James L. Mitchell

b. circa 1799, d. circa 1878
  • James L. Mitchell was born circa 1799 in Tennessee.
  • According to the 1878 City Directory and History of Montgomery, Alabama: Of the earliest inhabitants of "New Philadelphia," or "Yankee Town," [were] . . . Jonathan C. Farley. . Dr. James Mitchell. . Thomas Lewis, William Lewis, Green Wood. . John Goldthwaite. . . Mr. Jonathan C. Farley erected the first framed store house and dwelling in the fall and winter of 1817. The store house stood at the corner of Market and Hull streets, the present location of Mr. T. S. Madigan's brick store. His dwelling stood on the adjoining lot. A mill was early established on "Spring Creek," now known as "Eight Mile Creek," east of Montgomery, by Messrs. Pinkston and Allen. This afforded a fair supply of excellent lumber for several years. . . . Dr. James Mitchell, who removed from Tennessee early in 1818, was the first practicing physician in the town. The Doctor married a sister of Col. Bolling Hall, and retired to a farm in Autauga County, from which county he removed in 1853 to Texas, where he was still residing last fall. . . ." By act of December 3, 1819, "New Philadelphia" and "East Alabama" were incorporated into one town, under the name of Montgomery. . ."
  • He married Ann Anderson Hall, daughter of Bolling Hall and Jane Abercrombie, on 11 July 1820.
  • In a deed of gift dated 24 May 1826, John Mitchell assigned to members of his family real and personal property of every description, retaining the conveyance for his support during his natural life, and after his death for the support of his wife Lovy during her widowhood. Named, in order: son James Mitchell, daughters Elizabeth Sims, Maria McKoin, Louisa Posey and Lucy Mitchell, son Leroy Mitchell, daughter Delian [sic] Mitchell, son John Mitchell, daughter Martha Mitchell, son William Mitchell, and grandson John McKoin. The deed was duly proven in open court in Sumner County, Tennessee, during the August Term, 1826.
  • James L. Mitchell became a widower at the 9 October 1841 death of his wife Ann Anderson Hall.
  • A bond for the marriage of James L. Mitchell and Elizabeth H. Douglass was secured on 9 May 1842 in Sumner County, Tennessee, with John L. Bugg, bondsman.
  • He married Elizabeth H. Douglass, daughter of William Howard Douglass and Sarah Genette Edwards, circa May 1842, first cousins; their mothers were sisters.
  • Also, James' sister Delia married a grandson of Elizabeth's paternal grandfather's brother Ezekiel.
  • James L. Mitchell and Elizabeth H. Douglass appeared in the US federal census of 1 June 1850 in Vernon, Autauga County, Alabama. Other members of the household included William Douglass Mitchell, Cornelia Josephine Mitchell, Laura Mitchell, Charles J. Mitchell and Sarah Douglass Mitchell.
  • He was a farmer, according to the 1850 census.
  • On Monday, 28 April 1851, Green Wood recorded in his plantation daily account book: "Started this evening to visit Doctor Mitchell, went up with Abercrombie, went next day to thicket & heard Doctor M. was not at home & returned to Abercrombie,s, & home next day, dined with Green M. W."
  • By 1853, the local planters of southeastern Grimes County recognized the need for a town, so Judge Henry Griggs, Colonel Isaac Baker, and Dr. Mitchell each donated ten acres of land for the founding of Plantersville.
  • In a letter dated 15 August 1853 to Bolling Hall Jr., James L. Mitchell wrote from Grimes County, Texas:
    My Dear friend,
         On our arriving in Texas last winter as you have learned I have no doubt, long before this, that we had much suffering, from deep and distressing affliction; and lost my Son Bolling, and fourteen negroes. Causes unavoidable, under the most inclement season that ever occured, produced the distressing calamity. my family all were sick except myself and son Douglass, And they all became discont[ent]ed with the Country, and unhappy and I had come to the conclusion and decission for their satisfaction, that I would move back and return, even to the old worn hills of Alabama. I am now happy in saying to you, that the scene has changed, that we are all hearty, and enjoying good health, and perfectly reconciled to make Texas our permanent, and lasting home -- with the fair prospect of good prosperity in the future -- Could I have but kept my son Bolling, the ballance of loss, which I estimate at $10,000 would have been considered as nothing; for in the purchase of one single tract of land of 2250 acres, I consider I have made more than double that amount. I am now on the land preparing to move to it in the winter, after saveing my crop on the Trinity, it is the most splendid tract of land that I ever looked at, and I will be the best settled man in Texas, or any where else when I get on it. I shall be fifty miles from Houston and three miles from the line of rail road that is now in execution and 17 miles of it graded and 80 hands at work upon it. I have no doubt, but that I shall freight my first crop of cotton made on my new place by the rail roads. the country around me is splendid altogether healthy and the garden spot of the world that I have yet seen. we are just starting a school village in a quarter of a mile of my house that will be of the first order in any country, and should you think that it might be to your interest to move, this is the section of the world for you to come to, you can get the best of land improved in the neighborhood at Ten dollars per acre with more advantage, than any portion of the world that I have ever seen, give us a flying visit and take a look, and should you make the visit, land at Houston take the stage to Montgomery, and call on Mr Willis, Merchant of that place, and he will procure you a conveyance to Major Woods, J Abercrombies, by whom you pass, to my house. the Catterpillar has made its appearance, and we dread the consequences to the cotton crop. should they not damage to any extent, the crop will be good, many plantations now have a Bale to Acre, the corn crop is good. present me affectionately to your kind lady and family and accept,
