence pluck ’em.
Make sure and ketch ’em
Once in four long years!

Tyrone Daily Herald (Tyrone, Pennsylvania) Nov 5, 1894

Seth Bullock Goes to Deadwood

August 18, 2010


A Newsy Letter from Seth Bullock.

Through the courtesy of Mr. Chas. Warren we are permitted to use the following letter from the well known ex-Sheriff of Lewis and Clark county:

DEADWOOD, Sept. 8, 1876.

“I arrived here August 3d, and found a “red hot” mining town, situated at a point where Deadwood empties into Whitewood. The gulches are very rich; claims are all taken, and sold at high figures. Deadwood is the best gulch so far as known. Claims are 300 feet up and down, and extend from hill top across — about as large as a ranch. The country is overdone, or rather men have come here too fast for the amount of work that can be done in one summer. A great many are here idle and broke. The Indians will not permit a man to go out side of the gulch, so that very little prospecting can be done.

Crowds arrive and leave daily. Most all the travel is by way of Cheyenne. Fare all the way from ten to thirty-five dollars; time from five to thirty days. Business of all kinds are represented. Langrishe has a theatre here, and two dance houses boom nightly. We have no law and no order, and no prospect of either. Several murders have been committed and nothing done. A night herd romes the streets at night, and whoop and shoot until morning.

Nebraska farmers peddle flour, bacon and groceries from claim to claim, which makes the grocery trade dull.

Dennee is here. “Sid Osborne” left for Montana a few days ago on biz. The country is full of Montanians. Ches. Trais arrived to-day and 106 others. Tell your friends not to come here this fall, that is, those who come to work or prospect. I cannot advise you to come; on the contrary I think you are doing better than you could here. Board here is $10 per week, flour $8 per hundred, bacon 20 cents per pound, etc., whisky 25 cents a drink. The Hills are too near the “genial influnces” for times to be here as they were in Montana in ’49 without other diggings are found. Two years will take the cream of this country. I don’t believe it is any better for farming than Montana. We have a little more rain here, and as many grasshoppers. Sol Star is here and doing fair. I am satisfied to remain for a while. I shall go east this winter if you do. We have no regular mail. A coach is expected here daily. Let me hear from you with the Montana news.

Your friend,


Butte Miner (Butte, Montana) Oct 3, 1876

Seth Bullock Has Him In Charge.

DEADWOOD, August 26. Three road agents who have been plying their vocation on the Cheyenne stage route were arrested and jailed here this evening. They came into town yesterday morning and were spotted by the Sheriff and his deputies. The arrests were made this evening. One of the robbers resisted arrest, drawing a revolver and shooting Officer May through the arm, The fire was returned, but the desperado succeeded in getting to his horse and started over the hills. The horse was killed by a rifle shot, and before the robber could recover himself from the fall Sheriff Bullock closed with and easily overcame him, as he had been shot through the body and was weak from loss of blood. The wound is probably fatal.

The Helena Independent (Helena, Montana) Aug 28, 1877

In the contest for the office of Sheriff of the Black Hills, between Seth Bullock and John Manning, both old Montanians, the latter was victorious. The entire Democratic ticket was elected by handsome majorities. Doc Carter ran on the People’s ticket for County Recorder and got left out in the cold.

The Helena Independent (Helena, Montana) Nov 21, 1877

Seth Bullock, Capt. Hazerodt and J.F. Mckenna are the Republican, and John Manning, Jeff McDermott and W.H. Stittwell the Democratic aspirants for the office of Sheriff in Lawrence county, Dakota.

The Helena Independent (Helena, Montana) Oct 1, 1878

Montanians Seeking Office.

The Black Hills people appear to take a good deal of stock in Montanians, as they nominate them for all the important offices. Those who were formerly residents of Helena and candidates on the Democratic ticket, are: John Manning, for Sheriff; Geo. Felix Ingram for Assessor, and Frank Abt for County Commissioner. The Republicans have nominated Seth Bullock for Sheriff and James Carney for Treasurer.

The Helena Independent (Helena, Montana) Nov 2, 1878

Seth Bullock, an old-time sheriff of Lewis and Clarke county, arrived in the city last Sunday from the Black Hills, where he is extensively engaged in business. He received a perfect ovation from his many friends here.

The Helena Independent (Helena, Montana) May 23, 1882

Deadwood Dotlets.

Special to the Globe.

DEADWOOD, Dak., June 6. — It was announced yesterday that the Fremont, Elkhorn & Missouri Valley railroad, the track of which is now laid within fifty miles of Rapid City, would build north and west to a point near Fort Meade this summer. This will bring the railroad within fifteen miles of Deadwood…

The Electric Light company will start up this evening, after two weeks idleness. The company had been reorganized and the works will be moved from the present location on Sherman street to Upper Main street …

Judge Church of the district court on Monday denied an injunction to F.W. Hamilton et al. against Seth Bullock and others who are in possession of the Hattenbach smelter and water right at the carbonate camp. The decision was received with general rejoicing here as it was feared that had the decision been otherwise work would be stopped on the Iron Hill for some years, as the Hattenbach water right affords the only water at present available for working the Iron Hill mill…

The annual meeting of the Iron Hill stockholders was held in this city yesterday, who re-elected the old board of directors. A monthly dividend of 5 cents per share was declared….

The grand lodge of Knights of Pythias will meet at Rapid City on the 15th inst. The knights of the hills are determined to make this session of the grand lodge a memorable one, and large delegation will attend from Deadwood, Central City and Lead City.

St. Paul Globe (St. Paul, Minnesota) Jun 7, 1886

A new faction is to appear in the Watertown convention from the Black Hills, designated as the Bullwumps. It will appear as a contesting force, nominally for SETH BULLOCK, but ready to trade with any faction that will give them a show for seats. The name is, of course, derived from that of the leader. There are two or three other lots of contestants that will tend to enliven matters at Watertown.

St. Paul Daily Globe (St. Paul, Minnesota) Aug 18, 1888


Judge Palmer Was Wired as the Proxy of the Hills at Huron.

DEADWOOD, Dak., Jan. 18. — “We, the people of Lawrence county,” met at the city hall Tuesday afternoon the 13th, and elected twenty-two delegates to attend the Huron convention. An obscure call appeared in the morning papers of the same morning, and before those papers appeared in the outside precincts, the “mass” convention had met, resoluted and adjourned. It is well said that Dakota holds more conventions than any other state in the Unions, but in Lawrence county they can  call and hold a mass meeting of the citizens of the county in less time than it takes to tell. The one held on the 15th was remarkable in that it was conceived, called, held and over with in less than ten hours, and the county is larger than the state of Rhode Island. The total number present at this “we, the people” was five, consisting of Messrs. G.G. Bennett, Seth Bullock, Samuel Cushman, Ploughman and Church. Several newspaper representatives were also present.

Twenty-two delegates were chosen, comprising what is known as the Mugwump element of the county and a few others, and the proxies of the entire delegation were telegraphed to Judge Palmer.

Resolutions were also telegraphed favoring division and admission and a new constitutional convention for South Dakota, and strongly urging a new election of officers.

St. Paul Daily Globe (St. Paul, Minnesota) Jan 19, 1889


The Gates of Mineral Edens Yield to Hard, Persistent Knocks.


The Black Hills.

DEADWOOD, S.D., Aug. 27. — Correspondence of THE BEE. — The Bald mountain and Ruby Basin mining districts of the Black Hills which are just now attracting more attention perhaps, than any other gold and silver mining districts in the United States, lay some eight miles north of Deadwood, in Laurence county. The districts are some four miles long by three miles wide and are remarkable for the great number of deposits of pay ore that have been brought into sight by a minimum amount of development. The ore which is silicious, occurs in blanket veins, from three to twenty-five feet thick, and from ten to eight feet wide, as in the Golden Reward, and ranges in value from $18 per ton upwards into the hundreds. The general average being about $30….

With a courage and determination admirable, when the many difficulties standing in the way, and the long line of misfortunes by which all previous efforts had been met, are contemplated Mr. Franklin and the gentlemen associated with him, refused to abandon the purpose they had in view, and lost no time in looking about for some other process. The Newberry-Vautin chlorination method was just then attracting attention in the United States, as well as in Australia. The company had a small plant in Denver, and thereto Messrs. Franklin, Bullock and C.W. Carpenter went.

Several weeks were spent studying the process, the gentlemen returning to Deadwood satisfied that while as operated at Denver it was not practical for Black Hills ores, it was susceptible to change and modifications, which would excellently adapt it to the peculiarities of the Hills. So many failures had characterized the effort to treat these ores that when approached for subscriptions toward building another plant, a majority refused having anything to do with the project. The burden, therefore, fell on some eight or ten, most prominent among them being Harris Franklin, his business partner Ben Baer, Seth Bullock, Colonel C.W. Carpenter and George C. Hickok.

These gentlemen organized a corporation under the name of “Golden Reward Chlorination works,” and at once began building a plant. Warned by other failures they started on a small scale, the works at first having a capacity of only thirty tons per day. The first run was not a brilliant success. Nothing daunted the gentlemen continued putting money in, and some seven or eight months later were able to positively announce that the difficulty has at length been solved, that the chlorination process, as operated by them, was an absolute success in saving every cent of gold contained in the ore, and that the operation of Bald Mountain and Ruby Basin mines to a profit was not only possible, but probable and practicable.

The next four months’ operations of the plant proved conclusively all they had claimed for it. Capacity was doubled and the plant has been kept continually busy on ore from the Golden Reward mine, turning out bullion at the rate of $30,000 to $33,000 per month. It is not claimed for this process, however, that it will save any silver the ore may contain, and as a good many of the silicious deposits referred to carry silver in value ranging from $8 ot $30 per ton (Golden Reward ore carried from $1 to $3 silver only), in addition to the gold, it became necessary to devise a method for saving the silver.

At the Golden Reward plant the cost of treatment is something under $5 per ton for gold alone, and experiments made proved that by adding vats and resort to lixiviation the silver could be saved for an additional cost of $2 per ton. The ore of this particular mine carries so little silver, however, that it has not been deemed advisable to put in the additional machinery necessary to save it.

About the time Mr. Franklin and associates completed this chlorination plant, Dr. Franklin R. Carpenter, then dean of the Dakota school of mines, who had given close study to Ruby Basin and Bald Mountain ores, and who had some months previously published an article in the Rapid Republican, advocating their treatment by pyritic smelting, made a series of successful experiments with the process at the school of mines laboratory. At some of these experiments Seth Bullock, then president of the Iron Hill mining company, and the late J.K.P. Miller, of Deadwood, were present. The gentlemen were both convinced that the process was an absolute success, and returned with that idea firmly fixed in their minds. Mr. Bullock shortly afterward determined on a practical test at the Iron Hill. The result is concisely told in the following clipping from the Black Hills Times of January 1, 1890.

“The first practical test of the pyrite scheme was made by Seth Bullock at the Iron Hill, when the basic ores of the mine were mixed with the dry gold-silver ores of Ruby Basin and pyrite from Galena, also carrying a little gold and silver, thus modifying but very slightly the process as usually practiced. The process was a gratifying success as demonstrated by the treatment of over 400 tons of ore. Two runs were made — thorough test of eight days continuance, the only change necessary to the smelter being the filling of the lead well. The proportions of a charge cannot be stated more definitely than that from fifteen to twenty per cent of pyrites is an ingredient with Iron Hill and Ruby ores and lime, effecting a concentration of ten tons into one and giving an absolute clean slug.”…

Omaha Daily Bee (Omaha, Nebraska) Aug 30, 1891

Seth Bullock of Deadwood will write a book entitled, “Twenty Years in the Territories.” Its subject matter will touch on the doings of vigilants of Montana, the horse thieves of Nebraska and the stage robbers of the Black Hills.

Omaha Daily Bee (Omaha, Nebraska) Jul 10, 1893



Was One of the Civilizers of Montana and the Black Hills Region — As the First Sheriff of the Black Hills He Put to Death Many of the Desperadoes of the Frontier.

Seth Bullock, a frontiersman, who assisted in the civilization of Montana and the Black Hills region, by sending innumerable desperadoes over the great divide via the pistol route and the hangman’s noose, is visiting the Twin Cities in the thoroughly up-to-date guise of a promoter for the Belle Fourche Smelting and Refining company, of the Black Hills.

Mr. Bullock formerly owned the land being worked by the Belle Fourche company, and now that his former occupation of sheriff, vigilante and Indian fighter is gone, he is engaged in furthering the mining interests of the section where he passed through so many dangers and thrilling experiences.

As the first sheriff of the Black Hills, Seth Bullock was a peace officer feared by the desperadoes of the hills. His determination to do his duty, coupled with indomitable courage, led him to relentlessly pursue evil doers, and when the “bad” men found Bullock on their tracks they knew justice would be meted out to them.

While never taking life needlessly, Seth Bullock says he has been forced to kill so many tough characters that he has lost actual count of the notches on the butts of his “shooting irons.”

Sometimes, when accompanying a valuable consignment of bullion overland, Mr. Bullock was obliged to distribute the contents of his Winchester rifle among half a dozen bandits who attempted to hold up the stage. The stage seldom stopped to get a list of the dead and wounded from the robbers, so Mr. Bullock does not know just how many he killed in these “sorties.” On one occasion, however, while the stage which he was carrying through traveled a small canyon sixty miles from Deadwood, four knights of the road undertook to appropriate the treasure aboard, but a series of rapid shots from Bullock’s rifle eliminated all danger and annihilated the robbers.

Mr. Bullock made his reputation as chairman of the 3-7-77 vigilance committee, of Helena, Mont., before he went into the Black Hills. There was a great deal of work for the vigilantes in those days, and very frequently the figures 3-7-77, meaning a meeting of the committee was to be held that night, could be seen chalked about the street.

In the secret conclaves Bullock presided over the deliberations of men as sternly bent on exterminating lawlessness as himself, and when it was decided that any particularly tough character was due, he was soon captured. The vigilance committee did not execute the criminals, but turned them over to the courts.

In 1872 Bullock was elected sheriff and during four years of service hung many criminals. He was quite a monopolist as regarded the hanging function as was indicated on one occasion when lynch law was about to be invoked in the case of two men arrested for train robbing.

The vigilantes wanted to string the prisoners up without ceremony. Seth reckoned as how he would attend to the hanging himself and proceeded to execute the robbers.

“You are a d–m monopolist,” said one of the vigilantes, “you want to do all of the hanging yourself.”

Mr. Bullock was a personal friend of Buffalo Bill and Wild Bill, with whom he was at times closely associated. Seth liked Wild Bill, and though McCall killed many men, Seth thinks he was justified in many cases.

When the gold discoveries were made in the Black Hill Seth Bullock and a party of friends went with the rush to this section. It was a lawless country, where murders and robbery were the order of the day. Outlawry became so rampant that Bullock was prevailed upon to accept the office of sheriff in the hills as he had done in Helena. His election gave the Black Hills country its first sheriff, and as such Bullock’s name struck terror to the hearts of evil doers.

It was here that he did most of his Indian fighting. The troublesome Sioux of Sitting Bull made border life extremely dangerous, and when the general uprising, which resulted in the terrible Custer massacre, threatened the extermination of white settlers, it was Seth Bullock who offered to put down the red skins. Bullock had been appointed adjutant general of the territory and wired Gov. Pennington the following message:

“The Indians are still massacreing our people in Spear Fish and Belle Fourche valleys. I advise that you permit me to take my troops down and kill the agents at Pine Ridge, Cheyenne and Standing Rock. This will stop the Indian trouble.”

Gov. Pennington telegraphed in reply: “Better wait awhile, Seth.”

Mr. Bullock says his plan was somewhat unusual, but declares it was a solution of the problem, as he charges the Indian agents with the responsibility of the uprisings.
In appearance Seth Bullock is the typical frontiersman, with one exception. He has never worn his hair long, as is characteristic of most Western notables. Fully six feet tall, straight as an arrow, with a muscular figure and aquiline features, he appears a splendid type of physical manhood. His blue-gray eyes are a noticeable feature.

