The Notorious Mud Hole Area
The Mud Hole
Foot of the Mountain was the site of a
Confederate Camp commanded by
General Humphrey Marshall during the
It was here that General Marshall sent up
breastworks to defend against Union
forces moving up the Big Sandy Valley. When
the Union General James Abram Garfield made
his advance through Pound
Gap General Marshall was forced to abandon
this position leaving several valuable
cannons, which had become stuck, in the
swamps near the camp. One of these cannons
was unearthed just a few years ago when
workmen were relocating the state road.
About 500 yards west is the cemetery where
Devil John Wright is buried. John
spent his last years on
the old Eff Sowards place where he could
sit on his
porch; look across the road and up a
rolling hill to the cemetery.
The infamous community of Mud Hole, known
throughout Southwest Virginia and Eastern
Kentucky, was located about 500 yards north
of Horse Gap. In olden days Waggoner’s had
good reason to hesitate traveling this
stretch of road unless they were accompanied
by several other wagons. The reason for
grouping wagons together to pass this
section of road was probably double fold.
First of all, it took more than one good
team of oxen, horses or mules to pull their
heavy wagons through the swampy mire of Mud
Hole. Secondly, there was a need for
safety that was added by the company of
other good men.
The men unharnessed the horses from all but
the lead wagon when the train of wagons
arrived at the Mud Hole. These two or three
sets of horses were then attached to the
lead wagon to haul it through the mud that
could quickly swallow up the wheels of a
slow or heavy wagon. The horses were then
moved to the next wagon in the train, double
and triple teaming the horses, until all
wagons had passed through the mire. The
process in which they moved the wagons
through was time consuming, but it could
also be dangerous. Lawless men saw a great
opportunity for thievery when the wagons
were forced to stop and regroup to get
through the mud. For this reason, Mud
Hole became an excellent hangout site for
The road through Mud Hole was the commonly
traveled trail between Kentucky and the
Virginia communities of Pound, Norton and
Wise Both Ed Hall, an officer of the law and
Talton Hall, who was wanted by the law,
traveled this road. Doc Taylor lived
nearby and made frequent trips through the
area. This was also the route that
moon-shiner Ira Mullins and his family
traveled the fateful day of their death.
Clabe Jones, the Branham Brothers, all
journeyed through this territory at some
Criminals who were wanted for crimes in
Kentucky escaped justice by finding a haven
where they could hide out across the state
line at the Mud Hole. Moonshiners who
frequently made trips to and from North
Carolina and Tennessee discovered this was a
grand place to set up their bootleg drinking
They made sure there was plenty of liquor
for them to belt down while they waited for
their wagons to be hauled through the mud.
Women of ill repute entertained the men and
plied their trade throughout the area.
At one time there were as many as twelve of
these roadhouses operating on the stretch of
road from the Foot of the Mountain to the
head of Indian Creek. These twelve
roadhouses became known far and wide as “The
It was a rough and rugged length of roadway
where it has been estimated that a man was
killed every one hundred yards along its
SOME KILLINGS AT MUD HOLE
And Other Areas of The Pound
The following is a list of killings on the
Pound that was given to
James Taylor Adams
by One -Eyed
Dock Mullins in George Austin's
the Pound in 1930.
Brack Phelps was killed by Elias Collier on
North Fork about 1890.
William Addington was killed by Dock Howell
Noah Sowards killed about 1900 by Sam Craft.
Wid Moore and Horace (Harve) Wright were
killed by Ed Hall at Donkey.
Ira Mullins, Mrs. Mullins, Wilson Mullins,
John Chappell and Greenberry Moore were
killed by Dr. Marshall B. Taylor at Killing
Rock on Pine Mountain.
John Hall was killed by Jerome "Fish"
Gilliam on Indian Creek.
Pat Cox was killed by Em. Swindall, Nelson
Mullins, Martin Sowards and John Marion Hall
on Pine Mountain.
Ed Cox was killed by Mack Wright in South of
John Marion Hall was killed by Arch Hopkins
George Sowards was killed by Harry McFall at
Foot of the Mountain.
Unknown person, may have been Arch Hopkins,
killed Ed Hall at Donkey.
Unknown party killed Rufus Phipps at Foot of
Unknown man killed by Tolby Hall at Mud Hole
(or might have been Hall who was killed).
Unknown person killed McKinley Waldron or
McKinley Waldron killed somebody at Foot of
Marshall Mullins was killed by Gaston
Mullins on Bold Camp.
Nan Branham was killed by her husband,
Clifton Branham on Mill Creek and hanged for
Joel Sturgill killed by Bill Tutt on North
Monroe Pennington was killed by Will Wallen
on North Fork.
Floyd Bolling was killed by his son, Edmond
Bolling on North Fork.
Joe Short killed by Sol Osborne at the
Sampy Short was killed by Edmond Bolling on
Will Mullins was killed by his brother, Bob
Mullins on Bold Camp.
Daniel Short was killed by Elbert Hale on
Mrs. Bogus (who was a Mullins) was killed by
her husband John Bogus on bold Camp.
John Steffey was killed by Bronson Waddell
in South of the Mountain.
George Vaughn was killed by Edmond Bolling
on South Fork.
Jeffery Hubbard was killed by his
brother-in-law, Milford Hubbard on Laurel
Milford Hubbard was killed by his brother
Willard Hubbard at the same place.
Preston Bentley killed by Enoch Wright at
Charlie Powers was killed by Walter Killen
on Bold Camp.
Dave Fleming was killed by George Branham on
Eugene Sowards was killed by Lee Sloane in
South of the Mountain.
Arch Mullins was killed by Carlton Boggs
near Foot of the Mountain.
Jone Mullins was killed by Carlton Boggs at
Jude Mullins was killed by Nancy (Nannie)
Jane Mullins, his wife, at Donkey.
Carlton Boggs was killed by Dock Mullins at
Foot of the Mountain. (The Jonce
Mullins above, that was killed by Carlton
Boggs, was Dock's only son.)
Elbert Baker was killed by Rudolph Belcher
on Laurel Fork.
Tom Hawkins was killed by Clint Wyatt and
his son at Foot of the Mountain.
Jarvey Mullins was killed by Picket Hurt and
other officers on Birchfield.
Ira Patton Mullins was killed by unknown
people at the same place.
Henry Dorton was killed by his brother,
Douglass Dorton on Bold Camp.
George Tillman was killed by Willie
Addington and others on Indian Creek.
Green Branham (may not be Green) killed by
Son Gibson and John Cox on
Indian Creek (It was later reported by
Meredith Branham of Chicago, IL, a former
resident of Pound, that this person was
Grover Branham, brother to Millard Branham,
and son of Mack Branham.)
Leonard Wood, a Negro, was killed by a mob
in Pound Gap.
A Negro killed two Negroes in the Combs
Construction Camp, at Foot of the Mountain.
Henderson Adams was killed by Bob Qualls on
Hark Willis Howell was killed by Morgan
Mullins on Bold Camp.
(--?--) Fletcher was killed by a man
named Lewis at Horse Gap.
Unknown man killed by a man named Shupe on
Bill Culbertson killed by Columbus Craft at
Sometime after relating these names,
One-Eyed Dock Mullins accounted for another
of the killings by blowing his own brains