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Mullins Massacre at Pound Gap ~ Killing Rock
N 37° 09.156 W 082° 37.856
17S E 355171 N 4113046
Quick Description: Location in Virginia on the Pine Mountain Trail in Pound Gap near the Kentucky border known as Killing Rock where a family was murdered on May 14, 1892.
Location: Virginia, United States
Date Posted: 3/13/2014 4:49:58 PM
Waymark Code: WMKB7D
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member cache_test_dummies
Views: 4

Long Description:
A family of Mullins was murdered on the road at Pound Gap near the border of Kentucky and Virginia, May 14, 1892. The killings became known as the the Mullins Massacre at Pound Gap. The entire episode reads like a movie script with individuals such as Ira Mullins, a moonshiner; Marshall Benton Taylor, alias "The Red Fox", who was known as an herb and medical doctor, spiritualist, United States Marshall and Revenue Agent; the Fleming brothers - outlaws. The true story contains a wild west shootout at a post office and a hanging from the gallows.

Ira Mullins was a merchant and one of many moonshiners that made a living selling illegal whiskey in the mountains of eastern Kentucky and western Virginia.

Marshall Benton Taylor, learned to be a doctor or herbologist from his uncle, and although never formally educated he was known as Doc Taylor and eventually had the nickname "the Red Fox" and was a character in a fictional account of the Hatfield and McCoys by John fox Jr. After the Civil War, he returned to practice medicine as and become a spiritual leader in the community. In 1876 Taylor was accused of killing an outlaw, Robert Moore at his home and in front of his wife. Taylor was charged but not convicted of murder due to the lack of evidence. After that incident Doc Taylor reportedly walked about carrying two pistols and a Winchester rifle. He was later appointed as a deputy by the Marshall of Wise Co., VA and participated in a posse that captured a wagon of illegal whiskey being driven through the town of Wise Courthouse and belonging to Ira Mullins. Many shots were fired, the wagon driver killed and many wounded. Ira Mullins was one of the moonshiners. There is conflicting reports that Ira was wounded at this time or during a later altercation with revenue agents which left him paralyzed.

Anger, resentment and fear built between the two men and later, a shot was fired at Ira Mullins while he was in bed, but it missed and he escaped death. Ira blamed Marshall Taylor, no longer a deputy, for the shooting and since he was paralyzed and couldn't protect himself, Ira "put a price of $300 on Marshal Taylor's head". Taylor denied the allegation that he tried to kill Ira and did have an alibi.

Taylor was notified that the Mullins family were preparing at trip through the mountains. It is reported that he had several barrels of whiskey and savings of about $1000 with him. Taylor, along with the brothers Calvin and Henan Fleming, prepared an ambush along the road between Elkhorn, KY and Pound, VA. Ira, his wife Lou Anne (Estep), their fourteen hear old son John, Ira's sister's husband Wilson Mullins (Son of Marshall "Big Foot Mullins and second cousin, twice removed to Opal Mullins), Wilson's wife Jane, a handyman John Chappel, and another boy, Greenberry Harris set out from Wilson's home in Kentucky for Pound, Virginia. (One report says Wilson was married to Ira's daughter and not his sister)

The ambush was set up at Pound Gap behind large boulders with additional branches added for concealment and now called "Killing Rock". When the shooting commenced, from the right side and above the road, Wilson was riding beside the wagon. A thunderous roar of gunfire exploded from behind the rocks. In a matter of seconds, bullets penetrated the horses, the wagon and it's passengers. The air was filled with black powder smoke from the guns; the ground became covered with blood. Even the team of horses pulling the wagon were struck by the gunfire and fell to the ground dead." All were killed, including some horses, with the exception of Ira's son John Mullins and Wilson's wife Jane. Although the Mullins money was taken, the killings were for revenge. Ira was reportedly mutilated by at least eight shots from Doc Taylor's rifle and the guns of the outlaw Flemings. His wife also received numerous wounds.