Sparkling with subdued fire, they are kindly in expression, but bespeak the “flinty” look of the yellowback novel, should the owner become aroused.

Since it has become safe to live in the Black Hills, Mr. Bullock has undertaken the development of rich gold property which came into his possession. Several Twin city capitalists are associated with him in business. Mr. Bullock declares the Black Hills district is the richest gold producing country in the world. Last year the output, he says, was $10,000,000, and that of the year before $8,000,000, and all of this wealth, Mr. Bullock says, came from a district within a ten-mile radius of Deadwood.

The mining in this section is all quartz mining, Mr. Bullock says, and the claims owned by large companies, who operate huge smelters for extracting the precious yellow metal, the largest smelter in the world, he says, being at Deadwood. Mr. Bullock says few people realize the richness of the Black Hills gold region.

The Saint Paul Globe (St. Paul, Minnesota) Mar 25, 1898

Enlisting Rough Riders.

DEADWOOD, S.D., May 4. — (Special Telegram.) — The appointment of Seth Bullock as a captain in the regiment of cavalry which Attorney General Grigsby has been authorized to raise has created much enthusiasm in this and other adjoining counties of the Black Hills. As soon as his appointment was telegraphed him Mr. Bullock sent runners to every cow camp in the Black Hills and has now enrolled in his command over 400 of the best shots and most fearless riders in the world, all of whom are ready for service in Cuba or the Philippines.

Omaha Daily Bee (Omaha, Nebraska) May 5, 1898

Grigsby’s Rough Riders.

The daily reports of the surgeons show that the health of the camp is improving.

The Rough Riders were mustered in yesterday morning and will probably receive their pay today. Several of the officers left camp to obtain signatures of those who are sick, so they can draw their pay.

The troop commanded by Captain Bullock has been pronounced the healthiest body of men in the regiment….

The camp of Colonel Grigsby’s cowboys was moved yesterday from the location where they have been camped since their arrival at the park, to the Brotherton field, east of the First Illinois cavalry. Lieutenant Colonel Lloyd, who is in command of the cowboys, is well pleased with the new location and thinks the change will prove beneficial to the health of the regiment….

A general court-martial has been appointed and ordered to be convened at the brigade headquarters by Assistant Adjutant General William E. Almy. The following are the members of the court-martial: Major L.H. French of the cowboys and Major Frank B. Alsip of the First Illinois cavalry and Captains Seth Bullock, J.B. Binder, C.E. Gregory and J.T. Brown of the cowboy regiment…A large number of cases will be tried by the court.

Omaha Daily Bee (Omaha, Nebraska) Aug 4, 1898

Captain Bullock Convalescing.

DEADWOOD, S.D. Sept. 26. — (Special) — Captain Seth Bullock of Grigsby’s regiment had been dangerously ill in this city with malarial fever, which was contracted in Camp Thomas. He is slowly recovering.

Omaha Daily Bee (Omaha, Nebraska) Sep 27, 1898


A Circular Issued by Seth Bullock, of Deadwood.

The manner in which the great timber preserves of the Northwest are protected against fires and the ravages of outlaw timber cutters is illustrated in a circular letter just issued by Seth Bullock, of Deadwood, S.D., one of the most energetic forest supervisors in the country. Mr. Bullock was sheriff in Deadwood when that town was infested by the most lawless element of the West. His decisive actions resulted in the establishment of law and order. Under his regime ugly characters learned to give Deadwood a wide berth.

President Roosevelt, while operating a ranch at Medora, was one of Mr. Bullock’s deputies. The circular issued by Mr. Bullock is addressed to the Forest Rangers, and is as follows:

“To Forest Rangers, Black Hill Forest Reserve.

“Sirs: Your attention is called to the fact that in a number of instances the monthly reports of the forest rangers of this Reserve show but a few miles traveled per day while patrolling their districts. From two to ten miles frequently appears as all that is accomplished, no other work being undertaken or reported as having been performed.

“You are advised that a forest ranger is supposed to patrol his district on horseback, and that the patrolling of districts on foot will not be permitted. A few monthly reports — very few, I am glad to say — indicate that that particular ranger performs as little service as he can during the month, just enough to have his report approved and escape censure. Rangers of this class must not be disappointed if they are furloughed this fall, and an additional leave of absence granted them next summer. Shiftless, careless work will not be tolerated in the future. An honest day’s work honestly performed is what is required and will be insisted upon.

“You are expected to thoroughly patrol your district, getting to every part of it at least once a month, familiarizing yourselves with every trail and every road upon or through it; by whom and for what purpose they are used. You should also know the name and occupation of every resident of your district temporary as well as permanent, and ascertain by what right they are upon the reserve and what their business it. An especial and vigilant watch must be kept for forest fires. Visit often the places frequented by campers as they are a prolific source of fires. Establish correspondence at various points within your district with persons  residing therein who will keep you advised of forest fires and depredations, either on the forest reserve or on the public lands near by.

“See that the forest fire notices are put up and maintained upon all the public roads and trails of your district. Report all cases of fire and trespass as soon as you have knowledge of them. In all your intercourse with the public extend such treatment that every honest man within your district shall be your personal friend. Very respectfully,


“Forest Supervisor.”

The Evening Times (Washington, D.C.) Oct 12, 1901


Seth Bullock See the President Daily.

Former Sheriff of Deadwood Warmly Welcomed.

Tells of Mr. Roosevelt’s Career in the Black Hills Country.

Special Dispatch to the Call.


“Have you met Seth Bullock yet?” asked President Roosevelt of a caller to-day. “He comes from Deadwood and is about as fine a type of the real man as you will find in the Western country. He used to be a neighbor of mine.”

Seth Bullock of Deadwood, formerly a Black Hills Sheriff, has been a guest at the White House several times during the last week at luncheons and once or twice at dinner.

He has had a horseback rid or two with the President and last Thursday, mounted on one of the best horses in the White House stables, he and little “Archie” Roosevelt, mounted on his spotted pony, took a long ride over the country roads of Maryland.

Mr. Bullock, or “Captain” Bullock, as he is called, is supervisor of the national forest reserve in the Black Hills, which comprises a stretch of woodland 100 miles long and fifty wide. He is the commanding officer of twenty or thirty forest rangers.

This friend of the President is as straight as one of the pines in his native State of Michigan. He is six feet tall and as spare as a trained runner. He has the eagle nose of the fighter and eagle eye of a man who does not know what it is to flinch. He has a sandy moustache and a full head of hair that has dodged the Indian scalping knife a half dozen times. He was a born adventurer, because when 14 years of age he followed his five older brothers into the army and enlisted as a drummer boy.

“I have known the President for a good many years. I knew him first when he took up his ranch on the Little Missouri,” said he to-day. “It didn’t take the neighbors of Mr. Roosevelt very long to find out that, although he was from the East and a bit near-sighted, he was just as able to take care of himself as any of us who had been out there since the first stampede to the Black Hills, and he was ready to do his part, too. When cattle thieves came out of the Black Hole, he took his share of work in bringing them to justice, and when he had to be made a deputy Sheriff and was asked to go after a couple of desperadoes down in the river bottom he always went and he always brought them back.”

The San Francisco Call ( San Francisco, California) Mar 1, 1903


President’s Son Gets Keepsake From Capt. Seth Bullock.

DEADWOOD, S.D., June 9. — Capt. Seth Bullock, of Deadwood, has ordered as a present for Archie Roosevelt, third son of the president, a handsome pair of cowboy spurs, made on a special order. They were procured for Capt. Bullock by Edward McDonald, mayor of Deadwood, who is a saddler. They are hand made and represent the highest skill of forging and finishing.

They are of the regulation cowboy type with drop shank, large rowells and locks with wide hand-stamped Russia leather and gold conchas. The spurs are silver mounted and chased with an artistic design. The boy for whom they are intended rode much with Capt. Bullock when the latter was in Washington.

The Saint Paul Globe (St. Paul, Minnesota) Jun 10, 1903



Doesn’t Like to Talk About the Days When He Was a Terror to Evildoers in Deadwood — More Interested in Forestry — Punctures the Calamity Jane Myth.

WASHINGTON, April 9. — Seth Bullock is making his annual visit to Washington. It is the same Seth Bullock, who, as the first Sheriff of Deadwood, was a terror to law breakers all over the Black Hills region and officiated at some half a dozen more or less impromptu executions of horse thieves and bad men. But in one way he has changed.

To his old comrade and friend, Theodore Roosevelt, and to his other companions of the old days on the Little Missouri, he is the same always. But to strangers who would fain converse about the dime novel exploits of his comrades and himself on the frontier he is simply a plain American citizen, quietly plodding paths of peace, and a little surprised, and even grieved, when the conversation is turned to such subjects as the early days of Deadwood and the exploits of Corral Charlie and Calamity Jane.

And so it happens that the conversation soon reverts to the affairs of the Black Hills Forest Reserve, of which Mr. Bullock is the Federal superintendent, and to the glories of President Roosevelt’s Administration and to Roosevelt’s peerless virtues as a gentleman and a scholar. Not even Jacob Riis is a more ardent admirer of Mr. Roosevelt than is Seth Bullock.

He knew Roosevelt when Roosevelt was a plainsman, and it is his proud assertion that his old friend of the Bad Lands hasn’t changed a bit since he was elevated to the highest place in the nation. He took luncheon with the President at the White House the other day, and they swapped stories of the old days, and seriously discussed affairs of State and of the Black Hills Forest Reserve.

Last year he was the President’s guest at the White House, and he attended some of the largest of the State entertainments. He is quite at home in polite society, and except as a man of muscular build and the possessor of a rather fierce looking, melodrama villain’s mustache, would not attract special notice from casual observers.

To some intimates he did remark that the Marine Band played fine music, but that it was pretty far up the gulch for him; and he wished they would play “There’ll Be A Hot Time” and a few similar pieces more to his liking.

Bullock’s saddle gait and his sun tanned skin give him the look of a plainsman, or at least of a man accustomed to a vigorous outdoor life. The only article of apparel that suggests his habitat is a sombrero of the Montana peak variety, but he remarked to a friend who admired his that:

“Why, I’ve seen more hats almost like this in Washington to-day than you’d see in Deadwood in a week.”

To a reporter who called on him Mr. Bullock said smilingly that he didn’t propose to talk about Deadwood as it was, nor to discuss Calamity Jane, Corral Charlie, Arizona Ike or any other of the Western celebrities with whom he came into more or less forcible contact when he was Sheriff of Deadwood in the palmy days of the Black Hills gold excitement.

“The West, including Deadwood, is civilized now,” he said, “and I am sure there is more genuine interest in its present and future development and in the irrigation and forest reserve problems than in discussing the more or less notorious characters of the early days who have been lifted from their actual level in real life to a much higher plane in the realm of fiction.

“And I must say that I grow sorrier and sorrier every day to think that I was ever Sheriff of Deadwood. I am perfectly willing to discuss the Black Hills Forest Reserve by the hour, for it is a good work and an important work and a work in which any one might well take an interest. But I have found that when I meet a man who looks as if he wanted to ask questions and am priming myself to give him statistics of the population of Deadwood, and describe the trolley cars that run through the streets of that hustling little town, he usually begins by saying in a coaxing voice:

“‘Mr. Sheriff, is it true that you have killed forty-seven men?’

“That may appear as a joke to some people, but it is far from being one. Last year when I came to Washington and had been in town for half a day or so, I was somewhat surprised that no newspaper men came to interview me. You see, I have become rather used to the process.

“But in this case it seemed that personal interviews were not necessary, for when I read the papers the next morning I found various delightfully interesting and accurate accounts of the life of ‘The Sheriff of Deadwood,’ ‘The Conqueror of Deadwood Dick,’ ‘The Terror of South Dakota,’ ‘The Man With Sixteen Notches on His Gun Butt,’ and a lot of other things that make a man feel tired.

“The only way that I can figure it out is just that only two men I ever did send over the range — and they were worthless and deserved it — have been drawing compound interest all these years. At any rate, all that sort of thing is, to put it mildly, disagreeable. I don’t like it and my family and friends don’t like it.

“I am down here in Washington just now,” said Mr. Bullock in answer to a question, “on official business. There are some matters in connection with the forest reserve on which I wanted to consult the officials of the General Land Office.

“It is quite a change to be here in Washington, and I like it. When I am home, as Superintendent of the Black Hills Reserve I spend about half the time in the saddle, and of course it grows tiresome at times. You see, I have only fourteen men under me in the winter and between twenty-five and thirty in the summer, and it keeps us pretty busy patrolling a tract seventy miles long and forty wide, and containing about a million and a half acres of timber land.

“But our work is well repaid, for we have not had a forest fire of any size in the reservation since I became superintendent, and the timber is reproducing itself. Just as much timber is being cut as ever, but the careful supervision exercised over the tract and the cutting of timber under observation have resulted in reproduction, and if the same course is followed there will be just as much timber on the land fifty or one hundred years from now as there is as present.”

“I guess those were swift old days in Deadwood during the Black Hills excitement,” remarked the reporter reflectively.

“Oh, shucks!” said Mr. Bullock in disgust, “you’re just like all the rest. I thought I had you switched on to the forest reserve proposition, and I’ll bet you haven’t even been listening, but just waiting to spring that question.

“I don’t want to talk about those times, though I’ll admit they were strenuous; but I will say that just about as much fiction has been printed about one of the so-called famous characters of those times as there has about me. It is of a different kind, though, I trust.

“I mean Calamity Jane. Calamity Jane never was a scout and she never did any of the thousand and one wonderful things she’s been credited with doing.

“She started out once in her buckskin as a mule driver with an expedition that was going out after the Indians, but the commander discovered before very long that she was a woman and left her at Fort Laramie.

“There was a newspaper correspondent there who had started with the detachment, but got sick with mountain fever.

“Calamity Jane nursed him back to life, and he was so grateful that he gave her a reputation in fiction that she certainly never possessed in real life.

“And that’s about all of Deadwood — the old Deadwood — for today. Want to know anything more about the Black Hills Forest Reserve?”

The Sun (New York, New York) Apr 10, 1904


Western Admirer of Roosevelt Deprecates Lack of Noise, Music and Enthusiasm.


Seth Bullock, First Sheriff of Deadwood, Says if the President Were Present Things Would Be Run With a Whoop and a Bang.

Chicago, June 21. — Seth Bullock of Deadwood, S.D. says:

“It’s too blame slow.”

Of Seth Bullock, President Roosevelt once said to the writer: “Have you seen Seth Bullock in town to-day? He is about as fine a type of man as this country produces.”

He was the first Sheriff of Deadwood, and is now Captain of the Black Hills Rangers. He can ride fast and shoot straight. He came here to see “his friend Theodore” nominated in a whirlwind of Black Hills excitement — a slap, a dash, a whoop and a bang. He is disappointed and does not hesitate to so express himself.

“Why, you New York fellows,” said he to-day, “are regular clams. We have got mosquitoes out in Deadwood that would create more enthusiasm than the entire New York delegation. Looks to me as if they were from the Jersey flats. No bands, no whooping and cheering and very little hand-clapping. Why, it’s as cold as Alaska, and I don’t like it.”

Captain Seth Bullock’s duty is to protect the forest reserve. So it happens that he is another of the Federal officeholders attending the convention. He is accustomed to seeing things done quickly and with enthusiasm.

“I must confess,” said Mr. Bullock, “that I am surprised at all this. If Mr. Roosevelt were only here himself you’d see things whooped up. We are for him out in the West good and hard. I’d like to see more noise about his nomination. We men out West are not gaited that way. Why, I saw hardly a smile on the New York delegation during the entire proceedings at the convention to-day, and when Mr. Root mentioned Mr. Roosevelt’s name at the end of his speech it was our fellows from the West who made the noise. And Mr. Roosevelt is a Republican, come from New York, and from Manhattan Island.”

