John Joseph Mullenax b 24 December 1882

John Mullenax was born 24 December, 1882, the only child of George A and Mary A (Funk) Mullenax, in Cherryvale, Kansas.  He was listed with his family in the 1895 Kansas state census.  In 1900, he was living in Flathead County, Montana with his parents.  He married Eugenia Pearl Johnson on 1 Dec 1904.  John’s first daughter Nellie was born in July in Somers, near Kalispell.  The family moved to Colorado, and his second daughter Frances was born in 1907 in Del Norte.  By 1910, the family was living in Brownlee, ID.  John and his father were always listed as farmers or ranchers.  They homesteaded in the Sweet, ID area. 

John’s father died in 1912 in Sweet, and John became the head of the household, which included his mother, wife, and the two daughters. 

In papers filed October 7, 1914, in Walla Walla, Eugenia alleged that soon after Florence was born John “willfully deserted this plaintiff, went to the state of Georgia . . .and has ever since willfully failed and neglected to make suitable or any provision for his said family.”  At that point, Eugenia stated that she had been a resident of Walla Walla for about four years.  John was served the papers in Boise County, Idaho.  He made no appearance and did not answer the summons for action for divorce, and Eugenia was granted a divorce, with sole custody and care of the daughters.  Neither was allowed to marry for six months, according to the decree, which was filed December 4, 1914, in Walla Walla.

John did wait the required six months, then on 31 August, 1915, he married Lucy Marion Fawcett in Boise ID.  The next year, John was issued his land patent for 140 acres.  Just a year later, John and Lucy, and his mother Mary, sold their properties near Sweet to Alonzo Figart. 

John’s son John James was born 8 July 1916 in Sweet, ID.  The family moved from southern Idaho to northern Idaho.  A second son, George E, was born 14 Mar 1917 at Mica Bay on Lake Coeur d’Alene.  In 1918, John registered for the draft.  John and Lucy’s daughter Virgina May was born 5 October 1919 at the ranch the family owned at Mica Bay.   

On 20 December, 1919, John was in Coeur d’Alene, buying Christmas presents.  Lucy felt that her mother-in-law was bewitching her children and turning them against her.  She attacked Mary 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.  She was later committed to the mental hospital in Orofino, Idaho. [See previous postings about Mary (Funk) Mullenax and Lucy (Fawcett) Mullenax for more details.]

John and his mother Mary continued to live at the ranch at Mica Bay.   A 19 June 1921 recording of deed indicates that John J. and Lucy M Mullenax sold the Mica property to Helen C Brown, for a mortgage of $2500.  The deed says that John “came personally” but doesn’t mention Lucy. After just a couple years at the asylum, Lucy was released to John’s custody.  They moved to southern California, by 1922.  Voter registration lists their home as 441 E 23rd street, and he was a dairyman.  John died 1 Nov 1922 in Los Angeles, from of complications after surgery for appendicitis.

John’s body was returned to Idaho and he was buried with his children at Forest Cemetery.


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