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McMullan Family History Trip - 2003

1. A Little Background 5. Newton, Mississippi, McMullan Cousins and Cemeteries
2. Heading Out 6. On Through Alabama to Georgia for More McMullan Family and History
3. Texas and My Great Grandfather, William Rufus McMullan 7. Through South and North Carolina and Tennessee and on to Arkansas
4. Leaving Texas and Our Trip to Bourbon Street in New Orleans 8. Interstate 40 Through Oklahoma, to Texas and Home

Texas and My Great Grandfather, William Rufus McMullan

After seeing the homestead, I headed east to Lubbock. Using the topographical maps on my laptop computer, coupled to the GPS, I was able to take some small county roads to the Texas border and then catch some bigger highways on into Lubbock. As soon as I got cell phone service, I called my mother in the hospital. She was just about to undergo gall bladder surgery. When I got to Lubbock, I went directly to the hospital and waited with her husband and my brother and nephews. The surgery went well but my mother developed some other problems and was placed into Intensive Care. I saw her briefly the next morning and then continued on my trip.

I left Lubbock at about 11am on Sunday morning April, 20, and headed for Dallas. The weather was beautiful for the trip. I got through Dallas without any problems and headed southeast to Payne Springs. My great grandfather, William Rufus McMullan had always been somewhat of a mystery to me. My grandfather had William Rufus’s old Bible and had always told me that when he died, he wanted me to have it. My grandmother convinced him to go ahead and give it to me in 1990. All I had known about my great grandfather was that he died at the age of fifty three from “dropsy” now known as edema. His wife died at the age of forty three, January 19, 1902. I did not know where either of them were buried or much else about them. In my great grandfather’s bible was a small piece of orange paper, about one inch by one and one half inch. The sticker says:

“3000 STICKERS. This size, with any address or business printed thereon, assorted colors with gummed backs, only $1.25, postpaid. W. Rufus McMullan, Decatur, Miss. Agent for books, mercantile, printing circulars, cards, &c.”

From what I can ascertain, my great grandparents moved to Henderson County, Texas in the late 1880's. The 1890 census shows them there with all of their children except for my grandfather, who was not yet born. He was their only child that was born in Texas. The 1900 census shows, incorrectly, that my grandfather was born in Mississippi.

At my grandfather’s funeral, I met my father’s cousin and grandfather’s nephew, Maurice McMullan. He is the son of John Vester McMullan, a brother to my grandfather. As I researched the McMullan family, I called Maurice at his home near Idabell, Oklahoma. He was a great resource in helping me find out more about my great grandparents and in locating my great grandfather’s grave. Maurice told me that his father had placed a head stone at William Rufus’s grave several years earlier and the grave was located at the Payne Springs cemetery. Through the help of volunteers with the Texas Gen Web, his grave was located and a photo of the head stone was put on their web page. They also e-mailed directions to me so I could find the grave.

I arrived in Payne Springs at about 6pm that evening and found the cemetery next to the Methodist church in the middle of town. I have always heard that William Rufus McMullan was a minister by the time he moved to Texas. Maurice McMullan said, “Grandfather did the preaching and Grandmother did the shouting!” Some relatives told me that my great grandparents were members of the Holiness faith but it turns out that they were Methodists and are listed in one of Henderson County’s historical books as being members of that faith. In one of the pages in his bible, William Rufus wrote, “I am still praising God for the conversion of my soul about March the 28th or 30th, 1888. Praise the Lord, O my body, soul and spirit. Glory to God. W. Rufus McMullan.” I find this of great interest in that I am also a Christian and an ordained minister.


   Willie (William Rufus McMullan) and Sudie (Susan Elizabeth White McMullan)

Maurice told me that he had seen the grave of my great grandmother Susan(Sudie) Elizabeth White McMullan. He could not remember exactly where she was buried but he said he thought it was near the community of Pealetown, which is west of Payne Springs, and near an old “Stubbs School”. Due to the time constraints on our trip, we were not able to search for the grave and the Texas Gen Web volunteers were not able to locate it either. Hopefully, I will have more time in the near future to do some more searching for her grave.

Update 5/13/2015: Through the help of the Internet and specifically Findagrave.com, I have been able to locate my great grandmother's grave. She is buried in the Pyle Prairie Cemetery in Kaufman County, Texas. Below are the directions and the gps coordinates.

From Kemp, Texas drive approximately 2 miles southwest on US HWY 175. Turn right (west) onto FM148 and drive approximately 2 1/2 miles. Turn right onto County Rd 4059. Cemetery is on the right at the end of the road.

32.42910 -96.31040 or N32 25.746 W96 18.624

Susan (Sudie) Elizabeth White McMullan's grave in the Pyle Prarie Cemetery. It is 17.5 miles from William R. McMullan's grave. I was unable to locate her grave for many years and finally found this online! William R. McMullan's grave on the left and Hester and Willis McMullan's graves on the right in the Payne Springs Cemetery. The cemetery is located at N32 16.734 W96 04.176.

I had originally planned to backtrack to my daughter’s home near Austin, Texas but I just did not have time and she was also moving to a new house that weekend. My plan was to spend the night in the Payne Springs area and then drive south to Houston and Galveston, Texas so I could see where I had lived before I moved to Utah and so I could drive on the beach up the Gulf Coast toward Louisiana. I had also planned to meet some friends in Houston for dinner. Instead of spending the night in Payne Springs, I decided to head on down to Houston and spend the night there. I went through Houston late that evening and stopped in Alvin, Texas where I had lived before moving to Salt Lake City, Utah. It was just after midnight that I got a hotel room and got to sleep. The next morning, I drove by where I had lived in Alvin. One of my very good friends owns a barber and style shop nearby in Pearland and one of my other friends ended up having to be out of town that day. I was disappointed that I was that close but did not have time to see them. I hope to take a trip through south central Texas and on to the Houston area to see where I pastored in Cuero, Texas and to see many of our good friends in those towns.

In Galveston, I drove along The Strand which is a historical street with beautiful Victorian buildings. I drove along Galveston’s sea wall and then to some piers to see the fishing boats and the big ships in dry dock. I took my place in a long line for the ferry that takes vehicles across the bay to Bolivar where there is a large lighthouse. I got out of the truck and went to the top deck of the ferry to see what was going on in the bay. I tried to get some good photos of the seagulls that were swooping down to eat whatever the passengers aboard the ferry would throw them. I saw some dolphins swimming across the bay which is always a spectacular sight. After the ferry docked, I drove to Crystal Beach, Texas and drove down the sand for a few miles as I watched the waves break. There were several off shore drilling rigs and oil platforms in the distance. It was still a little cool for the beaches to be crowded. Thousands of seashells littered the beach. I stopped and got photos of my truck with the ocean in the background and picked up a number of shells to bring home to the kids.

Leaving the sandy beaches of the Gulf Coast of Texas, I headed toward my next destination of New Orleans, Louisiana. I watched the elevation on my GPS go to zero and sometimes a foot or two below sea level. I got to Port Arthur, Texas that evening and found a Wal-Mart to pick up some traveling supplies and finally a motel, to spend the night. The motel room in Port Arthur was very inexpensive, only $30 including tax. It wasn’t in the best neighborhood but I could park my pickup truck right in front of the room and that kept me from worrying about it being stolen. Even though the room was cheap, it was clean.

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