“How many conventions have you attended?” was asked.

“My first was in 1880, right in this city, when Garfield was nominated. I was one of the original 306 Grant men, and I stuck to him to the finish. Grant was a sort of Roosevelt man, and we liked him out in the West for what he was and what he did. But when Garfield was finally nominated we whooped it up for the ticket just the same, because we were good Republicans.

“Why, there was more hollering in that convention in one minute than I have heard all the time since I’ve been in Chicago. That’s the way to nominate a man. Why, in those days the bands played all night. Now they don’t play in the daytime, or, if they do, it’s something like a dirge. And then I came to the convention here in 1888, which nominated ‘Ben’ Harrison. There was noise then, too, and, although General Harrison was not a man to inspire a great deal of hollering, yet we produced the goods. That’s why this convention seems so tame to me.”

“What are you Western Republicans going to do for Mr. Roosevelt in November?”

“Give him a corking big majority. Every State west of the Rockies will go for him strong, and I might say every Western State. But, all the same, I don’t like the way your New York crowd acts and I can’t understand it.”

And Mr. Bullock, Esq., wandered off to the cigar stand after more consolation.

The St. Louis Republic (St. Louis, Missouri) Jun 22, 1904




Horse Thieves, Bootleggers and a Counterfeiter Were Taken Through Here at Noon — Some of the Prisoners Were Bound in Chains.

It was a strange party of travelers that passed through Norfolk at noon bound from Deadwood, S.D., to Leavenworth, Kan., in a special car and chaperoned by a no less genial person than Seth Bullock, United States marshal for the district of South Dakota.

Seventeen federal prisoners, Indians, half breeds and criminal whites, formed one of the largest parties of convicts that have ever been transported through Norfolk. Federal court has been in session at Deadwood and the travelers through Norfolk represented the convictions ground out by the federal mill of justice.

There were no “bad men” in the bunch, just ordinary law smashers of the reservation variety. Here are the statistics of the party: seven horse thieves, seven boot leggers, two white sellers of whisky to the noble red man off the reservation, one counterfeiter.

Chains jingled from the limbs of a few of the prisoners but for the most part the South Dakota collection of criminals were simply under the watchful eyes of Marshal Bullock and his four guards.

Two nights and nearly two days is spent in the long trip across Nebraska to the federal prison at Leavenworth where federal convicts in this section of the northwest serve their time. And any one who has ever seen Marshal Bullock, a typical westerner of the best breed of the western prairie, won’t doubt for a minute but that the long line of criminals from the South Dakota west will file into the prison doors with none of the charming bunch missing.

E.M. Mathews of Omaha, chief deputy marshal of the Nebraska district, left Norfolk on the Deadwood train for Omaha and exchanged greetings with the South Dakota official.

Seth Bullock was with Secretary of War Taft when Taft went through Norfolk this summer.

The Norfolk Weekly News-Journal (Norfolk, Nebraska) Sep 20, 1907


Within the past week two distinguished South Dakota statesmen have passed through Norfolk and have stopped in the new northwest’s gateway long enough to give their views on this or that. One was United States Marshal Seth Bullock of Deadwood, the other was Governor Coe I. Crawford of Pierre. And it is interesting to note the diametrically opposite views of these two statesmen regarding a question which has been uppermost in the mind of the nation for some months past — the question as to President Roosevelt’s successor.

Seth Bullock was a rough rider with Roosevelt and is one of the warmest personal friends of the president to be found in the west. Governor Crawford is likewise a staunch friend of the president’s policies in government, though not the intimate personal friend that Bullock is to the chief executive. And because both are such ardent friends and admirers of the president, their precisely opposite opinions regarding the third term question for Roosevelt is the more interesting.

Governor Crawford in Norfolk the other day declared that he is absolutely and unqualifiedly for Roosevelt for a third term, and he said that he believed that South Dakota republicans would send a delegation to the next national convention instructed to insist upon the president’s acceptance of another nomination. “We have no second choice,” said the governor, because that would be qualifying our support of the president.”

But Seth Bullock takes a different view. Seth Bullock has just come back from Washington, where he talked with President Roosevelt as a matter of course. And when shown a dispatch quoting Senator Clapp of Minnesota as declaring that the president would be compelled to accept a third term nomination, Bullock said: “I’d like to see a photograph of anyone compelling Theodore Roosevelt to accept a nomination for the presidency of the United States. The American people know that the president can’t be driven to do anything. United States senators ought to know it and if they don’t it is about time they were finding it out.”

Seth Bullock and Governor Crawford both know that the president on the night of election, November 8, 11904, in the face of an overwhelming Roosevelt landslide, declared his faith in “the wise custom which limits the president to two terms” and continued: “Under no circumstances will I be a candidate for or accept another nomination.” Apparently Seth Bullock, the personal rough-rider friend who knows Roosevelt, the man, has more faith in the latter’s integrity and sincerity than has Governor Crawford for where the one would take the president at his word and be willing to allow him to live up to the letter of his announcement, the other apparently so far doubts the absolute determination of the president to such an extent that he will seek, and with some hope of success, to persuade the president to reverse himself and take another nomination in the face of his declaration.

The general public naturally questions which of these South Dakota opinions is right when he says that the president can’t be driven to accept, or whether Crawford is right when he pins his faith to the hope that his delegation, and others like it, may influence the president to change his mind. And it might be remembered in this connection that first of all Bullock is a personal friend of the president, and is in better position to know the man’s determination and absolute integrity of purpose than the governor, who knows the president only at long range. It must also be borne in mind that Bullock, secure in his federal appointment so long as his friend Roosevelt remains at the helm, and maybe longer, is in a position to say just exactly what he thinks without regard to its effect upon the voters, while Governor Crawford must consider to a large degree, in view of his candidacy for Senator Kittredge’s toga, what effect his public expressions will have upon the public in South Dakota. And a dispatch recently sent out from Pierre goes so far as to suggest that, in case Roosevelt should finally reverse his decision and accept another nomination, the Crawford-Gamble faction in South Dakota, who have started the third term movement in that state, would inherit an enviable political prestige as creators of the boom.

In other words, it may be his sincere wish that the president should be forced to abandon his original announcement and accept another nomination in spite of it.

Governor Crawford’s views in the matter can not for a moment be separated from his own ambition to acquire sufficient popularity to elect him senator; while on the other hand, Seth Bullock, the personal friend of the president and under more obligations to the latter than any other man in South Dakota, and with no candidacy of his own to further, has such implicit faith in the president’s sincerity and integrity as to neither doubt his word for a moment nor to desire to enlist in any movement whose purpose is to compel the president to go back on that word.

Seth Bullock is a true blue republican and his loyalty is with the same party with which Governor Crawford is associated. But where the one would seek to force the president to retract his repeated announcement, the other would prefer that the integrity of the president in that announcement, because integrity in one matter involves integrity in all matters and because the party’s integrity is linked with the integrity of its official representatives, should be allowed to stand unshaken.

The Norfolk Weekly News-Journal (Norfolk, Nebraska) Sep 27, 1907



South Dakota Cattle Puncher to Get United States Marshalship Without Wire-Pulling.


Washington, Dec. 29. — Theodore Roosevelt’s name is a good one to conjure with at the white house. This was shown when the announcement was made that Capt. Seth Bullock, who hails from out Deadwood way, will be reappointed United States marshal for the district of South Dakota. In territorial days Mr. Roosevelt, then a young man, punched cattle in Dakota, and while there he ran up with Seth Bullock, who was something of a rover at that time. A warm friendship sprang up between the two men and it still continues.

When Mr. Roosevelt was president, Seth Bullock was on a number of occasions a guest at the white house, and when the distinguished New Yorker was inaugurated in 1905 the Deadwood man brought a cowboy regiment to Washington that was easily the headline attraction of the occasion. This particular regiment cut up high jinks in the inauguration parade, and in the white house lot on the night of March 4, 1905, it marched into the white house ground and Mr. Roosevelt delivered a speech to the cowpunchers that tickled them nearly today. Right in front of the executive mansion these cowpunchers from the plains performed a number of stunts in lariat throwing and dare-devil riding that astonished the multitude and came near making Mr. Roosevelt forget that the inaugural ball was about to begin and awaited his presence.

Soon after Seth Bullock, who had up to that time been the head ranger of the Black Hills forest reserve in South Dakota, was named United States marshal. It may be stated upon good authority that before he left Washington Mr. Roosevelt did not make many requests of the man who was about to succeed him. In fact, it is known that he took the position that it would be indelicate for him to make suggestions as to the filling of public office in the new administration. He made an exception, however, in the case of Bullock. Mr. Roosevelt told his successor that if he could see his way clear to do so it would please him if Bullock was reappointed United States marshal. Accordingly, the nomination of Mr. Bullock for another term will be sent to the senate next week.

The Paducah Evening Sun (Puducah, Kentucky) Dec 29, 1909

Presidential Nominations.

(Herald Special.)

Washington, D.C., Jan. 17. — Among the presidential nominations today Seth Bullock was named for United States marshal of South Dakota, and Frederick W. Collins for the Southern district of Mississippi.

Palestine Daily Herald (Palestine, Texas) Jan 17, 1910

Image from The Black Hills Believables by John Hafnor

Highest Dakota Peak To Be Mt. Roosevelt

“Round Top,” One of Blacks Hills, Will Be Rechristened on Fourth of July

The highest peak in the Black Hills of South Dakota is to be rechristened Mount Theodore Roosevelt on July 4. The mountain, heretofore variously known as Sheep Mountain and Round Top, rises about three miles from Deadwood and from its summit can be seen the country where Roosevelt, the young ranchman, sought and found that bodily vigor which sustained the strenuous life of years to come.

Lieutenant Colonel Theodore Roosevelt, Colonel William Boyce Thompson, president of the Roosevelt Memorial Association, and a large party will go from here to attend the ceremony. The Governor of South Dakota will preside and Major General Leonard Wood will be one of the speakers. State officials of Wyoming, Nebraska and Montana have promised to attend.

Captain Seth Bullock heads a committee of the late ex-President’s early associates in the Northwest in charge of the affair. They are having erected at the top of the mountain a memorial cairn of boulders of native granite. This will be dedicated on Independence Day.

Next Sunday a number of Colonel Roosevelt’s old friends in North Dakota will hold a meeting at the Custer Trail Ranch, Medora, and organize a committee of the Roosevelt Memorial Association. The Custer Trail Ranch formed part of the Roosevelt Ranch on the Little Missouri. Sylvane Ferris and William J. Merrifield, Roosevelt’s ranch partners, and Joe Ferris, who took him on his first Buffalo hunt, have arranged a big round-up and barbecue picnic to mark the occasion.

New York Tribune (New York, New York) Jun 13, 1919

Image from Find-A-Grave - Laura Harvey

Find-A-Grave Link for Seth Bullock.

Seth Bullock, Friend of Roosevelt, Dead

DEADWOOD, S.D., Sept. 23. — Seth Bullock, lifelong friend of the late Theodore Roosevelt, died at his home here this morning after an illness of several weeks. He was a pioneer of the Black Hills and was sixty-two years old.

Seth Bullock was born in Sandwich, Canada, just across the river from Detroit. He went West just as soon as he was able to ride a horse. In South Dakota, he was miner, prospector, peace officer and cattleman.

When he became Sheriff of Deadwood he proceeded to clean up the town. One night, it is related of him, he himself arrested thirty-seven “bad men” by beating each one into insensibility with the butt of his gun. Three of the men escaped and hid in an old mine not far from Deadwood. Bullock went to the mine and smoked them out.

New York Tribune (New York, New York) Sep 24, 1919

Image from Find-A-Grave - by afraydknot


Sheriff of Deadwood, Who Died Yesterday, Was Friend of Roosevelt

Deadwood, S.D., Sept. 24. — Seth Bullock, who died here yesterday at the age of sixty-two years, had numerous claims to celebrity before his friendship for Theodore Roosevelt brought him into the limelight.

As the first sheriff of Deadwood when this community was in its formative stage and had just as much respect for laws — whether man-made or heaven-inspired — as Seth had for the reputation of the bad men who were making Deadwood no place for a prohibitionist, the young Canadian (he was born in Sandwich, Canada, just across from Detroit) proved his mettle.

Straight, as slender and as strong as a Saskatchewan spruce and with the speed of a diamondback rattler, he looked like what he was. He was the easterner’s cherished vision of what the first sheriff of Deadwood, S.D., ought to be and look like. What the movie hero of a Wild West drama tries to portray Seth Bullock was and did.

His clean-up of Deadwood was swift and effective. He dominated the place by becoming just a little tougher than any citizen who was catalogued as tough before his election. Those yearning for a fight had but to apply to Seth and they got complete satisfaction.

It is said of him that Seth Bullock arrested thirty-seven bad men the night following his election as sheriff, using such measures as beating recalcitrants into submission with the butt of his gun and carefully shooting others in those sections of their anatomy that housed no vital organs.

By these direct methods Deadwood was transformed into as clean a town as the West of those days boasted, and he had a thoroughly enjoyable time doing it.

When Theodore Roosevelt set up his ranch on the Little Missouri river in 1885 a friendship was established between the two men that was genuine and permanent. At Roosevelt’s inauguration Bullock took a band of cowpunchers to Washington and with them participated in the inaugural parade. Roosevelt made Bullock United States marshal for South Dakota and throughout his career showed his high regard for the friend of his cowboy days. He went to London in 1910, arrayed in a hard-boiled shirt and eastern shoes, but he clung to his wide-brimmed hat so loudly and fiercely that he escaped the bowler destined for his sunburned brow.

In London Captain Bullock met Colonel Roosevelt again. The Colonel had just returned from his African exploration, and he and the sheriff of Deadwood did London and traveled Scotland together.

Upon his return Seth Bullock had things to say about Europe.

“There were plenty of kings in the atmosphere in London,” said Seth. “You’d had no trouble filling a royal flush at any time, while four kings would have been easier.”

Evening Public Ledger (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) Sep 24, 1919


Books (Google books links)  of Interest:

Title: Grigsby’s Cowboys
Author: Otto l Sues
Published: 1899
Biography:Seth Bullock

Title: The happy Hunting-Grounds
Author: Kermit Roosevelt
Publisher: C. Scribner’s sons, 1921
Includes pictures of Seth Bullock

Title: Black Hills Believables: Strange-but-ture Tales of the Old West
Author: John Hafnor
Edition: 2 (Preview only)
Publisher: John Hafnor, 1984

Title: The Rough Riders: An autobiography
Volume: 153 of Library of America
Authors: Theodore Roosevelt, Louis Auchincloss
Editor: Louis Auchincloss
Edition: illustrated (picture of Seth)
Publisher: Library of America, 2004

Title    Outlaw tales: legends, myths, and folklore from America’s middle border
Authors    Richard Young, Judy Dockrey Young
Editors    Richard Young, Judy Dockrey Young
Publisher    august house, 1992
Seth Bullock and the miners (preview only)

Title: The Reader, Volume 6
Publisher: Bobbs-Merrill Co., 1905
Picture of Seth

Title: William Howard Taft, American
Author: Robert Lee Dunn
Publisher: The Chapple publishing company, ltd., 1908
Picture of Taft and Seth Bullock

Those Early Days in the Black Hills

August 14, 2010


Those of Early Days, and the Brave Men Who Defended Them.


The Old Deadwood Coach and the Fortunes It Carried.


Thrilling Episodes on the Dakota Frontier in the Early Seventies.

One night recently at the St. Nicholas I met a man who one time took a ride over several miles of rugged road on the Black Hills treasure coach, and, while seated beside old Buck Henchcliff, the sinewy driver, managed to learn considerable about the history of that perilous route and something of the romance of olden times, with which it is tinged to this day.

