He served as the 46th Governor of Georgia from 1868 to 1871 during Reconstruction and was the first Republican governor of Georgia. After various allegations of scandal, in 1871 he was obliged by the Ku Klux Klan to resign the governorship. He was succeeded by Republican State Senate president Benjamin Conley, who served as Governor for the two remaining months of the term to which Bullock had been elected.
Bullock was born in Bethlehem, New York, and moved to Augusta, Georgia, in 1857 for his job with the telegraph company Adams Express. He died in Albion, New York, in 1907 and was buried in Mt. Albion Cemetery nearby.
Bullock has had both detractors and admirers. He remains a controversial figure in Georgia state history.
The novel Gone With the Wind, by native Georgian Margaret Mitchell, references the election of Rufus Bullock at the end of Part Four, calling it the end of a process of Northern subjugation of Georgia that had begun with Sherman's March to the Sea in 1864. In the novel, the Republicans win the election, utilizing voter fraud with the help of their Negro (freed slaves) constituency. Benjamin Conley was succeeded by James M. Smith, a Democrat, and no Republican would serve as Governor of Georgia again until 2003.
- Entrepreneur for Equality: Governor Rufus Bullock, Commerce, and Race in Post-Civil War Georgia (1994), Russell Duncan, University of Georgia Press, ISBN 0-8203-1557-5.
- Georgia State Archives Roster of State Governors.
- Georgia Governor's Gravesites Field Guide (1776-2003).
- 1834 March 28 article in This Day in Georgia History compiled by Ed Jackson and Charles Pou.
Charles J. Jenkins
|Governor of Georgia
Benjamin F. Conley