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Anthony Mullins (Antonio Molina or Molini, ca. 1750-November 3, 1836) accompanied Philip Mazzei when he immigrated from Italy to Virginia in 1773, and worked with him at Colle where Mazzei was attempting to grow grapes for wine. Mazzei's agricultural experiment was interrupted shortly thereafter when Mullins and several of Mazzei's other workmen left to fight in the Revolution. Mullins enlisted in the Continental Army in 1777 and served until the end of the war in 1783.1 He returned immediately thereafter to Albemarle County, where he was married in November 1784 to Polly Clark.2 In 1790, he bought a 150-acre parcel of land3 from Peter DeRieux, (Philip Mazzei's son-in-law); he sold this same tract to James Monroe 12 years later for £100, and it became part of Monroe's Highland estate.4
In 1799, Thomas Jefferson wrote that Mullins was doing "tolerably well" to an Italian friend.5 Mullins also had business dealings with Thomas Jefferson, although Jefferson's correspondence and accounts reveal only one transaction. Jefferson wrote to his overseer, Edmund Bacon, in 1808, "...I am persuaded that wheat will be to be got at the present price of corn. Mr. Higginbotham wrote me last month that mr A. Mullins between Monticello and Blenheim had 70. barrels to sell at 10/. you might purchase this if to be had at 2. & 3. months credit..."6 A notation later appeared in Jefferson's accounts, "Pd. E. Bacon for Higginbotham on acct. of Mullins 110 D. / do. for Mullins 5.75".7
After the death of his first wife, Mullins married a Sally Rambols (apparently mis-transcribed in some documents as Reynolds),8 on January 18, 1809.9 Mullins had a total of eighteen children with his two wives.10 By 1820, Mullins had moved to Lincoln County, Tennessee with his family.11
In 1824, Anthony Mullins' son William wrote to Thomas Jefferson, "I Recd a letter from my father anthony Mullins (who lives in Tennessee) a few days since requesting me to take the Depositions of several persons deposing and stating That He the said anthony Mullins was a soldier in The United states service in time of the Revolutionary War; He particularly requested me to get your Deposition but as it is out of my power to come to you I will Take it as a great favor of you to Have it taken and send it in a letter to me at Rose mills Post office&—you will remember little anthony Mullins who served medza at a place Called Colly you will understand that the old man wishes to get the pension that is Allowed old soldiers He writes me [. . .] family is small and that he is gett[. . .] and frail and is now in need of any s[. . .]h assistance&—"12 Jefferson did remember Mullins, but was not able to provide the specific deposition needed. He wrote to the younger Mullins, "I remember well your father Anthony Mullins, or little Anthony as he was called, his Italian name being Antonio Molini; but I do not remember that he particularly became a souldier in the Revolution war. I only remember recollect the general fact that Mazzei's undertaking to make wine at Colle was broken up by several of his people engaging in the army. my almost constant absence from home during that war, and the lapse of 50. years since it's commencement prevent my being able to give any deposition as to the enlistment of your father."13 Anthony Mullins did eventually receive his military pension. He died November 3, 1836.14
- Casteel, Marjorie O'Brien, ed. The Story of Antonio Molina: Patriarch of the Anthony Mullins Family, an American History. Apollo, Penn.: Closson Press, 2006. A rich compilation of information about Mullins and his family by descendants.
- Mazzei, Filippo. My Life and Wanderings. Translated by S. Eugene Scalia; edited by Margherita Marchione. Morristown, N.J.: American Institute of Italian Studies, 1980. See especially chapters 14-16.
- Mazzei, Filippo. Philip Mazzei: Selected Writings and Correspondence. Edited by Margherita Marchione et al. Prato, Italy: Cassa di Risparmi e Depositi di Prato, 1983. See especially volume 1.
- 1. Anthony Mullins, W8280/BLWT198-60-55/BLWT11-100, Pension and Bounty-Land-Warrant Application Files. Series M805, Roll 605. Record Group 15, Records of the Veteran Administration, National Archives.
- 2. Jordan Dodd, Virginia Marriages to 1800 [database on-line]. Provo, UT: The Generations Network, Inc., 1997. Accessed through Ancestry Library Edition, February 3, 2009.
- 3. Woods, Albemarle County, 360.
- 4. Albemarle County Deed Book, 14:294.
- 5. Jefferson to Carlo Bellini, April 24, 1799, in PTJ, 31:99.
- 6. Thomas Jefferson to Edmund Bacon, February 23, 1808, in Betts, Farm Book, 233.
- 7. MB, 2:1230.
- 8. Marjorie O'Brien Casteel, ed., The Story of Antonio Molina: Patriarch of the Anthony Mullins Family, an American History (Apollo, Penn.: Closson Press, 2006), 78.
- 9. Ancestry.com. Virginia Marriages, 1740-1850 [database on-line]. Provo, UT: The Generations Network, Inc., 1999. Original data: Dodd, Jordan R., et al., ''Early American Marriages: Virginia to 1850. Bountiful, UT: Precision Indexing Publishers.
- 10. Anthony Mullins, W8280/BLWT198-60-55/BLWT11-100, Pension and Bounty-Land-Warrant Application Files. Series M805, Roll 605. Record Group 15, Records of the Veteran Administration, National Archives.
- 11. 1820 United States Federal Census.
- 12. William Mullins to Thomas Jefferson, June 13, 1824. Massachusetts Historical Society.
- 13. Thomas Jefferson to William Mullins, June 24, 1824. Massachusetts Historical Society.
- 14. Mullins, Anthony. Widow Pension and Bounty Land Warrant application file, Series M805, Roll 605.