WILLIAM ROBERT MITCHELL

Born 9 February 1835 and died 1 May 1908.

When William was born in Madison county Virginia, his parents had already had 3 living children and 1 that died at birth. Five years previous to William, we know that his family owned 7 slaves. That is the only mention of slaves in this family, but we do know that his parents went on to have 5 more children.

William's obituary, 73 years later, says "starting life poor, he reared a large family and yet by industry and good management accumulated considerable property." When he was 20 years old his father died of cancer. He was the person who reported it to the court, so this makes me think that he was the man of the house at the time, the oldest son at home. His older brother James was married and just had a baby the year before. At that time he had a brother as young as 7 years old. They lived on a farm and raised corn, rye, potatoes and oats. They also had some pigs and cows. The family had 105 acres, and with only 7 female slaves (only 3 adults), that would indicate the family worked the fields right alongside the slaves. The average number of slaves for a fair sized farm back then was 2-3. There were actually very few large plantations where the family did not have to work with the slaves.


This picture was given to me by a descendent of William Robert MitchellWilliam's sister, Judith Frances Aylor. She also gave me a copy of the Mitchell entries from an old Aylor bible which shows the otherwise unknown infant that died in 1833.


When Williams father died they had to sell the house and land at public auction. William, James and Lucy's husband (Alpheus Hawkins) bought it. James and Lucy were siblings, so it all stayed in the family. I'm thinking that this was meant to be intended for James but William was on the deed as a means of being a co-signer back in those days. The reason I say this is because 5 years later William and Alpheus sold their part of this land back to James for $10. And 37 years later, William and Alpheus sell 75 acres to another Hawkins. There is no record of William and Alpheus purchasing this 75 acres, so it is likely that James gave them that land, explaining why he paid so little for the Mitchell property. I also believe Lucy and Alpheus Hawkins lived on that 75 acres all those years - so William, in fact, came away with nothing. So we are back to my supposition that William was merely acting as a co-signer.


In 1860, around the same time James was getting his homestead for $10, William purchased some land in Loudoun county Virginia with his sister, Sara Sally. Once again, William did not go to live on this land at the time. Around 6 months later, in the Madison census, it shows William living by himself and working as an overseer. Only the largest plantations had overseers and they were usually young white men, unmarried, and not so well off. It happens that in this census it shows the next family to be Aylors with a very sizeable property. William's sister, Judith, ended up marrying an Aylor. Of course, this job didn't last long because the country was in great turmoil. The following year was the beginning of the Civil War, of which William enlisted to immediately. In fact, all of his brothers particiated, and all survived. Only one, James, having left early (2 months) after becoming ill with consumption.


civil war sword

William's obituary reads "was an old Confederate soldier, a member of Company C., Stuart's Brigade, from its organization at Madison courthouse to the surrender at Appomatix courthouse. He was a faithful and brave soldier, honored by all his comrades, fearless in battle, but nevertheless always kind to prisoners as all truly brave men are." There was a William R. Mitchell who was hospitalized for a back injury in 1863 and a William R. Mitchell who was a prisoner of war for half of 1864, but I can't be certain it was our William. This is his sword and he was in the calvary. Back then, if you lost your horse, for whatever reason, you had to leave and get a replacement for it. If you could not obtain a replacement you wound up in the infantry. The injured and POW William was in the infantry. I believe this is also his pocketwatch. Inside it is dated 1867


William Robert Mitchell obituary1867 is when William married Martha Eilen Rouse in Madison Virginia. She was a descendent of the Germanna Colony which settled in Madison. Martha became pregnant immediately and they moved to Loudoun county Virginia with his sister Sara Sally, likely on the property she bought with his help. Sara never married. So John William (named after his grandfather) was born in 1868 and a girl, Genevieve, the following year. A couple years later they had Henry, then waited 4 years before having the baby, Vert. By 1880 Sara Sally has moved out.


When she died in 1891 she had left that same property to William, and some money and a store office to John William (William's son). John William had already purchased the store in Watson, so I think she must of owned the Cobbler shop which was attached to his store. This same year William Robert bought 53 acres in Loudoun.


In 1900, when William was 65, he was living with his wife and son Henry, who was 29 and hadn't married yet. Then in 1908 William died while living with his oldest son, John William. The picture to the right was from his obituary. Click on the picture to see the entire obituary. He was 73 years old. His widow, Martha went on to live another 10 years.



Wife and children of William Robert Mitchell

Martha RouseMartha Eilen Rouse was born 3 February1838 and died 20 January 1918. She was a daughter of Jacob Rouse and Patsy Fleshman.


