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Patrick J. Mullen

A man named Patrick J. Mullen arrived in Grayson County, Texas, in 1888. His Mullen relatives were from Ireland and lived in Alton, Madison County, Illinois. He may have been born around 1850 to John Mullen (1819–1871). There is no indication that he ever married. Patrick was in Denison, Texas, as early as 1891, when the City Directory listed him as an engineer on the MK&T Railroad. At that time he was rooming at the home of Daniel E. Smart, another Katy engineer, at 502 North Houston Avenue, at the corner of Morton Street. Patrick remained a fixture on Houston Avenue at least until 1921.

A year later, in 1892, Patrick established a grocery business at 422 North Houston. In 1896, he was living at 216–220 North Houston, in a boarding house operated by Mrs. Maggie Hanna (widow of Michael Hanna).

Four years later, the 1900 Census found a man named "Patrick J. Mullens" in a boarding house in San Francisco, California. He was single, a grocer, and said he was born in Illinois in June 1854. His parents were born in Ireland. He may or may not have been the same man as the resident of Denison, Texas.

Back in Denison by 1903, still boarding at 220 North Houston, our Patrick was listed in the City Directory selling "groceries and feed" at 422 North Houston. This location continued to be a grocery store for many decades, even after Patrick Mullen established a new grocery store across the street.

421 North Houston Avenue
Photo by Jack Suggs, March 2010

P. J. Mullen: Grocer, 422 N. Houston Ave.

Mr. Mullen established his business here eighteen years ago, and has always enjoyed a large and influential patronage. His store is equipped with every modern appliance and convenience in the way of fixtures, the stock being attractively displayed, which makes the establishment an ideal place at which to deal. Mr. Mullen conducts his business along the lines of conservatism and good judgment. He deals in high-class goods, which fully undergo the test of the pure food laws. Patrons are accorded every consideration possible. Mr. Mullen has won a reputation in his line that is indeed enviable, and his trade covers the entire city and vicinity.

Source: “Denison, the Texas Gateway: A Busy, Progressive City with Golden Opportunities.” 16pp. Brochure. N.p.: N.d. [ca. 1908].

In 1906, P. J. Mullen built a new brick building across the street from his old grocery store. Here, at 421 North Houston, the southwest corner of Morton Street, he installed his new and improved grocery business. The 1910 Census found him contentedly operating this grocery. He was single and back boarding at his former boarding house at 220 North Houston. In 1911, the City Directory listed him similarly.

Mullen's Grocery advertisement
1907 Denison, Texas City Directory

The Sunday Gazetteer
December 20, 1908
pg. 5

By 1913, Patrick headed a household at 411 West Sears Street. Boarding in that house were a number of people named McInerney: Alice M. (widow of James J.), Bernie, Catherine I. (bookkeeper at the grocery store), Loretto, Lucia, and M. Veronica (bookkeeper at B. J. Lindsay Insurance). Alice Mullen McInerney was almost certainly Patrick's sister, and Loretto, Lucia (Lucy), and Veronica (Vernie) were her daughters. The four women had arrived in Denison by 1911 from Alton, Illinois, following the death of Alice's husband in 1909. Bernie and Catherine must also have been relatives.

411 West Sears Street
Photo by Mavis Anne Bryant, ca. 1995

Patrick was 65 years old in 1915. He was still running his grocery store and living at 411 West Sears. Bernie and Catherine had left town, leaving Alice and the three daughters behind. Lucy M. was cashier at P. J. Mullen Grocery, while Vernie continued as bookkeeper at B. J. Lindsay, where she would remain for decades to come. Things remained the same in 1917, except that Loretto had disappeared from the City Directory.

P.J. Mullen Grocery
421 North Houston Avenue

The 1920 Census listed only three people at 411 West Sears—Alice, Vernie (still bookkeeper in insurance office), and Lucy (bookkeeper in grocery store). A year later, the City Directory bore no trace of Patrick J. Mullen. Local cemetery listings do not indicate a burial for him; he may have died and been buried elsewhere. Or he may have left town at this point.

At Mullen's Grocery, Charles A. Robinson was manager, and Lucy McInerney was still bookkeeper. In 1921, too, across the street from Alice's home, John R. McInerney, a machinist at the MK&T Railway, and his wife Lela lived at 412 West Sears. These people were probably more relatives recently arrived in Denison. The situation was similar in 1925, except that John R. and Lela McInerney did not appear in the City Directory. Two years later, Theo McInerney (no occupation) had joined the household at 411 West Sears. Mullen's Grocery continued as before.

The 1927 City Directory showed major changes. Mullen's Grocery was not listed. The building at 422 North Houston housed the Sanitary Grocery, operated by William B. Senter. He and his wife Ethel lived at 1330 West Woodard Street. William J. Stanford took over the store later. Many types of business have used it since. In recent years it has been a motorcycle shop.

P.J. Mullen Grocery Store
Built in 1906 on the southwest corner of West Morton St and North Houston Ave
W.J. Stanford eventually took over for many years, and since his departure, the site has been used for numerous ventures.
In the 1990s it was a motorcycle shop

Living at 411 West Sears in 1927 were Alice (clerk), Vernie (bookkeeper at B. J. Lindsay), Lucy (no occupation), and Theo (no occupation).

What became of Patrick J. Mullen? That is hard to say. Among the waves of Irish immigrants that washed onto the shores of the United States in the first half of the nineteenth century, Mullen was not an uncommon name.

The Texas Death Index shows that one Patrick J. Mullen died on April 24, 1938, in McLennan County, Texas. Waco is the county seat there. However, Find-a-Grave does not list this person.

The 1930 Census listed another Patrick J. Mullen in Seattle, Washington, as a resident of the Kings County Alms House. He was single and had been born in Illinois around 1852 of parents born in Ireland. He could have been our Patrick, but what could have led him to this fate? A Patrick Mullen, son of John Mullen, born about 1852, died in Seattle on July 28, 1937; his mother was Helen Parker.


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