Since the settlement of the Black Hills region nineteen years ago, it is estimated that about $85,000,000 in gold has been produced, the most of which has been conveyed to the railroad station in coaches along this route from the Black Hills, says the Cincinnati Enquirer. This enormous amount of bullion was entrusted to the custody of the lumbering stage coaches, which were then the only means of transporting the precious metal to a place of shipment. The roads ran through deep ravines, ambushed by thick underbrush and pine forests.

These brave express messengers of the early times, as a matter of course, took their lives in their own hands in dispatching the duties of their work, but were fearless and courageous to a marvelous degree. It is the history of all rugged countries that their products are correspondingly rugged, but not that their acquisitions are always fearless. To be born among the mountains of Tyrol or other elevated places in the north temperate zone means a certain inheritance of nerve, spirit and fearlessness. To such natural causes has been attributed the sustained independence of little Switzerland throughout an age of monarchies and general civilized despotism.

It seemed, however, that it was unnecessary for a man to be born among the Black Hills, infested at the time with hostile bands of Indians, to succeed to the spirit which most accorded with the natural surroundings. These surrounding consisted not only of dangerous mountain-side roads, gulches and the treacherous savages, who at the time were disposed to pick off the head of any white exposed to their range, but, what was much worse, the desperate road agent, lurking along the coach route, ready to murder for the yellow plunder on board. The presence of the Indians was considered a Godsend rather than a great danger for years, in that their occupancy of the desperate country made these more desperate marauding road agents less formidable. In fact, it was not until after the red men had practically abandoned the territory that these robbers came to be a formidable impediment to the exporting of the bullion.

When the Black Hills first startled the world with their veins of gold the owners of mines at once began to speculate as to how their products could be shipped East. Previous to 1877 this region was owned by the Sioux Indians, and the post office department could not establish communications with the towns already existing. In the time between this and the date when congress ratified a treaty with the Sioux chief a few intrepid men were found engaged in the hazardous business of pony express riding, and prominent among these were H.G. Rockfellow, “Colorado” Charley Utter and Herbert Goddard.

These daring fellows earned some distinction riding between Ft. Laramie and Deadwood, and afterward between Red Cloud, Neb., and Deadwood. For this service they were paid 25 cents a letter. Receipts for a single trip often amounted to $1,000.

The transportation of freight and passengers by regular organized companies was not inaugurated until 1876, when a route from Bismarck to Deadwood was opened up.


The first shipment of gold dust was made in 1876, when Seth Bullock and the Wheeler boys pulled out with something like $300,000 in dust, the latter concluding that they were willing to leave with their profits, but the former is still a citizen of Deadwood, for the trip was made without the loss of life to any of the party, which, besides the Wheeler boys and Bullock, consisted of men hired at $25 a day for their services.

A nest of desperadoes, who had been located at various places along the route, made their headquarters in the Hat Creek country, 150 miles south of Deadwood. The vigilantes of the Deadwood district had made it pretty warm for these bandits, but they settled in its region, confident that they were safe from the bloodhounds of the law, as their stamping ground was so remote.

About this time a lady, who is the wife of a prominent citizen of Deadwood, was a passenger on the treasure coach one time when the vehicle was held up by the road agents. She wore at the time a watch, which was a gift, and prized very dearly. This she concealed in her hair, while the male passengers were being searched. Presently the robbers came to her and demanded her money and valuables. These she readily gave, when, alas! the fiend saw the watch in her hair, and reached out and took it.

“Please, Mr. Robber,” supplicated the unfortunate woman, “dear, good, kind-hearted Mr. Robber, give me my precious little watch?” This appeal was more than he could stand, and with a laugh, he returned it with his compliments.

Another hold-up took place in 1878. Realizing that the ordinary Deadwood coach was not sufficiently impervious to the attacks of these road agents, a treasure coach was built to order containing a metal box wherein the gold was locked. This coach was manned by five picked messengers, and for several weeks it went its way unmolested.

One evening in June the coach rattled into Cold Springs with a load of precious metal, $45,000 in gold. The driver and guards, or messengers, were dismounting, when a stable door flew open and a rain of lead greeted them. William Campbell was instantly killed, and a messenger was wounded. Scott Davis, chief of the guards, at once took in the situation, and, slipping down on the other side of the coach, hustled for timber. Getting under cover, he began sending hot shot into the robbers, managing to wound one. In the meantime Big Gene, the driver, was captured by the gang. He was forced to walk in the direction in which Davis had fled, while the robbers kept him between them and Scott. When within speaking distance, he was forced to beg Scott to stop shooting. Scott had no alternative, and hurried away for assistance. Big Gene was then given an ax and ordered to smash in the treasure box, which he did, and the gold was soon in the possession of the robbers.


One of the messengers, at the beginning of the attack, saw that resistance meant death, and feigned death himself, falling over in the coach. So well did he act his part that the role was not discovered, and the plans of the gang’s escape were overheard by him. Big Gene was strapped to the wagon wheel. Previous to the attack the stockkeepers at the station were surprised and bound and gagged, so that no alarm could be given. The names of the robbers were Blackburn, Wall, Brooks, Redhead Mike and Price. The officers of the law immediately got on their trail and never gave up the chase until the last of these five desperadoes had been captured.

The robbers at last became thoroughly organized and instituted an old successful Indian method of alarm. When the treasure coach was well guarded a messenger at one station would fly like the wind on horseback to the next, from which another would carry the news, until it reached the robbers’ rendezvous, and no attack would be made.

Once, at Cheyenne, the bullion that had been placed upon the scales was suddenly missing. A vigorous search found it in a coal pile near by. No arrests were made, and, as so many prominent citizens of the town were thought to be implicated, the matter was hushed up.

After the establishment of safes in Deadwood robbing fell off quite perceptibly. Then came courts, and toughs were collared and hustled to the penitentiary at Fort Madison, Iowa. With the first batch of these criminals, a motley crew, to say the least, Seth Bullock, sheriff of Lawrence county, set out. At a little peaceful station in Iowa, while en route for the pen, a fussy little state senator boarded the train, and would not desist from his inquiries until he had found out the offense for which each man had been sentenced. On receipt of this information the little gentleman asked:

“Will these murderers, when their sentences have expired, be taken back to Deadwood before being liberated?”

“No,” responded Seth, “they will be turned loose in Fort Madison.”

“Great Scott!” ejaculated the little senator, “what a murderous lot to be left in this state. where did they all come from?”

“Where?” repeated the Dakota sheriff. “Why, every d–d one of them came from Iowa!”

The senator had nothing more to say.

The gold from the Black Hills is now molded into bricks and handled by express companies, who hold themselves responsible for all the precious stuff intrusted to their care. The railroad communications are now complete, and very seldom is a shipment of gold bricks disturbed.

St. Paul Daily Globe (St. Paul, Minnesota) May 6, 1895

Sitting Bull

Image from the Orlando Scott Goff Biography on Rootsweb.


The Man Who Succeeded Sitting Bull in Deadwood.

(From the Chicago Times-Herald.)

Curtis Guild, jr., of Boston, accompanying Governor Roosevelt on his Western trip, accidentally heard mentioned one day the name of Seth Bullock. Mr. Guild asked afterward:

“Who is Seth Bullock?”

Mr. Bullock’s own answer to that question is most fitting:

“I am the man who succeeded Sitting Bull in the Deadwood country.”

If you can imagine a sparce, lean man, with the nose of an eagle, the eye of a hawk, the parchment skin of one who knows more of the plains than the pavement, an unwilling tongue, and an indomitable scorn of fear or death, you will have in your mind’s eye the portrait of one of the few survivors of the “original Western pioneers.” Mr. Bullock is unique not alone for what he has been or is, but because in his class he is almost alone in the country which stretches from the Missouri to the basin of the Snake River. He is a man of standing and a property owner of Deadwood, but civilization has taken from him his real occupation, and the days of knight errantry are ended under the skies which arch above the grave of Custer and the chipped monument of “Wild Bill.”

Here is the man who was the first sheriff of Lewis and Clarke county, Montana, a man that every desperado in the Territory laughed at one morning, and the next was fleeing before. Not a talkative man, not a man inclined to boast, sure on the trigger, enduring all things in heat and cold, tireless, relentless friend to all in nature, but friend to few of men.

They quote Seth Bullock as having said once upon a time:

“The only men I like is those that does things.”

And in his vocabulary “doing things” does not consist in following pursuits, in trading and bartering, in capitalizing great corporations or mastering the secrets of “pinching” a dollar. His kind of action was trailing big game, rounding up cattle, mastering wild horses, defying lawbreakers, riding with the mountain wind and defeating the mountain storm. This is the action which calls not only for enormous physical strength and courage, but a moral quality suspected by few novelists, analyzed by still less.

Riding down into Deadwood Gulch, your guide points to a clump of trees. Perhaps he is “Bill” Fraser — “Bill” Fraser, who glibly introduces himself as:

“The original axle grease which greased the way for Seth Bullock to get into this ‘ere town.”

Mr. Fraser waves his hands mildly toward this clump of trees and says:

“That’s where he did it, and over there,” pointing in another direction, “is where he did it again.”

By allowing Mr. Fraser all the time he desires you finally ascertain that the spots are where Mr. Bullock faced the famous road agents, shot them down in their tracks, captured them, and sent some to their just deserts.

“But,” says Mr. Fraser, reassuringly, “Seth wouldn’t hurt anybody what was right. He was just doing his duty.”

Doing one’s duty in primeval ways appears to be the keynote to the character of this silent man, who twenty-five years ago made it possible for a law-abiding man to live in Deadwood without having to fight for his life. What he accomplished was in a quiet way.

“He was the most persuasive man ever in these parts,” says Bill Fraser. You can readily believe that when from well authenticated sources you learn of how he gave the lawless element every opportunity to get away from him, kindly warned them of their danger, left loopholes for them to escape through, but when all these chances were despised and tossed aside, shot down the ringleaders with as little compunction as one would dispose of a worm.

“He would wait until the last minute,” says the irrepressible Bill, “and then he’d sort of shift his and around as though it were jerked lightnin’, and the next thing you knew he was shootin’ — shootin’ to kill. He didn’t miss, he didn’t.”

The “bad” men fled from Lewis and Clarke county after he became sheriff to the Deadwood country and took possession of the mining camps. Deadwood sent for him. In time he came a shadow of a man in physique, but wiry, nervy, enduring. He made himself known in a tone of voice as low and soft as a woman’s. He said he desired the law to be observed. When it wasn’t he proposed to arrest the man who offended or kill him if necessary. In very short order his commands were obeyed. For months and years he stood as the unwritten law of the camps. Things had “to be square” or the malcontents must settle with him. Railroads, Statehood, legislative enactments, pettifogging lawyers, and new population took his occupation from him. There has been nothing left to him but memories.

His idea of humor — the pioneer’s idea of humor — is found in the story he tells of X.Y.Z. Builder. They were building a jail in one of the Montana towns and the new cells were just in position. No prisoners had yet been placed in them.

“One day,” says Mr. Bullock, “X.Y., who was a long-winded story-teller, started out on one of his yarns. He had two or three fellows listening, but one and another left him, until only one was left. This fellow finally quit before the story was ended. X.Y. was mad, but he didn’t say anything. Two or three days later he meets the man who was last listening to him, and he invites him over to look at the new jail. He takes him inside and shows him everything, and finally the fellow steps into one of the new cells. Quick as a flash X.Y. snapped the door on him and he was locked in.

“‘Hi, you,’ say the fellow, ‘let me out.’

“But X.Y. is gone. Pretty soon he comes back with a stool in his hand and his pipe. He sets down, fills his pipe, and makes himself comfortable.

“‘Let me out,’ says the fellow.

“‘No,’ says X.Y. ‘You’re going to stay in there until I get my story finished. You wouldn’t listen the other day. Now you’ve got to.’

He never let the fellow out until the story was all told.”

Seth Bullock is a gentleman to the earth born, but he is lonesome. The great untrammeled sweep of the country once so dear to him is gone. The “fence man” has come in, the summer tourist, the people who gawk and gape at tales of olden days, the men who tremble at the sight of a revolver’s butt and rush for a peace bond if they see its muzzle. This is the order of things, this is commerce rising above the pioneer’s level, but, it is weak, disappointing to the men who once ruled in the country of the Sioux.

There comes to their eyes, as there has come to those of Seth Bullock, the sign of a regret that they too had not passed away when the last tepee was struck on the Rosebud and the Sioux passed from the pages of history to the care of the keepers of legends, fables, and the things that are no more.

The Times (Washington D.C.) Jan 27, 1901


How Seth Bullock Ran for Sheriff and Was Defeated by an Editor.

Spearfish, S.D., March 22. — Capt. Seth Bullock, the famous Black Hills scout, who led the Cowboy brigade at the recent inaugural of President Roosevelt, relates the following incident as being the most vivid of his many early-day experiences in the west:

“Fourteen years ago last fall, while crossing the state of Montana, one morning bright and early I landed in a little mountain town of about three hundred inhabitants. No sooner had I dismounted and tied my horse than a dangerous looking man with a six-shooter in each hand came running down the street. I at once recognized him as Dick Pray, with whom I had scouted in the earlier days.

“Why, Dick,” said I, “what in the world are you trying to do?”

“Do!” he thundered, “I’m going to clean out the editor!”

“Hold on, Dick,” I said, “you’re excited — don’t do that ” just cool off and tell me what is wrong.”

“Wrong!” he shouted — “I ran for police judge here last Tuesday, and the infernal editor defeated me by filling his paper up with lies for the past three months — and now I’m going to fix him!”

“Now Dick, see here, listen — let me tell you — I have had some experience with editors and running for office myself and —”

“The thunder you have — where?” he interrupted.

He was now cooling down, and I began: “Well, Dick, a number of years ago, when I was in Kansas, one election I ran for sheriff. But hardly had I announced my candidacy when the editor of the paper came out and devoted a whole page, issue after issue, to running me down — and among other things he accused me of being the leader of a gang of horse thieves for several years in southwestern Kansas. Naturally, such accusations stirred up quite a sentiment in the public mind against me, so I responded with a lengthy article, in which I denied every charge — and, sir would you believe it — the very next week the editor came back at me again, and he not only reiterated and analyzed all the charges — but he proved them!”

The Norfolk Weekly News-Journal (Norfolk, Nebraska) Mar 24, 1905

Sol Star – A Picturesque Pioneer

August 7, 2010

Sol Star (Image from Wikepedia)

Sol Star was a friend and business partner of Seth Bullock’s. These two men had a lot in common.  Both were foreign born. Both lived in Montana during the 1870s, and both caught the Black Hills fever and headed for Deadwood. And both men had a hand in civilizing and bringing about the statehood of South Dakota.

The Deadwood S.D. Revealed website has a Sol Star biography written in 1901. NOTE: They give his place of burial as Mt. Moriah Cemetery, Lawrence Co., South Dakota, but he was actually buried in the New Mount Sinai Cemetery in St Louis, Missouri.

The Daily Independent - May 30, 1874


The Daily Independent - Jun 21, 1874

It is fashionable to angle for trout in the Little Blackfoot, and Sol Star, who was out with Gen. Smith and party reports the fish as hungry as Crow Indians — they will bite at anything except a crowbar.

The Daily Independent (Helena, Montana) Aug 11, 1874

The Daily Independent - Jan 16, 1875


Auditor Sol Star arrived last evening at the Capital of Montana with bag and baggage, also the archives of the Auditor’s office. See his notice in to-day’s INDEPENDENT.

The Daily Independent (Helena, Montana) Mar 2, 1875

The Daily Independent - Mar 5, 1875

Receiver’s Office.

