Monday, May 12, 2008

John "Chunk" Mullins - A Prisoner of War

I often wonder where the nickname "Chunk" comes from. I know it doesn't always refer to size because some who wore that name are very slender of build. I have seen it used in several lines. While I was putting things together for my G-G-G-G Grandpa Joshua, I came across his brother, John, who carried the Chunk name.

In his case, it was because of his size. He was born about 1858. According to an article in "The Mountain Magazine" of April 1930, "John entered the army in his father's stead when he was age 14 'being large for his age'." He entered the army in 1779. He was at the Battle of Stony Point, at the siege of Charleson, South Carolina which occurred about the 23rd or 24th of April 1780. The American Troops from Virginia and the Carolinas tried a halfhearted night attack using bayonets against the first line of the British. They were stopped and pushed back at the second line of the British. At the surrender of Charlestown on May 12, 1780, the British captured about 5,000 men, 400 guns, 6000 muskets and thousands of rounds of ammunition.

A friend of Chunk, John Kelley, was captured, too. After five months of being held prisoner, Kelley escaped and continued to serve in the army. Chunk was taken to England. In his pension application, John stated that he "was at the Battle of the siege of Charlestown taken prisoner of war by the British and was by the British taken prisoner of war to England and there kept until peace was made." And "that he never had it in his power to return to America for 11 years." "The Mountain Magazine" article reported that he was gone for fourteen years and that "long given up for dead, he caused his mother to faint when he returned home."

On June 7, 1792 John married Nancy Gentry, the daughter of Nicholas and Elizabeth Stringer Gentry. Together they had seven children:

Joseph Gentry Mullins was born in Tennessee in 1794. He married Susannah Hammond.

Mary "Polly" Mullins was born in Tennessee in 1796. She married Thomas Kelley.

Daniel Mullins was born in 1799 in Tennessee and married Nancy DeMartin.

Rachel Mullins was born in 1802 in Virginia. She did not marry, but had three children by James Walker Baker. Mr. Baker is a whole other story.

John Mullins was born in 1808 and married Matilda Amburgey.

Elizabeth "Betsy" Mullins was born in 1811 in Perry County. She married John Michjah Adams, the son of John Hobbs Adams and Lettie Simpson (my G-G-G-G-G Grandparents on the Bentley side) and sister of Jane "Jennie" Adams who married Benjamin Webb (my G-G-G-G Grandparents again on the Bentley side).

Joshua Mullins was born in Floyd County, Kentucky in 1817. He married Mary "Polly" Everage.

Chunk received a pension on May 18, 1818 at about age 60 while living in Floyd County, Kentucky. John Kelley signed an affidavit for Chunk's pension.

He died in 1838 in Perry (now Knott) county.

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