Her brother William Rouse died and a part of his estate went to her.


MISS MARTHA MITCHELL DIES AT SON'S HOME


Mrs. Martha Eilen Mitchell, widow of the late Wm. R. Mitchell, died at the home of her son Henry, near Evergreen Mills, VA, on Sunday morning Jan. 20, 1918. It was indeed entering into a day of rest for her as she had been a great sufferer for many years. Of a quiet and kindly disposition she was loved by all who knew her and will be greatly missed. Had she lived just two weeks longer she would have been 81 years old. Before her marriage 51 years ago she was a Miss Rouse, of Madison County.

 

Three sons, J. Wm. Mitchell, merchant at Watson; Henry, of Evergreen Mills; Vert, of Ashburn; five grandsons and four grand-daughters survive.

 

She was for many years a member of Mt. Hope Church.

 

Her funeral was held Tuesday in the Baptist Church in Leesburg, Rev. G.W. Popkins officiating, and her body laid to rest in Union Cemetery by side of her daughter who preceded her to the grave by several years.

Cemetery records show that she died of old age.

 

Of their four children, the first born had 10 children and the other 3 adopted.


John William Mitchell

John MitchellBorn 1 January 1868 and died 10 June 1958. He married Minnie Love Morris in 1895 and they had 10 children.


Three newspaper articles on John William Mitchell:


MEET YOUR MERCHANT


John William Mitchell is the owner of the Mitchell General store in Watson, Loudoun County, situated one mile east of Gilberts Corners and two miles north of Route 50.


He and J.O. Daniel were partners for eight years until Mr. Mitchell purchased Mr. Daniel's interest. All in all, Mr. Mitchell has owned the store for sixty-one years.


John Mitchell was married to Mrs. Minnie Morris of Berryville who passed away three years ago.


Their seven children are namely, Mrs. Elton Ferguson of Arlington, Mrs. Ben Fletcher, of Herndon, Claude Mitchell of Leesburg, Morris Mitchell of Arlington, Mrs. Ikey Hummer of Arlington, Mrs. John Thomas of Falls Church and Lt. Jacklin Mitchell of the U.S. Air Force in Texas City.

 

Mr. Mitchell has fifteen grandchildren and two great grandchildren.

 

The store is a typical Loudoun County general store where one can buy anything from a whalebone corset bone to penny candy. There is a slate on which is written the days special.

 

The town of Watson is built around the store, the villagers making a trip or two a day for shopping at Mitchells.

 

About 1890 there were two bootmakers in an adjoining building to the store and Mr. Mitchell used to sell them wooden shoe pegs at 10 to 15 cents a pound. He still has some. The pegs were used in the soles as stitching and nails are used today. He tells of a shoe maker cutting pegs out of a hunk of wood for just the right size to fit his shoes which his Father had ordered for him.

 

Also in the store are empty gun powder shells which were used to fill with powder then paper then shot and more paper, a far cry from the way they are bought today.

 

Last year Mr. Mitchell flew to Antigua near Trinidad to visit his son Jacklin who is married to Frances Miller of Manassas. And this year he visited the same son in Texas City. He says he had a grand time visiting oil wells and the surrounding country. He even had his picture taken on a steer. When asked if he would like to live out west he said he would take Loudoun County in preference to them all.

 

Mr. Henry Mitchell also helps in the store and the two brothers run "bachelor hall" in the attractive home behind the store.

 

He was postmaster in Watson until the rural delivery was instituted. He is also a Son of the Confederacy, his father having served in the 4th Madison Cavalry in the Civil War.


On New Years Day last, John Mitchell was eighty-two years old.

 

MITCHELL SELLS HIS WATSON STORE AFTER 68 YEARS AT SAME STAND

 

The mercantile business will go on, uninterrupted at Watson, although J.W. Mitchell at the age of 88 has sold out his interests there. Friday marked the first time in 68 years that Mr. Mitchell turned over the day's cash receipts to another.

 

Mr. Mitchell has sold the store, his house and approximately two acres of land at Watson to Mr. and Mrs. Claude Church, who will carry on to serve the needs of the area people as has Mr. Mitchell over a record number of years. Few people anywhere, it is said, can boast such a record such as Mr. Mitchell has established for continuous service in one location in the mercantile business.

 

Mr. Mitchell will stay on to make his home at Watson, having reserved quarters in his old homestead. He will be around too, to help the Churches continue a thriving business at the site.

 

Mr. Mitchell thinks he will do a little travelling now. He likes to see the country but the store was pretty confining. Now he can get away more but he thinks he will always come back to the familiar scenes around Watson store.

