As we headed out of Big Ugly, we dropped Eunice and Doska off at their homes and said our “thank yous” and “goodbyes.” Billy suggested leaving the creek by a different route than Green Shoal, so we could see the grave of Ed’s great-great-grandfather, Money Makin’ Sol Mullins. That sounded good to me, I said. Plus, it was such a beautiful day; the extra drive with our windows down would be a nice way to take in all the fresh air and scenery.
We drove out of Big Ugly on a paved road and then over a mountain that dumped us at a gravel road on the Ellis Fork of the North Fork of Big Creek in Boone County. Sol’s grave was a few feet from the road in a weed patch. His headstone read, “SOLOMON MULLINS, FEB 23, 1782 NC – AUG 28, 1858, A GENIUS IN HIS OWN TIME.” Quite an epitaph for a counterfeiter. On the back of the headstone were the names of his sons: Peter (Ed’s ancestor) of Harts Creek, Alexander of Kentucky, Eli of Kentucky and Spencer of Harts. The footstone mentioned his military service and provided conflicting dates from what was given on his headstone: “SOLOMON MULLINS, 16 KY MILITIA, WAR OF 1812, FEB 20, 1782 – AUG 25, 1858.”
His wife’s headstone listed the names of their daughters: Matilda, Jenny, Margaret, and Dicie (Hollena Brumfield’s grandmother).
Back at Billy’s, we pulled out the Fry family history and looked up information on Lewis “Jupiter” Fry (1843-1924), the fiddler Mayme referenced as her father’s favorite.
“Known as Jupiter because he was interested in astronomy, he owned a telescope and predicted the weather to his family and associates,” the history read. “He also owned a typewriter and typed his own contracts. He never hired a lawyer when he was hauled into court, but represented himself and pleaded his own case. Once when he was involved in a feud over his land, he shot a man. The victim survived and Jupiter was not sentenced. He was a tall, thin man who was well-known for his fiery temper. Lewis owned and operated a grocery store at Gill of Lincoln County for many years. He also operated a push boat, running it from Gill to Guyandotte to buy groceries.”
Jupiter’s younger brother Anderson “Durg” Fry (1849-c.1938) was also a fiddler. He married a first cousin, Drusilla Lucas, and lived at Durg Frye Hollow on the Laurel Fork of Big Ugly. Drusilla was a sister to Boney Lucas and a first cousin to George Fry.
“Durg, of average height, was truly a mountaineer, a great hunter who practically stayed in the woods: coon hunting, trapping, hunting ginseng and catching ground hogs,” according to the Fry history. “He sold lots of animal furs, butchered cattle and hogs for others, and also made molasses. He smoked a pipe and chewed tobacco. He had a dog he called ‘Rat,’ and told others that when he died he hoped the Lord gave him back Rat and 1,000 acres for hunting ground. Durg loved to tell stories and relate stories of the past.”
Mayme Ferrell had told us nothing about Leander Fry (1856-c.1896), who seems to have been the best of the family fiddlers. The Fry history simply said that he “could play the violin well,” while the Lambert Collection had mentioned him as “a great fiddler” who “used to come down [the Guyan River to Guyandotte] from Lincoln on timber to play the fiddle.” Billy said his father used to play a tune called “The Ballad of Lee Fry”. Leander’s biography was vague: so far as we could tell, he never married nor had any children.