Joseph Anderson Mullins,
1886 – 1948

“HE WAS SPURRED TO ACTION.” That was what happened to little Joe Mullins, when he burst into the house where his mother was, crying at the top of his voice.  “What in the world happened?” asked his mother. Through his sobs, he replied, “A BEE SPURRED ME ON THE HEAD.” Action resulted, just the same as when we apply spurs to a horse.  People everywhere have been spurred to action, whether it be from a literal bee, “spurring them on the head,” or a figurative spur running up and down their sides. Both kinds of spurs get action.

When the educational bee “buzzed’ around the head of Joe Mullins, he battered it away, but it came back and finally spurred him on the head after he finished several of the lower grades. Then he dropped out of school. It was not because he did not want to learn. He just did not want to be confined to the routine of school life. He wanted to learn and develop certain things in his life that he very much wanted to do.  So he began to reach out to develop those talents he liked.  He had a quick mind, and caught on to “howto do it” in a hurry.  He liked to ride horses. Your author knows he liked to do this, because he used to pass our house riding a horse standing up, or, sometimes it was two horses, and he would be standing up with one foot on each horse.  He was practicing the old Roman style of riding.

One day he heard a buzzing sound, getting closer and closer, and, before he could get out of the way, the “cowboy bee” had “spurred him on the head.” It brought action. He did not cry this time, but his action did not stop until he was in Wagoner, Oklahoma, where his brother, Ed, managed a big ranch, a regular “Cowboy University of Hard Knocks,” where aspiring cowboys could learn all about it. His brother, Johnnie, had been there before him, and had graduated with honors. Ed was an expert cowman, cowboy, and an excellent teacher. He taught Joddy to ride, to break to horses, to brand cattle, to vaccinate, to go on cattle drives, and to market cattle.  In fact Joe learned all the duties of a cowboy. He knew how to pick the right kind of a place to bed the cattle down at night. A place must be found free from ant hills, prairie dog and gopher holes. Also how to protect the cattle from unusual noise, as sometimes these little, unusual things, would cause the cattle to take off in a mad stampede.

Leaving the ranch where his brother Ed was in charge, he worked for the Jawls Cattle Ranch, then the Y–UP–&–Y–Down Ranch.  Then he went to work for the big XIT CATTLE OUTFIT in Texas.  On these big spreads he learned to use to good advantage all that his brother Ed had taught him. On these ranches he made good, and became a trail boss when he was only eighteen years old. All went well until another bee came buzzing around, and it “spurred him on the head.”  He acted so quickly he left the XIT outfit so hurriedly he did not even say goodbye, or stop to get his pay.  Perhaps it was the same bee that spurred him in his early teens. He liked to play baseball. He was good at it. Your author knows, because he saw him play many times, and played a few times with Joe on the same team.  Taking off from XIT, he soon found himself in Clayton, New Mexico.  The town ball club needed a good shortstop.  Joe filled the place to perfection; he was so good he became a professional baseball player.  During his time off, Joe worked in Roy Root’s pool hall.

There was a big cattle ranch out from Clayton a little ways, with some real lively cowboys on it.  On Saturday nights these boys would come to town, riding like wild Indians, shooting out street lights, blasting away at this and that with their six shooters. They would go to the saloons and wet their whistles a bit, and then on to the pool hall to play a little pool. On Monday morning the ranch boss would come to town and pay for the damages his cowboys had done.  Finally, Mr. Cumby, the deputy Sheriff in Clayton, decided this ought not to be allowed.  He decided the best way to handle the situation was to have the boys turn in their guns when they came into town.  On the next Saturday right, when the boys came into town, having been informed of this new ruling, they obediently turned in their guns to Mr. Cumby. The boys then went to the pool hall, but this time they rode their horses into the pool hall, played pool on horse back, and when they got ready to go home, they sacked all the pool balls in a sack and carried them to the ranch.  They were really burned up with Mr. Cumby’s new ruling.  As usual the boss man of the ranch came in, inquired as to the damage done, gave the pool balls back and even paid Mr. Root for what his usual “take” on Saturday night would have been.

The following Saturday night the boys came in as usual. However, this time they grabbed Mr. Cumby, and, taking him into the pool hall, they handed him a bar of “Bob White” soap and told him to eat it, or, give them back their guns and promise not to take them any more.  Well,

it was easier on Mr. Cumby’s “ulcer” to give up the guns, and promise not to take them any more. The boys won the day.  They did not have a quarrel with any one, did not even quarrel among themselves, they were just blowing off a little steam after chasing cows all week.

Pancho Villa,
1878 – 1923
Mexican General

Just over the Texas border in Mexico, one Pancho Villa had been “spurred on the head by a bee” that caused him to think that he was the one who was to remake his beloved Mexico.  He asked the sheriff of El Paso if he could recommend one or two good men to act as his bodyguards.  Joe Mullins had been in El Paso for some time, and the sheriff recommended Joe Mullins, S.E. Beckett, and another man, for the job.  They were accepted by Villa, and Joe was with him for 18 months as body guard to Pancho Villa.  Pancho saw in this young fellow a man he could trust, one who could ride and rope, an expert marksman, and he had a friendly way about him that Pancho liked. He could use him, because he could trust this twenty-three year old American.

     Pancho Villa was the son of a very poor man who had been badly treated by a Mexican rancher.  Pancho ran away from home and across the border into the United States.  He lived with a well-to-do family, who sent him to school.  His mother had died when he was a small child.  He had two sisters, and at times he slipped back into Mexico to visit them.  He later returned to Mexico and became the leader of a band of men that later developed into an army, and he became a rival leader to other aspirants to power in Mexico in his day.  By 1915, however, Villa’s army had been defeated and more or less reduced to a Guerrilla band, operating in the northern states of Mexico, chiefly, perhaps, in Chihuahua.  The United States recognized Carranza as president in October 1915. Villa’s big day was over.  He now was among other local leaders who made trouble along the border.  During these years Joe visited with Pancho a few times, just for old time’s sake.  Villa was always glad to see him, and on one occasion he took off a very elaborately ornamented gun hostler he was wearing, and gave it to Joe as a present.  Joe often wore it as he appeared in shows and on vaudeville. His wife still has this holster and keeps it as a treasured memento.  Joe was personally acquainted with Mrs. Villa, and considered her a very fine woman.  For a time she ran a museum in Columbus, New Mexico.

