Tuesday, April 22, 2014

52 Ancestors: #12 --Alfred Mitchell --A Son Bears Witness

I am participating in the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge put forth by Amy Johnson Crow of the blog No Story Too Small. If you aren't familiar with the challenge be sure to check out her blog.

Imagine it's March 11, 1878. You are 22 years old. You were born a slave but now you and your family are free. You were once considered property but now you are bearing witness to your father signing a deed to purchase land. What would that feel like?

Well, that scenario describes what it was like to walk in the shoes of my 2nd great grand uncle Alfred Mitchell. Alfred Mitchell was one of the children Mortimer Mitchell and Annie Taylor Mitchell. Based on information from his marriage record and his death certificate, I believe he was born on July 31, 1856. His death certificate showed his place of birth as being Beaufort County, NC.

What a moment for a father and son together! A father showing his son how it is done; How to purchase land. A son sharing in the moment by bearing witness and signing his name on the deed. What a great example Mortimer was for his son.  If you would like to see more of Mortimer Mitchell's deed, take a look at my post, The audacity to own land.

Alfred and his family settled in Riverdale, NC after the Civil War. He married Chloe Ann Allen, a Riverdale native, on January 29, 1880.

"North Carolina, County Marriages, 1762-1979 ," index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/VXTS-NF7 : accessed 20 Apr 2014), Alfred Mitchill and Cloe Ann Allen, 29 Jan 1880; citing Craven, North Carolina, United States; FHL microfilm 000288301

I know that Alfred and Chloe Mitchell had at least one child together, a Sarah Mitchell born around 1889. The family group can be seen here on the 1900 Federal Census.

Source Information:  Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census [database on-line].
 Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2004.

I was able to go on and find a marriage record for Sarah Mitchell which again showed Alfred and Chloe Mitchell as her parents.

 "North Carolina, County Marriages, 1762-1979 ," index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/VXTR-1LG : accessed 20 Apr 2014), Joe Ward and Sarah Mitchell, 19 Jun 1909; citing Craven, North Carolina, United States; FHL microfilm 000288285.

In addition to Sarah, there were two other children who may in fact be the children of Alfred and Chloe Mitchell. On the 1910 Federal Census it lists a Shem H Mitchell living in the Mitchell household. His relation to the head of the family is listed as "grandson."

Here's the household in 1920:

Source Information:  Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census [database on-line].
Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2010. 
There were two sons listed, Shem H., who I believe is the same one who was listed on the 1910 census and Napolian. I haven't found much on either individual as of yet. Napolian/Napoleon's trail runs cold after 1930 for me. I think "Shem" may be an abbreviation for Sherman. I did find a Sherman Mitchell who passed away in May 1979 in Brooklyn who might be a candidate for my Sherman Mitchell but for now this is all I know.

Back to Alfred now. Alfred indeed took after his father and was able to purchase a few properties of his own. His first purchase took place just four short years after his father bought his land. This I find absolutely amazing. Over the course of the next few Mondays I will share Alfred Mitchell's deeds using the "Amanuensis Monday" theme.

According to his death certificate, Alfred Mitchell died on February 24, 1934 from cardio-renal vascular disease (arteriosclerosis).  He's buried at Mt Olive AME Zion Church Cemetery in Riverdale, North Carolina.  There is no marker left to note the location of his grave but he's more than likely buried near his mother Annie Mitchell and his Sampson relatives.

Mitchell and Sampson graves at Mt. Olive AME Zion Church Cemetery.
Riverdale, North Carolina.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Thankful Thursday: Thankful For Another On-Line Connection

On my post, The Wonder Of Wandering, I featured a couple of newspaper articles that discussed an enterprise that was run by a family with the last name of Mallett. They ran Clare Fibre Works in Riverdale, NC which employed a large number of individuals from the area. One of the the Mallets, specifically one by the name of Charles E. Mallet had a connection to one of my ancestors.  David Sampson was my 2nd great grand uncle who I have written about quite a bit on this blog.  If you are new to my blog, here are two posts about him.

