Harry Paul Mullen and Ina May Lott Mullen
Frances Mullen Felts Brunson-1983
(written for their grandchildren)
Donna Felts Grogan
I would like to tell you something of your grandparents.
Mama and Father were born six miles northeast of Carrollton in the Hickory Grove Community.
Their homes were a mile apart. They were always friends and sweethearts.
They went to school at Hickory Grove, a one room, one teacher school that never saw a coat of
paint and not many repairs. It is still standing. The building joins the
cemetery and is across the road from the Baptist Church.
I don’t know the extent of their education, but Mama went to a boarding college at Jefferson
where she received a teachers certificate, returning to the little school she attended as a child,
taught and married Father.
Mama is the second child born to Elizabeth Wilburn Sullivan and James Ellison Lott, Jr. This couple
raised twelve children. One son, Freddie, died in infancy.
Father’s parents were William Marshus Mullen and Rachel Holman. He was the youngest of
seven children. When father was two years old, his father died, leaving Mammie with a house
full of children to raise and in debt for the small farm on which they lived. Mammie was a very brave and courageous woman, taking the children (Uncle Pat was seventeen years old) to the field herself, working hard, being frugal and a far-seeing manager, saved the farm. She also did a great job of being mother and father to her family. Father said they never suffered, but Sunday
was the only day they had biscuits.
In the fall after Grandfather’s death, she went to the bank in Carrollton to make a payment on the loan for the place. The banker, Major Gee, a very charitable man, marked the note "paid in full."
He and his family were and are very outstanding citizens of Carroll County.
By 1903, the sisters and brothers were married and gone, but Father lived with his Mother in their home, which was built by your Grandfather Mullen for his bride, Rachel, circa 1845-1848. A four room house, dog-trot down the center with the kitchen attached by a walkway. I don’t remember using the kitchen as such, but as a storeroom. The house was torn down a few years ago. There isn’t much left of the place now but memories. Your Grand Mammie and her daughter, Lenora who died at the age of approximately sixteen in the 1850’s, planted or set out a row of cedar trees to the right of the house along the pasture fence, which is still standing and leads to the main road. A small pond just inside the fence is there, also. A pond in which we played, the cattle drank from it, the pigs wallowed in it, and it was a swimming pool for the ducks, geese, and guineas. It was checked and dragged more than once in search of a missing child who was later found under the bed sound asleep or had run away to Grandmother’s to get some goats- but was always safe. Fred and James (Mullen) ran away one time and had gotten to the main road. Mr. Jim Vance’s brother, I don’t remember his name, came along in a buggy. He stopped and asked them who their Papa was. One of them said, "We don’t have a Papa, but we have a Father and An Uncle
Stannie." He knew then who they were and delivered them safely home.
Another landmark is an enormous oak tree that stands a little northwest of the house. Father, with his brothers and sisters played under it and in it. He said it was the same size then as it is now. It leans towards the north, don’t know why unless it was played in too early. We used that shade tree for all our activities. It saw more than one fight and other interesting childhood learning to grow up battles. It is there now waiting for other children to enjoy.
In 1903, Father carried his bride, Ina, over the threshold to raise his family in the same house he was born and raised. There were seven of us, one child dying at the age of two with colitis, a disease that caused the death of so many children that summer.
In 1918, I was twelve years old, Mr. Ned Ricks from Tennessee came by wanting to buy our place. Father, not being a shrewd trader, sold him the 160 acre farm for $ 1800.00. Mr. Ricks sold the timber from the place the next year for $ 2500.00. We were not able to find a place at that time to buy so we rented a nice house and farm from Mr. Simon Turner, east of Carrollton. We lived there one year and Father bought a 160 acre farm from Mr. Van Grantham between McCarley and Carrollton. We moved there in the fall of 1919, living there until we were married and in our own homes. (This house, after Fathers death, was sold to Shirley and Jack Bennett, and later
was burned by vandals).
Father and Mama lived alone for several years, though he was aging very rapidly. For five years, Dr. Costilow kept him alive and going. With Mama’s love and care, he lacked for nothing. Her every thought was of him and his welfare. On the afternoon of October 26, 1968, he stopped breathing, with his beloved companion at his side, her hand in his and a smile on his face, he went to sleep,
Your Grandmother, Ina Lott Mullen, was an angel in disguise who looked well to the ways of her household and ate not the bread of idleness. A true Christian, a wonderful mother. She was ninety-one at the time of her death,1973.
Father gave a good account of himself in his 84 years. He was Justice of the Peace in Beat 1 for a term or maybe more around 1910. His duties as an elected official were many and varied, keeping the law, performing marriage ceremonies, etc.
The country people, in that period of time, were usually married by a justice of the Peace. I remember one Sunday afternoon he married 14 couples. The hillside was covered with wagons, buggies, surreys, and people. In retrospect, there wasn’t much sacredness about the ceremonies but there was a bit of laughing and giggling. I don’t remember but one of the couples, Mr. & Mrs. Ned Alderman of that community. Father would also arrest people he caught shootin’ craps, bring them to the house and lock them up in the barn or the corn crib until he could take them to the jail in Carrollton. We children had a field day watching the men through the cracks in the wall. Mama would take food to them.
After we moved to McCarley, Father became involved in many civic activities of the county. He was Supervisor of Beat 4 in Carroll County for three terms, (I think I heard someone say he was the only one to succeed himself, though I am not sure about that) on the School Board,
ASCS, and Welfare Boards and probably others I have forgotten. At his funeral I heard some say that their families would have suffered had it not been for Father’s help in securing jobs for them and personal help also. He was a Christian man, a charitable man, a man who left his mark on his family and his country.
Maybe this isn’t an accurate account of what happened, but it is as I remember.