In 1916, when Joe Mullins was living in El Paso, Texas, there occurred what is known as the “Columbus raid.” There is some difference of opinion as to whether or not Villa was actually present during this raid, but it is usually conceded that it was carried out by some of his followers.  The attack was made about 4 o’clock A.M., on March 9th, 1916.  The town was defended by the 13th Cavalry, and the 24th Infantry.  The commanding officer and a number of his men were attending a dance in Deming, New Mexico.  The attack came as a complete surprise, despite the fact that a warning had been given that an attack might be expected.  The gun and ammunition storage places were locked, and no one there had the key.  Those present had to break the locks in order to get to the arms and ammunition.  In spite of these things a good resistance was made,and the invaders were finally driven from the town.  Before they were expelled, however, they had killed eighteen people, driven off a bunch of horses, and they carried away a considerable amount of supplies from the mercantile houses in town.  Much of the town was burned, which destroyed the homes of many of the people.  The little town was a scene of death and destruction.

When news of the attack reached El Paso, a call for volunteers was made to go to Columbus and help restore things to normalcy.  Joddy Mullins was among those who volunteered to go.  Arriving in Columbus, there was much to be done.  The dead must be brought out and buried, and there were many injured who had to be cared for, and doctors were brought in to help.  Tents were erected for those whose homes had been destroyed. Food supplies were brought in.  Many of the people had lost all they had.  So much had happened the people seemed to be left in a somewhat dazed and confused state.  Joe was there for three days helping all he could.

Pancho Villa was assassinated in 1923

     From Clayton, New Mexico, Joe went to Starkville, Colorado, where he worked in the mining company store.  At that time a strike was on in many of the mining towns of Colorado.  It was on in force in Starkville.  A lot of terrible things had happened.  In Starkville a number of people had been run into the mine, and then the miners closed the entrance with a dynamite blast that filled the entrance with debris.  Among those caught in the mine were a doctor and his wife, three little girls and a baby just a few days old.  It was dark in the mine.  With a few matches they had, they looked for lunch boxes that might have been left by the miners.  They found one lunch box that had a little wine in a bottle.  They did not find any food.  The doctor kept the baby alive by giving it a few drops of wine every day.  Without food their situation in the mine was getting desperate.  After the third day, rescuers came and cleared the entrance and let the people out.

While in Starkville Joe had a pretty close call.  He was working in the company store when a dozen miners came in looking for trouble.  He was able to stand them off for a little while, and, fortunately, help came.

Joe left Starkville and went to Primero, Colorado, another mining town.  The strike was on in full force there also.  Mr. Haske, mine superintendent, heard Joe was from Texas, and having heard about the Texas Rangers, he asked Joe if he would go to Texas and hire some men to come and help guard the town.  Joe agreed, and went to El Paso, where he conferred with Sheriff Orddorff, with whom he was acquainted.  On the sheriff’s recommendation, Joe hired forty eight men, who went with him to Primero, Colorado.  Mr. Haske put Joe in as captain over all the guards.  The town had a high fence, topped with barbed wire, all around.  Guards were spaced along this fence.  The man who did not go out on strike was in real danger, as well as their families.  People who had been good friends before, now become bitter enemies.  One man, who lived out in the country a few miles was captured and made to build his own coffin, and dig his own grave.  They then put him in the coffin alive.  He would have soon died if a rescue party had not arrived and saved him just in time.  A few menwho did not go out on strike were killed by the strikers.  Joe had a run in with one fellow who threatened to kill Joe.  He tried to waylay Joe several times, but failed to get him.  He told some folks that if he did not get Joe, he would get Joe’s girlfriend.

Joe’s girl friend was a young lady by the name of Margaret Yount, who lived in Primero, but taught school about nine miles out in the country.  She would stay out there during the week, and come home for the weekend.  Due to heavy snows, which made it difficult for the students to get to school during the winter, they had their school mostly in the summer time, and called it a six months summer school.

One Saturday morning one of her pupils came by and asked Miss Yount if she wanted to ride into town with her.  She readily accepted her offer, for she knew that a dance was to be held in town that night and she and Joe both expected to be there.  As they drove down the canyon on their way to town, they were startled by a rifle shot, followed by two more shots.  Evidently the man, who had threatened Joe’s life, had posted himself on the side of the mountain and was trying to make good on his threat to get Joe’s girl friend.  He narrowly missed his mark.  Miss Yount quickly took the reins from the girl who was driving, telling her to get down on the floor.  She then laid the whip to the horse, getting into a dead run.  Thinking that perhaps this man had placed some of his friends along the route they were to go, they dared not slacken their speed very much until they got out of the mountains, and did not stop until they were in front of her aunt’s house in town.  Neighbors, seeing her driving so fast, knew that something must be wrong. When she explained to them the circumstances, they organized a group and went out after the man who did the shooting.  He had hidden out, but they found him and escorted him to the edge of the village, and told him if he ever came back they would kill him.  After this they provided Miss Yount with protection as she went to and from school, until peace was restored.  A searchlight had been placed on a high spot where it could be turned on the surrounding country to reveal the presence of any who might be trying to slip up and do damage.  After the strike ended, Joe played on the town’s baseball team.

