Doc Taylor & Ira Mullins

The Pound Gap Massacre


I've always been a bit of a dreamer and an amateur historian and now my dreams have come true. I have married the woman of my dreams I have the home that I have always dreamed of and I have now become a professional historian.

The Pound Gap Massacre, part 1.

Pound Va. May 14th 1892, 2 pm.

A freighted young man runs into the town of Pound Va. looking for Jemima Harris, and George Francisco… the young man is 15 year old John Harrison Mullins., son of Ira and Louranza Mullins. When he finally locates them, he tells them a horror story about a shooting on the mountain, near the Pound Gap.

At about 10am that morning, John and Jemima’s son, Greenberry Harris, and 6 others, had left the home of his uncle Wilson Mullins, at the mouth of Cane Creek in Kentucky heading to Pound Va… The party included John’s uncle, Wilson Mullins who was leading the group on horseback, John’s mother Louranza, his father Ira, and cousin Mindy were riding in a wagon driven by Ira’s handyman John Chappell, and his aunt Jane was following the group on horseback. Along the way, they had stopped at a store and left Mindy with her maternal grandmother… At about 1 pm, John and Greenberry were walking behind the wagon, they had just left the Pound Gap, and started down the mountain. And as they drew near a large pile of rocks, that sat beside the road, suddenly Gunshots rang out. John said; “as he started to run, he saw Wilson stagger, and one of the horses fall” John had just escaped with his life, he had bullet holes in his clothing, and his suspenders had been shot into.

Jemima Harris immediately started out for the mountain. along the way, she stopped at the house of Floyd Branham, and asked Floyd’s wife, Elizabeth, to go with her. Robert Mullins, who lived about three miles from Pound Gap, and John Vint Bentley, who lived in Kentucky, were traveling that day, and arrived at the scene shortly after Jemima and Elizabeth. What they found was a scene straight out of the police gazette, Mrs. Mullins was found shot through the breast; her husband had received eight bullets in the head, shoulders and thighs; John Chappell was struck six times; Greenberry Harris had been shot in the head twice and once in the heart, Wilson Mullins was shot one time through the heart. The horses had been killed, and the wagon had been riddled with bullets, however, the body of Jane and her horse, were nowhere to be found. Ira’s sister, Amoda Jane Mullins had escaped, riding back up the mountain heading for home, as she rode into Cane Creek, (now the Camden section of Jenkins), she was screaming, “Everyone has been killed but me.”

The alarm spread quickly, and many people were at the scene within an hour or two. Thanks to the help of John, and Jane a picture of what had happened, was starting to come together; according to John, he had ran for about ½ mile when the shooting had stopped. Jane had stated, that when a pause in the gunfire came, she had yelled out, “Boys, for the Lord’s sake, don’t shoot anymore; you’ve killed them all. Let me stay here with them, till someone finds us.” Jane then stated that the men yelled at her three or four times, cursing and threatening her. Jane said that she thought one of the men sounded like Calvin Fleming, and that another, may have been Doc Taylor, and that a third man, who may have been Henan Fleming; ask that she be let go, then one of the others cursed her, and yelled “Take to the road or we will kill you too”.  On Jane’s word a massive manhunt was started for Marshall Benton Taylor (aka the Red Fox) and the Fleming brothers Calvin and Samuel Henan.

Part 2     Part 3     Part 4


    1. I did not know it when I started the investigation into the massacre, but Doc is also my great great grandfather, So I guess we are cousins have a great day and thanks for the feedback.

  1. Ira Mullins and his friends ambushed and killed my great grandfather, Henry Vanover, as he and some of his sons were working in their garden at East Jenkins, Ky. Ira had been squatting on Henry’s land on Elkhorn Creek, Ky. and Henry had ran him off. Ira’s wife was Henry’s niece. Henry had also killed a Roberts man that had taken a shot at him but missed. Roberts was a friend of Ira’s. Henry was found not guilty of that killing at his trial at Whitesburg, Ky. Today, my best friend is a Mullins and we have been friends since first grade.

    1. Thank you for your valuable feedback.

      We are always seeking new information that will shed light on every aspect of the events that took place before and after the massacre.

  2. Doc was my ancestor and I grew up hearing stories that he lived through the hanging and his body was replaced with a rail road tie. I was told he moved out west and started a new life.

    1. I am glad to meet you cousin, as it turns out during our investigation we found that Doc was my great great grandfather.

      According to one of our relatives this did not happen. In fact I have found a newspaper article from 1901 that proposes this scenario and this is the earliest record that I can find that supports this story. However there are a lot of official records that should be in the public domain that are missing, Charles Johnson who was the court clerk during the trial laments this fact in his book ‘A Narrative History of Wise Co. Va.’ In it he asks three questions at the start of the story that makes you believe that even he did not think that Doc Taylor had received a fair trial. There was a lot of people in the area that had the same opinion and that is why there has always been so many unanswered questions surrounding the event. It is our belief that the newspaper story ‘MAY’ have been fabricated to settle some public unrest that occurred after the hanging.

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