Duncan “Dusty” Bullock: Baseball and the Rendezvous Lodge

motorcyle police bullock

Road Cop Doing his job.  This is not a picture of Dusty Bullock, but gives you an idea of what he did for a living.

Baseball and Road Policeman are usually two jobs not related, but Duncan Percy Bullock became well known as both. Duncan Bullock was born October 11, 1893 in either Ontario, Canada or Ohio.  Records vary. His parents were Seth and Annie Bullock, who migrated from England to Canada. By 1900 the family had moved to the United States and were living in Lima, Ohio where Seth listed his occupation as day laborer. Young Percy, as he was listed, attended school.

Around 1907, Duncan was using the nickname “Dusty” and started playing baseball near Joplin, Missouri.  Soon he moved to Kansas City and began playing for a number of teams around that city in the minor leagues. By 1910, he had moved up to the majors and was playing in the Central Kansas League for the Salina Trade Winners.  Dusty would play for the next six years on various professional baseball teams.  His best year was in 1914 when he played in 88 games for the Ottawa Senators and batted an average of .308.  Although well known, he was never able to make enough money to just play baseball. Throughout these years he was a cigar salesman and a fireman on the Central Michigan railroad.  Following him through these years though was his beloved wife Bessie Cain , who he married in Salina, Kansas in 1910.

As World War I began to intensify in Europe, the Canadian League, who Dusty played for, suspended operations. Although he claimed to enlist in the army for Canada during this period, I could find no official mention. In 1919, he reappears in Canada playing baseball.  Soon he and his wife move to Evansville, Indiana attempting to resurrect his career as a second baseman. It appears his baseball career was coming to an end though.

In 1923, Dusty and his wife moved to the small community of Indianola in Sunflower County, Mississippi.  He had been hired by the county as a “road cop.” His position involved being a traffic policeman and writing tickets to those unfortunate people who were speeding.  Dusty was given a 4 cylinder motorcycle to chase speeders and he was really good at his job. In March 1924, his salary was $175 but he brought in $381.00 in tickets to the county. Soon he moved on to bigger and better money when he became the “road cop” for Tunica and Coahoma counties in late 1924.

Dusty was severely injured in an accident trying to stop a Cadillac with three ladies when he ran into another car.  Although left on the road, the car was eventually stopped at Lula. Bullock was rushed to the hospital and miraculously had no broken bones.  By September he was back on his repaired motorcycle chasing cars. Unfortunately he was injured again in another wreck near Clover Hill on July 22, 1925. Later that year Coahoma County ended the position of “road cop” so he only worked in Tunica County. Because of his popularity, Coahoma County soon brought him back and his motorcycle was once again roaming the roads of both precincts. In addition to speeders, Dusty arrested drunks, escaped convicts and bootleggers.

Dusty became one of the most respected citizens of Coahoma and Tunica counties while living in Clarksdale. He became scout master in 1926 for Clarksdale Troop 6. By 1927, it was time to add another job to his busy schedule. He was made game warden on April 21st. It was about this time that he opened the Rendezvous Lodge on Moon Lake.  The lodge quickly became one of the most popular night spots on the lake as he hosted parties and fish fries.

On the 1930 U.S. Census, Bullock listed his home as Clarksdale. He rented his residence for $50 a month. Dustin stated his job was game warden. Bess was a salesperson in a department store. Dusty also umpired many of the baseball games played in the county. There was no mention of his Moon Lake property strangely.

In August 1930, the Rendezvous hosted the Ole Miss Delta Alumni.  Dusty was becoming a major player around Moon Lake even though he was working as both a road policeman and game warden.  His family were often visitors to his home on Cherry Street and Bess traveled a great deal. Life was great for the Bullock family and their friends in Coahoma County. That is until the Rendezvous Lodge was robbed.  A few months later, the lodge burned in December 1930.  According to Bullock the loss of the lodge amounted to several thousand dollars. Just like that, everything changes. Dusty quits all of his jobs in Coahoma County and leaves.

By 1931, Dusty Bullock has moved to Memphis. Bess is dead and he becomes involved with another woman.  In 1932 he identifies himself as a station manager for Standard Oil Company on 710 Lewis.

On March 8, 1933 Dustin “Dusty” Bullock was arrested for violating the National Prohibition Act by bringing in illegal liquor. He and another man named Charlie Jefferson Dennis were arrested at Moon Lake. Dennis was originally from Sunflower County. Neither man could pay the bond and were sent to the Coahoma County jail.  Eventually he gets moved to Oxford and both men get suspended sentences. Dusty returns to Memphis where he remarries and has a daughter.  He seems then to have a very quiet life and listed his occupation as construction foreman. On November 12, 1941, he passes away and is buried at Memorial Park in Memphis.

Below is the Newspapers.com clipping of Dusty Bullock’s arrest.

clipping_36691383

How did Dusty Bullock own and operate the Rendezvous Lodge on his meager salaries? Why did he turn his life away from the excitement of Moon Lake and move quietly to Memphis? What did Dusty know about the robbery and fire?  Just more questions and mysteries surrounding Moon Lake and the Mississippi Delta.

References:

Newspapers.com

“Clarion Ledger”. Jackson, MS. December 25, 1930. page 7

“Clarion Ledger” Jackson, MS. April 19, 1933. page 3

“Clarion Ledger”. Jackson, MS. March 9, 1933. page 4

“The Atchison Daily Champion”. Atchison, Kansas. April 23, 1908. page 2

” The Salina Evening Journal”. Salina, Kansas. July 21, 1910. page 8

“The Salina Evening Journal”. Salina, Kansas. July 21, 1910. page 8.

“The Salina Evening Journal”. Salina, Kansas. December 31, 1910. page 2.

“The Salina Evening Journal”. Salina, Kansas. December 15, 1910. page 3

“The Kansas City Times”. Kansas City, Missouri. February 17, 1910. page 10

“The Ottawa Journal”. Ottawa, Canada. May 18, 1915. page 4

“The Ottawa Citizen”. Ottawa, Canada. July 12, 1919. page 9

“The Windsor Star”. Ontario, Canada. September 29, 1920. page 10

“The Enterprise-Tocsin”. Indianola, MS. June 7, 1923. page 2.

“The Enterprise-Tocsin”. Indianola, MS. September 4, 1924. page 2

“The Enterprise-Tocsin”. Indianola, MS. March 6, 1924. page 3

“Clarion Ledger”. Jackson, MS. July 22, 1925. page 5

“Clarksdale Press Register”. Clarksdale, MS. June 29, 1926. page 1

“Clarion Ledger”. Jackson, MS. March 4, 1926. page 8.

“Clarksdale Press Register”. Clarksdale, MS. April 21, 1927. page 2

“Clarksdale Press Register”. Clarksdale, MS. February 24, 1927. page 1

“Clarion Ledger”. Jackson, MS. August 25, 1930.

Ancestry.com- Census of 1930 and Census of 1900.

Canadian League | Baseball – Reference.com

Ancestry.com- City Directories

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