During Joe’s stay in Primero he began to hear the buzzing of another bee.  Sooner or later it would “spur him on the head,” and, of course, he would go into action.  This time Joe was “spurred in the heart as well as on the head.” Joseph Anderson Mullins and Margaret Yount were united in marriage on June 14th, 1914.  Friends gave them a wonderful wedding, a wedding dance, with all the trimmings, and even sent a band to escort them to the hall where the party was to be held.  This was the beginning of a closely knit family, which eventually consisted of four members, Joe and Margaret and two sons.  When any more bees came buzzing around it had more then one head to spur.  Fortunately they reacted as a real family unit.  On April 30, 1915, their first son, Thomas, was born.  About nine months later they moved to Walsenburg, Colorado, where Joe played on the town baseball team.

Their next move was to Pueblo, Colorado.  There Joe worked in the stockyards.  Feeling somewhat dissatisfied in Pueblo, they moved back to Primero, where Joe left Margaret and the baby, and he went on to El Paso, Texas.  The cowboy bee spurred him again, and he began to break horses for the U.S. Calvary at Fort Bliss.  Margaret and the baby joined him there in a little while.

Joe Mullins is listed as employed from February 18, 1917 to November 6, 1918 by the Immigration Service at El Paso, Texas as a mounted watchman.  And from February 25, 1918 to January 16, 1921 in El Paso, Texas and at Columbus, New Mexico as a mounted watchman, $1200 to $1300 per annum.  In this work he was on the bridge, along the river and canal, wherever his duties called him.  When he requested border patrol service, he was asked to move to Columbus, New Mexico, which was about a year after the raid there.  He was also stationed for a time at Mastodon, New Mexico.

While Joe was on guard duty between the canal and the river, south of El Paso, he had two horses shot from under himon two occasions.  One time he was crouching behind some cement blocks for protection.  The Mexican rifle fire began to break up the cementblocks and so his protection was destroyed and he was exposed to their fire.  Fortunately, some cavalrymen rode up in time to drive the Mexicans away before they got him.

A.V. McKey sent Joe Mullins and S.E. Beckett to Mastodon, which was about 90 miles from El Paso.  It was war time, and German spies were riding the trains into Mastodon, and as the railroad track was right on the border line, they could got off the train and quickly get on the Mexican side of the tracks and be in Mexico, where they could join their fellow spies down there.  Sometimes the spies would enter the United States from Canada, gradually making their way down to the border.  Usually they had already been spotted by the U.S. Secret Service, and their every movement watched.  When they were ready to make their entry into Mexico by way of Mastodon, a wire would be sent to Mullins and Beckett to be on the alert.  At one time word had come that two spies were on their way on a certain train. Joe and Mr. Beckett were ready for them. Asthe two got off the train they arrested them.  They put them in a windowless room for the night.  Searching them for secret papers, they found some papers sewed into the lining of their clothing.  Thinking that perhaps some might be concealed in their shoes, they took off their shoes, pried off the heels, and, sure enough, there in a hollowed out space, they found more secret papers.  For this and similar jobs, they received a commendation from the Department of Labor for their work of apprehending spies during the war.

Mullins and Beckett decided it would be nice if their wives could come to Mastodon and spend a few days.  Their wives thought it a good idea too, so they bundled up the children and came to Mastodon.  While in Mastodon, two officers, new men on the job, were doing a little target practicing.  Mrs. Mullins and Mrs. Beckett stopped to watch the shooting.  Joe handed Margaret a 30-30 Winchester and suggested that she join in the shooting.  The man had a raw of tin cans lined up and told her to hit the cans.  Joe had taught his wife how to shoot, so he told her to go ahead and shoot.  Instead of shooting at the tin cans, she said she would try and cut three strands of baling wire that had been twisted into a single strand.  Even Joe was a bit dubious as to her hitting the wire, but, aiming carefully, she clipped the wire right in two.  The fellows doing the target practice marveled at her marksmanship, and, wherever they went along the border they told how good she could shoot.

One day Margaret Mullins and Mrs. Beckett decided it would be nice to go horseback riding.  They put on men’s clothing, also put on a belt of shells with a six shooter in each holster.  They did not realize at the time that the railroad tracks formed the border line along that section of the border.  When they rode over the tracks and on the land on the other side, they did not know they were in Mexico, and so kept riding on.  They came to the edge of a cliff, and as they looked down in the valley, they saw twenty five or thirty men in uniform, and they could tell they were not Americans.  Margaret described the reaction as follows: “The men soon discovered us, and, spreading the alarm, they hit their saddles and started after us. I asked Mrs. Beckett if she could ride fast and stay on the horse.  She replied that she was not used to riding very much, but maybe she could stay on.  She was somewhat frightened.  I told her to ride on ahead of me, and, if she should fall off, to be ready when I passed to hold out her hands and as I grabbed her, to jump up behind me on my horse.”  She continued, “We pulled off our hats and our long hair came down, and hoped they would see that we were women. Riding as fast as we could, we soon crossed the railroad tracks safely.  Our men folks bawled us out for going over into Mexico, but, of course, we did it through ignorance at the time.  We did not stay in Mastodon much longer after that, and our husbands were glad to have us go back to El Paso.”

On March 13, 1917, our second son, Terrell Dixon Mullins, was born in El Paso, said Margaret.  He was quite young when the Mullins were asked to move to Columbus, New Mexico. They had not been in Columbus very long before little Terrell became ill with polio.  This was about a year after the Columbus raid. He was born in El Paso, so Margaret Mullins returned there with the baby for medical care and treatment.  Joe remained in Columbus for a while.  Joe was a man of action, and it had been at his request that he was assigned to patrolling the border for several miles in that section.  He was in several battles with Mexican troops who were illegally crossing the border.  There were also many drug peddlers attempting to smuggle drugs and other contraband across the border into the United States.  Joe Mullins and S.E. Beckett were together on the border.  Sometimes it would be cattle rustlers raiding American ranches and running the cattle across the border.  Sometimes they would return the cattle if a ransom were paid, but at other times the cattle were never returned.

