Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The Mitchell Line

Sometimes, dancing with the ancestors is a wee bit difficult. Okay, it's more than a wee bit difficult. Such is the case with the Mitchell branch of my family tree.

For the longest time, I was only able to trace the Mitchell branch back to my great-grandfather Charles A. Mitchell. Great. Fine. Dandy. It certainly appeared that Great-Grandpa Charlie appeared out of thin air. Then, I came across his death certificate and I'm thinking Finally, I'll know the names of his parents. Have I ever mentioned that thinking usually gets me in trouble? Ha!

Well, all that was listed on his death certificate were his parents last names.

Great. Fine. Dandy.

I was at a dead end, a brick wall, the edge of the cliff with a pack of lions racing toward me at break neck speed. Oy!

But, never fear . . . no Underdog wasn't here, but, I wasn't about to jump, well, at least not without a parachute. I finally decided to go to the State Archives in Nashville, Tennessee, and go through the actual Census books, rather than trying online searches. I looked up both Mitchell and Tate (my great-grandfather married a Tate) in the index, wrote down all the page numbers, and began the slow process of eliminating Mitchells.

I finally - on the 1880 Census Record for Warren County, Tennessee - came across a William C. Mitchell who had the following spouse/children: Martha, Jane, William, C. A. (male), M. M. (female), and A. J. (female). They were located on Page 21, House #22. On the next page was my great-great grandfather James Douglas Tate, his wife Mary Jane, and their daughter (my great-grandmother and future wife of Charles A. Mitchell) Martha Tate. This was Page 22, House #31. Woo-hoo!

Okay, I'm not 100% positive that this C. A. Mitchell is my relative, but . . . chances are pretty dang good! There is also an 1870 census record for this same - at least it appears to be - William C. Mitchell, and C. A. is listed as Charles, M. M. is listed as Martha, and A. J. is listed as A. Josephine.

So, for the time being, since I haven't been able to go any further with my research, I'm going with . . .

William C. Mitchell and Martha Forrest as the parents of my great-grandfather Charles A. Mitchell.

The only thing I don't know is what happened to William - did he die young? - or why contact between my great-grandfather's family and ours broke off. Did they disapprove of his marriage to Martha Tate? Since William C. Mitchell was a clergyman, did his son marry outside of the faith and did that cause the rift? Am I totally wrong in connecting this William C. to my family tree? I seriously don't know. I do feel confident with the connection and, until I can prove otherwise, am staying with that connection.

My plans for future research on this Branch - the main one, btw - is to attempt to find out further information on my great-grandfather's alleged siblings. Perhaps if I can dig up more on them, I can then make the needed connections and then trace the Mitchell line back even further.

Here's hoping that while dancing with the ancestors I get deeper into the past of the Mitchell line!!!


  1. Scott,

    I am a descendant of William C. Mitchell by his daughter Martha Matilda (Mattie) Mitchell Bunch. William C. Mitchell left Tennessee briefly in 1860 to live in Alabama and then returned to Warren County, Tennessee. Sometime between 1880 and 1883, he came to Texas to Blanco County... where Mattie Mitchell Bunch and her sister Amanda Josephine Mitchell Offill were married. William also remarried at that time to a Mrs. O. Hopper. Just two weeks ago I was in Blanco County to look up probate records for William C. Mitchell and Mrs. O Mitchell. Both were deemed in early 1900's to be unable to support themselves. Sadly William C. Mitchell at age of 90 was declared a lunatic and sent to Austin, Texas to the insane asylum. Mattie and her sister are in Grayson County, Texas married with children in 1900 and then on to Navarro County, Texas. William C. Mitchell did have a son named Charles A. Mitchell and somewhere I do have a picture of him upon which is written Mattie's brother, Charles A. Mitchell. I can also confirm his marriage to Martha Tate.

    1. Will you contact me at scott(dot)mitchell04(at)gmail(dot)com

      I would love to get in touch with you, and share the pictures I have of Charles A. Mitchell, as well as some others that I believe are of his siblings. I'd also, if you know, love to find out why communication between Charles and his siblings seemed to break off at some point. Thanks.