Brothers William W. and Charles Bullock were born in New York and were the sons of E. S. and Lydia Bullock. They and their family moved to Missouri, and by the late 1860s William and Charles had moved on to Miami County, Kansas.
The tale of the Bullock brothers begins in January 1870 when they made their first foray into Osborne County, Kansas, in search of homestead land. They then headed east to the nearest land claim office in Junction City, Kansas, but were informed that the land they desired was already taken. So they chose new sections and in March 1870 homesteaded in what is now eastern Tilden Township of Osborne County. There on the north bank of the South Fork Solomon River they constructed the first permanent settlement in Osborne County, a two-room log cabin with portholes and a surrounding stockade of logs for their horses. “The Bullock Ranche” became the terminus for homestead and hunting parties far and wide in Northwest Kansas. It was also the scene of the last Indian fight in Osborne County, which took place in the first week of July 1870.
“I consider it a privilege to write what I know of the Indian attack on the Bullock stockade in 1870. As I was too young to remember anything about it, being only about 2½ years old at that time, all that I know is from hearing it talked over by my father and mother and America in after years. The account as I remember it is as follows:
“For several days prior to the attack Dave Willis and the Bullock boys found signs on the prairie and along the river which convinced them that the Indians had design on the stockade, and they evidently knew there were only five men in the stockade at the time, viz: James and Tom Weston, Charley and Will Bullock, and Dave Willis. But the evening before the attack there was a party of ten buffalo hunters pulled into the stockade after dark. The Indians did not see them come and so were surprised the next morning to see 15 men instead of 5 at the stockade, hence they did not stay long. The Indians made their attack about sunrise. America (Mr. Weston’s sister) had gone to the corral to milk the cows, and I had started to follow her to get a cup of milk. Mother saw the Indians coming and gave the alarm. America heard her scream ‘Indians!’ and started back to the stockade. By this time the Indians were almost upon us. On her way to the stockade America picked me up and carried me in. As she went around the corner of the stockade a bullet struck a post a few inches from her head. The men in the stockade immediately swarmed out into the open and gave the Indians a warm reception. One of the hunters by the name of White had picketed his horses near the stockade the night before. He coolly walked out, got his horses, and led them into the stockade with the Indians sometimes within thirty feet of him, trying to kill him, but he never got a scratch, and saved his horses.
“Will Bullock was in bed yet when the fight started. His bed was just inside the stockade near a porthole. He raised up in his blankets, stuck his gun through the porthole and kept blazing. away as long as there was a Redskin in sight, One Indian bullet found its way into the stockade and struck the opposite wall, where it fell into the bed where my father had been sleeping. When the men rushed out to repel the attack Dave Willis picked up the first gun he came to, which happened to be an old Spencer carbine, the only repeating rifle that had been invented at the time. After firing a couple of shots with it the gun jammed (as they nearly always did) and Dave had to go back into the stockade and get another gun. Charley Bullock thought that was a good joke, as both Charley and Dave were trying to make a good impression on America, and it got to rather a sore spot with Dave. My father said after the fight Charley and Dave came into the stockade laughing as though it had all been a good joke. There were two Indians knocked off their horses during the fight, but with the help of their friends they got back on their horses and got away. They left a bloody blanket and a revolver. The body of one of them was found afterwards tucked away in a pile of driftwood on the Solomon.” – Hugo Weston, from a letter to a friend dated January 8, 1939.
The two Bullocks made a living aiding and locating settlers and hunting parties as they arrived in the area, including the Pennsylvania Colony, which built on an extra room to the Ranche during its brief stay there before moving further downstream to found the town of Osborne City. Both brothers were prominent leaders when the county was formally organized in July 1871. Soon after a younger brother, Lyman, arrived and settled on a homestead next to the Ranche.
But before too long the two Bullock brothers needed more “elbow room” and moved on to Colorado Territory, where William the elder died in 1883.
DEATH OF WILLIAM M. BULLOCK
“The small pox contagion at Telluride has resulted fatally to one of Rico’s citizens. William W. Bullock, who died of the disease on last Sunday morning, at 2 o’clock a.m., after an illness of four days. Mr. Bullock has been a resident of Rico since early in 1879, having been among the first to take advantage of the Dolores boom, before Rico was a town. He has been engaged in a variety of enterprise here, and was a member of the livery firm of Danson and Bullock, which operated here last year. About three weeks ago he left for Telluride, where he was engaged as violinist in one of the balls there. On Tuesday of last week he was seized with the dreadful disease and died, as started on Sunday. While being taken to the pest house, it was necessary to cross the San Miguel River and, it being high, the wagon box was flooded with water, causing the mattress on which he lay on became thoroughly saturated. This mattress was not changed and such carelessness on the part of the nurses doubtless hastened his death. He was buried on the day he died. His father is a resident of Carrollton, Missouri, and he has one brother in Shootland,
Missouri, and another in Kansas. He was a member of the O.B.B. Society and the first of that order to die since its’ organization.” — The Dolores News, Rico, Colorado, Saturday, June 30, 1883.
“Charley came to visit us several times . . . the last time I saw him was in the winter of 1892-1893. We camped several days that winter. He was on his way to look for the lost Mitchell & Myrick silver load in Northern Arizona. I don’t think he ever came back to the San Juan basin, or I would have heard of him, as he was rather a noted character in the mining towns of San Juan.” – Hugo Weston.
In 1937 the Osborne County Commissioners authorized WPA money for monuments at the site of the county’s original five stockades, with the first monument erected at the Bullock Brothers Stockade site. The monument’s pyramid shape was chosen to emulate the shape of the stockade. Today the Bullock Brothers Stockade Monument can be visited along U.S. Highway 24 3.5 miles west of Osborne.