When the Mullins moved to Columbus, the people were still rebuilding and repairing the damages done by the guerrilla raid.  The Mullins heard, from those who were there in the raid, many stories about the raid.  Some said Villa was paid to carry out the raid.  Some said they saw Villa during the raid, others said he was not there.  It is true that many different accounts of what took place during the raid were given.  Joe returned to El Paso shortly after his wife and babies returned to El Paso, as he wanted to be with them.  This was in 1918.  He remained in El Paso until 1921.

In 1921 another bee began buzzing around their heads.  Their reaction to it this time resulted in a move to California. They went to Long Beach.  As a starter, they opened two hot dog stands on the beach, and, with these stands, they also opened a submarine nature study.

     They ran this business venture for some time, with fair success. However, things began to look brighter in Los Angeles, so they moved to Los Angeles where Joe got a job driving a pick-up truck for a construction company.  Then the buzz of a “movie bee” was heard.  It spurred both Joe and Margaret on their heads, and action came.  Joe got on as an extra in the movies. After a while he was in a picture with Ralph Valentino, in the picture “Sheik of the Desert,” and also one called the “Son of a Sheik.”  He was also in a number of other cowboy pictures.  Being a real cowboy he fit into these pictures to perfection.  His trick and fancy roping went over big.

Margaret, reacting to the same “spur on the head,” got on as a movie extra.  In time she acted as a Chinese spy, when movie star Bill Holden was filmed in a picture called “Tell it to the Marines.”  When a certain leading lady could not ride a horse, Margaret doubled for her, and, being at home on a horse, she did well.

After a time they began to tire of the jealousies and rivalry among the players, and all the hassle that went on with it.  It was time for another bee to come buzzing around.  This bee proved to be a little different from any that had ever buzzed before.  Both were spurred at the same time and action resulted as usual.  Joe and Margaret began to work out some family acts they could put on as a family unit.  Joe began to teach Margaret, and their oldest son, who was seven, how to do trick roping, and expert marksmanship.  Joe already knew howto play the harmonica.  Margaret learned to play it also.  They began to practice on other instruments, and to sing.  Margaret already played the piano by ear.  Joe and Margaret both began to play the guitar, and Margaret to play the mandolin.  Even little Terrell, as he got older, began to play the banjo and the guitar and become real good at it.  Terrell also learned knife throwing and hatchet throwing. He also learned to do acts with the bull whip and the fire eating act.  In time they began to play in vaudeville and in western shows.  Associated with them in some of the shows were some Indian performers.  These Indian friends, Chief Black Hawk and Chief Big Tree, taught Terrell Indian dancing.  When he did the Indian dances he went by the name of Chief Screaming Eagle.  Tom was eleven years old when he first appeared in vaudeville.  By the time the boys were in their teens, they were experts in their acts.  Now they were a real family group of actors.  They played vaudeville, rodeos, state fairs, wild west shows, carnivals and picnics.  For a time they had their own wild west show on Long Beach pike in 1928.  They claim to be the first to introduce western music to the general public.

     Their acts usually ran about as follows:

     They opened with western break down music, with the four of them playing their instruments and singing.

     Then Joe and Margaret and Tom gave an exhibition of trick and fancy roping.  Terrell would then put on his knife throwing act.  His mother was the target.  She stood in front of a large soft wood board.  Terrell would then outline her body with those big fourteen inch steel knives.  Terrell also put on his fire-eating act.

     Terrell’s act with the bull whip was an interesting one.  His mother would hold slips of paper in her hand, and he would flick them off with the whip.  The last part of this act was when Margaret put a slip of paper in her mouth and Terrell would flick it off with the bull whip.

Terrell, or Chief Screaming Eagle, at times would put on his Indian dance.

When Tom put on an act of sharp shooting, Terrell was the target. Their usual finale was when Joe shot bullets from a rifle on one side of Margaret, while Terrell threw his knives on her other side.  When their part of the act was finished, Margaret pulled a cord which released an American flag so it would unfurl before the audience, and she stepped out and made a bow.

One variation of the knife throwing act was when Margaret stood before the board as usual, but between her and the knife thrower was a large sheet of paper through which Margaret could not be seen.  Terrell would throw the knives through the wrapping paper and into the board by his mother’s body. Joe would sometimes shoot with his rifle, through the paper and into the board where Margaret stood.  Both, of course, knew just where to hit the paper and avoid hitting Margaret.  This act usually gave the audience quite a thrill.

In 1939, Joe Mullins, in partnership with Jack Bartlett, began operating what they called “The Jack Bartlett and Joddy Mullins Association, Headquarters, Tucson, Arizona.”  They produced and put on rodeos. One rodeo produced and managed by them was what was billed as the “WORLD’S FIRST (ALL COLORED) RODEO & WILD WEST CIRCUS.”  It was put on in the White Sox Ball Park, Los Angeles, California, Saturday and Sunday, May 6th, 1939.  The handbill displayed a picture of Bob Scott, (black), as the World’s Champion Trick Rider.  Maceo B. Sheffield, also a black, was the leader of this colored group of performers.  The write up in regard to this was as follows:

     “In presenting this first all colored Rodeo and Wild West Circus,” Maceo B. Sheffield is answering a long felt desire among not only the colored people, but among all groups of sports loving people.  It is a well known fact that the colored athletes rank among the best in every line of sports.  They have, however, never been able to compete in the Rodeo field on an equal basis. Rodeo fans as well as rodeo contestants, can remember only a few years back that some of the best cowboys that the rodeo profession ever knew, were all-around cowhands, were: Jessie Stahl, Bill Pickett, Ty Stokes, Joe Sutton and Bill Sutton, were all blacks.  It is Mr. Sheffield’s wish (all his friends call him “Sheff”) to see these artists of the saddle and rope whose courage, stamina, strength, and iron nerve as necessary attributes, rise to greater heights in Rodeo business and pays highest tribute to the boys taking part in this first “ALL COLORED RODEO.”

