Early Settlers of Union
Descendants...Their Stories...Their Achievements
Mists of History on Their Way of Life
By: Ethelene Dyer Jones
Gap: A Memorial to Early Settler William R. Mulkey
sometimes derive from the look of the place, like
Blue Ridges for our beloved mountain area.
Or a legend exists about a place, like Blood Mountain,
where it is held that in battles between the Cherokee and Creek Indians
centuries ago the streams flowed blood-red because of so much bloodshed. Or places retain the names given by Indians,
like my beloved community, Choestoe, “The place where rabbits dance.” Arkaquah and Walasiyi and even Nottley River are Indian derivative
plethora of owl calls were heard in the vicinity, and the name Owltown
Then there are places named for
people, early settlers to an area that bear the name of prominent
owned acreage and made their homes in the vicinity.
These are numerous: Youngstown,
Cooper’s Creek, Gaddistown, Helton Creek, Woody Gap, Mulkey Gap, to
name a few.
I began thinking about Mulkey Gap, Mulkey Gap Road,
and Mulkey Creek, and did a little digging to find the first Mulkey
who came to Union
County. I found these place names to be a tribute to
the William R. Mulkey family who in the 1834 census was the family here
name. His household consisted of one
male and two females in that first enumeration.
By 1840, only the William Mulkey family (whose middle name, I
Ritch) was listed. By then he and his
wife had four children I was disappointed that I could find not a
family in the 1850 census. Since that
was the first to list names of spouse and children, I did not have a
his wife. The non-listing in 1850 could
have been for two reasons. First, the
Mulkey residence could have been completely overlooked by the census
thus no 1850 listing was made. Or the
family could have moved from the vicinity by then. A
bit more probing was needed, so I proceeded
to pursue several resources available to seek out why a mountain gap, a
and a creek would have been named for a family that might have moved
out of the
area by 1850.
What I found was that many of the descendants
of William Ritch Mulkey, who was born March 30, 1807 in Franklin County,
and his first wife, Anna Prater Mulkey, born in Georgia
April 10, 1809
did remain in Georgia
after Anna’s death which occurred January 1, 1854. William and Anna
14, 1831 and had a
large family of sixteen children. Her parents were John Prater and
Rice Prater (1777-1845). His parents
were Isaac Mulkey (b. March
4, 1777) and Mary Elizabeth Taylor Mulkey (b. April 10, 1776). Mulkey is an Irish (character) name derived
from O’Maolcatha, meaning “stubborn,” or “like a bull.”
Its spelling is sometimes Malcahy and Mulky,
or, as we know it, Mulkey. William
Ritch and Anna Prater Mulkey migrated from Franklin County
to Habersham, and then to the area that became Union
The list of their sixteen children was
found in a family Bible, and recorded from that to ancestry.com
family listings. The Bible was in the
possession of a grandson, John Preston Mulkey, a son of William’s son
Posey Mulkey. Dates had not been given
for the earlier children’s births. Here are William Ritch and Anna
Mulkey’s sixteen children, not necessarily in order of birth:
(1) A daughter Mulkey (Could this
child whose name was not listed
be the Morgan T. Mulkey who married George Lewis in Union County on
1857, and whose ceremony was performed by the Rev. Elisha Hedden, noted
preacher of that time?)
Isaac Van Buren Mulkey
William Lafayette Mulkey
Rebecca Catherine Mulkey
Sarah Caroline Mulkey
Irwin P. Mulkey
Martha May Mulkey, b. May 29, 1833, married A. Burton Cook on
1854, with the Rev. Alfred Corn, noted minister of the mountains at the
Mary Ann Mulkey, b. September 24, 1834
John Posey Mulkey, b. March 4, 1836, married Nancy C. Lewis on August 26, 1858,
with the Rev. David Meadows
Leander Hansel Mulkey, b. July 3, 1839, was a private in Company
Regiment, Georgia Volunteer Infantry, enlisted August 31, 1861,
Army; discharged in Yorktown, VA due to deafness.
Jacob Belgalee Mulkey, b. 1841
(12) Vetland Elizabeth Mulkey, b. July 26, 1844, d. April 8, 1919, married
Pinkney Marion Bell (1845-Oct. 10, 1928) in Cherokee County, NC
in 1845, son of David and Alzira Williams Bell.
Pinkney worked at the copper mines in Isabella, Polk County, Tennessee
and died in Polk County October 10, 1928.
Susan Mulkey, b. January 1, 1846, married William H. Jory (b. 1855
in England). He worked at the copper mines in Polk County, Tennessee.
David Franklin Mulkey, b. 1847.
Caleb Caradine Mulkey, b. June 27, 1848, married Martha Sims on July 22, 1866 in Cherokee County, NC. They
moved to Colorado
and then on to Mehoma, Marion
(16) Infant Daughter Mulkey, died January 14, 1854. This
was Anna’s last-born child. Could it be
that the baby was born January 1, 1854 and Anna
died in childbirth, with the baby living only fourteen days? This seems possible.
In other information gleaned about
William Ritch Mulkey, we learn that he was a farmer and a Baptist
preacher. William and Anna Mulkey were
listed as members of Choestoe
where he was elected church clerk on September 12, 1835.
As a minister of the gospel, William R. Mulkey was present at
organizational meeting of Pleasant
May 25, 1844
as an arm of Choestoe
Mulkey family members were buried at
Coopers Creek District,
several in unmarked graves and with three Mulkey stones marked. These are of Audrey P., 1910-1964, Ella Jane,
? – 1944, and Frank W., 1912-1987.
Records show that Mulkey children attended the Corinth School
in Coopers Creek District.
William Ritch Mulkey married, second,
to Lucy Clements in Union
County on October 15, 1854
J. W. Thurman performing their ceremony.
She was born September
28, 1825. Her husband was
sixteen years her senior. Genealogy
records state that William and Lucy had eight children.
Only seven are listed. The other,
counted, may have been her
daughter Lucy brought to live in the household when she and William
married. Her name was Martha Clements. Since names of only seven were found for Lucy
and William, I will list her daughter as number one—her child brought
Martha Clements, b. July 25, 1845, d. August 4, 1918, married E. W. Shelton
of Fannin County, Georgia.
Known children of William and Lucy:
Hannah Jane Mulkey (b. about 1855)
George Washington Mulkey (b. about 1856)
Louisa Burnette Mulkey, b. November 22, 1857
Zelpha Adaline Mulkey, b. September 11, 1859
Lucy Adelaide Mulkey, b. September 20, 1863.
Margaret J. Mulkey, b. August 10, 1865, Cherokee Co. NC
Joseph A. Mulkey, b. July 13, 1867, Cherokee Co., NC
William Ritch Mulkey and his wife Lucy
migrated to Denver,
Colorado, probably because
some of his older
children went west. William died in Denver, Colorado
on November 24,
1886. He was buried in the
Cemetery in Denver where
even today his marked grave can
be found in Lot 113, block 21. After William’s death, his widow Lucy
returned to Georgia
and lived with her daughter, Martha Clements Shelton in Fannin County
where Lucy died December
21, 1914. She was interred
in the Shelton
in that county.
The next time you traverse Mulkey Gap Road,
cross Mulkey Gap or see the clear waters of Mulkey Creek, think of
Ritch Mulkey, his first wife Anna and his second wife Lucy and the
of 23 children William reared. These
places were named in their honor.
Jones; published Sept. 2, 2010 in The Union Sentinel, Blairsville,
Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
Jones is a retired educator,
freelance writer, poet, and historian. She may be reached at
phone 478-453-8751; or mail 1708 Cedarwood Road, Milledgeville, GA
Updated September 6, 2010
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