Clark Marion Mullican, jurist and civic leader, was born on February 4, 1887, near Bristol, Ellis County, Texas; he was one of eight children of William Marion and Virginia Mullican, four of whom died in infancy. His father was a prosperous farmer and stock raiser who moved to Lubbock County in 1916. Mullican attended public schools in Ellis, Haskell, and Dallas counties and graduated from a Dallas high school. He attended a military school in Dallas from 1901 to 1905 and then attended Texas Christian University in Waco for a year before entering the University of Texas, where he studied from 1906 to 1908 and in 1911–1912. He received both B.S. and LL.B. degrees from the university and was admitted to the State Bar of Texas in 1909. He practiced law in Dallas and served as assistant district attorney there in 1913 and 1914.
On August 5, 1917, Mullican was commissioned a major in the Texas National Guard. He helped organize volunteer guard companies in Dallas, Fort Worth, Hillsboro, Mexia, Groesbeck, Hubbard City, Gatesville, Ferris, and Sulphur Springs. These were companies of the original Thirty-sixth Infantry Division, which Mullican accompanied to France in 1918 as a member of the 144th Infantry regiment. He was in both Meuse-Argonne offensives and was promoted to lieutenant colonel on October 29, 1918, for gallantry in action and given command of his battalion. He was awarded the Croix de Guerre by Marshall Henri Philippe Pétain, commander of the French armies of the East. Mullican became commander of the 144th regiment in March 1919. He retained command of the regiment when it left France on May 24, 1919, to return to Texas. He commanded the regiment until it was demobilized on July 8, 1919. By then he had been promoted to colonel. He moved to Lubbock later in the summer of 1919.
In 1920 Mullican accepted the invitation of state senator William H. Bledsoe to join in organizing a law firm. In 1923 Governor Pat Neff offered Bledsoe an appointment as judge of the Seventy-second District Court. Bledsoe declined and urged the appointment of Mullican, who accepted and served until 1927, when he resigned to accept Governor Dan Moody's offer of appointment as judge of the newly established Ninety-ninth District Court in Lubbock. He won reelection until his resignation in 1936. During his tenure he earned a reputation as a strict but fair judge and presided over several notable trials, including those of Tom Ross and Milt Good in Lubbock for murder. Mullican's Seventy-second District was said to be the largest in Texas and as large as the state of New York, including as it did ten West Texas counties. In 1934 Mullican ran against George Mahon for congressman of the new Nineteenth Congressional District but lost in a runoff in the second Democratic primary.
For many years Mullican was involved in cattle ranching in Cochran County near the New Mexico border. After resigning from the bench he practiced law in Lubbock until 1947, when he bought the Rothwell Motor Court in Wichita Falls. He managed the motel until a few months before his death. He was often called upon to deliver patriotic addresses on the Fourth of July, Flag Day, Armistice Day, and other occasions. He worked for the establishment of Texas Technological College. He was a thirty-second-degree Scottish Rite Mason, a Shriner, and a member of the American Legion and the Kiwanis Club. He worked with the Boy Scouts and the Red Cross. His hobby was weather forecasting; for nearly twenty years he faithfully reported his findings in accordance with the old Indian legend that the direction of the wind on the morning of March 22 would determine the crop yield. For many years he taught a men's Bible class at the First Christian Church in Lubbock. He was married twice. His first marriage ended in divorce in 1926, and about 1931 he married Myrtle Hutson, who survived him. He had no children. Mullican died on October 23, 1950, and was buried in the City of Lubbock Cemetery.
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Dallas Morning News, June 28, 1919. Lubbock Avalanche-Journal, October 23, 1950. Lubbock Evening Journal, January 26, 1936. Clark M. Mullican Papers, Southwest Collection, Texas Tech University. Texas Bar Journal, January 1951.
Law, Law Enforcement, and Outlaws
Politics and Government
Dallas/Fort Worth Region
The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.
Lawrence L. Graves,
“Mullican, Clark Marion,”
Handbook of Texas Online,
accessed June 25, 2022,
Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
Original Publication Date:
March 1, 1995
This entry belongs to the following Handbook Special Projects: