SHERWOOD L. MULLIS
NEW SALEM PIONEER
(Editor's note: The late Sherwood L. Mullis of New Salem township died on October 3, 1929. At the time of his death, he was a little over 92 years of age. The Journal published an article, written by Esq. C. J. Braswell on May 22, 1925. At that time Mr. Mullis had been church clerk for 54 years, which was a wonderful record. But Mr. Mullis continued to serve his church four more years, 'til the year of his death, making it a record of 58 years of continuous service. The article which was printed May 22, 1925 is now in possession of a grandson, Clayton Helms but the years have tattered and yellowed the original printing. There is only one of Mr. Mullis's children still living. She is Mrs. J. D. Brooks "Aunt Rilla" to everyone. She is now in her 88th year. May she live as long as her father. The Esq. Braswell article, published by request, follows below)
BORN IN 1837
By Esq. C. J. BRASWELL
One of the oldest and most highly beloved citizens now living in Union County is Sherwood L. Mullis, who lives in the Watson section of New Salem township. Born among the foot hills of Polk Mountain on Richardson Creek within a few miles of his present home on July 23, 1837, he is now nearing his 88ths mile post down life's highway of time. For a man of his age, he is very active in both mind and body, and is able to go to Monroe occasionally to look after his business affairs in person. Mr. Mullis is a son of the late Mr. Holden and Lucretia Adams Mullis, who were among the best known and leading families of their time. In 1839, when Sherwood was only two years old, his father died leaving his wife with several small children to care for and support, and young Sherwood grew up an obedient, faithful son, called a "mother-boy" by his companions, from his devotion to his widowed mother - a little of which any boy may well be proud. At any early age, he must go out into the world to earn his own living and help support his mother and sisters.
Amid these circumstances and surrounded by such conditions as existed at that time and the fact that the public schools were for a term of anly six weeks in a year, is it any wonder that the subject of this sketch grew to manhood without the benefit of an education? Yet with all these handicaps, Mr. Mullis has fought life's battles braveley and courageously and has by hard work, economy and frugal living become one of our most well-to-do citizens. With the aid of her young children, his mother made a good living on the farm, frequently having corn and pork and other prouduce to sell. She also, became an expert tailoress and made many brown jeans coats and vests for the people of the surrounding country. These garments were made from homemade brown wool jeans. The wool was dyed with walnut leaves or bark, was spun on the old fashioned spinning wheel and woven on the old hand looms in use at that time. Uncle Sherwood still has in his possession a chair which was made especially for his mother to use in her work as a tailoress.
STEELED TO LIFE
Mr. Mullis spent most of his boyhood days as an hireling frequently working in a new ground or splitting rails at thirty to forty cents per day. But the privations and hardships endured in early life enabled him to meet the problems and difficulties of later life. On September 17, 1856, he was happily married to Miss Sylvania Williams, daughter of the late Fleet Williams. To this union was born ten children - seven of whom are now living. The sons are: Elisha of Marshville township, Sy1vester and J.Marcus of New Salem and J. W. H. of Goose Creek. The daughters are Mesdames H. E. Helms, J. D. Brooks and D. W. Hargett, all of the Watson community. His first wife died August 19, 1919. His scond marriage was to Mrs. Ellen Simpson, who is still living. During the war, he served in Company A. 48th Regiment in Lee's Army. At the battle of Bristol Station, Va. he was captured and remained a prisoner for sixteen months and twelve days, spending most of the time at the prison at Point Lookout, Md. After the war was over he returned home and began farming again, settling on a farm near Watson Church in which community he has spent the whole of his long and useful life. He has been a successful farmer and business man, a good citizen and neighbor, but the crowning glory of his life is his fine record as a christian gentlemen and a devout and faithful member of his church. Fifty years ago, professed a hope in Christ and joined Watson Primitive Baptist Church. This church holds its annual communion and foot washing service on the fourth Sunday in May of each year, and should Mr. Mullis be able to attend the meeting next Sunday, he will have attended every communion for the last fifty-five years. Just think of a church member being present at every meeting for over half a century. He has been the efficient clerk of the church for 54 years and has never missed a monthly meeting unless providentially hindered. Mr. J. W. Jones who has long been the clerk of the Bear Creek Association, says that he has read more letters to the Association from Sherwood Mullis than from any other church clerk. He will remain clerk emeritus of Watson church for the remainder of his life, the church having designated J. T. Simpson to act in his place when he is too feeble to attend.
It is a remarkable coincidence that the church of which he was to be a member so long should have been organized the very year he was born. The Bear Creek Association was organized ninety-three years ago. At present it is composed of churches in Union, -- Anson, Stanly, Cabarrus, Rowan and perhaps one or two other organized 88 years ago. Some of the pastors to serve in its early days were Elders George Little, Leggett Jenkins, Calvin Helms and Singleton Little. In later years J. E. Williams, J. F. Mills, Walter C. Edwards and others have served as pastors.
Mr. Mullis is a strong believer in the Bible, and has never been distrubed by the teachings of fatalism, Darwinism or evolution and non-resurrectionism, being content with the simple teachings of God's word. He is in favor of retaining the Bible that our fathers and mothers believed in and trusted in, that was their hone and stay in times of grief and sorrow and that gave them cheering visions of a heavenly rest.
In conclusion, allow the writer to join his many relatives, friends and brethern in hoping that he may yet be spared to attend many more "communions" on this earth and finally when he has served out his allotted time here, he enters that home there prepared for the elect of God.
May 20, 1925
(Copied from the original printing by Mrs. Titus Tarleton)