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My Patriot: Jonathan Mulkey, Revolutionary War soldier

  • The grave marker of Phillip Mulkey in the Old Mulkeytown cemetery is still very readable, even after 177 years.

    The grave marker of Phillip Mulkey in the Old Mulkeytown cemetery is still very readable, even after 177 years.
    Courtesy of

By Jill Asbury
Liberty Bell of the West Chapter, NSDAR
updated: 1/13/2021 12:30 PM

This is the fourth in a series of genealogies compiled by members of the Liberty Bell of the West chapter of the NSDAR, on their own families and how they connect to the early American Patriots. This history is written by Jill Asbury, a descendent of Revolutionary War soldier, Jonathan Mulkey.

In a world that is so vast, we can still find connections between those descendants in our past and see how their connections in society reflect into present day and even into our future.

This feature article will look at how one Revolutionary War soldier has impacted the name of the nearby town, Mulkeytown, including many of the sites and roads named Mulkeytown in southern Illinois.

Jonathan Mulkey was a pioneer and one of Tennessee's first known Baptist preachers. Mulkey was a private who served in Col. William Christian's expedition against the Cherokees in 1776 during the Revolutionary War.

Jonathan's son was born that same year and named Phillip Mulkey. Phillip followed in his father's footsteps and became a popular traveling evangelist, preaching in Tennessee, Kentucky and in southern Illinois.

Phillip died in 1844 and was buried in the Mulkeytown cemetery. The Mulkey Cemetery located in Mulkeytown, prominently displays a sign which states, "Pioneer Gospel Preacher."

The Mulkey family is credited with opening the first store in 1835 in the trading point area of southern Illinois which was eventually named Mulkeytown, after the Mulkey family. Even the very prominent jurist, Judge John H. Mulkey, sprang from this renowned family.

For a town to name itself after a preacher and store owner, it was and continues to be a great honor and privilege.

Fortunately, Phillip's father survived the Revolutionary War. If he had not survived and Phillip not been born, then the little trading town in southern Illinois could have been named after someone else.

So, when you are traveling in southern Illinois and you happen to cross Mulkeytown Road or see a building or cemetery named after Mulkey or if you travel through Mulkeytown, remember that its name originated from a Revolutionary War soldier.

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