In 1941 the Mullins family received a wire from Larry Sunbrock, who had organized and was promoting what he called, “Wild West Rodeo And Thrill Circus,” stating that he wanted the Mullins family to come and join them with their acts.  He wanted the family to join him in San Antonio, Texas, for their showing there, then to Houston, and cities in Louisiana, Arkansas and on up to New York.  The Mullins went to San Antonio, and for the next nine months performed in many cities, most of the time with Sunbrock, but part of the time on their own at fairs, vaudeville, and picnics.

Joe, Margaret, Tommy & Terrell (Buddy) Mullins
Performed nationwide in
Larry Sunbrock’s
Wild West Rodeo and Thrill Circus

The billing for these various places where the show was put on reveals some interesting items in regard to the performances put on by the Mullins family.  The following is how some of the billing read:

The Four Mullins

One official program gives a picture of the four Mullins: Tex (Joe) Mullins, Tom Mullins, Screaming Eagle (Terrell Mullins) and Margaret Mullins.

“Sharp Shooting by Tex Mullins and Thomas Mullins.”

“The Mullins Family in a Specialty.”

“Chief Screaming Eagle (Terrell Mullins) & his Indian War Dance.”

“Chief Screaming Eagle (Terrell Mullins) and Joddy Mullins in their Iron Jaw Slide for Life.”

“Bull whip contest between Terrell Mullins & Jolly Duke.”

“Cowboy songs by Tommy Mullins.”

“Terrell Mullins in Knife Throwing.”

“Sharp Shooting by the Mullins Family.”

“Rope Spinning Contest with Tex McBee, Joddy Mullins, Jolly Duke, and Tommy Mullins.”

“The Musical Chair,” with Tommy Mullins, Tony Yonkers, Chief Screaming Eagle, Don Kayne, Buck Nelson, and Jose Flores.”

“Trick & Fancy Rope Spinning by Joddy Mullins and Tommy Mullins with Margaret Mullins.”

“Bundle Race, with Tommy Mullins, Tony Yonkers, Chief Screaming Eagle, and Bobo Nelson.”

“Bull Whip Cracking with Chief Screaming Eagle & Chester Barnett.”

The “Four Mullins” were playing in a vaudeville show at Bell’s Theatre, in Bell, Tennessee when Pearl Harbor was attacked by the Japanese, December 7, 1941.  They fulfilled their contract there and then left for their home in California, stopping off on their way to visit Joe’s folks in Granbury, Texas.  It had been a wonderful nine months with the big show, the WILD WEST RODEO & THRILL CIRCUS.  They played most of the big cities from San Antonio to New York.  Between the big shows they played on their own in carnivals, fairs, theatres, and also went to rodeo stations to play as an advertisement for the big show.

During the war Joe Mullins was a security officer at the San Diego Shipyards.  Among his duties was that of checking identification cards of the workers with their company records, before they were permitted to board the ship they were working on.  Joe and a follow officer checked ships from top to bottom for any sabotage that might be done on a boat.

Margaret Mullins took the Red Cross course, earned her badge, and was given charge of a first aid station not very far from the defense plants.

     During the war the Mullins lived near the ocean.  Atall times trucks were held in readiness to evacuate people living along the ocean front in case an attack should occur.  If an alert signal sounded all the lights were turned out and windows were covered with heavy drapes.  At that time no one was allowed on the street except those who were trained to act in an emergency.

The Mullins’ oldest son, Tom, enlisted, and was sent to Camp Barkley, Texas, for basic training.  Their second son, Terrell, having had polio, was unable to pass the army physical examination.

Tom was sent to Indiantown Gap, Pennsylvania, to be sent overseas.  He contracted malarial fever, also received a back injury and was in pretty bad shape.  Joe received a telegram from the Red Cross, telling about Tom’s illness.  Joe and Terrell left at once by car to bring Tom and his wife back home, to Long Beach, California.  Tom had married Helen Mulloy, in Abilene, Texas, December 2, 1944.  Tom recovered from the malarial favor, but after having surgery on his back three or four times, the trouble has never been corrected.  He still is unable to do anything except a little light work around home.  Due to his illness he was mustered out of the services.  During his short stay in the army he established a good service record and received the following award medals:

  • 1. Expert Rifle and small arms.
  • 2. Good Conduct Medal.
  • 3. Instructor in classes for use of firearms and explosives.

Shortly after their arrival in Long Beach, Mrs. Mullins writes that “three air planes flew over the city and tried to hit the eastern part of Long Beach.  They also tried to hit the Douglas Aircraft Plant.  They then flew out over the ocean and returned and made another attack, but no one was injured.  This attack does not seem to be generally known.”

During the years of World War I, Joe Mullins was with the U.S. Border Patrol along the Mexican border.  Besides the usual border activities of smugglers, cattle rustlers, dope runners, and illegal entrance, there were the extra precautions in regard to German spies crossing the border.  Joe was paired with S.E. Bennett with whom he had worked before on other assignments, including his work as bodyguard to Pancho Villa.  In 1923 S.E. Bennett was serving as a prohibition officer at Ysleta, Texas.  While after lawbreakers on Sherman’s hog ranch, a few miles from El Paso, he was shot and killed.

A letter from the War Department, Office of the Chief of Staff of Military Intelligence Division, Washington, dated Jan. 20, 1920, reads as follows, in part:

Mr. Joe Mullins, El Paso, Texas,

My dear Mr. Mullins: “You have been suggested as an authority on Mexico, and it is therefore felt that you are in possession of data which would be of distinct value to this Division, and that you may be willing to make a personal sacrifice in supplying such information without remuneration.  Assuming that you are willing to co-operate as above outlined, a reporter’s memorandum is enclosed which you are requested to fill out and return at your earliest convenience in the attached franked envelope.”

