Family Politicians

1642-1926

Indiana

Our zany national politics moves one to ask if there are politicians in the family tree. The most recent politician in our family was William Madison Mullins's son, Thomas Clinton Mullins.

T.C. Mullins was elected Mayor of Boonville, Indiana (Democrat), and served from 1923-1926. During his years as Mayor, there were 3 scandal-plagued Republican Indiana governors: the first resigned, the third was indicted for bribing the first, and all 3 were caught up in a Ku Klux Klan scandal. T.C. Mullins was approached by the Democrats to run for Governor, but declined to enter the fray. T.C. was probably dissuaded from continuing in politics by his young family, and by the grotesque nature of statewide politics in Indiana at the time.

William Madison Mullins, served as a Washington County (Arkansas) judge in the 1880s, as did his father, Thomas Jefferson Mullins. There is very little information about these tenures.

Judge David of Fayetteville was a doubly related family cousin of the Mullins family. He was elected President of the Arkansas Secession Convention in March 1861, and led the convention to reject secession of Arkansas from the Union. However, one month later, Union forces fired on Fort Sumter in South Carolina, and sentiment across the South quickly became polarized. Judge Walker reconvened the Secession Convention in May, and convinced several delegates to join him in changing their votes: the convention approved secession, and Arkansas joined the Confederacy.

Judge Walker's oldest son, our cousin Captain Jacob Wythe Walker (CSA), suffered mortal wounds at the Battle of Jenkins Ferry in 1864. The wounded youth was taken from the battlefield to an isolated farmhouse in central Arkansas where Judge Walker spent weeks trying to nurse the boy to recovery, in vain. Several poignant letters from the Judge to family members, written from the farmhouse, survive. One wonders how the Judge looked back on his influential role in bringing Arkansas into the war that took his son's life. Walker was elected Chief Justice of the Arkansas Supreme Court in 1866, and continued intermittently on the Court until his ignominious death in 1879, when he fell fatally from his buggy at the Washington County Fair.

On a more prosaic scale, Dr. Martin Luther Hawkins was elected Coroner of Carroll County, Arkansas in 1838. His election certificate from Arkansas Governor Conway survives, and is shown on the next page. He also briefly served as the President of Carroll County before his death of pneumonia in 1840 (see the story "Biography of Jane Curl Walker").

One last group of politicians in our family comprise several our early Jamestown ancestors. In 17th and 18th century Virginia, political posts were almost universally filled with wealthy landowners, a practice that only changed gradually after the American Revolution. Thus, our Chiles, Curle, Wilson and Venable family ancestors served in a number of public offices, most prominently in the Virginia House of Burgesses.

Founded in 1619 by the Virginia Company, the House of Burgesses was the first elected representative assembly in the English colonies. The first Mullins ancestor elected as a Burgess was Walter Chiles I, who served between 1642 and 1653. Chiles was an important public figure, and even served on the Governor's Royal Council in 1651. However, by 1653 he fell into disfavor with the new Cromwell- appointed Governor Richard Bennett because of Chiles's illegal trading with the Netherlands (see "Walter Chiles Loses a Ship"). Chiles was elected Speaker of the House of Burgesses in 1653, but stepped down from that position after just one day, at the insistence of Governor Bennett.

Walter's son, Walter Chiles II, also served as a Burgess in the 1650s and 1660s. Another early Jamestown settler, Pasco Curle served as a Burgess in the 1690s, and at one time also held the position of High Sheriff of Elizabeth County. Pasco's son Nicholas Curle was a Burgess from 1710-1712, and held several other public positions Naval Officer of the Lower District of the James River, a post he took over from our Jamestown ancestor Col. William Wilson. Details of these and other political and military tenures are found throughout this website.