from Sketches Of Tennessee's Pioneer Baptist Preachers
In the old cemetery at Buffalo Ridge, Washington County, is a monument with the inscription:
In memory of Jonathon Mulkey, Sen.; born October 16, 1752; departed this life September 5, 1826, after having been a preacher of the gospel of the Baptist order more than fifty years.
Jonathan Mulkey was born in Virginia, and is of Welsh descent. Though there are missing links in the family record. it is reasonably certain that his father was a Philip Mulkey, whom Semple mentions, in connection with William Murphy, as an active pioneer preacher in Virginia, in 1756, and who little later, according to Benedict, was a "'reputable and successful minister for many years" in South Carolina. . .
A bold and spirited adventurer, Mulkey, in early manhood, left his native Virginia and came to what is now East Tennessee. to battle with the wilderness and the Indians. With his little company he made a settlement in Carter's Valley, a little west of where Rogersville now is. The settlers, while clearing their land and preparing for a crop, got their bread-corn from where Abingdon, Virginia, now stands, and for their meat "hunted buffalo." They had planted their corn and worked it once when the rumor of a Cherokee invasion reached them, and all was confusion. The little farms had to be abandoned The families below the North Fork of Holston re-crossed that stream, and the women and children were conducted back as far as the present Wythe County. Virginia. (Ramsey.)
Among my "notes" I find the following "incident of Mulkey," vouched for by the venerable William A. Keen, and generally believed as a creditable tradition handed down by Mulkey himself: In one of these Indian raids, as Mulkey and his companion were trying to make their escape, the Indians overtook them, knocked down, scalped and left for dead Mulkey's companion, while Mulkey himself, slightly wounded by a bullet, leaped into the Holston River, swam across. and made his way to Heaton's Station. But imagine his surprise when. on arriving at that place, he found his companion, whom he had thought scalped and sure enough dead, very much alive. He had not been killed by the Indians, but had made his escape and by a shorter route had reached the station before Mulkey.
In October of 1786, at the organization of the Holston Association, in the meeting-house of the old Cherokee Church, the names of Jonathan Mulkey and Anthony Epperson appear in the minutes as "messengers" from Kendrick's Creek (now Double Springs) Church; of which church he was doubtless the founder and first pastor. He was also pastor of Buffalo Ridge, Cherokee, Sinking Creek, Muddy Creek, and other churches. He was a strong preacher of the true pioneer spirit, and more inclined to do active evangelistic work than to be pastor of churches. He was a leader in the Holston Association for many years; for seven years was its moderator.
James White, a Baptist deacon, living near the center of the "Mulkey dominion," I have been told, would go from seven to ten miles, about every Sunday, to hear "Father Mulkey" preach. He was pastor of Buffalo Ridge as long as he lived, and when too old and too feeble to preach standing, the church, it is said, made him a suitable and easy pulpit-chair, that he might sit down and pour out his soul in melting exhortation to a devoted people who would listen to his every word. . .