The King of Butchers.
I here present to the reader the biography and record of the great
butcher champion, M. F. Mullins, of Chicago. Mr. Mullins was born in
Canandaigua, N. Y., in 1863. He moved west with his parents in 1869,
settling in Hammond, Lake county, Indiana. At the age of 18 years Mr.
Mullins started out in life for himself, and chose for his vocation the
butcher business. He commenced his apprenticeship with the firm of
Swift & Co., when their cattle business did not exceed sixty head per day.
He has been in the service of this company continuously since, and has
seen the business increase to the present capacity of 7,000 head per day.
After eight years service with the company he was promoted to the posi-
tion of foreman, which he has held.tc- the present day. His first contest
took place in the Exposition building in Chicago, Illinois, August 22d,
1883, there being eight contestants for prizes, as follows: First prize, gold
medal, valued at $250: second prize, $100; third prize, $50. The contest-
ants worked their bullocks in the following order:
Walter Dennis, Bridgeport, 111. 7 39
William Rader, Bridgeport, 111. 7 54
Michael Sheck, Armour & Co., Chicago, 6 12
M. F. Mullins, Swift & Co., Chicago, 4 5
Pete Magee, Bridgeport, 111. 8 40
Rod Laverty, Boston, Mass. 3 38
Frank Noonan, Armour & Co. 8 40
Joe Malone, Bridgeport, 111. 12 22
This contest was principally considered on the best time made; good
work was not regarded. Rod Laverty lost first prize by a foul claimed
for not skinning out one hind leg. Mr. Mullins was awarded first prize,
UNION STOCK YARDS AND SLAUGHTER HOUSES. 13
Rod Laverty second, and Michael Sheck third. This contest was before
an audience of about three thousand people.
. This mode of contest has been discontinued, owing to the unsatis-
factory work done. It is now supplanted by contests under American
rules, which are as follows:
1. There shall be three judges, who shall be considered fairminded
and honorable men, and thoroughly acquainted with the business.
2. Cattle shall weigh not less than 1,400 pounds.
3. Contestants will be allowed eight minutes to dress the bullock;
judges to call time when the bullock is drawn up, front feet off and right
hindleg broken; dresser to call time when finished.
4. After dresser calls time he will not be allowed near carcass or
hide until after judges have made their inspection when, by having every-
thing perfect, dresser will be credited with 100 points in time of eight
minutes; points to be considered as follows:
1st. For opening, reining and siding bullock, 15 points.
2d. " leging, 5 points.
3d. " rumping and backing 15 points.
4th. " splitting, 15 points.
5th. " clearing shank and dropping hide, 10 points.
6th. " time, 20 points.
7th. " general neatness. 10 points.
8th. ' condition of hide, 10 points.
This constitutes the 100 points to credit. The following points will be
deducted for the following defects: Twenty points off for every minute
over the allotted eight minutes, and ten points in his favor for every minute
less than allotted time. Under these rules Mr. Mullins's second match
took place October 19,1887, at the Exposition building in Chicago. 111.,
with the exception that twenty-five minutes instead of eight were allowed
to dress the bullock. There were nine contestants in this match. The
judges were men of good standing and judgment and decided to the sat-
isfaction of contestants and audience. One of them was from Boston,
one from New York and one from Chicago.
14 A TRIP THROUGH THE
Min. Sec. Points.
Mr. Mullins won first prize, $100, 10 97
Larry Noonan won second, $50, 12 94
Joe Smith won third. $25, 11 45 81
At this contest there were over 3,000 people. These American rules
which governed this contest as well as all others since bring out a better
class of workmen, who find it to their advantage to do good work, be-
sides being swift.
Mr. Mullins's third match took place in the Exposition building, Chi-
cago, 111., October I5th, 1889, before an audience of 8,000 people. Mr.
Mullins worked his bullock last, and after the decision was given by the
judges, there was great shouting by Mr. Mullins's admirers. Three cheers-
were then given for the champion beef dresser of the world, Mr. M. F.
Mullins. After the excitement had quieted down Mr. Mullins thanked
the judges and audience in a neat little speech, also his coworkers. Then
Mr. G. F. Swift walked up to the judges's stand and presented Mr. Mul- .
lins with a handsome roll of bills. He was closely followed by Mr. E. C.
Swift, of Boston, who also gave Mr. Mullins another roll of bills in ad-
miration of his skill and activity as a beef dresser, and for so nobly rep-
resenting their firm in the contest. The prizes were as follows:
Min. Sec. Points.
First prize, $300, Mr. M. F. Mullins, 8 50 119
Second " $200, Mr. J. Smith, 10 116
Third " $100, Mr. Larry Noonan, 9 50 104
Mr. Mullins's fourth contest took place in Union Park, San Fran-
cisco, Cal., May i8th, 1890, before an audience of 12,000 people, for
$1,000. This contest was between Mr. Mullins and Mr. Westphall, of
San Francisco, who was champion of the Pacific slope. The match was
under the same rules as the two preceding contests, excepting that con-
testants were allowed but eight minutes to dress the bullock instead of
twenty-five. In the toss for choice of bullocks Mr. Westphall won, and
in the toss for working last Mr. Mullins won. The time was as follows:.
Mr. Westphall, 6 minutes, 42 seconds, making 85 points
Mr. Mullins, 7 " 7 " 127 "
UNION STOCK YARDS AND SLAUGHTER HOUSES. 15
After the judges had inspected the bullocks it was found that Mr.
Westphall had done very poor splitting and siding and had scored the
hide greatly, for which he lost several points. Four proprietors of the
largest tanneries in San Francisco inspected Mr. Mullins's hide and pro-
nounced it as being the best work done on any hide ever taken off in the
country. Mr. Mullins was then declared winner and the champion of the
world, being presented with a fine gold medal.
Mr. Mullins's fifth and last match took place at Willow Springs,
-Chicago, July 26th, 1890, under the auspices qf the County Commission-
ers of Cook County, Illinois, in honor of Governor Palmer, who was at
that time a candidate for the United States Senate, and has since been
-elected. This contest was between Mr. Westphall and Mr. Mullins.
Mr. Westphall still thought he could beat Mr. Mullins and win back
some of the money lost in the previous contest, as well as the champion-
ship honors. The audience numbered 15,000 people. In this race Mr.
Westphall got choice of bullocks again and worked first. Time as fol-
Mr. Westphall 6 minutes, 43 seconds, scored 107 points.
Mr. Mullins 5 minutes, 42 seconds, scored 121 points.
SCORE CARD OF THIS RACE:
Opening, reining and siding 15
Working of legs 5
Rumping and backing 15
Dropping hides, clearing shanks 10
Condition of hide 10
General neatness 10
Fast time, 10 points gained per minute
Slow time, 20 points lost per minute
16 A TRIP THROUGH THE
In this as in all other cases, all was excitement when the decision
was made. Mr. Westphall made an eloquent speech declaring that Mr.
Mullins was his superior, and that he had had a fair and square match
both in San Francisco and Chicago. He also added that he was confi-
dent there was not a man in this country who could beat Mr. Mullins in
a beef dressing contest. Mr. Mullins was then presented with a fine gold
watch by the four County Commissioners, valued at $250, and Mr. West-
phall was presented with $200 in cash as a token of sincere regard for
his good work, he being the only man who gave Mr. Mullins a close