Donegal man’s historic letters set to fetch up to $100,000

first_imgA story of murder and intrigue lies in the letters of a Donegal man which are going to auction this week with a guide price of $70,000 to $100,000.John McMullen, from East Donegal, made his fortune in the New World in the early 1800s. Mystery still surrounds the murder of McMullen, who was slain in his home by an unknown assassin in 1853.McMullen’s personal belongings were auctioned off in the year of his death, but some items were left behind on the courthouse doorstep and deemed worthless – until now. A trunk full of letters dealing with the estate and family of McMullen are all that remains of the Irish Empresario. The 42 pieces will be auctioned tomorrow by Sotheby’s New York with a Euro guide price of 64,289 – 91,842.Image: Sotheby’s New YorkWithin the letters lies the story of the Donegal man and his business partner and stepson-in-law, James McGloin. Much of the story outside the found letters was pieced together by Rachel Bluntzer Hébert in her book – The Forgotten Colony, San Patricio de Hibernia.McMullen was born in Donegal in 1785 and moved to America as a young man. He settled in Georgia and married a widow, Esther Cummings in 1810. Esther had two children, and the couple also adopted a son. McMullen had much success as a merchant before he and his family moved to Mexico in the 1820s. He was granted an empresario contract by the Mexican government to colonise land in Texas. James McGloin and McMullen recruited Irish colonists arriving to America in New York and Philadelphia and brought 200 families to settle between the Nueces and Medina rivers. The town of San Patricio was also founded as part of the colony.The Texas Revolution in 1835-1836 was not kind to the people of the colonies. They suffered from food shortage and illness as the war waged around them. McMullen became an unpopular figure in the colony as San Patricio was ravaged by war. He sold his share to McGloin and moved to San Antonio de Bexar to pursue a life in politics and work as a merchant once more.He was elected as a member of the General Council during the foundation of a new Texan republic in 1836 and served as temporary President of the council for a period.Image: Sotheby’s New YorkThe murder of McMullen is shrouded in mystery, with dramatic accounts contained within the letters going to auction tomorrow. Records say he was set upon in his home, bound, gagged him had his throat slit. Edward Miles, the first administrator of McMullen’s estate, said the scene of the murder was worse than anything he had seen on the battlefield during the Texas Revolution.The Mayor offered a reward to find the murderer and it appeared that the culprit also robbed McMullen, but no one was ever charged.McMullen’s nephew and namesake, John McMullen, son of Neal, his late brother claimed the estate for himself and his siblings after the death. Nephew John McMullen became the administrator of the estate and it was split equally between the respective McMullen and McGloin heirs.The intriguing story is encapsulated within 105 pages of mostly autograph letters signed by Jacob Waelder, a lawyer and newspaper publisher in San Antonio, Texas. The letters dating from 12 December 1834 to 22 February 1869 are currently on exhibition in New York before they are sold tomorrow. Donegal man’s historic letters set to fetch up to $100,000 was last modified: June 14th, 2017 by Rachel McLaughlinShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)last_img

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