General Robert Bullock

General Robert Bullock was born  at Granville, Pitt County, North Carolina on December 8, 1828, the son of  Richard and Mildred (Walker) Bullock. He came to Marion County, Florida in 1844 at the age of sixteen settling at Ft. King, then a United States Government near present day Ocala. He began his political career early in life when he was elected circuit clerk of Marion County, in 1849. He held the office for six years.

He married  Amanda Loretta Waterman May 7, 1852. He and his wife would have thirteen children from this union with six reaching adulthood, including Judge W. S. Bullock, R. B. Bullock, B. F. Bullock, Mrs. Marie E. Wright, Mrs. Hattie Wright and Mrs. Loretta Birdsey. 

When the Indian War broke out in South Florida in 1856 he was commissioned by Governor Brown to organize a company of mounted volunteers and was sent to protect the border settlements from the Indians. He was a brave and efficient officer and soon became captain where he remained on duty for eighteen months.

 He returned to Ocala and his family, began studying law and was admitted to the bar and began his  practice which would be interrupted by the outbreak of the war between the states.  He was elected lieutenant-colonel of the Seventh Florida Regiment of which he was commissioned to raise at the beginning of the war. He participated in the battle of Richmond under General Kirby Smith; being promoted to Colonel. He was captured at Missionary Ridge and sent to Johnson's Island in Lake Erie where he remained a prisoner of war from November 1, 1863 to March, 1864.  After his exchange he resumed the command of his regiment and after General Finley was wounded at the battle of Resaca, he was made brigade commander and then brigadier-general. He was severely wounded at the battle of Utoy Creek On December, 1864; his wounds disabling him for further field duty.

After his recovery, General Bullock resumed his law practice.  Raised in a large family he was not collage educated, but his strong mind was stored with the useful knowledge he learned in the school of life. His eloquent yet forceful delivery placed him in the forefront as  the public speaker of the state. He possessed the confidence of the plain people. This confidence was gained  because they knew him to be honest with them.

He moved from rank of captain in the Indian War to  that of brigadier-general in the confederate army, efficient member of the 51st and 32nd congress of the United States in 1888, besides holding several important official positions in Marion County, including being nominated by the democratic convention for lieutenant-governor in 1872. He was a presidential elector in the Tilden campaign of 1876 and in 1880 was elected clerk of the circuit court, which he filled for eight years.

He retired from public life in 1892 and relocated to Lake Weir and worked his massive orange and lemon groves, which were destroyed in the freeze of 1895. After the freeze General Bullock returned to Ocala. He was appointed as judge of the Fifth Judicial District when Jude Hill died leaving an unexpired term, which needed to be filled. He was chosen again for a four year term and later became mayor and postmaster at Ocala.

General Bullock was one of the most honored and distinguished citizens whose wise counsel was sought by many. His superb patriotism and unswerving devotion to high principles left a fixed place in the hearts of his fellow citizens in  Florida. He was a lover of country and friend of humanity and held a conscientious devotion to every duty. 

The headlines say it all: "Those who knew him longest, knew him best...Wrapped in the stained robes of duty, the old hero rests from his labor." Another headline reads: " Life's fitful fever is over-Marion's favorite son is no more...Gen. Robert Bullock passes away and Ocala Mourns."

General Bullock died at Ocala, August 7, 1905. He was the oldest voter of the county and it's oldest citizen as well. He expired fourteen months after his beloved wife died suddenly on July 10, 1904. He took her death so severely that it was speculated by friends and family he simply died from a broken heart. On their 50th wedding anniversary, held at the Ocala House a couple of years before, he said to the gathering of towns people who had come out in their honor, "She is my guardian angel.  In the fifty years we have been married, no dark shadow has ever come between us." General Bullock was buried at 4:30 p.m. under the beautiful rites of the Masonic fraternity of which he was a member. He was laid to rest in Evergreen Cemetery with Rev. W. C. Lindsay officiating.

With General Bullocks passing, Col. R. L. Anderson who had known him for the last twenty-four years had this to say: " He has gone from among living men leaving behind a life replete with good deeds, full of deserved honor and illumined by his distinguished qualities of honesty, uprightness, fidelity and chastity. He has left with us the heritage of a spotless public and private life.

Source: The History of Florida: Past & Present, The Lewis Publishing C0., Vol. II, page 318, 1923
Source: Ocala Banner

Transcribed, Formatted and Submitted by Linda Flowers

This Page Created October 17, 2010
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