For recognition of Joe Mullins and excellent service along the border, the following certificate was issued to him.  The period covered is shown by the two dates at the top, -1917-1919.  The body of the citation reads as follows:





This is to certify that Joe A. Mullins has performed meritorious service in the BUREAU OF IMMIGRATION of the DEPARTMENT Of LABOR OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA DURING THE PERIOD Of THE WAR.

(Signed) W. B. Wilson.

Secretary of Labor.”

There is another letter from John McGhauey, written and received in 1920.  Joe prized this letter very much.  He carried it with him for a long time.  In fact he carried it so long most of the letter is frayed away so its beginning and ending are not legible.  The letter speaks of having known members of Joe’s family in Granbury for many years. Besides his mother, he speaks of friendship with his brother Tom, as sheriff of Hood County, and then, particularly of Joe he says, “…I know you have held many pieces of trust, and have been in the capacity of an official, Deputy Marshall, Deputy Sheriff, and a River Guard on our Rio Grande border for quite a while.”

“I also know you to be a faithful true American citizen, and ever true to your country and our government.  I know that you dealt some heavy blows to the I.W.Ws. when they tried to get a hold in our city, as you on several occasions captured then and brought them to the city and county officers.

With regards and best wishes, I am

Very sincerely,

    John McGhauey.”

The Mullins family, Joseph Anderson Mullins, his wife, Margaret Edna Yount Mullins, and sons, Joseph Thomas Mullins, and Terrell Dixon Mullins, united as a family to form a foursome that became a very successful entertainment group that performed before large audiences in many cities of California and nearby states.  Also, when in 1941, they performed with the Wild West Rodeo & Circus group in San Antonio, Texas, for a nine months period, going from there to Houston, cities in Louisiana, Arkansas and many cities between there and New York.  They formed a unique team.  You might say, the “Bee of doing something together,” spurred each member of the family on the head,” resulting in much action together.

Joe Mullins, Tommy Mullins, Buddy (Terrell) Mullins & Margaret Mullins

     World War II brought many changes in the lives of people and nations.  You might say it took World War II to break up the unity of action of the Mullins Four.  Joseph Thomas, the oldest son, returned from army service with an injured back that greatly impaired his health.  Terrell Dixon Mullins was prepared to enter other work.  With the passage of time it was discovered that Joe Mullins had contracted that dread disease, so fatal to young and old, LEUKEMIA.  He was in the hospital a few times, but towards the last, he told Margaret to not send him to the hospital, he wanted to stay at home.  She told him that she would take care of and would not send him to the hospital.  A friend asked if he would like to see a minister. He said he would like for him to come and see him.  The minister came.  Joe expressed his faith in the Lord Jesus, and seemed very contented and satisfied.  He told Margaret that he wanted to be buried in the Granbury cemetery with his people.  Margaret promised that she would carry out his wishes.  Joe had met many serious situations in his eventful lifetime and had pulled through them, but this time the situation was different, but he met it differently, with his expressed faith in Jesus.  He is the answer to all situations.  Everything was done for Joe that could be done, but on December 15, 1948 Joe’s exciting life of sixty two years came to a close.  He passed to his rest at his home in Long Beach, California.  According to his request, his body was returned to Granbury, Texas and he was buried in the family cemetery lot on College Hill in the Granbury Cemetery.  He lies there among many who were his friends in life, in the cemetery that overlooks the town of Granbury, where he lived as a boy.

In the Bible death is so often spoken of as a sleep.  In the 11th chapter of John an account is given of the death and the special raising from the dead of Lazarus.  It is a beautiful account.  Word of his illness had been sent to his good friend, Jesus, who was at that time in another section of the country.  Discussing this matter with His disciples, Jesus said to them, “Our friend Lazarus sleepeth; but I go that I may awake him out of sleep.” John 11:11. The disciples misunderstood His meaning; they thought He meant his falling to sleep in natural sleep, so they responded, as it says in vs. 12, “…Lord, if he sleep; he shall do well.” Jesus realized they had misunderstood His meaning, so He spoke to them with these words, verse 14, “Then said Jesus unto them plainly, “LAZARUS IS DEAD.”

Jesus had the power to awaken Lazarus from the “sleep of death, and, when He arrived at the tomb, He gave a demonstration of His power to do so by raising Lazarus from the dead.  It was a true sample of what He would do for the dead when He returns to this earth the second time, just as it says in John 5:28-29, “Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in which all that are in the graves shall hear His voice.”  Verse 29, “And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil onto the resurrection of damnation.”

     A little girl was asked to go and call her grandfather to come to breakfast.  She found he was asleep, and, as he was rather hard of hearing, her little voice was not strong enough to awaken him.  She then called her father, who came immediately, and with his big voice grandfather was easily awakened.  We cannot awaken Joe from his sleep of death with our weak voices, but when Jesus comes the second time, He, with His all powerful voice Joe will be awakened at His call.  In the Bible the call of Jesus is referred to as “the voice of the Archangel,” and as the “trump,” or trumpet, of God.

What a beautiful thought that death is an unconscious sleep, and when awakened from that sleep, it will be like awakening from a good nights sleep with no feeling of how long it has been since we went to sleep.  For all who believe in Jesus the “sting of death” is completely removed.  So death is compared to peaceful rest after a busy life.  As in a good night’s sleep, there is no knowledge of the passage of time or of events.  Eccl. 9:5 describes his condition in these words, “For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not anything…” And Psalm 146:4 says it in these words, “His breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth, in that very day his thoughts perish.”

