Death in Junction City, OR – Knife Thrust in Vitals


Frank Mulkey, of Junction [City, OR], the Victim of a Parent’s Righteous Anger.

Fatal Domestic Affray the Culmination of Trouble of Long Standing – Mulkey Had Been Repeatedly Forbidden the premises of J.J. Butler, His Slayer.

A striking example of filial perversion is demonstrated in the conduct of Mrs. McLaren who pillowed the head of Mulkey, the roue and wept over him in shameless fashion as he was dying from the effects of a knife thrust inflicted by the girl’s father in defense of his own life.  Just previous to the tragedy the girl had been roundly abused and maltreated by Mulkey and this circumstances caused in the altercation which resulted in his death.

Junction City, Ore., Sept 8 [1903] (Special) As if seeking religious sanctuary from mortal foe, Frank Mulkey of this city, after receiving a fatal knife thrust in his vitals, staggered to the shadow of the Methodist church and with his head pillowed upon the breast of the daughter of his slayer, J.J. Butler, breathed his last.

A few minutes previously the dead man, then strong in the vigor of youth, had left an old crippled pioneer and Indian War veteran reeling and bleeding from the effects of a wound on the head inflicted by a heavy rock hurled from his hand.

Today’s domestic tragedy is the culmination of trouble of long-standing.  Its inception deals with a long series of Baccohalian revels when the lights were low, between the dead man and Mrs. Nam McLaren to which Mr. Butler, parent of Mrs. McLaren objected.  Besides being a man of dissolute habits, Mulkey had never evinced an inclination toward  honest toll and this fact further emphasized Mr. Butler’s antagonism toward Mulkey and caused him to resent the nocturnal visits to his home.

Details of the Tragedy.

Circumstances which let up to the tragedy are best told in Mr. Butler’s own words.  “I left my work at the noon hour and was going to lunch.” said Mr. Butler to a Register representative.  “When within a few blocks of home my little grandson Jimmie McLaren came running up to me and said Mulkey was drunk and maltreating my daughter.  At the corner of W.C. Washburn residence I encountered Mulkey coming down town and accosted him, telling him to keep away from my home and family. With the words, You d–d old —— I’ll fix  you.  Mulkey hurled a rock at me which I dodged.  He then grappled with me and struck me on the head with a rock knocking me down.  I arose and opening the blade of an ordinary pocket knife, lunged at him, merely with the intention of making him desist.  He then walked away, saying, “I’ll fix you yet.”

I returned to town and sought medical aid for my head was bleeding, also informing the officers of Mulkey’s attack upon me.  On arriving home I was informed that my assailant was dead.

Public Sympathy with Butler.

“Butler is the last man in this world I would accuse of committing violence,”  said an old-timer of this city today.  Not that he hasn’t had provocation.  For the past year this fellow Mulkey has been surreptitiously slipping into Butler’s home after meal hours when the old man returned to town eating his victuals and carrying on the clandestine amour with his daughter.  He has threatened to kill the old man and today’s affray is no surprise to the community.  Mulkey was repeatedly forbidden the Butler premises.”

Verdict of Coroner’s Jury.

The afternoon train brought Sheriff Fisk, and Deputy District Attorney Harris to the scene.  Coroner King arrived later by conveyance.  At 7:30 p.m. a jury was empaneled and after weighing the evidence arrived at the following verdict:

Junction City, Ore. Sept 8, ’03.  We the coroner’s jury, duly empaneled to sit in an inquest, find that the deceased is Frank Mulkey, that he came to his death the 8th day of September, 1903, about 12 o’clock noon, at Junction City, Lane County, Oregon. We find that he came to his death by a wound in his left side, made by a knife, or other sharp instrument, in the hands of J.J. Butler..  We believe that this was an act of self-defense, and that J.J. Butler is not guilty of a crime. Geo W. Handsaker, Foreman, GC Millett, Wm Johnston, IB McFarland, Samuel Robinson, SS Snell.”  Eugene Morning Register, September 9, 1903, pg. 1, col. 3-4.

Additional information

Frank Mulkey was buried at the I.O.O.F Cemetery – now known as Rest Lawn Memorial Park, located west of Junction City, Oregon.  Frank was the son of Christopher C. Mulkey. Information from Junction City Times, September 13, 1903, pg. 5, col. 3-4.

 J.J. – [Jonathan J.] Bulter, a Oregon Pioneer and Indian War veteran, was born May 2, 1836 in Valparaiso, Indiana. He crossed the plains with an ox team over the old Military road – arriving in Eugene.  He married Miss Ester J. Wilkinson of Corvallis, Oregon on July 4, 1860. He was a member of the Masonic Order.  He was survived by one son, Emmitt Butler, of Junction City, two daughters, Mrs. Eureka Halvorson and Mrs. E.J. Arnold.  Information from The Oregonian (Portland), Nov. 1, 1914.

J.J. Butler died October 25, 1914, he was 78 years old when he died.  He took up a donation land claim near Junction City and lived there until 1880, when he opened a harness shop, which he operated until he got sick in October 1913.  He was the justice of the peace for 15 years, city recorder for 3 years and notary public 25 years and a member of the Masonic fraternity.  He was buried at the I.O.O.F cemetery. Information taken from an article in The Eugene Daily Guard, October 26, 1914.



About gtoftdahl

Researching in Oregon Newspapers
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