The killers escaped to the rugged mountains and eventualy The Red Fox hid out at his son's house in Norton, VA. His son convinced him to excape to Florida by train. Taylor borded an empty boxcar on route to Bluefield, WV where he hoped to hop another freight. Unfortunately the Baldwin Detective agency somehow got word of his location, arrested and returned him to Wise County, VA. for trial.

"Considerable evidence in the trial concerned the Red Fox's Winchester. It had been known that his rifle used rim-fire cartridges. Rim-fire shells had been found at the murder scene. But when the jury examined the gun they found it to be a center-fire. However, upon close scrutiny they saw that the plunger had been cleverly changed to strike the center of a cartridge instead of the rim. They then decided this clever man had tampered with the firing pin." Doc Marshall Benton Taylor, the "Red Fox" was hung October 27, 1893.

The notoriety of the killing can be summed up by an incident which occurred in the Wise County Jail in august 1892 where the notorius killer, Talton Hall was being held and who Doc Taylor had helped in his capture prior to his own arrest. The reporter wrote "..........Upon meeting (Ira Mullins) Hall instantly flew into a rage and struck Taylor through the bars with his heavily manacled hand. He cursed him, his face livid and white, and his eyes glowed in the dim light of the corridor as he shook his finger in Taylor’s face and hissed through his clenched teeth, "Do you reckon I’d shake hands, with you. I never shot a man in the back. I never shot a dead man’s eyes out and then put him up as you did Ira Mullins. I never killed women and children. You had better be down on your knees praying to God for mercy."

In January 1894, two years after the Mullins killings, a posse led by Big Ed Hall got word that Henan and Calvin Fleming were working near the town of Boggs, Webster Co., WV. After arriving, Hall sent men to reconoiter the town. They returned and informed the rest of the posse that the Fleming were still in the area and usually came to the post office on Saturdays to pick up there mail.

The general store housed the post office. The posse watched as the outlaws opened the door and went inside. Waiting only until the door was again closed, the five men raced out of the house and across the street. The building was a 14 X 18 structure with a post office window at the front and at the end of a long counter. Their guns were cocked and ready when they shoved open the door. Cal Fleming was standing at the post office window opening a letter with Henan standing near him. But there were also thirteen other people, various loggers and residents, sitting or standing around in the room.

The officers demanded the outlaws drop their guns and surrender, but neither of the surprised men complied with the demand. Instead, the Fleming brothers quickly moved back toward the rear of the store, drawing their guns as they went. The civilians caused considerable confusion as they broke for the door, several getting between the Flemings and the officers. The two outlaws, the eight lawmen and the civilians filled the small room. With the frantic rush and struggle of people to shield themselves, firing from the both sides erupted almost simultaneously.

Calvin Fleming, standing against the counter, swept his hand down for his gun. One of the first bullets struck Big Ed in the head. Big Ed Hall said he managed to pull himself up from the floor to aim at Cal Fleming and fire point blank. The outlaw, Calvin Fleming, was dead when he slumped to the floor. In only a matter of seconds, Ed Hall and Dock Windall had been severely wounded. Branham was fatally shot and Calvin Flemings dead body, covered in blood, lay in the floor.

Henan Fleming, suffering from his wounds and bleeding badly, turned to find Big Ed Hall's gun square in his face. Big Ed swore, "Blast you, Henan, you have killed all my men. Give up or I'll finish you! I'll kill you like I killed Cal!" One of the Boggs men stopped Hall, telling him that he could tie Fleming up. Henan saw the battle was at an end and with his gun hand useless, dropped his weapon. There was no other choice, the fugitive was forced to surrender."

Henan Fleming was taken back to Wise where he stood trial. Unfortunately, the main witness to the killings at "Killing rock", Wilson's wife Jane was dead. Insufficient evidence resulted in a not guilty verdict and Henan Fleming went free.

Source: (visit link)
Date of crime: 5/14/1892

Public access allowed: yes

Fee required: no

Web site: [Web Link]

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