The question naturally arises as to “how long will the dead sleep? and, when shall they awaken?”  In the Book of Job the answer is clearly given, – Job 14:12 “So man lieth down, and riseth not: till the heavens be no more, they shall not awake, nor be raised out of their sleep.” And verse 14 adds these words, “If a man die, shall he live again?  All the days of my appointed time will wait, till my change come.” The change is described in 1 Cor. 15:51-52 “…We shall not sleep, but we shall all be changed.” Verse 52 – “… for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.” At the second coming of Jesus, the changes in the dead, as well as the living, is spoken of, [1 Thess. 4:16-17 states] “For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the Archangel, and with the trump of God; and the dead in Christ shall rise first.  Then we which are alive …shall be caught up together…, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.”  1 Cor. 15:56 says, “The sting of death is Sin:…” Death, like a scorpion, has a fatal sting, since the entrance of sin it has stung all generations of men, but the resurrected righteous ones, awake from the sleep of death with these triumphant words on their lips.”  Verse 55: “O death, where is thy sting…” They are not resurrected to a life beset with sickness, sorrow, and pain, and all the hustle and hassle of life, but to unending life, filled with joy and satisfaction beyond anything we can imagine, or ask or think.  Whether the waiting for these joys be short or long, it is worth waiting for.

Joseph Anderson Mullins, and Margaret Edna Yount Mullins, their Children:

1. Son: Joseph Thomas Mullins, Born April 30, 1915, Primero, Colorado.  Married Jewel Helen Mulloy, December 2, 1944, Abilene, Texas, while Tom was in the army, in basic training, at Camp Barkely, Abilene, Texas.  From this marriage there were four children born, as listed below.

Married 2nd to Ella McDaniel, of Seattle, Washington, No children.

Children of Thomas and Helen Mulloy Mullins:

A. Joseph Thomas (Thomas Anderson). Born October 12, 1945, Long Beach, California
Married Norma Jean Landson.  Date: _____________
Thomas is leaderman, Douglas Aircraft Co., Long Beach, California

B. Shirley Ann: Born Long Beach, Calif. September 2, 1946.
Married Donnie Allen Idle, May 10, 1964. Children as follows:
B-1  Aran Allen Idle, Born July 18, 1966.
B-2  Lisa Ann Idle, Born December 13, 1969.
B-3  George Allen Idle, Born April 13, 1971.

C. Betty Jean Mullins, Born February 17, 1948, Long Beach, California
Married Jean Hafke, Date: __________
C-1.  Madona Maria Hafka, Born: _________

D. Billie Terrell Mullins, born February 9, 1949.  Torrance, California
Married Pamilla Jean Dickson, October 7, 1966.
No children, and have since separated.  He enlisted in army, trained at Fort Ord.  
Served in Germany 19 months, in HMC, 2nd D., BM Div.
Expert in M 16 Rifle.
63620 Truck Mech. 69 Yd.
620281 Auto Mech. 6 B Yd.
Made SP5/E5 in April 1969. Out March 31, 1971.
Now works for Owens Corning Fiberglass.

Helen Mulloy Mullins, mother of above children of Thomas, lives in Manhattan, California.

2. Second Son: Terrell Dixon Mullins, born March 13, 1917, El Paso, Texas
Married Helen Kennyon, Seattle, Washington, Date: 1956.
2-A Terri Linn Mullins.  Born July 13, 1957, Long Beach, California
2-B Patricia Ann Mullins, Born Seattle, Washington, June 13, 195

    They moved back to Long Beach, California, November 1958.

Joseph Anderson Mullins, his wife, Margaret Edna Yount Mullins:

In other pages of this brochure, a brief history is given of Joe’s father and mother, and of each one of his brothers and sisters, and, of course, an account of Joe himself. However, Joe and his wife, Margaret, and his two sons, Thomas and Terrell, were so closely knit together in their work as a performing unit, his story would not be complete if it did not include a brief mention of his two sons, Joseph Thomas Mullins, and Terrell Dixon Mullins; also a short narrative of his wife Margaret’s family.  Following is a brief account of her maternal ancestors and also the paternal side of her family:

Margaret Edna Yount Mullins lives with their son Terrell, at 6123 Marcella Way, Buena Park, California 90620.

Her Maternal Ancestors:

John Dixon, born December 18, 1833, Chillicothe, Ohio; died Helena, Oklahoma, 1896. Mary Ann Brook, born September 28, 1835, was married to John Dixon, November 13, 1863.  Mary Ann Brook Dixon died, Helena, Oklahoma, 1918.  Mary Brook Dixon and John Dixon had 7 children, 4 boys and 3 girls; 1. Charley; 2. Silver; 3. Simon; 4. George; 5. Anna; 6. Clara; 7. May.  Ann Dixon married William S. Musgrove. They had no children of their own,but took Margaret Edna Yount, daughter of their sister May, when she was 7 years old and raised her.  They lived in Colorado, in Trinidad, Hastings, Primero and Pueblo. Ann died in Pueblo, Colorado in the Minnaqua Hospital, buried in cemetery south of Helena, Oklahoma.  Cemetery is known as the Rupert Cemetery, where her husband, Wm. S. Musgrove, is buried there by his wife.  Many of the Dixons are buried in this cemetery.  May Dixon, b. June 1, 1871, Cushman, Illinois, died Torrance, California July 17, 1952, buried in California.  May Dixon was married to Abraham Yount, March 7, 1886.  Abraham Yount was born in 1861, Milan, Missouri, and died at Fort Sill, Oklahoma in 1952.

Abraham and May Dixon Yount had the following children:

1.   Maude Galena, b. August 14, 1887, Freeport, Kansas. Deceased.

2. Myrtle Mary Yount, b. March 15, 1889. Freeport, Kansas.

3. Margaret Edna Yount, b. July 21, 1891, Freeport, Kansas.

4. Leona Ethel Yount, b. December 19, 1893, Kingfisher, Oklahoma.

5. Dora Viola Yount, b. June 13, 1896, Eufaula, Indian Territory.[1]

Margaret Edna Yount Mullins gives an interesting account of others of her maternal ancestry, descended from Lord & Lady Silver, but due to accuracy of dates and other details, will not attempt to give these earlier details here.

