John Frederick Mullenix, Watkins Man with audio

J.F. Mullenix 001a.jpg

Title

John Frederick Mullenix, Watkins Man with audio

Subject

Traveling sales personnel
Mullenix, John Frederick, 1887-1972
Mullenixx, Effie Mae Fendley, 1891-1974
Mullenix, Searcy Leon, 1933-

Description

John Frederick Mullenix is pictured in 1938 with his 5-year-old son, Searcy Mullenix, beside his 1927 Model T that he used to deliver Watkins products and other goods to rural families in northern Tuscaloosa County.

A longtime resident of Echola, Mullenix was born in Gordo, in 1888. He contracted polio at the age of 18 months and was severely crippled, losing the use of one leg. Despite his disability, he attended business school in Columbus, Mississippi. He began keeping the books for his uncle, Jim Free, and learned the lumber business and became part owner of some sawmills. He owned and operated J. F. Mullenix Merchantile in Gordo until the Depression.

Mullenix began farming to support his growing family and when the boys were mature enough to manage the farm, he began his Watkins Products route to areas around Brownville and Moores Bridge. He often traded products for eggs or chickens, which were put in coops tied to the running board of his Model T. Another son, Clifton Mullenix, (not pictured) often went along to catch the chickens. A five-gallon can of fly spray was tied to his running board.

John and his wife, Effie Fendley Mullenix, had 10 children, one of whom died in infancy. Mullenix died in 1972.

Source

Wanda Winters

Date

1938

Contributor

Betty Slowe (Description)

Type

Photograph
Audio

Identifier

462

Coverage

Tuscaloosa County (AL)

Original Format

Photograph

Physical Dimensions

3 inches by 5 inches

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