The business of the Helena Land Office has been retarded for some time, owing to the resignation of Mr. Sol Star, and the non-appearance of his successor, Mr. Sheridan. But the office runs smoothly again. Commissioner Burdett has modified the acceptance of Mr. Star’s resignation, and Mr. Star, as ordered, will resume the duties of the office until the arrival and qualification of his successor. We understand it will not interfere with his duties as Auditor. The following is the dispatch:

WASHINGTON, March 25, 1875.

To Sol Star, Esq., Helena, M.T.:

“The acceptance of your resignation has been modified so far as to take effect upon the appointment and qualification of your successor. You will, therefore, continue to act as Receiver until that event.”

S.S. BURDETT, Commissioner

The Daily Independent (Helena, Montana) Mar 27, 1875

Short Stops.

Mr. Sol Star has ordered from the East a large stock of queensware, glassware, wire and willoware, lamps and chandeliers, which he expects to open to the trade about the 1st of June.

The Helena Independent (Helena, Montana) Apr 4, 1876

Sol Star and Seth Bullock, on their way to Benton, narrowly escaped drowning in the Little Prickly Pear.

The Helena Independent (Helena, Montana) Jun 24, 1876

Sol Star & Seth Bullock (Image from


Mr. Sol. Star, who had shipped a large invoice of queensware to Helena and designed opening a store, has taken the Black Hills fever, shipped his goods back from Benton to Bismarck, and designed starting to-day for Deadwood City. Sorry you are going, Sol., but good luck to you.

Butte Miner (Butte, Montana) Jul 8, 1876


Sol Star has gone East by way of the river.

Seth Bullock left yesterday for Dakota Territory. He will be absent several weeks.

The Helena Independent (Helena, Montana) Jul 8, 1876

You can read about Sol and Seth’s arrival at Deadwood (Google book link)  in the 1899  book,  The Black Hills, by Annie D. Tallent.

Lincoln Territory.

Delegates representing all the interests and localities in the Black Hills, assembled in convention at Deadwood on the 21st ult. and adopted a memorial to Congress setting forth the wants and necessities of the people. We notice that our former townsman, Sol Star, was appointed one of the Committee on Organization, and W.H. Claggett, late of Deer Lodge, one of the Committee on Resolution.

The Helena Independent (Helena, Montana) May 8, 1877

Implicated in Star Route Frauds.

WASHINGTON, September 28. — President Arthur to-day directed the removal of Sol Star, postmaster at Deadwood, D.T., for confessed complicity with the Star route contractors in defrauding the Postoffice Department.

The Helena Independent (Helena, Montana) Sep 30, 1881

Sol. Star.

Sol. Star denounces through the columns of the Black Hills Pioneer, the statement emanating, as he supposed, from one Pursy, to the effect that he had confessed complicity in the Star route frauds. He says that such statements are unqualifiedly false in every particulas and are malicious slanders and fabrications; that no such confessions were ever made, and that no facts existed on which the alleged confession could be made. Mr. Star was for many years a resident of Helena, and has many friends here who would be glad to learn of his complete vindication.

The Helena Independent (Helena, Montana) Oct 11, 1881

Sol Star and the Star Routes.

Mr. Sol Star has been removed from the postmastership at Deadwood on the charge of being complicated in some of the Star Route frauds in Dakota. As Mr. Star is well-known in this territory, being at one time Territorial Auditor, the following, which we clip from the Black Hills Times, concerning his removal, and his letter of explanation, may be fo some interest to our readers. We therefore produce them:

WASHINGTON, Oct. 1. — Star, postmaster at Deadwood, removed yesterday, has confessed that for several years past he has made false certificates of star route service between Sidney and Deadwood. His confession exposes the rascality of the star route ring in the northwest.

WASHINGTON, Oct. 1. — The action of the president in removing Postmaster Star, of Deadwood, was caused by his revelations concerning the star route in the northwest. For some months past one of the most efficient inspectors of the postoffice department has been secretly investigating the management of the Deadwood postoffice, and when he confronted the postmaster with his proofs the latter confessed.

The telegraph lines have been weighted with reports concerning star-route frauds, in which postmaster Sol Star of this city is proclaimed as being implicated, and as having made a confession to that effect. To those who know the facts it is scarcely necessary to state the report is an unmitigated lie from first to last. He has made no confession of fraud for the best of all reasons — there is no fraud to confess on his part. The confession, so called, we here publish. As will be seen, nothing short of entire malice could constitute this report of facts as a confession of crooked dealing. It is about as much of a confession as an almanac is a confession of the state of the weather:

DEADWOOD, D.T. Sept. 1, 1881.

John B. Furay, Special Agent Postoffice Department:

In reply to your verbal request in relation to the arrival of mails on route 34,156, I beg to state that the record of arrivals as reported by my mail bills was based upon the schedule time given by the contractor, and not the actual time of arrival. The report thus made was not made with any expectation or promise to receive a reward from the contractor, but was done and reported, first, because I believed that if the public was satisfied the government would also be with the arrival of the mails; and second, having so reported for two years last past without hearing any complaint from the department I took it for granted that my view of it was correct. I am now informed that such a report was detrimental to the interest of the government, and that the actual time of arrival, and not the schedule time or near the schedule time, is what was wanted. I desire to state that in my belief arrivals of mails will vary from two to four hours later than as reported, as follows: From July, 1879, to September, 1881, for ten months in the time mentioned, the time of actual arrival will vary from two to four hours per day, and for two months in each year named, say for March and April, 1880, and March and April, 1881, the time from that reported will vary from one to three days too early.

Yours truly,

SOL STAR, Postmaster.

The Daily Miner (Butte, Montana) Oct 11, 1881

The elation of the star route people over a verdict of acquittal from Judge Dundy’s court in Omaha will, it is stated, not avail them in other cases. These cases originated in the confession of the postmaster at Deadwood that he had been giving false certificates of the arrival and departure of mails in order to enable the contractors to draw their full pay, though they had not fulfilled their contract. This confession was obtained by Postoffice Inspector Furay, in an investigation set on foot by himself. There were strong local influences of mail contractors in that region. Monroe Saulsbury, one of the largest mail contractors who lives at Deadwood, prevented an indictment of guilty persons once, but it was finally had. On the trial, however, the Deadwood postmaster refused to testify on the ground that he would criminate himself. The confession in these cases was made last summer by Sol Star, a former resident of this Territory, and led to his removal from the position of postmaster of Deadwood.

The Daily Minor (Butte, Montana) Feb 25, 1882


The Inter Mountain professes to be indignant because the Black Hills Plains says some kind words about Mr. Sol. Star, one of the newly elected aldermen of Deadwood City, and thinks that “such perversity in press and people cannot help the application of Dakota for Statehood.” It is quite likely the thought never entered the head of the Times writer that he was jeopardizing the interests of his Territory when he penned the favorable notice of his townsman, the genial, clever Sol. He may take it all back after seeing the Inter Mountain of the 16th inst., but we don’t believe he will. Now we propose to say a few kind words about Mr. Star even if by so doing we imperil Montana’s prospects of Statehood. But we will state in the outset our firm belief that Mr. Sol. Star is no more a star route thief than the Inter Mountain editor is an angel.

Mr. Star lived many years in Montana and while here he occupied responsible positions both public and private and earned a reputation for intelligence, capability and integrity of character which we are yet to learn he has lost. He served a term as auditor of this Territory and faithfully performed its duties and when he retired from the office he carried with him the confidence and respect of a host of friends. It will be news to those friends and to Mr. Star, himself to learn that he confessed “to the commission of a felony.”

Mr. Star did nothing of the kind. He simply certified as postmaster to the arrival and departure of the mails. Sometimes the mail did not arrive or leave exactly on schedule time, but as is generally usual among nearly all postmasters, where there was not too long a continuance of diversion from schedule time, he made no exceptions in his certification. These, as we understand them, are the simple facts of the case, but the officious, and as the sequel has proved, not over scrupulous Furay preferred charges against him in the interest, it is said, of one of his (Furay) friends. Mr. Star resigned, stood his trial and was acquitted.

If Mr. Star is as guilty as the Inter Mountain would have its readers believe the citizens of Deadwood are certainly a bad lot, for in the face of all this Star route business they have elected him as an Alderman of the city. Our word for it he will make a good one. If he is not the Sol Star of old it is because he has too closely followed the precepts and practices of the Republican party of which, while here, he was an honored and leading member.

The Daily Miner (Butte, Montana) May 18, 1882

If the Inter Mountain has not completely exhausted itself in its endeavor to injure the reputation of an old, well-known and much-esteemed ex-resident of Montana and now a respected citizen of Deadwood, could it not dispose of a portion of its time and space in noticing the Dorseys, Bradys, Howgates and a score of other worthies of the party to which it seems to owe allegiance? It appears to ignore the fact that two of these distinguished Republican luminaries are on trial for swindling the government and that the other is a fugitive from justice. Just for a change from diatribes against Governor Potts, slanderous accusations against Mr. Sol Star and stale editorials from the New York Herald, give us a live article about something else its knows nothing about — for instance the effect which a “dishonest coinage law” and “fraudlent dollars” have upon the business of the country.

The Daily Minor (Butte, Montana) May 19, 1882


Republicans and Democrats Hold Powwows In Their Respective Burgs.

HUDSON, S.D., August 29. — The republican state convention reassembled at 10 o’clock this morning and heard reports of the committee on credentials and organization. Permanent organization was effected by the election of Sol Star as permanent chairman and E.W. Caldwell as secretary with two assistants. Mr. Star made a brief address, and Judge Moody took the platform amid deafening cheers. On behalf of the delegation of Lawrence county he presented the chairman with a tin gavel made from tin taken from the Etta mine in that county. Judge Moody’s speech was very eloquent and was frequently applauded. The convention then adjourned till 2 o’clock this afternoon.

Galveston Daily News (Galveston, Texas) Aug 30, 1889

The Convention Meets.

MITCHELL, Aug. 27. — Convention called to order by C.T. McCoy, chairman, at 2:15….

Sage of Faulk nominated Sol. Star of Deadwood for temporary chairman. He was unanimously elected.

Mr. Star was introduced by the committee and addressed the convention as follows:

Gentlemen of the Convention: On behalf of the Black Hills country, and particularly those residents of Deadwood here, I can but return to you my thanks personally for your grateful acknowledgment of services I have rendered you at a convention of a similar nature and character at the city of Huron a year ago, and to the pledges I have made and services I have rendered. I can only add in addition, that I will endeavor to discharge these duties which devolve upon me as temporary chairman of this orginization without fear or favor…

Daily Huronite (Huron, South Dakota) Aug 28, 1890

A bill has been introduced at Pierre by Sol Star of the Black Hills, providing for the resubmission of the question of prohibition. It is safe to say it will not pass.

Mitchell Daily Republican (Mitchell, South Dakota) Jan 17, 1890

Mitchell Daily Republican - Jan 28, 1890

The Black Hills Journal website has some interesting tidbits in regards to the history of prohibition in South Dakota,  and mentions Deadwood, specifically.


Sol Star is elected mayor of Deadwood for the eight time.

Daily Huronite (Huron, South Dakota) May 6, 1891

Gossip among the Republican delegates in town this afternoon en route to the Aberdeen convention was to the effect that Sol Star of Deadwood was to be pushed to the front on the anti-prohibition issue, and that Judge Moody would be at the head of the Lawrence county delegation. Minnehaha county was claimed for Star, while French of Yankton was thought to be the second choice of the Star men.

Mitchell Daily Republican (Mitchell, South Dakota) Sep 28, 1891

The Hills on Jolley.

Sol Star in the Sioux City Journal: We saw that there was no show, ans so we went for the best man, and that man is Col. Jolley, of Vermillion. He is the very best man that the party could have nominated. He is a worker, thoroughly posted in the needs of the state, an able man and one who will do the state credit at Washington. I think, too, that he will be broad enough to look out for our interests as well as those of his own part of the state. We are satisfied with the nomination and Jolley will get the support of the Hills Republicans.

Mitchell Daily Republican ( Mitchell, South Dakota) Oct 4, 1891

Sol Star was re-elected for the ninth time mayor of Deadwood, by 37 majority. Another republican victory.

Daily Huronite (Huron, South Dakota) May 9, 1892

Dec 16, 1892


Mar 6, 1896


Gravestone image posted by afraydknot,  on Find-A-Grave, along with a biography.


Deadwood, S.D., Oct. 19 — Sol Star, picturesque pioneer of the Black Hills, and who, with his partner, Seth Bullock, was among the first to take the Old Black Hills trail from Bismarck to Deadwood, has left on his last, lone, prospecting tour. “If the streets up there are paved with gold, Sol will be right at home,” said one of his old pals.

Sol Star, several times mayor of Deadwood, and one of the best liked of all the old timers, was born in Bavaria in 1840, coming to America at the age of 10, and to Helena, Mont., in 1865. He remained at Helena and Virginia City until 1876, serving as register of the United States land office from 1872 to 1874, and for one year as territorial auditor of Montana. He arrived in Deadwood on Aug. 1, 1876, with Capt. Seth Bullock, who years ago gained fame as a personal friend of Theodore Roosevelt. The Partners picked Deadwood as a good camp. They had a large consignment of goods en route to Helena for them, and upon Bullock’s suggestion this shipment was headed off at Bismarck and brought to Deadwood over the old Black Hills trail.

The trail from Bismarck to the Black Hills was beset with hostile Sioux, angry with the whites because of ignored treaties, and when Bullock and Star reached old Crook City they were compelled to fight a pitched battle with the redskins. Again they encountered the enemy on Big Bottom, but they finally reached Deadwood with their skins and their goods intact. Upon their arrival here they opened a general store, and their partnership in this business continued until 1894. Star was mayor of Deadwood from 1884 to 1893 and from 1895 to 1899. For 19 years he served as clerk of court, and in 1889 he attended the first state convention at Huron, where the enabling act was ratified, and he nominated the first set of officers for the new state of South Dakota. Later he served in both branches of the state legislature.

The Bismarck Tribune (Bismarck, North Dakota) Oct 19, 1917

“Poker Joe’s” Ten Commandments

August 4, 2010

Poker Alice and Friends (Image from

“Poker Joe’s” Ten Commandments.

A correspondent writing from Central City, near Deadwood, gives the latest Black Hills version of the Ten Commandments, which have become the common law of the land:

We had to hang a man here the other day. We’d been putting it off on account of lack of time and a bit of sentiment, till the morals of our town had at last become as bad as those of Chicago. In all camps and towns in the Hills there are certain understood things. They form a sort of second Ten Commandments, and read as follows”

1. Thieves and robbers will be driving out of camp, for the first offense — hung for the second.

2. The man who picks a quarrel had better pick up his traps.

3. Men convicted of murder shall be hung on the same day.

4. Passing bogus money will entitle a chap to pass out of town, everybody taking a kick at him as he goes.

5. Don’t covet your neighbor’s wife.

6. Lying should be discouraged.

7. Whack up even on all “finds.”

8. No shirking in an Indian fight.

9. All notes of hand must be paid when due, or down goes the maker.

10. Rebellion against the legal authority of the town, shoves the rebel out and confiscates his claim.

Most any man can live up to these laws and not shed a hair, and the man who doesn’t mean to, will, sooner or later, be choked to death.


Butte Miner (Butte, Montana) Nov 27, 1877


Merriam-Webster Online:

Main Entry: whack up
Function: transitive verb
Date: circa 1893
: to divide into shares

Seth Bullock’s “Cowboy Brigade” attends Teddy Roosevelt’s Inauguration

November 16, 2009
Indian_chiefs roosevelt inaugurationo

Image from Wiki

A commenter asked if I had a source that listed Jim Dahlman as one of Seth Bullock’s Cowboy Brigade, that attended Teddy Roosevelt’s inauguration. I did some searching over the weekend, and found one source, which is noted in the post. NOTE: They incorrectly listed his given name as Bill, rather than Jim.



National Capitol Filled by Throngs for the Inauguration.


