Last week I wrote about James Mullins, the colored Civil War Soldier buried at Pittsburg Cemetery. This week’s column is about his son. I may be wrong but I am pretty confident that this is his son, but you can decide. In 1870 and 1880 James and his wife Mary were living in Rockcastle County. They had a son named James R. Mullins. In 1870 James was 9 years of age which puts his birth year around 1861. In 1880 James R. was 15 which places his birth year around 1865. These are the only two census reports on which he will be found. James R. was listed as a coal miner on the 1880 census report. Last week I told you I believe the Mullins family moved to Laurel County in 1882 or 1883 to work in the coal mines.
On April 30, 1885, James R. Mullins and Ellen Livingston completed a marriage bond in Laurel County which is in Negro Book CC on pages 78-79. In 1885 white marriages and colored marriages were recorded in separate books. According to the marriage bond James R. Mullins, age 22, was born in Rockcastle County as were his parents. He was a miner. Ellen Livingston, age 17, was born in Lincoln County, KY. This was a first marriage for both of them, and they both lived in Laurel County. They were to be married at Altamont Coal (?)Works. There was no minister’s return but most of the marriages in this book do not contain one. Since the groom's name was not listed in the book's index this bond was not recorded in the Master Index. The only reason I located the bond was that the register for this marriage was begun in the Marriage Book for whites but the record was not completed. However, that incomplete record was included in the Master Index. Since I knew most of the Livingstons in this county were black, I decided to check Book CC. As I have already mentioned his name was not in the index, but I thumbed through Book CC using the 1885 date until I found the record. Although I have no definite proof that this is the son of James Sr., everything matches – middle initial R, age within 2 years, birthplace, occupation, residence.
On the 1900 Laurel County census report I found the widowed Ella Mullins, born January 1868, as head of her household living in the Altamont precinct. Her brother Edd Livingston, a boarder named Joseph Delana and Ella’s 7 children completed the household. The children of James and Ellen were:
1. Lula Mullins born September, 1886; deceased by 1910.
2. _______ Mullins According to the 1910 census report Ellen had given birth to 8 children but only five were still living. I do not know anything else about this child. He/She was probably born in 1888 based on the birth dates of the other children. Since this child was not reported on the 1900 census report he/she probably died before that report was made.
3. May Mullins born June 1890
4. Eugene Mullins was born January 9, 1892 at Altamont KY according to WW2 Draft registration. He possibly lived in Hamilton Ohio in 1930 married to Helen ____. On the 1940 census report he lived in Cincinnati, Ohio and was married to Cora Hale. They had a 22 year old daughter named Stella Beatrice Mullins. Eugene died in 1942 and is buried in Cincinnati at Union Baptist Cemetery.
5. Hugh Mullins was born January 18, 1894; died June 3, 1943; buried Beech Grove Cemetery Wyoming, Ohio. His tombstone requested by Frances Mullins. In 1940 Hugh and wife Frances were living in Lockland, Hamilton County Ohio.
6. Cecil Mullins (daughter) born November 1895; deceased by 1910.
7. Zella Mullins was born June 1897; married George Floyd September 20, 1914, in Laurel County.
8. James William “Willie” Mullins was born January 1899. On the 1920 census report he was living in Springfield, Hamilton County, Ohio with his grandmother Martha Livingston. He made shingles for the roofing industry.
When I realized that Ella was a young widow I recalled the mysterious tombstone at Pittsburg Cemetery which said “Father and Mother Mullins” but contained no first names. That tombstone was in the same area as the tombstone of James Sr. and the white Mullins family. I was never able to find a couple whose birth and death dates matched the ones on the stone, so I looked up those dates again. Mother was born in 1868 and died in 1941. Father was born in 1864 and died in 1898. BINGO. The birth dates matched James and Ellen/Ella. Then I thought, "If James died in 1898, his death may have been mentioned in the newspaper." It was.
James was murdered in September 1898. Here is the newspaper account from the September 23, 1898, issue of The Mountain Echo. “KILLED – At about 5 o’clock last Monday evening at the crossing of the railroad and the State road between Pittsburg and East Bernstadt, Milt Green, white, shot and instantly killed James Mullins, colored. The weapon was a 45-colt’s revolver. From our best information, there was very little if any provocation. Our information is that Mullins at the time he was shot was reclining on his elbow on the counter talking to a brakeman when Green stepped up and fired without speaking a word, the ball taking effect in the side of the back, passing squarely through his body, coming out in front on the opposite side of his body, inflicting a wound of which he died in about ten minutes. Those present give it as their opinion that Mullins never knew who shot him. Green and Mullins had some trouble about a year ago, in which Mullins shot Green, for which he now stands indicted in the Laurel Circuit Court. Green surrendered himself and is now in jail. Green waived an examination yesterday and was held without bail.”
At that time trials were speedy. According to the February 17, 1899, newspaper, “Milt Green was given five years in the pen for killing Jim Mullins.” Then in the June 23, 1899, issue we find “Milt Green… was pardoned Tuesday by Governor Bradley.”
I also looked for the newspaper account of the first shooting and located it in the June 11, 1897, issue of The Mountain Echo. “SHOT – About 1 o’clock last Friday evening, near East Bernstadt, James Mullins, of color, shot Milt Green in the right breast, inflicting a very painful, but not dangerous wound. Mullins came to London Saturday, surrendered himself to the authorities and filled a bond of $500 for his appearance at the examining trial, which is set for Tuesday of next week.”
In 1910 Ellen and five of her children were living near East Bernstadt. Their home was near the home of Green Fish. On October 31, 1913, Ellen and Green would marry here in Laurel County. By 1920 Ellen was widowed again. She was living on the Dixie Highway at East Bernstadt. Her son Hugh and 3 year old grandson George A. Floyd were living with her. By 1930 Ellen had moved to Hamilton Ohio. Her sons Hugh and William and grandson Arthur Floyd, age 13, were living with her. Both sons were laborers for the gas and electric companies. Ellen died January 19, 1941, in Lebanon in Marion County KY. The informant for Ellen’s death certificate was Mrs. Mabel Matthews. I think Mabel was her daughter May, but I have no proof. That death certificate reported Ellen L. Fish was born January 3, 1868, in Lincoln County KY to Ed Livingston who was born in Nicholasville, KY and Martha Farris who was born in Boyle County KY.
The Laurel County Historical Society is located at 310 West 3rd Street in the old Health Department Building. We are open on Mondays & Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. We will open on other days by appointment. Please contact us far enough in advance to schedule a volunteer to open the library. You may contact the Laurel County Historical Society by calling 606-864-0607 or e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org (The first character is a lower case L as in Laurel.)