T MULLINS, WELL KNOWN
T MULLINS, WELL KNOWN
Pat Mullins, mayor of Butte during one of the most exciting periods of the city’s life, one of the most unique and interesting characters of western life and one of the most lovable of public men, died yesterday at his home in North Yakima, Wash. Death was due to diabetes, from which he had suffered for about eight years.
Mr. Mullins had fought against the inroads of the malady with the
same vigor he showed when making his political fight. His family realized
that it was only a matter of time when he must surrender, although his
death came as a shock to his relatives in Butte, as well as to his many
friends, whom he numbered by the thousands. His son, John R. Mullins,
received the word of his father’s death shortly after noon yesterday. He
and Mrs. Winifred Dickson of the city health office, who is a sister of
Mrs. Mullins, left on the North Coast limited last night for North Yakima,
to attend the funeral, which it is understood will take place there.
Born in Detroit, Mich., about 59 years ago, Mr. Mullins early in
life engaged in the mining business, being connected with the Atlantic
mine near Houghton. In Michigan at the early age of 19 he married Ella
Holland, 16 years old. After
the birth of their eldest son, John, they came to Montana. That was 38
years ago. For two years he was superintendent of the Hecla mine in
Beaverhead county. Then he came to Butte and engaged in the business of
mining. At that, during his
long residence in the camp, he made and lost many times what would have
been to the ordinary man a fortune.
In addition to his mining activities, Mr. Mullins built the Mullins house in Centerville, ever since a boarding and rooming place for miners. He ran this for 15 years, selling it out in 1899. From then on he devoted his time for the rest of his stay in Butte to mining and incidentally to politics. He had some good properties, the main one being the Comanche, which he sold shortly before he left the office of mayor and went to Washington, principally on account of his health, which had begun to fail under the strain he underwent during his political activities.
Taking the goodly sum he got from the sale of the Comanche and his
other mining interests, Mr. Mullins went to North Yakima, where he made
large investments in real estate and ranch lands. He owned one of the
finest ranches in that part of the state of Washington. In addition he
built three hotels in North Yakima, all fine places and all doing a
flourishing business. While it is hard to tell just what he accumulated
and held at the time of his death, it is safe to say his estate will value
well up in the thousands. Had he kept all he made since coming West he
could easily have been rated among the millionaires. But he never allowed
himself to be idle. He took risks that other men would not and he paid for
It was in his political life that Pat Mullins made a name that will
last as long as any old-timer is left in these parts. In 1903 the big
fight between the Amalgamated company and F. Augustus Heinze was on full
blast. The Heinze element in Butte politics put Pat Mullins up for mayor
at the spring election of 1903. Henry Mueller, since dead, was his
principal opponent, running on a citizens’ ticket. The socialists also
had a candidate who ran well. Mr. Mullins won out by a small margin.
Then came his political troubles. While he was the city’s chief executive he had an adverse majority on the city council. Never in the history of Butte did the council chamber witness such scenes as took place during the two years of Mayor Mullins’ incumbency. Out of the 16 aldermen there were 11 who stood as a stone wall against anything the mayor wanted which might be of political advantage to this party. They became known as
the “Solid Eleven.” At
times the doings in the council chamber in the Butte city hall took on the
aspect of a near riot. But Pat Mullins stood his ground throughout the
long fight, and if he could not beat the solid eleven, it is equally true
the solid eleven did not get any the better of the mayor.
Conditions arose during the meeting of the legislature where one vote
meant much. Had Mr. Mullins gone away from Butte to look after legislative
business an adverse presiding officer of the council would have taken his
place as mayor. So he decided to stay in Butte and buck the solid eleven.
At the end of his term as mayor he left the city hall, virtually unbeaten,
although not a victor, but with the undivided good will of every man who
had fought him and who admired a good, honest fighter. He
had enough of politics and decided to devote his time to building up his
own interests which had been neglected in great measure for the two years
he was in office.
