William S. Bullock was the third son of General Robert and Mrs. Amanda Bullock, pioneer citizens of Ocala. The family was prominent in Florida as well as North Carolina.
Judge Bullock was born May 15, 1856 in Ocala, Florida. He married Miss Willie Alice Reddick from Jacksonville, originally South Carolina. She was the daughter of Samuel Clark Reddick a soldier in the Confederate Army. Their marriage produced five children: Lena, Marie, Sarah Alice, Wm. S., Jr. and Julian R. Bullock.
On the eve of his marriage, Judge Bullocks father, when asked about the upcoming wedding of his son remarked," I have no objections to his marriage, but I see nothing in store for him, but starvation." The General at that time was unable to make any kind of provision for his son and was unable to educate him as he had hoped to do. The General failed to consider the values he himself had instilled in his son by example. He also did not recognize the stamina and "stuff " his son was made of.
It can truly be said that Judge Bullock began life at the bottom of the ladder and his success was owing to his diligence of rigidly putting aside any thought of evil habit. At a very early period in his life he made the decision to have nothing to do with the pleasures of the world such as billiards, whiskey, tobacco and idleness or anything else he thought would prove a hindrance to the clean, successful life he wanted to build his reputation on.
Judge Bullock married early in life and as a husband and father his reputation was almost ideal. The things of the world that was so alluring to many could not wean him from the bosom of his beloved family. His leisure moments at night were spent at home with them.
When he married he had no home to shelter himself and no profession to aid him in obtaining one. It was with the fruit of his toil working long hours well into the night that Judge Bullock attributed his success to burning the midnight oil and allowed him to prosper in his business life. He devoted his time and his talent to the pursuit of his career.
Judge Bullock began practicing law in Ocala in 1879 with his father. In 1882 he was appointed Judge of the Criminal Court of Records and held the office until it was abolished by the Legislature. In presenting his name for the office of mayor for Ocala in 1896, it was said of him at the time, "He is a person who makes two blades of grass where only one grew before."
Because of his many good deeds he he was considered Ocala's benefactor. He did everything that made to the glory and growth of the city. He planted and reaped. he put his money into private as well as public enterprises and he gave his time, his genius and his energy to good influences. He sat such an example that any community would point to it with pride. He started out in life with a distinct purpose and view and pursued it looking neither to the right or left. Judge Bullock wanted the goodwill of his fellow man and he received it, not by deception or boasting, nor by taking advantage of others, for he had no need for the attachments of the world. He was fashioned in a plain, honest mold and stood for what he believed in and all that he was.
Judge Bullock was the first native Floridian appointed to the Judgeship in the 5th Judicial Court. A short time after he was elected in 1901 he sentenced his first prisoner to be hanged under circumstances he never wanted to see repeated. He was both the prisoner's judge, custodian and counsel and it was by his own efforts that the prisoner's life was saved from a lynching. When a negro man was tried and found guilty of murder, a crowd of about three hundred men who had gathered at the courthouse with about two hundred Winchester rifles among them, lunged for the prisoner wanting to lynch him on the spot. It took awhile, but Judge Bullock finally got order restored in his courtroom. How did he do this? By having the prisoner handcuffed to himself and with a guard of ten men, faced the mob and walked the prisoner across the street to the jail locking him safely in.
Judge Bullock was a liberal promoter of Ocala's growth, putting his money into every public enterprise. He was a liberal supporter of every institution both public and private that made for the good of Ocala. His works tell their own story. He was a consistent member of his church, a superintendent of the Sunday school and a patron of the public schools. He was a liberal giver to charity and a taxpayer in every ward of the city. He owned houses, land, stores and even dead orange groves, being a great sufferer in the freeze of 1895.
Judge Bullock was born, reared, married and achieved his success in Ocala and on May 28, 1935, he died there as well. He was laid to rest in Greenwood Cemetery in Ocala.
Judge Bullock loved the people of Ocala and they in turn loved and respected him.
Source: The History of Florida: Past & Present, The Lewis Publishing Co., Vol II, page 319, 1923 and The Ocala Evening Star.
Transcribed, Formatted and Submitted by Linda Flowers
This Page Created October 17, 2010
Copyrighted © 2010- Linda Flowers Updated: 1-2-2016
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