Lucy Marion Fawcett b Nov 17, 1883

Lucy Fawcett was born in Emporia, Kansas.  Her grandfather John Fawcett believed that schooling was so important that he erected a building for the free use of the school, until the permanent school was built.  Her father, Maximilian was a Civil War veteran. After the war, he and his sisters attended Kansas State Normal school in Emporia. He operated the Neosho Valley nursery and sold maple, shade, and fruit trees.  He later moved to Delphi (now Arkansas City) where he continued to sell nursery stock. Lucy’s mother was Mary Alice Kirkpatrick. Their property was considered a showplace for the area.  He moved the family to Florida to homestead in Volusia County in 1889.  He operated an orange grove and collected marine zoological specimens, which he donated to Emporia high school.  After Lucy’s father and two older brothers died, the rest of the family moved back to Kansas.

In 1900, Lucy lived with her grandmother, mother, and younger sister (Hazel) and brother (Donald), in Emporia. In 1910, Lucy lived with Mary Alice, Hazel, and Donald in Emporia.  Carrying on the family tradition of education, Lucy and Hazel were teachers, and Donald was a student. 

Lucy moved west, and on August 31, 1915, she married John J Mullenax in Boise, ID.  This was his second marriage.  His first wife took their daughters and had moved to Walla Walla.  Lucy and John owned property in Sweet, ID.  Lucy’s son John was born in 1916 in Sweet. Son George was born the next year.  John sold the property, and moved the family, including his mother Mary, to a ranch at Mica Bay, on the west side of Lake Coeur d’Alene in northern Idaho.  Daughter Virginia was born in October 1919.    

John’s oldest daughter Nelly remembered her step-mother Lucy as being rather strange. She may have been suffering from postpartum depression after having 3 children quickly.  Lucy felt that Mary was bewitching her children and turning them against her. On Dec. 20 1919, while John was in Coeur d’Alene, buying Christmas presents, Lucy attacked her mother-in-law with a potato masher, and Mary suffered significant head injuries.  Lucy took the children, and dropped them into the cistern, where they all drowned.  Lucy then walked to the lake and tried to jump off the dock, but was stopped by a neighbor.  When they found out what had happened at the ranch house, Lucy was arrested.   The Moscow ID newspaper covered the story as follows:

Coeur d’Alene–Lucy M. Mullenax, a slender little woman weighing not more than 105 pounds, is in the custody of Sheriff Quarles facing the charge of murdering her three little children and murderously attacking her mother-in-law, Mary M. Mullenax, a woman 74 years of age, at the Mullenax ranch home at Mica bay, 11 miles west of Coeur d’Alene. The triple tragedy and assault occurred in the same house in which C.E. Hubbard committed suicide two years ago.

The bodies of the three little children, John J., age 3 1-2 years, George, 1 1-2 years of age, and a 2 months old babe, of whom the mother pathetically says “I was going to name her Virginia Mae”–lie at midnight in the Mooney morgue in Coeur d’Alene because of hallucination of the mother that her mother-in-law, whom she murderously attacked, was using hypnotic influence over her children.

The aged grandmother of the dead little children is seriously injured and is being attended to at the ranch home tonight. She will be brought to Coeur d’Alene tomorrow for treatment.

Mrs. Mullenax is a slight built little woman of 34, light complexioned, bright, a former school teacher. She apparently is not remorseful, stating that she could not leave her children with her mother-in-law and told the officers to tell her husband she had given them “chloroform liniment” because she threw them into a cistern 250 feet from the house, shortly after she had attacked her mother-in-law with a wooden mallet in the latter’s room in the upstairs of the house, beating her head badly and causing a fracture of the skull.

Leaving her mother-in-law lying bleeding on the floor she ran downstairs and took her three small children and threw the little bodies into the spring.  

Mary Mullenax recovered from the attack, and died 8 years later of cancer.  Lucy was not tried for the triple homicide, but was commited to an institution.  The 1920 census lists Lucy in the mental hospital in Orofino, ID.  She was there a relatively short time, then was released to John’s custody, and they moved to California.  John died there in 1922 from complications of appendicitis.   The 1924 California voter registration for Los Angeles County, shows Mrs. Lucy M Mullenax, homekeeper, living at 1819 Montrose, affiliated with the Republican party. In 1930, Lucy was living in Los Angeles, working as a servant in the Albert E. Smith family.  This was probably an upscale neighborhood, as all the households on this sheet had servants. The name of the neighborhood is hard to read – possibly “Camino Palmar”. In 1934, the California voter registration for Los Angeles County listed Lucy M Mullenax at 820 W 2nd street, Republican. By 1936, she had moved to 337 S. Olive street, occupation artist, Democrat.  In the 1936 Los Angeles city directory, she was listed as Mrs. J.J. Mullenax, living at 820 W 1st.

In later years, one of Nellie’s daughters attempted to visit Lucy in California.  Lucy would not see her.  Lucy died 27 August, 1975, in San Diego.

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