Solomon Mullins (1782 - 1858) MP

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Nicknames: "Counterfeitin' Sol", "Money Makin' Sol"
Birthdate:
Birthplace: Broad River, Burke County, North Carolina, United States
Death: Died in Boone County, Virginia, United States
Managed by: Matt Neace, Jr.
Last Updated:

About Solomon Mullins

Numerous indenture, probate and/or court records are in existence which document the fascinating and colorful life of David Thomas’ father-in-law, “Money-Makin’ Sol.”

After the Revolutionary War, John Mullins left Henry County, Virginia (later Russell, then Dickenson Co.) and moved to Broad River, Burke County, North Carolina to take receipt of land grants which had been given him for his service in the War. Solomon was born there in 1782, the year before Great Britain recognized the United States’ Independence.

In a Burke Co., land indenture dated 1801, nineteen-year-old Solomon and his brother John Jr. were listed as the "chain carriers" for their father (a chain was a unit of measure used when surveying – 16.5’. Chain bearers were land surveyor's assistants; it was a common practice for a member of the family to serve as a chain bearer for the surveyor).

By 1803, Solomon had met and married Sarah Greenfield Cathey (little is known about Sarah except her name which she signed along with Solomon on land indentures). Right after their marriage, Solomon and Sarah moved to Floyd County, Kentucky (now Pike County), where they reported in deed as living on John's Creek. Solomon enlisted on 10 September 1814 as a private in the company of Captain David Gooding of the Kentucky Volunteer Militia.

Immediately following his service in the War of 1812, Solomon began a career of counterfeiting coins. In a court case filed in Pike Co., Ky., dated 1816, Solomon; sons Peter and Spencer and a Booker Mullins were charged with "the making of coins in the likeness of and quality of the coinage of the United States and Spanish milled coinage.” Reportedly, when the judge asked him to see the money, Sol poured out a pile of silver coins from his saddlebags onto the judge's desk. The judge then asked, "Did you make it?” Solomon replied, "Yes, with my hands like any other honest man." As there is no disposition to the case, one is left to assume that the judge let Solomon go.

Whether Solomon was afraid he might not be so lucky with the next judge or perhaps he just got "restless feet,” Sol and his family moved back to his father’s old haunts in Russell County, Virginia (now Dickenson County). The specific area to which he moved was then known as Holly Creek, but is now Clintwood, Virginia. Solomon bought a farm and built a shop just a little way from his house where he took-up counterfeiting again. Solomon is reported to have melted the silver down and used one of his slaves, a very large and strong man, to "strike" for him (striking: the head of a hammer is heated until it is a plastic state and struck over a good coin. The coin, being harder than the softened head of the hammer is, therefore, imprinted. The hammer is then allowed to cool thus producing the die). To finish the process, or to imprint the counterfeit coins with official markings, Sol and the black man would relocate to the privacy afforded by caves located on cliffs adjacent Sol’s farm. To this day, the cliffs are known as "Sol's Cliffs.”

How Sol managed to get enough pure silver to begin counterfeiting coins effectively is a mystery (some people believe he found one of John Swift's lost silver mines). Apparently, Sol mixed the pure silver with other lesser metals to make his money. Supposedly, he would pay $2.00 of his money for $1.00 of government money.

Once, Solomon was caught by a U.S. detective while at work in the cliffs. Reportedly, realizing his predicament, he ordered the man to help with his work, saying "Grab a hammer and strike this.” He hoped the action, if taken, would make the detective complicit; regardless of the story’s veracity, it didn't do Sol any good. In early 1837, Solomon and two of his 10 children, Peter and Spencer, were brought to trial and were charged with making counterfeit coins. Solomon was found guilty, but fled Virginia before being sentenced.

By late 1837, Solomon and his son Peter showed up in Marion County, Tennessee and bought land next to Sol’s wife's brother, Samuel Cathey. An indenture from Natty Warren of Dekalb County, Alabama, dated 25 January 1840, to Samuel Cathey, records that Cathey’s property bordered that of Solomon Mullins. It is due to this surviving indenture which leads this writer to believe that it was in Marion Co., Tennessee that David Thomas first came into contact with the Mullins family; hence the belief that David Thomas was originally from of Marion Co. This writer believes that it is highly probable, if not certain, that David’s family lived on a farm nearby that of Solomon Mullins’ and Samuel Cathey’s; ergo, that is how David met, and later wed, Sol’s daughter, Margaret. According to Joe Mullins, a Professor of Art at West Virginia State College who is a direct descendant of Sol, “Sol lived in Marion County until [he] relocated to Logan, Co., Virginia in 1841 to settle beside his daughter Margaret and her husband, David Thomas.” This writer believes that, somehow, Sol was aware of that particular area of Western Virginia, and for reasons unknown, told David and Margaret to relocate there and that he would follow behind them shortly. Dr. Mullins’ assertion is partially proven by a land indenture dated 1841, which records that Sol purchased a tract of land on the Trace Fork, Big Ugly Creek in Logan County, Virginia. It was there that Sol and Sarah lived out the rest of their lives. Solomon's death, as reported by his wife Sarah, was 28 August 1858 - age 76 years, 6 months and 5 days.