Brief Sketch of Margaret Edna Yount Mullins – Paternal History:

The Younts came from Germany to the United States. However they were not of German descent.  During the persecution of the Huguenots in France, being Huguenots, they fled to Germany.  They were well to do people in Germany, but during the time when the French kings were fighting with the German leaders of the City States in Germany, they were displaced from their property by the French, and, for a time, were held, more or less as prisoners in some of their own property.  A servant secretly placed a horse near where they were bring held, also a rope to let them down from a 2nd story window.  They escaped and went to Switzerland, then to a port, where they sailed for America.  The one leading out in this particular escape from Germany was Hans Yount.  He came out with wife, Anna Flubacker Yount, together with four of their children:

1. Hans Adam; 2. Matthas; 3. Elizabeth; 4. Magdalena.

They left for the United States in 1752.  They managed to take a considerable amount of money with them on the ship.  However, Mrs. Mullins writes that crooked sailors on the ship robbed them of most everything they had, and kept them in the hold of the ship, and did not give them sufficient food.  The father and mother gave most of their food to the children, but, as a result of their bad treatment and hardships, the father and mother died aboard ship and were buried at sea.  When the children reached America they were destitute, but Yount relatives who had preceded them to America came and met them and cared for the children until they were able to take care of themselves.

Later they received some money for properties sold in Germany.  The children took the money and went to Bedford County, Tennessee and invested it in property.  Mrs. Mullins writes that a small village in that county bears the name of Yount [Yount Town, Tennessee].

Young Hans Yount had two sons, George and John.  These sons fought in the revolutionary war, and made good records as soldiers.  They later were connected with West Point Military Academy.  Mrs. Mullins writes, “We are descendents of Hans Yount.”

Margaret Mullins writes, “My folks moved from Freeport, Kansas to a farm near Kingfisher, Oklahoma.  My father traded for a place a few miles from Eufaula, Indian Territory. We went by covered wagon to the Indian Territory.  My Dad and Uncle Ed rode horseback.  Mother drove the team, and we children rode in the covered wagon.  Sometimes we grew tired and Maude and I would walk awhile.  It was wild territory, and we stayed close to the wagon.”

She continues, “It began to rain.  Then is when we had troubles, we got stuck in the mud; because of swollen rivers, we waited on their banks for hours for the water to go down. One river was out of its banks.  We waited several hours.  The men folks crossed on horseback.  They motioned for mother to come on.  We went off into the river and were carried down stream several hundred feet.  The wagon nearly turned over, and everything got wet.  We were so frightened.  The men did not know it was so swift.  Then they came and tied ropes to the wagon and finally pulled us up onto the bank.  Poor mother was white with fear.  Things were so wet in the wagon we had to wait over a couple of days for them to dry out.  At every river we came to after that, I was quite hysterical.”

“We finally reached our farm.  It had a big log house, and was a very warm, comfortable house, the kitchen was built on.  There were a few pieces of furniture, 2 beds, a table, and a big fireplace, 4 kitchen chairs and stools, and a cook stove.  Outside there was a barn, a corral, granary, chicken house, hog pens, and a wonderful natural spring.”

     Margaret continues, “The neighbors were wonderful, the very salt of the earth, even though they did not have much education.  They gave us chickens, and a good sow.  We brought our own cow with us from Oklahoma.  “There was a long log house about two and one half miles from us which was used for a school house as well as for church.  Mother did not venture into the woods, it was dangerous.  My father worked at the saw mill.  Neighbors helped my father plant his corn, garden, cotton and tobacco.  We did not have any fruit trees, but there were plenty of wild plums, cherries, and blackberries along the river banks, and we picked loads of blackberries.  The river was full of fish, and there was plenty of wild game.  My mother rode horseback to the store for coffee, salt, baking powder and soda.  My father would take the wagon and go for flour, corn, meal and heavier articles; and coal oil to burn in the oil lamps.”

“Mother was never happy there.  She was homesick, and wanted to visit her folks.  My father said he would take her and us children to the train just as soon as he sold his cotton and tobacco.  My father kept his promise, and took us to the train.  It was the first ride on the train for all of us children.”

“My mother would never go back to the Indian Territory. Why I do not know.  Mother’s sister, Ann, came from Colorado and took me home with her.  When I got to the train to go to my mother’s folks, that was the last time I ever saw myfather.  I could not understand why my mother would not go back to my father, and evento this day I do not understand it.  My father and mother weredivorced, and she married again, she married Edward Balding.  They had three boys and two girls.”

“I was seven years old when my aunt Ann and her husband, William S. Musgrove, took me to their home in Primero, Colorado.  They sent me to school and I had many advantages that my sisters did not have.  They did not have school privileges above the third grade. I continued my studies, until later, when it was my privilege to teach the summer school.”

“In Primero, Colorado there was no church or Sunday school.  My aunt asked the mine superintendent if we could hold Sunday School in the school house.  He gave us permission, but not many seemed very much interested.  Very few of the women came, but the children came.  When my aunt’s health broke, I carried on alone.  At that time I was 18.  I did not read music, but could play by ear any song I knew.  We planned a Christmas celebration.  The miners gave $1. each for this.  Candy, nuts, fruits, and other gifts were purchased. Decorations were hand made. We popped pop corn, strung cranberries, made chains of red and green paper, and I cut out a large paste-board star and covered it with tinfoil, and with brightly colored bells.  The school girls stayed after school and learned poems and practiced drills.  Some men got a Christmas tree and helped decorate it.  There was a big crowd at the Christmas tree, and every one had a time.  Easter programs were also put on. To see the children taking part and enjoying it was pay for all my trouble.  Besides all this, it was in Primero I met Joe.  We were married there and our first baby was born there,” said Margaret.

[1] This area is now part of the state of Oklahoma