         Truly yrs, Jas Mitchell.
         Address me at Cold Springs, Polk County.
    Minimal punctuation added by the transcriber to enhance readability.
  • Evelina Wood wrote on 5 March 1855, to her daughter Lizzie Powell, undergoing treatment for cancer in Murfreesboro, Tennessee: ". . . James Mitchell is at Queechy run at work. I do not know what he is doing -- he has not got all the Machinery yet -- Forrest has hired Smith to finish Billie's house and gone to the mill -- James has missed you very much, poor fellow. he has had to work very hard -- he tried to get his father to assist him some in the the loan of money but not a dollar was forthcoming. . . ."
         Apparently "Queechy run" is a literary allusion. Queechy, a novel published in 1852, was a story about a young girl, a little village and a saw mill. Perhaps Evelina and Lizzie read it to the grandchildren in the household.
  • Evelina Wood wrote on 28 May 1855, to her daughter Lizzie Powell: ". . . Some persons are hauling corn from Houston to the Trinity paying $1.75 per bushel in Houston -- Judge Goldthwaite will have to get corn in Houston, it is not to be had in the country, the cry is corn, corn -- James Mitchell got nearly one hundred bushels of corn to grind last Saturday. . . ."
  • In a letter dated 25 September 1855 to Bolling Hall Jr. in Alabama, James L. Mitchell wrote from Plantersville, Grimes County, Texas:
    Dear Sir,
              I received a letter from Major Wood a few days since informing me that you had requested him to pick you out a place and that he had enclosed you one from me to him on the subject of adviseing him to sell his place and buy Col Bakers adjoining mine. that letter will give you what I think of his tract of land. the price is high and I have no idea that he can get it, yet forty dollars per acre would be no inducement to me for mine adjoining. you can get good tract of improved land in my region of Country for Ten dollars per acre good land, in the woods for much less, say one half. I am told there is a fine tract of 3000 acres in three miles of Anderson our County seat that could be purchased on fair terms. there is likewise fine land in Wallace, Prararie adjoining the brassoz river bottom that could be had, a part of the Prararie you must have traveled through from my house to Washington. If you will take a flying visit to my house I can show you in three days as much as you may desire in regard to lands and you can return and get home in Ten days after. the region of Country around where I am I prefer to any I have seen in Texas. the lands are fine the health is good and the most convenient point to the market. this winter will complete the railroad twenty five miles from Houston in this direction, and yet this section of the Country could do very well without it, as it is a mere nothing to get our production hauled fifty miles. I will just say one word in favor of the Texas soil that it is capable of producing any amount of corn and cotton, that any reasonable man could desire. my own plantation is very good for two heavy bales of cotton to the acre and sixty bushels of corn, any average season. my Corn has produced sixty bushels to the acre this year and with but one plowing. the Cotton crop has been destroyed by the rains of July and August, and yet those that got their Cotton up in April will make a bale to the acre. I shall make 200 bales from 300 acres of new ground that came up the 20th of May. As regards the Climate of Texas I have never seen any to half equal the spring, summer and fall seasons. A little portion of the winter is disagreeable. Corn is plenty in my neighborhood. my best respect to your good family, Yrs,
              Jas Mitchel
    Minimal punctuation added by the transcriber to enhance readability.
  • James L. Mitchell and Elizabeth H. Douglass appeared in the US federal census of 1 June 1860 in Sterling, Robertson County, Texas. Other members of the household included Singleton J. Mitchell, William Edwards Douglass and Hiram J. Glass. Daughter Sarah is missing from the household, perhaps away at school. Also, granddaughter "Nannie" Mitchell is absent from the household.
  • He was a farmer, according to the 1860 census.
  • James L. Mitchell and Elizabeth H. Douglass appeared in the US federal census of 1 June 1870 in Galatin PO, Sumner County, Tennessee, enumerated next to Elizabeth's brother Cullen.. Other members of the household included Robert Boyers Douglass, Ann Hall Mitchell and William Edwards Douglass.
  • He was a farmer, according to the 1870 census.
  • James L. Mitchell died circa 1878 likely in Austin, Texas.
  • His wife Elizabeth H. Douglass became a widow at his death.
  • Research Note: James Kelly Markey's wife Mary Maxwell Griggs, a daughter of Henry Griggs, whose sister Linnah was the wife of Evelina's father's brother Lewis Bryant Barnes. Another brother of Evelina's father William and Lewis Bryant Barnes was Thomas Barnes, whose son James W. Barnes in Grimes County served with the Texas Home Guard as commander of the 5th Texas Brigade District. Also note that the Markey school was established on donated land - 10 acres each by 3 people, one of whom was Dr. James L. Mitchell, father of William Barnes Wood's wife Josie and grandfather of Campbell Wood's wife Nannie.
  • Last Edited: 28 Jan 2015

Family 1: Ann Anderson Hall b. 13 May 1801, d. 9 October 1841

Family 2: Elizabeth H. Douglass b. circa 1815, d. 21 April 1887