An indenture, dated 1858, records the division of Sol’s property after his death. The following children or heirs are mentioned in the record: Spencer (S.A.) and Lydia Mullins; Eli Mullins; Dicey Adams (later to become the wife of David Thomas’ son, Sampson D. Thomas); Alexander Mullins, Margaret and David Thomas; Aly and S.M. Ferrell; John and Rhoda Hager; Peter Mullins; William and Matilda Johnson; James and Elvira Baisden. The document records that Sol’s land totaled 450 acres and ran to the top of the mountain between Trace Fork and North Fork. It appears that all of Sol’s heirs sold their inheritance shortly after his death.

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From the family history of Robert Lintott and Opal Mullins:

http://lintott.web.skysurfer.ca/pages/counterfeitmullins.html

(Extracts from Common Law Order Book 1 of Russell County, Virginia, mts)

September 19, 1837

The grand jury made the following other present ant:

The jurors of the Grand Jury empanelled and sworn in and for the body of Russell County, in the State of Virginia, at the term of the Circuit Superior Court of Law and Chancery of the said County commencing on Monday the 18th day of September 1837, upon their oaths present that Booker James Mullins on the 15th day of August 1837, at the said county, and within the jurisdiction of the said court, with intent to defraud the good people of the United States, feloniously and falsely did make, forge and counterfeit, pieces of base and counterfeit metal and coin, to wit: Counterfeit dollars of the likeness and the similitude of the good and current coin of the United States, and of the coinage of the mint of the United States, and also of the likeness and similitude of dollars of the coinage of the Republic of Mexico, called foreign dollars, and also of dollars of the coinage of the Kingdom of Spain, called Spanish milled dollars, which said Mexican and Spanish milled Dollars are of the current coin of the United States, and also that the said Booker James Mullins did on the day and Year aforesaid at the County and within the jurisdiction aforesaid and with the aforesaid intents, feloniously and falsely make, forge and counterfeit other pieces of base and counterfeit coin to wit, twenty five cent pieces, and half dollars of the likeness and similitude of the good and current coin of the United States, and of the coinage thereof called half dollars and quarter dollars.

Presented upon the information of Thomas Mullins and William Mullins called on by the Court as witnesses, sworn in Court and sent to the Grand Jury to give evidence.

"And one other presentuent in these words:

"The Jurors of the Grand Jury, empanelled and sworn in and for the body of Russell County, in the State of Virginia, at the term of the Circuit Superior Court of Law and Chancery of the said County commencing on Monday the 18th day of September 1837, upon their oath present, that Solomon Mullins, James Mullins, Peter Mullins, and Spencer Mullins, did, on the 1st day of July, 1837, at the County aforesaid and within the jurisdiction of the said Court, feloniously and falsely make, forge and counterfeit, pieces of base and counterfeit metal and coin, to wit: counterfeit dollars of the likeness and similitude of the good and current coin of the United States and of the coinage of the mint of the United States, and also of the likeness and similitude of dollars of the coinage of the ------ of the Republic of Mexico, called Mexican dollars, and also of the dollars of the coinage of the Kingdom of Spain, called Spanish Milled Dollars, which said Mexican and Spanish Milled dollars are of the current coin of the United States; and also that the said Solomon Mullins, James Mullins, Peter Mullins and Spencer Mullins, did on the day and year aforesaid at the County and within the jurisdiction aforesaid, feloniously and falsely make, forge and counterfeit,

Other pieces of base and counterfeit coin, to wit, twenty five cent pieces and half dollars of the likeness and similitude of the good and current coin of the United States and of the coinage of thereof called half dollars and quarter dollars and which false and counterfeit, was then and there so made and forged by the said Solomon Mullins, James Mullins, Peter Mullins and Spencer Mullins with intent to defraud the good people of the United States.

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Solomon Mullins's Timeline

1782
February 23, 1782
Burke County, North Carolina, United States
1803
1803
Age 20
North Carolina, United States
1804
December 3, 1804
Age 22
Burke County, North Carolina, United States
1805
1805
Age 22
Pike County, Kentucky, United States
1810
October 4, 1810
Age 28
Burke County, North Carolina, United States
1811
1811
Age 28
Kentucky, United States
1813
1813
Age 30
Knox County, Tennessee, United States
1813
Age 30
Floyd County, Kentucky, United States
1814
1814
Age 31
Pike County, Kentucky, United States
1815
1815
Age 32
North Carolina, United States