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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

On Through Alabama to Georgia for More McMullan Family and History

I ended up spending and extra day in Newton County, Mississippi because there was so much to see. On Friday I was off and headed to Georgia. As I passed through Alabama, I stopped and got another photo of my truck, this time under the Alabama state sign. When I had driven into Mississippi it was dark so I circled around and got a photo of the truck under the Mississippi state sign on the other side of the road also. I had wanted to go north at Birmingham to Huntsville to meet Gale Fuller. Gale is another one of the McMullan’s that I met via the Internet. She is probably the most closely related out of all the other fine people in the McMullan family that I have met on the Internet. Her great grandfather is Thomas Newton McMullan, a brother to my great grandfather, William Rufus McMullan. Gale has put together a team of genealogical researchers to find very exact records that will either prove or disprove what we know about the McMullan’s. One of my first cousin’s daughters and husband live near Huntsville also. When I left Salt Lake City, I thought two weeks would be plenty of time to see everyone that I wanted to see. As my trip progressed, I began to see how I needed three weeks, minimum. If I would have had three weeks, I probably would have needed four! I ended up having to bypass friends and family in Houston, Huntsville, Tulsa and Oklahoma City. As I continued on, before too long, I reached the Georgia state line and after a short stop to get another photograph, I was on my way. I had to drive through Atlanta and I have learned it is a good idea to miss rush hour traffic in any large city. I just missed it and got through Atlanta with just a few traffic jams. The roads were wet and I found out the next day that there were several tornadoes spotted north of there that day. As I got out of Atlanta, I called Jerry and Kay Cleveland in Hartwell, Georgia. Kay is another McMullan relative that I met on-line. The McMullan’s have a family reunion each year in Virginia. Kay sponsored the family reunion in Hartwell a few years ago and put together a very informative booklet that she was kind enough to mail to me. Her McMullan lineage actually comes down through two McMullan sons of the original ancestor, John. I let Jerry and Kay know that I would be in town that night and I agreed to get hold of them in the morning. A few minutes later, Jerry called me back on my cell phone and told me to call him as I got closer to Hartwell for directions to their house. He also invited me to supper and to stay with them while I was in Georgia. When I arrived at Jerry and Kay’s home, Will and Cindy Carter were there. Will is a McMullan and quite the historian. When Will saw my truck he went back in the house and told Cindy, “Cindy, he's our kind of people!” Will restores four wheel drive military vehicles and has one of the most fascinating gun collections I have ever seen. We had a great time getting to know the Cleveland’s and the Carter’s that night. Come to find out, Cindy is originally from New York state and she teases Will, a good southern boy, about “sleeping with the enemy”. She kept me laughing all night.

Saturday morning, Jerry and Kay took me to see John McMullan’s grave. John McMullan was born in Tralee, Ireland in 1740 and came to the United States from Dublin in 1760. He fought in the Revolutionary War and was given some land for his service. The story goes that John, trained as a tailor, made George Washington’s first uniform after he became Commander In Chief of the armed forces although this cannot be confirmed and may wind up being just a rumor. After the war, John farmed his land in Orange County, Virginia. John was first married to Theodosia Beasely and had five children with her. At some point during the war, Theodosia, probably thinking John had been killed in the revolution, either married or began living with William Dula and there were children from this union. John then married Elizabeth Stowers and they had ten children. My family line comes down through John and Theodosia and through their son Patrick. Sometime around 1797, John and his wife Elizabeth and all but two of his children from his first marriage, James and Mary, moved from Orange County, Virginia to, what was then, Elbert County, Georgia. John, my fourth great grandfather and his son Patrick, my third great grandfather both got land through some kind of government land giveaway there. This big convoy of people moved in December 1797. This would seem to be a terrible time to move and John was considered to be an old man at the age of 57. Perhaps Virginia was becoming too crowded and the McMullans may have enjoyed their privacy. We also wonder if December of 1797 was the last month of the land giveaway that John and Patrick took advantage of. I am not sure if we will ever know why the McMullan families and possibly others moved at that time of the year. Emily McMullan Williams from Culpepper, Virginia has written a very interesting article about how it must have been moving from Virginia to Georgia at that time.

Around the turn of the century, Frank McMullan, a judge, placed a large marker at John McMullan’s grave site. Last year (2002), the Daughters of the American Republic, under Kay Cleveland’s direction, held a marker ceremony to honor John McMullan and his service to our country. There are several other graves near John McMullan’s but they are marked with simple stones and the names of those buried there have, sadly, been lost over the years. Patrick McMullan, John’s son lived near him and is buried somewhere in the area but no one knows exactly where (Now we do. See Patrick McMullan's file page for information and the location of his grave). Much of that land is now a wildlife preserve. Patrick’s son, Sinclair, is buried in the cemetery across the road from the Sardis Baptist Church, just out of Hartwell. Jerry and Kay took me to see the many McMullan graves in that cemetery also.

I had decided that I should leave that evening to get a little jump on the progression of my trip. Kay asked if I would stay another night and finally convinced me. It turned out to be a good thing because it gave me some good rest for the trip home. The Daughters of the American Republic had plans for another marker ceremony the next day so I went with Jerry and Kay to a small country church to help them set up chairs in the cemetery. I was amazed at how many small country churches there are all throughout that part of the country. Most all of them have cemeteries beside them. At the church, I met another distant relative. I’m sorry that I can’t remember his name. Then, I met Linder McMullan. He brought his pickup over so we could put the chairs in it instead of having to carry them the distance to the marker. The marker ceremony was for a Dyer that had fought in the Revolutionary War and many of the McMullan’s are related to him. When we left, we drove by the Cleveland’s lake house. Lake Hartwell is a man-made lake on the border of Georgia and South Carolina. Jerry told me the lake has one thousand miles of shoreline and is the biggest lake east of the Mississippi River. When Lake Hartwell filled up, the water backed up to Kay’s mother’s farm. A few years ago they built a lake house for their family. The scenery there is gorgeous. Jerry took me for a ride on the lake in their pontoon boat while Kay got some much needed, rest. The water looked so inviting that I wanted to dive right in.

That night, we all went to Will and Cindy’s house for supper. Their house sits in the woods and Will had been telling me about restoring four wheel drive army vehicles. He took me to his shop and showed me an immaculately restored Jeep that is just like what he drove in Vietnam. Then he took me for a drive. Before supper, Will showed me his gun collection. It is the nicest I have ever seen. Will told me about each gun and how they worked. Many of them were from the Civil War era. Above his fireplace he had an incredible piece of art. It was an exact replica of a Civil War era rifle that had been hand made by a professor at Clemson University. The professor’s family had all been gunsmiths in Holland and he carried on the tradition. He builds two guns a year and this is one of them. It was absolutely beautiful. I asked Will if he actually shot that gun and he said yes, that he shoots all of the guns he has. Each one of them is in mint condition. At the Cleveland’s house, Kay had shown me a book that talks about the history of Hart County. I had planned on ordering a copy from the Hartwell Chamber of Commerce after we got home. Something was said about it at the Carter’s and Will had an extra copy that he gave to me. In it, is a lot of history about the McMullans in Hart County.

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