Governors and Staffs in Gold Braided Uniforms, Indians in Blankets and Filipinos Mingle With the Gathering of the Plain People.

Seth Bullock’s cowboys, fifty-one strong, arrived yesterday afternoon, very tired and thirsty after a thirty-hour ride. The rangers were attired in the conventional cowboy costume. Those in the crowd who expected them to carry six-shooters were not disappointed. Each of Seth’s boys wore a leather bolster, in which was a formidable looking, long barrel gun. Buckskin trousers, gayly decorated shirts and broad-rimmed sombreros composed the uniform in which they were attired.

Cowboys Have a Frolic.

When the contingent got to the nearby hotel, at which they were corraled, all hands washed up and then scattered in twos or threes to see the town. Three of them found the stable where their mounts are being cared for, and getting astride of their horses, started out for a frolic on Pennsylvania avenue. For the edification of the crowd they did a little rope throwing, each man tossing his noose over the head of one of his companions. But this became tiresome after a while and a few exhibition throws were given to the delight of the crowds and the alarm of the diminutive negroes who were invariably the targets.

Last night most of the cowboy company called on Captain Seth at the Shor?ham hotel. They liked the looks of the place and some of them spent the evening there.

The cowboys will be the guest of Senator Kittredge of South Dakota at 9 o’clock breakfast Sunday and in the afternoon will be taken around the city in automobiles. No set programme has been arranged in the meantime, but the whole town is anxious to do them honor and everything is free whenever the cowboys appear in cafes.

The Syracuse Herald (Syracuse, New York) Mar 3, 1905

Seth Bullock Cowboy Brigage

I saved this picture above, but forgot to note the source, and now I can’t find it again. This lists 40 of the 60 cowboys, and the picture appears to be cut off on the sides, so maybe the rest of them (including Jim Dahlman, who is NOT listed) were off to the side.

UPDATE: Carl Steiger found the website where I originally found this image. It is called Cowboys & Images. Here is a link to the image. Thanks, Carl!

seth bullock moralizes header 1905

By Seth Bullock.

First Sheriff of Deadwood, S.D., Chief of the Black Hills Forest Rangers, Commanding the Cowboy Brigade in the Inaugural Procession.

Washington, Friday — Looking at it from the top of a cayuse, this inauguration appears mighty significant to me. President Roosevelt has already put his mark on the country. Al the end of another four years the Roosevelt brand will be so clear it won’t wear off for many moons.

The crowds in Washington today show the Roosevelt spirit. The people are mostly bright and energetic, typical of the President. It’s just like it is on the range. IF the owner of a ranch is an active, honest, hard-working man, you can tell his cowboys as far as you can see the outfit, by the vigorous way they work. If the owner is dissolute, dishonest or lazy, the cowboys are likely to be the same way.

Now, long before most of us in Dakota knew Roosevelt we used to hear about him.

Cowboys riding down to our country from 150 miles away used to say:

“That fellow Roosevelt up there on the Little Missouri is dead square. He don’t maverick anybody else’s calves. He don’t ask a man to ride a horse he don’t ride, and he don’t make any man stand a watch on the roundup that he ain’t ready to stand himself.”

Teddy_Roosevelt inauguration

That is the kind of reputation Roosevelt had in the cattle country, where the things a man does and not what he talks about makes his reputation. He’s no fair weather sailor, and our boys out West know it. That’s the reason sixty boys have come down here with me. Nearly all of them have ridden on the range, and a good many of them used to know Theodore, and they are all strong for him. They have to sell their ponies to get back, all because they wanted to see one of their own people, or rather, a man who had lived with them, and is as much or more a Westerner than Easterner, inaugurated as President.

With Roosevelt in the White House this talk of sectionalism is going to be stamped out. The way this inauguration has brought together Westerners and Easterners and

Northerners and Southerners means a lot to the future of this country.
It looks to me like the people who were coming to this inauguration were the kind who like the man who does real stunts and don’t delay. That’s the reason the cowpunchers like him.

We haven’t any fear of him being too impetuous. You don’t hear any of that talk about him on the range. The boys there just say he has keen and accurate instinct.

The sixty boys with me are not Rough Riders; they are not Black Hills rangers; they are not dime novel heroes or stage robbers. They are cowboys, and as such are the real article, and the reason they are here is because this is the first inauguration of a man who knows them and whom they know as square in the White House as he was on the range.

One of the boys rode 120 miles in twenty-four hours to get his horse on the train before it left Deadwood. We have all ages in the company.

Henry Roberts, who is fifteen, was born on the range, and as good a rider as any one. There are men who have been cowboys for thirty years. Two of the boys belong to the Black Hills Forest Rangers, whose business it is to protect the trees in the Black Hills forest reserve. Most of the rest are from South Dakota and Wyoming.

Theodore has asked the boys to come back to the White House after the procession has passed the reviewing stand. They will ride up to the steps under the porte cochere, where he will stand and shake hands with each man.

Now, that is a mighty nice thing, for some of the boys are bashful and would be lost if the President invited them to the reception. But they are never bashful in the saddle. Every one of them appreciates the chance to shake Theodore’s hand.

I’m willing to bet he will remember each man that he knew when he lived in Dakota. His memory for faces and the names that go with them is certainly wonderful. Blaine’s memory for faces, some persons say, was largely bluff, but it is straight goods with the President.

I remember when he made his last Western trip the boys on the South Dakota range rode to meet him whenever the train stopped at the water tank. OUt of crowds he would single out men whom he had not laid eyes on for twenty years. He would remember exactly where he had last seen them. On that trip he would alwys go out to see the cowboys who rode to meet the train.

“Why,” said he, “those boys have never seen a President of the United States. They have ridden a long way to this train. It’s my duty to go out and speak to them.”

There is a horse with a Maltese cross brand running on the range now, and I tried to get one of the boys to bring it down here, but it could not be arranged. The Roosevelt brand was a Maltese cross., and he branded that horse.

We from out West don’t know all the full made over the questions or precedence. It was necessary for me to go to Mr. Warner’s headquarters today. He is the head of the civic division, and talking to him was a man wearing a uniform that looked like the morning after the Fourth of July. Honest, it would make a cowboy jump over the monument. He was making a great row because his marching club, which had been in every inauguration since the Lord knows when, had been given a place behind the Roosevelt Club of Minneapolis, which had never marched at any inauguration.

“I’ll see what I can do about it,” siad Mr. Warner.

Then I took the uniformed man by the arm. “Don’t kick,” I told him. ‘If you try to change your position, every one else will want to change theirs, and the whole parade will go to smash. We are going to ride wherever we are placed. Anyway, wherever the cowboys are, that is the head of the procession for us. Don’t kick.”

Here is our official poem, by the official poet, Bob Carr:

Us punchers sling no haughty style,
Nor go we much on manners;
We look on dudelets out this way
As only fit for “canners;”
And that is why you hear us cry
We’re always glad and ready
To throw our hats and let a yell
In honor of our Teddy.

The boys are having a first-rate time in Washington. We have no rules except these.

Rule 1. Don’t kick.
Rule 2. Don’t knock.
Rule 3. Neither kick nor knock.


Seth Bullock and Teddy Roosevelt

Washington — Say, we found ourselves among a lot of friendly Indians today. The boys like the way the crowd, all the way from Capitol Butte to by White Ranch House, put out their hand.

Not one is sorry he came, especially after the way Theodore met us after we had ranged up past the reviewing stand. He had the boys ride up to the door of the ranch house and shook hands with each, and remembered every one he knew nineteen years ago on the Little Missouri, when he had the Maltese Cross outfit.

Every cowboy in the brigade was mightily impressed with the ceremony today. A lot of them have never been east of the Missouri River, and, although they are as keen as can be found anywhere, this visit to Washington is just the thing they needed to show them what a great country this is.

As far as that goes, I think no one can come to Washington from any part of the United States without being struck by the almighty bigness of the Government. They get an idea, too, what their Representatives are doing for them, and it is a lot. Neither of our Senators from South Dakota nor our Representatives can make his expenses out of his salary.

There is a lot of patriotism in this country, and it certainly stuck out all over this town today.

I saw millionaires waving flags and yelling themselves hoarse for the President, and when we cowboys came along there in front of his reviewing stand we got the glad hand from the President more than any one else we saw.

Compared with the noise made by the plug-hat-and-boiled-shirt political clubs, the cowboy brigade was Quakerish and decorous. To the President it made no difference where a club came from, or whether or not it represented a lot of cash. If the people in the organization were good, clean-cut, likely appearing Americans the President would lean over the rail and wave his hat to them.

Every man in the thirty thousand marching today ought to know, unless he is plumb locoed, that the boy who is now in the White House is game, and will do just what he says — give a square deal to every man. That is the reason the cowboys who are with me came down here. They want to show their appreciation of having one of their own kind of men in the saddle ready to brand every proposition according to his merits, and to rope any job that comes its way, and not ask any man to do anything he isn’t willing to do himself.

A man who is big enough to build the Panama Canal and put irrigation ditches all through the West and make it blossom like a rose and insist on a navy large enough to keep the door open in China is the man for us.

The cowboys in this brigade are a clean cut, sober, industrious lot, and when you find sixty such men who are agreed that the President is O.K. you can just mark it down that their verdict is straight goods.

It meant a lot to us to see those hundreds of thousands of people rounded up in Washington to watch Theodore become President on his own responsibility. It is all right to talk about the splendor of the durbars in India, but they are not to be compared with this. The durbar is an outfit of people who ride and do other stunts because they are ordered to. The people who attend the inaugural do it because they want to. Of course, some of the army and navy are ordered to Washington, but if they were not they would like to come independently.

I am a great believer in the flag and the effect it has on gatherings like these. The best thing for this country would be for every man and woman to get a chance to come to Washington and rub up against people from other ranges.

Some of the boys are pretty much impressed with the number of white people in the East.

They put us pretty well back in the procession, but we did not care, for our rules are, “Don’t kick, don’t knock; neither kick nor knock.”

We were formed down near the Capitol and the critters stood the waiting pretty well. They are used to brilliant Western sunsets, but that was the only thing that saved them from bolting when these gold lace Governors’ staffs went loping by.

We are going to have an auction on Monday, and all the cayuses will be knocked down to the highest bidder. They will make mighty good polo ponies, although their past work has been mostly chasing wayward, stray cattle, instead of a little white ball. They have to be sold so the boys will have enough money to get home on. Then some of them want a little cash to blow in over in New York, where they are going before they start back to the range.

These boys can go some if necessary, but there are not likely to be any fireworks from them in New York. They just want to learn the difference between the taste of salt water and prairie hay.

We will all be gone from Washington pretty soon. It has been a great round-up — about the most successful ever held, I guess. Theodore certainly did make good medicine.

The Galveston Daily News (Galveston, Texas) Mar 8, 1905


Alexander O. Brodie (Image from


Fine Types of the American Western Frontiersman.


Brodie Has Been Regular Army Officer, Indian Fighter, Civil Engineer, Rough Rider, and Territorial Governor — Seth Bullock, Sheriff, Cowpuncher, and an All-around “Good ‘Bad Man.'”

A notable figure in the escort accompanying President Roosevelt from the White House to the Capitol yesterday and again in the grand parade which later swept up the Avenue was that of Col. Alexander O. Brodie at the head of the Rough Riders, President Roosevelt’s old Spanish war regiment. Col. Brodie and his men were recognized at every point along the route and greeted with generous applause.

Col. Brodie is a typical frontiersman, but he is much more than that. He has been cadet at West Point, officer in the regular army, Indian fighter, civil and mining engineer, major and lieutenant in the Rough Riders under Col. Roosevelt, and until recently governor of the Territory of Arizona. He came to Washington about ten days ago and was sworn in as major in the regular army and was assigned to be assistant to the military secretary, United States army.

Col. Brodie was graduated from West Point in 1870 and assigned immediately to the First United States Cavalry. With that regiment he saw stirring service on the frontier for seven years’ fighting Indians all over the Western border. He was in the hard campaign against the White Mountain Indians in 1871, with Gen. Brooke in all of that gallant officer’s fights in 1872 and 1873, and in the fierce Nez Perce campaign of 1877. Then he resigned from the army, and for twenty years practiced civil and mining engineering in the West.

When the Rough Rider regiment was organized at the beginning of the Spanish war in 1898, Brodie jumped to the front, and was commissioned major, and upon the promotion of Col. Wood and Lieut. Col. Roosevelt, he was advanced to the position of second in command, an office he held when the regiment was mustered out at the close of the war.

Col. Brodie enjoys the personal friendship of President Roosevelt. They were very “chummy” during the campaign in Cuba. It is not strange that President Roosevelt should have desired that a detachment of his old command should have a position of honor in the inaugural parade, nor that he should have selected Col. Brodie to lead it.

Seth Bullock’s Cowboys.

Another feature of the parade was Seth Bullock’s cowboys,, seventy-five in number mounted on their Western bronchos and headed by the redoubtable Seth himself. Sheriff Bullock is the sheriff of Deadwood, S.D., and he is what might be termed “a good ‘bad man.'” He is the idol of all the South Dakota cow-punchers and has the reputation of having “rounded up” more truly “bad men” than any other official in all the wild West. Like Col. Brodie, he enjoys the personal friendship of President Roosevelt. In line with Seth Bullock’s “bunch” were cow-punchers of no less renown than “Deadwood Dick” Clarke, the once famous scout, bandit, hunter, and leader of the shotgun men who guarded the old Wells-Fargo treasure coaches from Deadwood to civilization more than a quarter of a century ago. “Tex” Burgess, the king of the cowboys on the big Hyannis range in Nebraska, was another prominent figure in the unique organization. Seth Bullock, “Deadwood Dick,” Clarke and “Tex” Burgess are all men of types that with the advance of civilization are fast disappearing from the Western plains and will soon have passed away altogether. The once famous “Deadwood Dick,” the hero of the dime novels of twenty-five years ago, and the man who in pioneer days was the terror of evildoers in Dakota, and performed miraculous feats of daring, is now a workman in plain blue overalls in the railway yards at Lead, a town not far from Deadwood.

Richard Clarke

Richard Clarke (aka Deadwood Dick)

Lots of great pictures at FARWEST.IT, which is where I found the  above picture. The website is in Spanish.

“Deadwood Dick” Praises President.

When “Deadwood Dick” was asked by Seth Bullock to come along to Washington to help inaugurate President Roosevelt he wrote back, saying:

“Sure, I’ll go down to Washington to see Teddy inaugurated. We old Westerners feel that he is one of us and shall be glad to help give him a send-off. I reckon the cowpunchers will cut quite a figure when they get down there, but they will be no novelty to the President, for he used to be one of them himself, you know. But a good many other folks will look on ’em with a good deal of interest and curiosity. I think he is doin’ the right thing in invitin’ the boys to take part in the show. It tickles ’em nearly to death to know that he wants ’em to ride their cayuses in the parade. Some of the boys used to know ‘Teddy’ when he was a rancher out West, and they all have a mighty warm spot in their hearts for him.”

Tex Burgess

Tex Burgess

The above picture (I cropped it) can be found in the book, The Overland Monthly (Google Books,) which contains the essay/article, A Cowboy Carnival: A Veracious Chronicle of a Stirring Incident by Ella Thorngate; pgs 50-60. The article includes other names, such as Doc Middleton, who is also in the uncropped picture.

Texas Burgess’ Comments.

“Tex” Burgess, who rode his pony all the way from Hyannis, Neb., to Belle Fourche, S.D., to join the cowboys on the trip to Washington, said, when he was invited to join the expedition:

“You just bet I’m goin’. I wouldn’t miss it for $1,000. We all want to go, but Capt. Bullock says he can’t accommodate all of us, so some of us will have to stay at home. Most of those who are goin’ are from the Black Hills. Only a few will come from the Hyannis and other ranges in Nebraska. I wished to go, and Capt. Bullock has promised to take me. ‘Billy’ Binder and ‘Doc’ Williams, and some of the others of the more noted riders in this region want to go, too, but I don’t know whether they will. We are mighty pleased at the invitation to take part in the show.”

