Charles Mullan


Charles Mullan

Lycoming County, Pennsylvania, USA
Death 1874 (aged 61–62)
Waterloo, Black Hawk County, Iowa, USA
Burial Waterloo, Black Hawk County, Iowa, USA
Plot Section K, Lot 67
Memorial ID 75830409 View Source
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Waterloo Courier Waterloo, Iowa, Wednesday, September 2, 1874]

Death of Charles Mullan.

One of the oldest citizens of Blackhawk County has gone to his rest. Charles Mullan died at his home in Waterloo on Thursday evening of last week. His disease was acute inflammation of the bowels. Mr. Mullan was one of the fathers of the town, being among the first settlers in Waterloo. The news of his death was a shock to the community, as but few were aware that he had been suffering from dangerous illness.

Charles Mullan was born Nov. 10th, 1811, at Eckland, Lycoming County, Penn. In 1840 he removed to Morgan County, Ill. In 1846 he came to Iowa, then a territory, and located at this place. When Mr. Mullan first crossed the Mississippi river the vast belt of territory stretching westward to the Missouri, was mostly in the hands of the Indians, and save the few embryo towns along the Mississippi from McGregor's Landing to Keokuk, with here and there a hardy pioneer, with a few trappers and hunters along the streams, the territory was all in a state of nature, the red man, the deer and antelope being masters of the field.

Attracted by the manifold advantages of water, timber and prairie, Mr. Mullan pitched his tent here upon the spot now known as the city of Waterloo. Future events gave ample token of the wisdom of his choice. When Mr. Mullan came here in June, 1846, G. W. Hanna and William Virden were the only settlers, while W. G. Sturgis and a man named Adams were at the spot now known as Cedar Falls. They had come the October previous, and were the only people in Blackhawk county at that time. The nearest neighbor was at Vinton, in Benton county, thirty miles distant.

Mr. Mullan was the first justice of the peace in Blackhawk county, and many men now living can testify to his strong sense of justice and clear judgment in settling matters of difference among neighbors in those primitive times. He was the first county surveyor, a position that brought him into intimate business relations with a majority of the early settlers of the county among whom he was held in the highest esteem. He was one of the original proprietors of the site of the present city of Waterloo, he laying out the town and doing the surveying for the village boundaries, lots and streets in 1858, twenty-one years ago. When Mr. Mullan came here the land was not subject to entry, the Indians had not removed, though their claims to title had been extinguished.

Mr. Mullan had resided in Waterloo 28 years. That seems but a short time, but what vast changes have occurred in that quarter of a century. When he located here there was not a rod of railway track west of Buffalo. To-day the continent is spanned with railways and Iowa, then a howling wildness of prairie, is now gridironed with iron tracks; and the haunts of the deer and the camps of the red man have disappeared at the approach of the white race, and the war-whoop of the savage, the shout of the trapper have been silenced by the whistle of the engine and the roar of the trains. Then it required more time to send a letter from New York to Waterloo, than is now consumed in going from San Francisco to Paris, or from Washington to Berlin. Then the vast country west of the Ohio belonged to the thinly settled, and scarcely known "Northwest." Mr. Mullan lived to see the grandest epoch in American history; the development of the West, the downfall of Slavery, and the preservation of the Union upon the broad basis of the fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man. He saw the swift and sure progress of the star of American empire as it westward takes its way, transforming the vast prairies between the Lakes and the Missouri, into blooming gardens and golden fields, crossing the plains, scaling the Rocky Mountains, delving in the golden sands of the Sacramento, and only halting as it is met by the tidal waves of the Pacific.

Mr. Mullan helped to make the history of Waterloo and Blackhawk county. One of the first to cast his lot here, he lived to see the spot he had chosen for his home become a thriving city of six thousand people, and Blackhawk county changed from a trackless waste to one of the most populous and prosperous counties in the State. Mr. Mullan was a good citizen, honest is all his dealings with his fellow men, and no charity appealed to him and went away empty-handed. No public improvement was made without his earnest co-operation and cordial aid. The land upon which now stands the depot of the B., C. & M. R. R., in Waterloo, was donated by Mr. Mullan. Besides that he donated one thousand dollars in money to secure the location of the road at this point. He had faults -- they are buried with him. The grave covers every defect. The memory of his good deeds lives after him. He leaves a wife and six children to mourn his loss. One of his sons is C. W. Mullan, a well known attorney of this city. He was buried on Sabbath last, the funeral sermon being preached by Rev. Mr. Crippen of the M. E. Church. A large crowd of his neighbors and friends assembled to mingle their grief with that of his family, at the loss of an estimable citizen, kind parent and faithful friend. -- Thus, one by one, the land-marks of the past are passing away.

[Iowa State Reporter, Waterloo, Iowa, Wed., Sept 2, 1874]

Death of an Old Settler.

Charles Mullan died at his residence on the west side on Thursday evening last, aged nearly 63 years.

As one of the oldest settlers, not only of our city but of the county also, this death requires more than a bare announcement. Mr. Mullan was born in Lycoming county, Pennsylvania, on the 12th day of November, 1811. In 1838 he emigrated west, settling first in Wisconsin, but moving into Illinois the same year. He came to Iowa in June, 1846, while it was yet a territory and became a resident of what is now known as Blackhawk county, being the fifth settler within the county limits. The settlers preceding him were G. W. Hanna, Wm. Virden, Wm. Sturgis and E. D. Adams, three of them still surviving.

Mr. Mullan entered the first 80 acres of land in the county, comprising the present homestead, in July, 1847, and building a residence near the site of the building now occupied by the family. -- He subsequently entered another 80 which includes the old town site from Bridge street on a line running nearly south. He was the first county surveyor and in 1854 platted and laid off part of the town on the 80 acres last entered.

In 1850 he circulated a petition for the establishment of a post office here and was named as the first post-master. Up to this time the locality had been known as "Prairie Rapids," but in perfecting the arrangements for the post-office it was thought best to find a new name, and Waterloo was finally suggested by Mr. M. and adopted. He was also the first justice of the peace in this section. For many years he was actively identified with various enterprises for the advancement of the interest of the town of his creating but of late years has confined himself principally to his farm duties.

The funeral took place at the residence of deceased last Sunday afternoon, and was largely attended. Rev. J. T. Crippen officiated.


Waterloo Evening Courier October 13, 1921

A new monument was erected yesterday in Elmwood Cemetery over the graves of Waterloo's first settlers — Charles and America Mullan.

The memorial is a plain granite rock of modest size and design and replaces an old tombstone erected at the time of Mr. Mullan's death, nearly half a century ago.

"Pioneers of Black Hawk County — First Settlers in Waterloo — 1846." is the epitaph carved upon the face of the granite, together with the name "Mullan." Smaller headstones, also put in place yesterday, designate the pioneers as "Charles Mullan, 1811-1874" and "American Mullan, 1817-1902." Uniform headstones also mark the graves of Elizabeth Davison and Mary A. Mullan, daughters of the first settlers.

Monuments and markers are the loving tribute of surviving members of the family.

Charles and America Mullan came to the site of the present city in 1846, settling on what has long been known as Mullan's Hill. The log cabin later gave way to a larger house, material for which was hauled by ox team from Dubuque. The family has never removed from the place, it is now being occupied by R. M. Davison, a grandson, the residence being listed in the city directory as 166 Falls Avenue.

Family Members


In their memory
Plant Memorial Trees