Col. Michael Macdonald Muldoon (1836-1911), was the founder of “Union Marble Works, M. Muldoon & Co.,” of Louisville, Kentucky. Born in County Cavan, Ireland, where he learned the stonecutter’s trade, Muldoon immigrated to the United States and settled in Louisville, Kentucky by 1854. Muldoon initially partnered with George Doyle, Bate B. Ross and John Walton. That partnership was dissolved in 1862 when Muldoon formed a new co-partnership with John Walton and Charles Bullett, sculptor.
The business expanded in 1863 to include a studio and workshop in Carrara, Italy, under the direction of Charles Bullett, where most of the actual carving was done. Bullett was born in Laval, France and emigrated to New York. He won major awards at the Ohio State fair between 1853 and 1857. Unfortunately, his carving career was cut short due to “a neurologic disease in the arm caused by the use of the mallet.”
Bullett carved his self portrait with his wife Matilda (right), and Michael Muldoon (above) out of Carrara marble. Muldoon’s daughter Hannah donated them to the the Speed Art Museum in Louisville where they remain today.
Source: Jeffrey Weldman, Artists in Ohio, 1787-1900, A Biographical Dictionary.
Family legend has it that Bullett died in Carrara, Italy in 1873 or 1874. Bullett was buried with his wife Matilda in a beautiful mausoleum in Cave Hill Cemetery in Louisville in 1875.
The Muldoon Company, also known as Louisville Marble Works, built most of the Confederate monuments erected in the South in the late nineteenth century. According to the Courier-Journal of Louisville, Kentucky in 1891:
M. Muldoon & Co. Notable as one of the most prominent houses in the United States in its line the firm of M. Muldoon & Co. designers and importers of Italian marble, American and Scotch granite monuments. The business was established in 1855 by Mr. Muldoon, who now conducts it with rooms at 322 and 328 West Green Street, comprising a three-story building, 70×165 feet dimensions, where he employs about forty skilled workmen in finishing work for delivery, the granite being worked into shape at the quarries and the polishing and lettering done here. The firm also have workshop and studios at Carrara, Italy, where they employ many workmen. Mr. Muldoon has executed many of the most important contracts for monumental and cemetery work in all parts of the county east to New York City, south in all important cities; has furnished several monuments for San Francisco, St. Louis, Galveston Tex., and at other points, designed and executed the Confederate soldiers’ monument at Columbia, Tenn, Columbus, Ga, Sparta, Ga., and Thomasville, Ga; and the Federal Soldiers’ monument at Joliet, Ill. The monument of John C. Calhoun in St. Michaels churchyard, Charleston, S.C. was made by Mr. Muldoon. And a very large amount of other work of the highest artistic merit has been produced by these shops.
Confederate Monument, Columbia SC
The Confederate Monument in Columbia, SC was erected by Muldoon, Walker & Cobb in 1879. The statue was replaced in 1882 after the original monument was struck by lightening. The obelisk was designed by Muldoon & Co. and the sculpture was designed by Carlo Nicoli of Carrara, Italy.
Source: Historic Columbia: South Carolina Monument to the Confederate Dead
In the late 1800s Muldoon & Co. advertised a large stock of “Monuments, Statuary, Rustics” direct from Carrara, Italy. Also “a fine lot of Granite Monuments made of the best material.” Muldoon owned interest in quarries in Barre, Vermont.
Elodie Breck Todd Dawson (1840-1877)
Muldoon & Co. erected this fifteen foot Italian marble monument featuring a life size figure of Faith leaning upon a cross, which is entwined with garlands of flowers. Faith’s left hand is upon the cross, while the right hand is upon a chaplet of flowers. The face of the statue is a very perfect reproduction of Mrs. Dawson’s. The work was done by sculptor Nicola of Italy.
Sallie Jones Featherston (1854-1909)
Old Live Oak Cemetery, Selma, Alabama signed M. Muldoon & Co. Lou. Ky.
Muldoon died on April 27, 1911 at his home. He is buried at Louisville’s Cave Hill Cemetery, Section 1, Lot 76 with the thirty foot Celtic cross monument at the left marking the graves of his family.
Muldoon Memorials is still operational on Broadway street in Louisville and is considered Kentucky’s oldest memorial provider.
Source: Bryan S. Bush, The Men Who Build Louisville: The City of Progress in the Gilded Age, Feb. 2019.