Washington Post, The (Washington, D.C.) Mar 5, 1905

**This is the article mentioned at the beginning of the post, which names Dahlman as one of the “cowboys” who attended the inauguration. **Note: They got his first name wrong.


Imposing Court of Honor in Pennsylvania Avenue.


Glee Clubs Parade and Serenade and Cowboys Make Things Lively —

Scenes in the Streets.

Special to The New York Times. [excerpt]

Seth Bullock’s cowboys have started in on the time of their lives. They are sixty strong, and have brought two carloads of the best bronchos and cayuse ponies they could find in Nebraska and the Black Hills.

It would be absolutely impossible to pick a matched pair in the lot. Every color known in the Western cowboy horse stock is represented. They are dun, gray, calico, mouse-colored, bay, black, white, chestnut, piebald, and even the much loved blue bronco type is there. The blue bronco is the toughest horse ever made. The cowboys brought numerous saddles and abundance of trappings.
Cowboys “Feel of” the Asphalt.

To-day they geared up and went out to “feel of” the asphalt, of which they had been warned. It has happened at inaugurations that cavorting horses have slipped and thrown their riders. On one occasion an officer suffered a broken leg. On another Gen. Miles fell with his horse in the plaza in front of the Capitol Hotel.

The negro stableboys have been struck with wonder at the antics of the Westerners. The fun began when Bill [Jim] Dahlman, the boon friend of William J. Bryan, whirled out into the street from the corral where the cowboys keep their ponies, and with a yell said “Good-bye.”

The next moment there was another yell, this time from a colored boy standing by, who had been swiftly roped by Dahlman.

From that time on it was touch and go with a score or two of cowboys and the negroes standing around. The cowboys, some of whom are bankers, State officials, and lawyers who have at some time or other followed the range, wore their chaps and spurs and their tailor-made coats and overcoats and derby hats. This they will do when riding for practice or to get the hang of the town, but they have come with their full regalia, including lariats, quirts, chaps, ladigoes, twenty-ounce hats, and big red neckerchiefs, and will wear the whole outfit on Saturday, and when they get down to business of paying their respects to the town.

They had a job to-day shoeing their ponies. Thirty of them had never been shod and were unused to the etiquette of Mike McCormick’s blacksmith shop, where the operation was performed. They boys stayed by and it was a jolly scene. Some of the ponies had to be thrown, and with two men sitting on them Mike went ahead with the work as best he could.

A squad of cowboys during the afternoon rode the length of Pennsylvania Avenue, cutting in and out between street cars and passing vehicles with wonderful skill and at high speed. They roped colored boys again, and now and then a peanut vendor or a dog, and wound up by roping each other and getting all tied up in a bunch, in which manner they rode home and disentangled and unsaddled for the night.

Monday they will put the whole lot of horses up at auction for polo ponies, hoping to get what they cost and possibly the expense of transportation out of them.

The New York Times, Mar 3, 1905

Link to the actual news article is HERE. (PDF)

seth bullock cowboys event ad 1905


Cow Punchers’ Exhibition Takes on a Commercial Aspect.

Capt. Seth Bullock’s cowboys sold their wild Western broncos at the Seventh street baseball park yesterday afternoon, but because of the rain and the soft condit on the ground the “stunts” which a large crowd of people went out to see were postponed until to-day at the same hour. No steers were tied — there were no steers — and there were no races. As it was, the ponies cut up the diamond and the outfield with their hoofs while the cowboys were showing off their points and a steam roller will probably be in demand before the ball season opens.

The spectators in spite of the cold rain were enthusiastic. They stood ankle deep in mud and slush and were spattered with mud with good grace while watching the little riding which the bronco busters performed in order to show how gentle their horses were. The ponies brought from $45 to $90, but only five were sold. One or two of the best animals were held at $100 by their owners, and the cowboys expect to dispose of these before they go to their homes in the West.

Capt. Bullock directed the sale and under his supervision the boys put their ponies through the paces, ran them and walked them past the buyers while the cowboys themselves alternated as auctioneers and knocked the beasts down to the highest bidders. Some of the purchasers looked at their newly-acquired horses with misgiving, looked them in the teeth, so to speak. Most of the horses were stripped of them cowboy saddles and sent off to livery stables to be clipped and Easternized. A few of the bolder buyers tried their ponies out on the spot and the cowboys had a lot of fun seeing the city chaps in derbys and overcoats scampering across the park range, clinging to the pommels, and scattering lead pencils and other belongings at every jump.

The exhibition postponed from yesterday will be given to day, rain or shine. It is the special wish of those in charge of the inauguration exercises that the cowboys receive the hearty co-operation of the citizens, as they came a long distance and have added so much to the entertainment of the people, as well as showing the type of man who spends his life on the plains of the far West.

Capt. Bullock took great care in selecting this company of men and each is a splendid specimen of manhood and all are adept in some particular accomplishment, which will add to the enjoyment of the exhibit. The programme is replete with thrilling and amusing events, and will positively take place to day at 2:30 p.m.

Washington Post, The (Washington, D.C.) Mar 8, 1905

Chaska and Corabelle: Painted Red

February 6, 2009


Miss Cora Fellows and Chaska to be Married Today.

Invitations Are Issued and the Event Will be Celebrated by a Dance at Swift Bird’s Camp — Miss Fellows’ Big Brother Will be Present and it is Hinted Will Lead the War Dance.

PIERRE, Dak., March 23. — To-marrow is the day set for the marriage of Miss Cora Fellows, the pretty, infatuated and determined school teacher at Swift Bird, to Chaska, the big buck Sioux Indian. The postponement of the wedding to March 24th, which Miss Fellows’ friends fondly hoped would evolve some means of breaking off the match, has not served its purpose. Every possible arguement has thus far been used, but without avail. Invitations were issued to friends to attend a ball at Swift Bird’s camp to-morrow night by Miss Fellows. Chaska delivered them to the guests and the nuptial knot will be tied to-morrow by Rev. Handforth. Word comes from Fort Bennett that Miss Fellows’ brother has arrived from Chicago and will stop the marriage. A scene is looked for.

Bismarck Daily Tribune (Bismarck, North Dakota  ) Mar 24, 1888


Sneaking Sam Campbell.
PIERRE, Dak., April 2. — The marriage of Miss Cora Fellows to the Indian, Chaska, is finally accomplished. Around the Indian agency Chaska is known as Sam Campbell, and is a worthless thieving Santee without any white blood in his veins, and not the Indian missionary which recent reports have announced.

Daily Huronite (Huron, South Dakota) Apr 3, 1888


IT NOW TURNS out that Miss Cora Fellows married the Indian, Chaska, simply to advertise herself. She wants to write a novel, and is under the impression that her marriage will create so much talk that people will be crazy to read her book. Perhaps her story deals with border life, and she is trying to get the proper local color. “Painted Red” would be a good title for her novel.

The Atlanta Constitution (Atlanta, Georgia) Apr 5, 1888


Mrs. Chaska May Make a Show.
PIERRE. April 10. — Special to the Sioux City Journal: Much has been said pro and con, regarding the marriage of Chaska, the Indian, to Miss Cora Belle Fellows, the late Washington City belle. There no longer exists any doubt about the ceremony being performed at Swift Bird’s camp, on the Missouri, sixty miles above this city. Owing to the heavy run of ice, it has been impossible to get any authentic report until to-day. Last week a telegram from a St. Paul dime museum was sent to this city to be delivered to Mrs. Chaska, nee Fellows, offering her and her husband $5,000 to appear in a ten weeks’ engagement as freaks. The telegram was delivered to a messenger and by him delivered to Mrs. Chaska. Today the messenger returned from Swift Bird’s camp, having accomplished his mission. The messenger states that Mrs. Chaska and her husband received the offer in a friendly manner and wrote the museum for a few days in which to consider the matter.

Daily Huronite (Huron, South Dakota) Apr 11, 1888


THE marriage of Mr. Chaska, the Sioux Indian, and Miss Fellows has attracted more attention than any marriage of a similar kind since Miss Pocahontas became the better-half of John Rolfe. The only drawback about the latter wedding was that it made a possibility of that human wasp — John wasp — John Randolph of Roanoke. However, if Mr. and Mrs. Chaska get along as well together in the nuptial harness as Mr. and Mrs. Rolfe, the friends of the bride can afford to overlook the obliquity of her choice.

Reno Evening Gazette (Reno, Nevada) Apr 11, 1888


One Indian Civilized.
The Minneapolis Tribune is malicious. It says: “As it becomes generally known that Mrs. Chaska, nee Fellows, was a maiden 45 years of age, and her husband is a young, untutored savage, popular pity will be transferred from the bride to the groom, and his taste, instead of hers, will be criticized.

Galveston Daily News (Galveston, Texas) Apr 25, 1888

Richard F. Outcault, "The Amateur Dime Museum in Hogan's Alley," cartoon, New York World 4 Oct. 1896

Richard F. Outcault, "The Amateur Dime Museum in Hogan's Alley," cartoon, New York World 4 Oct. 1896

The Museum Thronged to See Mrs. Chaska and “Sam-u-el”

ST PAUL, May 7 — The dime museum where Mr. and Mrs. Campbell (Chaska) began to receive the public was thronged this afternoon. Mrs. Campbell don’t like the Indian name. She calls him “Sam-u-el.” Chaska is 6 feet 8 inches tall and as straight as an arrow. He is a rather good looking fellow when he talks but usually he is sullen. He can speak excellent English if he will, having spent two years in the Lincoln institute in Philadelphia. He has rather fine features, but small pox has left its mark upon his face and he has the high cheek bone and straight black hair of the Indian. He is 23 years old. Mrs. Chaska is a mite of humanity being just 5 feet 1 inch in height. She is rather slender, not pretty until she begins to talk and then she is bright and interesting.

Bismarck Daily Tribune (Bismarck, North Dakota) May 8, 1888


A Dime Museum Lie.

WASHINGTON, May 10. — The father of Cora Belle Fellows, who recently married Chaska, a Sioux, says that the story sent from St. Paul yesterday that the newly married couple had accepted an offer of $5,000 for ten weeks engagement in a dime museum is an outrageous lie. It is suspected some museum manager proposed exhibiting some bogus Mr. and Mrs. Chaska.

Reno Evening Gazette (Reno, Nevada) May 10, 1888



The Curiously-Mated Pair From the Cheyenne Reservation.
From the St. Paul Pioneer-Press.

She is here. Not the character about whom Haggard wrote, but Miss Cora Belle Fellows-Campbell, the young lady who sacrificed home ties to become the wife of Samuel Campbell, better known as Chaska. Mrs. Campbell was attired in a neat black satin dress trimmed with passementerie. She is twenty-eight years old, is not pretty, but fair-looking. One pretty feature about her face is her beautiful, regular-set teeth. She is apparently about five feet four inches in height. Chaska, the sly young Lothario who wooed and won her, lounged on a divan apparently contented with his surroundings. He wore a buckskin shirt and moccasins trimmed with beads. He wore common plebeian pants, which goes to show that he is becoming civilized by the influence of his pale-faced bride. He is six feet two inches in height, has the regulation straight black hair, which has been cut to keep pace with his rapid strides toward civilization. He is 25 years of age. His face shows marks of smallpox, but the prominent cheek bones, characteristic of the Indian, are not so noticeable. He speaks fairly good English, writes plainly, and seems rather bright, but yesterday he was a stranger in a strange land under exceedingly strange circumstances, and he was not in a talkative mood. In fact, a short, gruff “yes” or “no” was about the only answer tht could be gotten from him. But his wife is a brilliant and entertaining conversationalist. Mrs. Campbell chatted pleasantly with all the callers. When asked on what date they were married she replied: “We were married March 16 at St. Stephen’s by the Rev. Dr. Hanford, an Episcopal rector. We have been married on so many different dates by the newspapers that I hardly know myself when we were married.”

Mrs. Campbell has with her their marriage certificate to prove the date, and also to assure doubting ones that they are the much advertised couple. When asked about her parents she said that of course they had been opposed to the marriage. When she left Washington, about three years ago, she was cautioned not to fall in love with an Indian. When she married Chaska her mother wrote telling her that she would not disown her, but that their correspondence must cease. Then, when it became known that efforts were being made to induce her to go on exhibition, her mother wrote that if she took this last step her daughter and herself would be obliged to leave the country. They could not remain in Washington with such a social disgrace hanging over them. Mrs. Campbell, continuing, said:

“I understand father has decided to accept an offer to go to South America. I know just what I am doing. I knew that my parents would not support me now. Influences have been brought to bear, so that I will probably lose my school. My husband has no money, but I love him, and I saw this chance to make enough money to buy a farm and make us independent, so I grasped this opportunity.”

Mrs. Campbell, while not anxious to talk to strangers, answered all questions pleasantly and proved herself an entertaining lady. She has with her a number of letters which she has received since her marriage and some are real curiosities. One gentleman writes, and, after admiring her for her pluck in marrying the man she loved, concludes by asking if she cannot find some pretty little Indian girl for him. Some censure her and others declare themselves in favor of her course.

The Atlanta Constitution (Atlanta, Georgia) May 11, 1888

Dime Museum, Chicago, IL

Dime Museum, Chicago, IL

Chaska and Cora Expected Friday!
Poetic War-whoop.

Chicago Times.

From the northland can the steam cars,
Steam cars from the frigid northland
Bearing Chaska, Indian bridegroom;
Chaska, ???ter than the north wind;
Chaska, bravest of all chieftains.

Braver far than Hiawatha.
Braver far than Mudgekewis.
Braver far than old Nukumis,
Old Nukomis, injun grandma,
For he wooed the pale-faced maiden,
Maiden fair, of –umpty summers.

Fairest of all pale-faced maidens,
Cora Belle, the missionary;
Lived she on the reservation
All among the painted Injuns.

Them she taught to read and cipher;
She instructed in draw poker.
Till they went across the river
And did up the wily trader
Out of all his filthy lucre.

Fairer than the honeysuckle.
Fairer than the prairie daisy;
When she deigned unveil her features
All the birds did cease their singing,
All the rabbits stopped their playing,
And in many a distant city
All the clocks did cease their running.

So the preacher he united
Them in holy matrimony;
Chaska straightway then endowed her
With the sum of his possessions
Which they were a pair of mocc’sins
And a chaw of plug tobacco.

Then they hied them to the east-land
With a contract in his pocket,
Contract fat for him and Cora,
In dime museum to exhibit.
“We will win the filthy lucre,
Filthy lucre of the jays who
Come to see us in the museum,
When we’ve finished, we will toodly.

Toodly back to far Dakota,
And upon the reservation
We will open up a ranch where
Braves can purchase for a dollar
All the whiskey they can swallow!”

Daily Huronite (Huron, South Dakota)  Jun 5, 1888

President Cleveland

President Cleveland

At the president’s reception Thursday, Chaska, the Indian, and his bride, Cora Bell Fellows, daughter of a clerk in the surgeon general’s office, shook hand with Mr. Cleveland.

The Daily Northwestern (Oshkosh, Wisconsin) Jul 14, 1888

Cheyenne River Agency (Big Foot)

Cheyenne River Agency (Big Foot)


St. Paul, Minn., Oct. 5. — The appearance of Chaska, the Indian, and his bride Cora Belle Fellows, the Washington girl who threw herself away upon the redskin, at the dime museum, is still fresh in the memory of Eastern people. Many inquiries have been made about the ill-assorted pair, and this morning Manager McFadden, in reply to an inquiry as to what had become of them, said: “Oh, they are back on their farm in Swift Bird’s camp. You remember we had to buy the farm and then we made them a present of it. But they didn’t stock it as the intended with the salary they got. We paid them $500 a week and expenses, and as they were engaged for 10 weeks they got a tidy little sum. After the second week she bought herself some diamond earrings and paid $600 for them. This contented the bride for a while, but in Chicago she wanted some dresses and they were the best she could buy. She bought an outfit, including a sealskin sacque, although it was midsummer, that cost her $1,200.