It was shortly after his retirement from the mayor’s office that he went to Washington state to make that his home. He had made several visits to Butte since and was always welcomed by his old friends and by those who in the strenuous times were counted among his political enemies. His last visit to Butte was about eight months ago. At that time the ravages of the disease which brought about his death were visible to those who had known him. From a man of more than 250 pounds he had wasted away until his weight was scarcely 180. But he was the same quiet, genial Pat Mullins of the old days, glad to meet those who knew him in the years past and glad to be remembered.
While Mr. Mullins was a mayor, Theodore Roosevelt, then president
of the United States, made a visit to Butte. It was Mayor Mullins’ duty
as chief executive of the city to do the honors for the distinguished
visitor. And he did them well, even if what he did failed to take on the
performance of a world diplomat; for what might have been lacking in
finesse was made up in straightforward, hearty welcome.
It was during his welcoming speech that the mayor addressed the
president as “the hero of San Diego hill.” Everyone knew that he meant
San Juan, and while much was made of the slip at the time, the spirit in
which it was made atoned for the mistake.
There was another incident at the banquet given later in the day to
the president that the mayor got off another original one that a
well-trained after-dinner talker could not have improved on, even if he
could have equaled it, for originality. When the guests were all seated,
Mayor Mullins made a few remarks applicable to the occasion, and then in
loud tones cried:
“Now, bring on the feed.”
And nobody enjoyed that more than the president of the United
One thing about Pat Mullins that will never be forgotten, especially by newspaper men who had to do with him and his administration, was that in the bitterest of the fighting he never harbored malice, and never let the differences caused by the political troubles interfere with his personal friendships. Men connected with newspapers that fought his administration from the start were most of them among his warm admirers and he was friendly with them. His manner toward them never changed. And it may be added that their friendship toward him never ceased, despite the bitterness with which he was at times assailed.
All in all, Pat Mullins was the most unique character that ever
held public office in Butte or Silver Bow county. While his judgment might
be criticized and his political doings condemned by those in opposition,
nobody ever questioned his rugged honesty or his sincerity of purpose. He
was typically western in his ways and in his speech; diplomacy was not his
forte; when he wanted to say something, he took the shortest and most
direct cut to the object in view; if his language was not as polished as
that of some others, he never left any doubt as to his meaning.
Besides his wife, Mr. Mullins leaves three sons, John R. Mullins of Butte and Frank Mullins and George Mullins of Washington. His only other near relative in this part of the county, a sister, died some years ago in North Yakima, and is buried there.
Wednesday, December 20, 1916
The death in North Yakima yesterday of Patrick Mullins removes
another of the men who were prominent in the political and mining life
of Butte a few years ago. Mr.
Mullins was a strong force in the city’s political life for a number
of years, rising to greatest prominence during the Amalgamated-Heinz
fight. He served a term as mayor of the city and a term or two in the
legislature of the state.
Mr. Mullins left Butte for North Yakima a few years ago and proved as successful in the fruit country as he had been in the mining region. There will be genuine regret and general sorrow at the news of his death. In this life here Pat Mullins made many friends who became strongly attached to him. It was inevitable in so strong a character that he should also make some enemies. But those who were opposed to him politically admired him and respected him and had a good word for him even while fighting him. They knew where to find him; there was never any doubt about where he stood. He fought hard, but he fought square. He was true to his side even at personal or political loss and well deserved the title of “Honest Pat Mullins.”
Wednesday, December 20, 1916
EX-MAY OF BUTTE PASSES AT NORTH YAKIMA
at two Years of Age, business Career Is Started in Stove factory at 10
NORTH YAKIMA, Wash., Dec. 19__ (Special)—Patrick Mullins, aged
60, builder and owner of the Washington, Michigan and Montana Hotels here
and owner of several hundred acres of highly improved ranch land in the
Selah Valley, died this afternoon of apoplexy.
Date: Wednesday, December 20, 1916