Jonathan Mulkey was a pioneer and one of Tennessee’s first known Baptist preachers. Mulkey was a Private who served in Colonel 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 and he preached in Tennessee, Kentucky and in Southern Illinois. Phillip died in 1844 and was buried in the Mulkeytown cemetery. The Mulkey Cemetery located in Mulkeytown, Illinois, prominently displays a sign in honor of Jonathan, 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, Illinois, after the Mulkey family. Even the very prominent jurist, Judge 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 and if he would have not survived, 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.
This article is brought to you by Jill Asbury, a descendent of Revolutionary war soldier, Jonathan Mulkey.