A resident of Denison since 1867, Charles Bullock is one of its best known and most respected citizens. He is also a successful business man who by his industry, wise management and public spirit has gained the confidence of the entire community.
He was born at Macomb, McDonough county, Illinois, March 8, 1838, a son of Thomas and Agnes (McCabe) Bullock, the former of whom was a native of County Down, Ireland, and the latter of Dauphin county, Pennsylvania. The father emigrated to America in 1818 and engaged in the furniture business at Hummelstown, Pennsylvania, making chairs, spinning wheels, etc. He was captain of the Hummelstown Volunteers, the oldest military company whose organization is still maintained in the state of Pennsylvania. He was the last man to join the company, but being a fine tactician he was unanimously elected captain and was in command when La Fayette came to America in 1824, the company serving as a body-guard to the distinguished visitor.
He continued in command until 1836, when he came west with James G. Blaine, who was a second cousin of Mr. Bullock's wife. He settled in Macomb, Illinois, and engaged in the furniture business and as a millwright, continuing there during the remainder of his life, with the exception of five years. He passed away in 1881, at the age of eighty-seven years, his wife dying the same year and at the same age as himself. They were both members of the Presbyterian church. He was originally an old line whig, but becoming a personal friend of Stephen A. Douglas, joined the democratic party. He was a man of prominence in the community and served as justice of the peace for a number of years, also as judge of the county court.
Ezekiel Bullock, the paternal grandfather of our subject, was a native of County Down, Ireland. The Bullocks were a military family and Ezekiel had several brothers who were officers in the British army, but he was opposed to a monarchical form of government, being an uncompromising republican. He lived to the advanced age of ninety-four years and was the father of five children, Thomas, Boyd, Ezekiel, James and Margaret.
The maternal grandfather was John McCabe, also a native of Ireland. He settled in Pennsylvania at an early day, continuing in that state during the remainder of his life. His wife was Nancy Wallace and they were the parents of three children, Nancy McElrath, Agnes and John.
Seven children were born to Thomas and Agnes Bullock, Charles being the only one now living. One brother, Thomas, and two sisters, Rachel and Anna, grew to maturity. Rachel married S. R. Lowry, and Anna became the wife of S. L. Fisher.
Charles Bullock was reared at Macomb, Illinois, and attended the public schools, where he obtained the rudiments of an education which he has greatly widened by reading and observation. He taught school for five terms and continued to live at home after arriving at maturity. His parents kept a hotel and he assisted in the house as he grew up, later keeping books for a large mercantile concern and a mill. He also worked on a farm and later engaged in the wool-carding business at Plymouth, Illinois, in the summer time and sold goods in the winter.
In 1867 he came to Crawford county and has ever since made his home at Denison. For two years he conducted a general store and then went into the drug business and was for several years interested in a lumberyard in this city. He engaged quite extensively in the cattle business, operating a ranch on the line between Nebraska and South Dakota. Subsequently he became proprietor of a hardware store at Vail and during recent years has engaged in the real-estate, loan and insurance business in partnership with J. B. Dunbar, the concern being one of the most substantial of its kind in this part of the state.
On the 17th day of April, 1865, Mr. Bullock was united in marriage to Miss Eliza W. Hill, a native of Kentucky and a daughter of Fleming and Marian (Duval) Hill, the former of whom was born at Shelbyville and the latter at New Castle, Kentucky. They moved to Schuyler county, Illinois, but afterwards returned to Kentucky, where they continued during the remainder of their lives. They were the owners of a large plantation and a number of slaves. There were six children in their family, Molly, Eliza W., Roland, Sarah, John and Lucy. Two children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Bullock, both of whom died in infancy.
Politically Mr. Bullock gives his support to the democratic party. He has served in a number of public offices, having been assessor and town clerk earlier in life. In 1884 he was elected a member of the twentieth general assembly of Iowa, succeeding the late Hon. H. C. Lamb, and filled the office to the general acceptance of his constituents for two years. He was afterward a candidate for the state senate but could not overcome the large normal majority of the opposing party. He was a delegate to the democratic national convention at Chicago in 1896 and at Kansas City in 1900, and was a member of the committee who notified John W. Kern of his nomination as a candidate for vice president of the United States. In religious affiliation he is identified with the Presbyterian church, while his wife is connected with the Baptist church. Fraternally he belongs to Sylvan Lodge, No. S07, A. F. & A. M., and he and his wife are members of the Order of the Eastern Star. He also holds membership in Dowdall Lodge, No. 90, K. P. Mr. and Mrs. Bullock have journeyed together over life's pathway for more than forty-five years and have a host of friends in Crawford county who have been attracted by their sterling characteristics. Mr. Bullock is now practically retired from the cares of business and enjoys the fruits of many years of application.
Source: History of Crawford County, Iowa. Vol. II. Chicago: The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., 1911.