I do not love the bright sword for its sharpness, nor the arrow for its swiftness, nor the warrior for his glory. I love only that which they defend. (J.R.R.Tolkien, The Two Towers)

When I carry a gun, I don't do so because I am looking for a fight, but because I'm looking to be left alone. The gun at my side means that I cannot be forced, only persuaded. I don't carry it because I'm afraid, but because it enables me to be unafraid. It doesn't limit the actions of those who would interact with me through reason, only the actions of those who would do so by force.

Marko Kloos "Why the Gun is Civilization"

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Dr. Marshall B. Taylor AKA The Red Fox

Dr. Marshall B. Taylor, a native of Scott county, was perhaps one of the strangest characters ever to live in Wise County.

He was at the same time, preacher, doctor, and U.S. Marshal. He always carried with him on his travels over the mountains a Winchester rifle and a long, brass-tipped telescope, and who became the “Red Fox” in John Fox, Jr’s Book, The Trail of the Lonesome Pine.

As a U.S. Marshal, in his quest for moonshiners he made enemies. One of these was Ira Mullins, a cripple, with whom he had had a law suit in Kentucky.

Having gotten wind that Ira Mullins had put a price of $300 on his head, Dr. Taylor beat him to a killing. On the morning of May 14, 1892 Ira Mullins, his wife, John Chappel, Wilson Mullins, and Greenberry Harris were all slain at the Killing Rock just south of Pound Gap.

Caught, tried, convicted, he was sentenced to be hanged on October 27, 1893.
At the doctors request he was allowed to wear an all white suit handmade by his wife. The gallows hood and bindings for his hands were also of white made by his wife. His final request was that he be allowed to partake of the sacrament and that his body be kept up for 3 days so that he could arise on the 3rd day.

Buried in the cemetery back of his house in Wise his grave remains unmarked to this day.

Condensed from the History of Wise County (Bicentennial edition) by Luther F. Addington.

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At 4:30 PM, Blogger the Contrary Goddess said...

I'm pretty sure I've told you the story, that my great-grandmother hid Red Fox when he was running from the law, that she never had anything bad to say about him.

He may or may not have killed Mr. Mullins -- Doc Taylor was really killed because he was a midwife, a healing doctor (like the witches in Europe), people looked up to him and listened to him, and he was telling people to not sell their mineral rights to the yankees. The yankees had thrown out the old law enforcement (including Doc Taylor) and replaced it with their own men. Then they killed Doc Taylor.

Oh, and the Pound was a notoriously lawless place, especially Pound Gap, and for some good reasons.

You know, I appreciate that History of Wise County book, but it is so limited in its value.

At 5:29 PM, Blogger H. Stallard said...

Yeah everyone knows or should know that recorded history always favors the side of those in power. In other words, it's only one side of the story. We get that all the time on a call. If there are 3 people involved you have 3 different versions of the story and then you have the truth about what really happened. Whether or not he killed Ira Mullins is beside the fact...that was the excuse to get rid of him.

At 10:40 AM, Blogger madcapmum said...

Very off-topic, but is that hippo clip from a t.v. show? My kids love it!

At 1:37 PM, Blogger the Contrary Goddess said...

And then there is the always hinted at possibility that he was my great-grandmother's lover. My mother always said, "Grandmother was such a smart, sharp woman. Owned most of South of the Mountain. Grandfather was just DULL." Of course, I've never met a smart McFall yet. Not to say there couldn't be one out there somewhere. She'd been a Phipps. Her mother was a Toliver if I've got my story straight.

At 11:10 PM, Anonymous Nina said...

Ya,there are many conflicting stories about whether he could have done it, was framed, etc. The oil companies were coming in and taking peoples land. He wasn't on their side and they didn't like that he was trying to help people to keep their land. There was massive lawlessness at the time even with women, killings were routine over nothing. There was a story about him delivering a baby far from the killing rock at the time of the massacre. His son, Sylvan said he told him he didn't do it. There are many reports of his kindness to people. Several people wanted him dead. He was in their way. The plays and stories have gotten so far from any real truth but are passed on as truth. I wonder if anyone knows where his grave is. I heard it was unmarked. They could exhume him and put to rest the question whether he died or got away. There is a story from a dr. that he was a mason and all the men helping with the burial were also. They said they would never kill one of their own. Some of the doctors present were his relatives. The building where he was supposedly hung is enclosed and he was wearing a hood so it all adds to the mystery. There are also the stories of how he collapsed when they were going to put the noose around his neck, so who knows? Some people may have wanted the notoriety of saying they saw it all firsthand. Nancy never heard from him again and he dearly loved his kids and grandkids so he likely would have tried to contact them. The grave marked with a stone isn't the actual location of his burial but the family wanted him to have a marker there. I haven't ever read that anyone saw his body when he laid at his house for three days during his wake before burial. I have a photo of him when he was young that I haven't seen posted anywhere, so I can see why women would have been attracted to him, but his good looks were gone at the time of his death. He was before his time in some respects so he may have been thought of as odd for being a healer,though there were many reports of gratefulness for his services. I am a healer and it is commonplace now. There are many wonderful stories passed down through the family about him. He was my gr gr gr grandfather.


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