Then Mrs. Chaska began to fit out Sammy. She went to a swell tailor and had three suits of clothes made for him, one of which is a full dress suit. Then she bought him a gold watch and chain. The watch was a horse timer. Even then she was not satisfied, and she further adorned her redskin with a hug diamond ring and stud. Then the heart of Cora seemed happy, but her purse was empty. I don’t believe they had $500 when they got back home. What in the world they will do with all their diamonds and finery on the reservation is more than I can imagine.”

The New York Times, Oct 6, 1888


Chaska and Cora Belle are Dad and Mam.

FORT BENNETT, Dec. 25 — Mrs Chaska, nee Cora Belle Fellows, the society belle from Washington who created a sensation by marrying the Indian chief Chaska, of Cheyenne agency, is now a mother. On the 23d inst., at 12 o’clock m., a son was born, and mother and child are doing well. Since their return from the east the couple have resided at Swift Bird’s camp, and came to Fort Bennett a week ago to obtain the services of a Caucasian accoucheur. Chaska and his wife have lived beyond their means during the past year, spending hundreds of dollars in traveling, purchasing the finest clothing and squandering thousands in farming implements and horses and carriages. The farming implements are useless, as Chaska has no talents for farming, and prefers to take it easy as long as he possibly can.

Daily Huronite (Huron, South Dakota) Dec 26, 1888


Cora Belle Chaska wants a divorce from her Indian husband, so soon.

Daily Huronite (Huron, South Dakota) Jun 24, 1891


A Yankton dispatch announces the end of a romance as follows: Mrs. Chaska, nee Cora Bell Fellows, who was married at Cheyenne River agency three years ago to a Santee Sioux named Chaska, or Samuel Campbell, found life with her dusky spouse unbearable and is now living apart from him in a small town in southern Nebraska. Several months ago Chaska suddenly disappeared, and it was discovered that he had eloped with a young and buxom squaw. Mrs. Chaska, after waiting for his return for weeks, left the reservation with her half-breed children, vowing she would never live with Chaska again. Two weeks after she left Chaska returned to the agency, and is now living there with the woman who accompanied him in his elopement. He is happy and wants no more to do with his white wife.

Daily Huronite (Huron, South Dakota) Feb 21, 1894

News a Year Old.
YANKTON, S.D., Feb. 22. — The story telegraphed from here about the desertion of his white wife by the Indian Chaska is an old one, the desertion having occurred a year ago.

Daily Huronite (Huron, South Dakota) Feb 22, 1894


A Romance Set Forth in Something Worse Than Blank Verse.

When Cora Belle Fellows was wedded to Chaska and came with her dusky liege? lord to Nebraska the skies seemed bedecked with a constant aurora and the little log hut seemed a palace to Cora. Months passed and a cloud grew above the horizon in the form of a squaw, and those women are “pizen.” Her eyes were as dark as the dismal hereafter and her hair was as straight as a 2×6 rafter.
The stout heart of Chaska succumbed to her graces, for an Indian knows what an elegant face is; and they met when the moon the calm atmosphere mellows, nor cared for the heartache of Cora Belle Fellows.
One night when the storm king? the coal scuttle looted this Chaska put on his red blanket and scooted away to the north with this maiden, nor tarried till he and fair Minnekadinetum were married. And Cora she waited and bore his abuses and hoped he’d return to his wife and papooses, but weeks rolled by till the looks of her cubbard reminded her sorely of Old Mother Hubbard.
Then Cora disheartened, disgusted and gaunted, deserted the home that her Chaska once haunted and mingled once more with her friends, broken hearted and Cora and Chaska forever are parted.
A moral this tale bears to gals who, through folly or strange love of romance, imagine it jolly to cast their sad lot with the sons of the wildwood and seek a divorce from the friends of their childhood. This romance is short as in this case related, for Cora now knows she was sadly mismated, and has, with the rest, the unahappy reflection of duty to half-breeds that need her protection.
The question of Indian civilization involves not the horrors of mixed procreation. An Indian has to be dead to be decent, which fact has been known a long time — is not recent — and history shows, from the best observations, that half-breeds are worse than their tribal relations.
I weep for poor Cora and both her papooses; I shudder to think what a gosling a goose is; I feel indignation that Chaska should leave her and skip with another and basely deceive her. and think that the law should receive a few patches to shut off these semi-barbarian matches.

Daily Advocate (Newark, Ohio) Apr 23, 1894


This “verse” was written in paragraph form, but I reformatted it to make it easier to read.


Such is the Condition in Which a Huron Lady Found Mrs. Chaska and Children.

When Cora Belle Fellows was wedded to Chaska
and came with her dusky liege? lord to Nebraska
the skies seemed bedecked with a constant aurora
and the little log hut seemed a palace to Cora.

Months passed and a cloud grew above the horizon
in the form of a squaw, and those women are “pizen.”
Her eyes were as dark as the dismal hereafter
and her hair was as straight as a 2×6 rafter.

The stout heart of Chaska succumbed to her graces,
for an Indian knows what an elegant face is;
and they met when the moon the calm atmosphere mellows,
nor cared for the heartache of Cora Belle Fellows.

One night when the storm king? the coal scuttle looted
this Chaska put on his red blanket and scooted
away to the north with this maiden, nor tarried
till he and fair Minnekadinetum were married.

And Cora she waited and bore his abuses
and hoped he’d return to his wife and papooses,
but weeks rolled by till the looks of her cupboard
reminded her sorely of Old Mother Hubbard.

Then Cora disheartened, disgusted and gaunted,
deserted the home that her Chaska once haunted
and mingled once more with her friends, broken hearted
and Cora and Chaska forever are parted.

A moral this tale bears to gals who, through folly
or strange love of romance, imagine it jolly
to cast their sad lot with the sons of the wildwood
and seek a divorce from the friends of their childhood.

This romance is short as in this case related,
for Cora now knows she was sadly mismated,
and has, with the rest, the unhappy reflection
of duty to half-breeds that need her protection.

The question of Indian civilization
involves not the horrors of mixed procreation.
An Indian has to be dead to be decent,
which fact has been known a long time — is not recent —
and history shows, from the best observations,
that half-breeds are worse than their tribal relations.

I weep for poor Cora and both her papooses;
I shudder to think what a gosling a goose is;
I feel indignation that Chaska should leave her
and skip with another and basely deceive her.
and think that the law should receive a few patches
to shut off these semi-barbarian matches.

Daily Huronite (Huron, South Dakota) May 6, 1896


Cora Belle Fellows, whose marriage to Chaska, a Sioux, created a sensation some years ago, has been deserted and left in destitution by her Indian husband. She came of an excellent Washington family, but fell in love with Chaska while teaching on the reservation near Pierre, S. Dak., and married him in spite of the opposition of her family. They acquired a fortune by exhibiting themselves in dime museums throughout the country, but he has squandered all her money and disappeared with a woman of his own race, leaving his wife with four children to support.

Fort Wayne News (Fort Wayne, Indiana) Jul 10, 1896


Sioux Indian Who Married a White Woman Takes His Life

NIOBRARA, Neb., May 3. — Samuel Campbell Chaska committed suicide tonight. Chaska was a full-blooded Sioux Indian. Ten years ago he graduated with high honors at Carlisle and shortly became famous by marrying Cora Belle Fellows of Washington, D.C. Neither the beauty nor wealth of his fashionable society wife, nor his learning, acquired by years of study at Carlisle could eradicate the Sioux traits that generations had left in his blood. In a few years he drifted back to the reservation and sunk to the level of a common blanket Indian again. His wife left him some years ago.

Chaska was in jail at the time of his death charged with stealing horses. This is the first instance in which a fullblooded Sioux ever committed suicide. By marriage the man was related to one of the most prominent families in the east.

The Nebraska State Journal (Lincoln, Nebraska) May 4, 1898


His White Wife Objected to His Relatives — After Separation Came Conviction for Stealing

Chaska, the half breed Sioux Indian, once the husband of the St. Louis girl, Cora Belle Fellows, was placed behind bars in the penitentiary last evening, where he will serve one year for stealing harness. A deep gash across his neck, made four weeks ago in an attempt to cut his throat, was still plainly seen when Chaska went into the penitentiary. The wound has almost healed and promises to give no more trouble. Neither will Chaska make another attempt upon his life, for he says he is sorry he tried to kill himself and he wants to be a good live Indian for many years. The report that he had committed suicide was published throughout the country and believed.

Sheriff A.W. Crandon of Niobara brought Chaska to Lincoln yesterday. They stopped at the Capital hotel where the tall, slender form of the Indian attracted general attention. Chaska is known in Knox county and on the Indian reservation as Sam Campbell. He is thirty-seven years old. His straight, black hair is worn shingled and while there are traces of beard on his face, very little is noticable except on the upper lip. What moustache he possessed was shaved off the day before he started to the prison. Although he was educated at the Indian school at Carlisle he uses very imperfect English. When about to make a statement to attorneys before being brought to prison, he called for an interpreter.

Chaska told the sheriff yesterday evening tht he needed no guard on the way from the city to the prison, because he would not try to escape for a thousand dollars. He was not handcuffed at any time on the way to Lincoln.

Sheriff Crandon gave his prisoner a little advice before he turned him over to the prison authorities. He told Chaska to obey orders and he would get along all right. Chaska said he certainly would, but he was fearful lest he should unwittingly break the rules or say something that would give offense. He was afraid h would not be able to understand the prison rules and as a result get punished.

For stealing harness from another Indian Chaska was convicted of burglary. Judge Robinson sentenced him to serve one year. Chaska is said to have been a partner with others in such business. At any rate he sold the stolen harness at the town of Niobrara for $20. He pleaded guilty and therefore had no trial. He has one brother, Dave Campbell, who is considered a terror, and another, who is very religious.

Chaska was a downcast Indian when in the Knox county jail. Some of his friends told him there were other counts against him and he was sure to get a sentence of about fourteen years. He thought death preferable to so long a term and in his dispair drew an old, dull jack knife across his throat.

When Sheriff Crandon brought Chaska’s breakfast in to him that morning he saw blood on the bunk.

“What have you done, Sam?” asked the sheriff.

“Cut my throat,” was the Indian’s almost inaudible answer.

“Well, here’s your breakfast. I’ll go and get a doctor,” said the sheriff.

In twenty minutes the sheriff returned with a doctor. They found that Chaska had found his breakfast and eaten half a piece of custard pie. The windpipe was partially severed and the sufferer could breathe only by dropping his chin close to his throat. Otherwise the air escaped through the gash instead of going into the lungs.

Chaska has received a great deal of notoriety over his marriage with a white woman, Cora Belle Fellows, who was a teacher in an Indian school. He has been represented as a finely educated lawyer, but those who know of his marriage say he has never followed any business except the show business. Soon after the marriage he and his wife gave exhibitions at Chicago. Chaska appeared in the gorgeous costume of a Sioux warrior. His wife appeared in a beautiful white satin dress. Chaska’s act was to kneel down and make a proposal of marriage and it was the part of the wife to accept gracefully the noble red man. For four years the couple travelled with Buffalo Bill’s Wild West show.

There was only one thing that marred the pleasure of their domestic life. Chaska afterwards told about it. Mrs. Chaska got along pretty well with her husband, but she objected to the single file of big red bucks and squaws that seemed to be continually pigeontoeing to their house to visit, each one claiming to be a dear relative of Chaska. She drew the line at his relatives and then the divorce followed. It is reported that Mrs. Chaska is now in Missouri with her three Indian children and is taking in washing for a living. Since her departure from the scene Chaska has been living with a black, cross-eyeed squaw. They now have one child. When Chaska was about to be taken from the county jail to Lincoln the squaw visited him in his cell. She sat in the jail several hours without speaking to anyone, but in the cell she conversed with Chaska in their native tongue.

The Nebraska State Journal (Lincoln, Nebraska) Jun 1, 1898

Corabelle Fellows Campbell Tillman and Family 1900

Corabelle Fellows Campbell Tillman and Family 1900

Corabelle Fellows married George Tillman about 1896. They had a daughter together, named Corabelle Tillman and were living in Jasper County, Missouri in 1900. Chaska and Corabelle’s children were living with them and are listed as step-children, under the name of Campbell.


Girl Teacher Is Heroine Of Indian Book
Blue Star, By Kunigunde Duncan (told from the life of Corabelle Fellows).
Caldwell, Idaho; The Caxton Printers. pp. 221. $2.50

Out of the crowded Washington drawing rooms of the eighties ventrued a frightened young girl still in her ‘teens to teach the Sioux Indians in the wind-swept Dakotas. Small, delicate, and used to the niceties of life, Corabelle Fellows remained at her post while other women teachers fled from Indian scares, the cold, and privations. The girl had an indomitable spirit, combined with real sympathy for the red people to whom she was offering the first taste of the white man’s knowledge. And the Indians, who valued above all things a brave heart gave her an affectionate title — Blue Star. Personalities like hers are fast disappearing as the frontiers of the west become past history.

In the days when the Dakotas were still a territory, and the far reaches of the prairies practically untouched by the encroaching white man, the Sioux Indians were still a primitive people, close to their age-old superstitions and customs. To Corabelle Fellows were disclosed the ways of Indian life that were kept secret to others — habits and usages that have since been changed by the years of white-man dominance. In her story Blue Star brings alive these early days — a fading picture that only the old-timers can give to our civilized day.

“Blue Star” in itself may not be amazingly significant, but it is one of Caxton’s western books which have proved to be invaluable mines of source material for the sociologish, historian, and novelist. — J.A.T.

Ogden Standard Examiner (Ogden, Utah) Nov 6, 1938


Blind now and in her 70s Corabelle Fellows was a young girl of 18 when she left Washington society to teach the Sioux Indians in the Dakotas. The story of her childhood in the east and her stunning adventures in the west until her marriage have been told by her to Kunigunde Duncan to make the absoribing book. Blue Star (Caxton $2.50). Miss Fellows courage wond the Indians’ trust and customs usually kept secret from the white man were revealed to her. The sense of humor that carried her through hardship sets the tone of the book. Here is a fascinating reading for the teen-age girl (12 -16 year)

It would be well if every home with children could have one. good.

The Zanesville Signal (Zanesville, Ohio) Mar 13, 1939

“Blue Star” by Kunigunde Duncan can be purchased on Amazon.


Biographical note:
Flora (Kunigunde Duncan) Isely, b. 1886, wrote and published a great deal of poetry during the early 1900s and later wrote a number of books. She graduated from Wichita High School in 1904 where she later taught three years. In 1911 she married author Bliss Isely, and during most of their married lived on a farm near El Dorado, Kansas. They had three sons, Malcolm, Kenneth and David, who died in childhood. In 1938 she published the book Blue Star, a book based on the life of Corabelle Fellows Campbell Tillman, and during the 1940s she co-authored a book with D.F. Nichols on Mentor Graham. She wrote a number of articles dealing with the Dust Bowl and Wichita history for local and national newspapers. Her books include a book of poems, The Land of the Little Boys, and Mentor Graham: The Man Who Taught Lincoln (1944).

From the Wichita State University Library

Read an overview of the Cheyenne River Tribe HERE.

UPDATE: Just a quick update due to some questions posed by Claire in the comments. I clipped a few bits of  the intro, plus a picture of Corabelle as a girl, from the preview of Blue Star: The Story of Corabelle Fellows –  By Kunigunde Duncan (Preview link)

This last piece should answer your question about Claude Campbell, the oldest son:

How sad!!!

Claire, you could always check the library for this book if you want to see if Wilbur ever had children, but based on the census records, I kind of doubt he did.