 

Mr. Mitchell was born in 1868 on a farm in Mt. Gilead, at property owned by John Aldrich. His parents had come to Mt. Gilead from Madison County after the war and later the family moved to Oak Hill where Mr. Mitchell went to school. His father presented each child at 21 with a horse, $25 in cash and his blessing.

Mr. Mitchell's merchandise at Watson moved with the times but he still had in stock when he sold the store, some unusual items that are never called for any more. There were shoe pegs, in assorted sizes, for halfsoling boots, and when he purchased the store from Joe Daniel there was a regular cobbler's shop connected to the store where two full time employees made boots and shoes. "Those days are past," Mr. Mitchell says regretfully. "Nobody does that work anymore."

 

When he took over the store in 1888 one of his first purchases was a large supply of whale bone and whale bone covers for corsets. He still had some of both on hand when he sold out last week. Nobody asks for horse collars anymore either, or hog bristles or seving shoes and the old tobacco knife, which looks like a paper cutter, is never called into service.

 

Other interesting curios in the store were two clocks, with moving figures, which could never be duplicated now.

 

Mr. Mitchell kept everything in his general merchandise store and sold everything. The oldest part of the building holds food kerosene, oil and salt herring. Out front are thousands of items: cigarettes, castor oil, canned goods, slates, snuff, shoes, stick candy, toys, blankets, hardware, nails, pots and pans and dishes.

 

JOHN W. MITCHELL RETIRES FROM STORE KEEPING AFTER 68 YEARS

 

"I'm just tuckered out, I guess," is the reason John William Mitchell, 88, gave for his retirement Saturday from his general store business at Watson near Gilberts Corner after 68 years.

 

J.W. Mitchell sold the store last Friday to Mr. and Mrs. Claude Church of near Leesburg. The Churches took over the same day.

 

With the store were sold the eight-room frame house and two acres of adjoining land. Mitchell will have a room for himself in his old home and will board with the Churches. But mostly he plans to travel.

 

First of all, in a few weeks, he is looking forward to visiting his son Air Force Captain Jack Mitchell in his new post in California. Capt. Mitchell and his family just got back from two years tour of duty in North Africa and his father is eager to see him.

 

Then J.W. plans to wander from one home to another of his other six children-merchant Claudius H. Mitchell of Leesburg, Morris L. Mitchell, Mrs. H.E. Ferguson and Mrs. Benny Fletcher of Arlington, Mrs. Margaret Hummer of Clarendon, and Mrs. Geraldine Thomas who lives on Route 50 near Falls Church.

 

J.W. Mitchell bought the store in 1889 from J.R. Daniel who later became a state senator. J.W. was 21 at the time. Two years later he married the late Minnie Love.


Nothing exciting ever happened in the 68 years at the store, says J.W. But he now owns a farm, four houses, and a 40-acre wooded lot. "I guess I did all right," he says.

 

Genevieve MitchellGenevieve

Born 27 May1869 and died 14 May 1907.


She married William E. Ellmore who, after her death, later married Mary Mitchell, Genevieve's cousin.


IN MEMORIAM


Mrs. Jenevieve Elmore died at her home near Dranesville, Fairfax County VA, on May 14th of plurisy and pneumonia, in the 39th year of her age. Mrs. Elmore has been in failing health for several years past, and while in bad health pneumonia being too severe for her constitution she succumbed to it. She was a faithful and consistent member of Mt. Hope Baptist Church. She was of an abiding disposition, taking everything as the Lord's will; and as she lived so she died, ready to obey the Saviour to go up highter. Well done, thou good and faithful servant, it is enough, come up higher and receive your reward. Her funeral was preached by the Rev. G.W. Popkins, assisted by Rev. Mr. Gaithers, after which her remains were laid to rest in Union Cemetery. She was the only daughter of Mr. and Mrs. W.R. Mitchell, of Watson, VA. Besides her grief stricken husband, mother and father, three brothers; J.W. Mitchell, of Watson, Henry and W.R. Mitchell of Evergreen Mills, survive her to mourn her loss.

 

Farewell, dear Vever, we part with you on this side of the grave to meet again in that great unknown where we shall know no pain and sorrow no more.


BY HER BROTHER

 

Genevieve and William adopted Vernon Suddeth.

 

Henry

Henry Mitchell

Born 12 February 1871 and died 19 September. He married Annie Alexander and they had a boy named Llewellyn and adopted a girl named Ethel Gheen.

 

Vert Rouse Mitchell

Born 21 June 1875 and died 27 October 1936. He is my direct line and has his own page here.