Dave Sampson a True Riverdale Character --Part one

Dave Sampson a True Riverdale Character --Part two

On the 1880 Federal Census, Dave Sampson was listed as working as a porter in a store for Charles E Mallett. Charles and David were approximately the same age. I wonder what their relationship was like.  

Source Information:  Ancestry.com and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
 1880 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Source Citation: Year: 1880; Census Place: Township 7, Craven, North Carolina; Roll: 959; Family History Film: 1254959; Page: 227B; Enumeration District: 039; Image: 0623.

Recently, I connected with a descendant of the Mallett family on Ancestry.com who happened to have a public family tree with a picture of the Mallett gentlemen posed together.  Guess who was pictured with the bunch?  Mr. Charles E. Mallett!

(Standing --left to right:   James Fleming Mallett, Charles Edward Mallett, Charles Peter Mallett, Robert Gibbs Mallett.  Seated --left to right:  Eugene Pierre Mallett and George Hooper Mallett.)

 Charles Edward Mallett

I have to send a thank you out to Mr. David Mallett Jr. for allowing me to use this photograph. There's just something about seeing the faces of people who knew your ancestor that resonates with me. I look at Charles Mallet's picture and I just want to go up to him and say, "Hey, what did you know about my 2nd great grand uncle David Sampson?  What was he like? What sorts of stories could you tell?" 

Speaking of Dave...I have to say there is always a story to be found about this guy. Just today, on Newspapers.com I found this article regarding the man. Check this out.

 The New Bern Sun, August 20, 1908, Page 8

Image courtesy of the book, Craven County 
by Lynn Salsi and Frances Eubanks
Dave Sampson is on the left.

P.S.  Okay technically now it is 12:10 AM Friday, but I did start it Thursday, so I am sticking with the Thankful Thursday title. :)

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Wordless Wednesday: Siesta Key, Florida 2014

So we are in Siesta Key, Florida again and you know what that means...

Meaney's Mini-Donuts!

"Oh yeah!"

The Beach

"Must dig"

"Still digging"

"Find anything yet?"

"Okay I'll stand still for a picture."

Happy Family!

Happy Me :)

Monday, April 14, 2014

It's Time For A Siesta!

Just chilling with the family again down in Siesta Key, Florida for a few days.  These are the moments in life we live for. Not sure how often I will get to posting this week. I think I will just wait and see how it goes. The most important thing for me to do is to remain "present." I don't want to miss a thing. :)

Friday, April 11, 2014

52 Ancestors: #11 --Annie Taylor Mitchell --The Heart Of A Family

Nine times out of ten, it is the mother’s touch that makes a house a home. From tending to scraped knees, handling the wash, or cooking the meals, the way in which this is done will set the tone, the rhythm, and the spirit of the household. If done wrong, it can bring about a lifetime of pain and wounded spirits. If done well, it’s influence will spread to generations. 
Annie…yes my Annie Taylor Mitchell, somewhere in my heart I know it was you with your kind spirit that set the tone, rhythm, and spirit of your family’s lives.  Although, you've been gone oh so many years, I can still hear the words of encouragement you whispered to your children. Your hopes are now part of our hopes and dreams for something better. Thank you seems too modest of a word to cast out to try to convey the depth of gratitude I feel in my heart for you. Your kindness and wisdom are part of my spirit now. I never met you, but I know you. I feel you. 

According to her tombstone, my maternal 3rd great grandmother Annie Taylor Mitchell was born on August 1, 1832.  Based on information on two of her children's death certificates, she was born in either Martin County or Granville County, NC. Annie and her husband Mortimer Mitchell settled in Riverdale, NC and lived out their lives there. They were parents to Alfred, Rosa, Mary, Maggie, and Nancy as well as another child who I've not been able to find any information on as of yet.

Source Information:Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. 
Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2004.

Sadly, Annie's husband Mortimer died sometime between 1887 and 1900. She was listed as widowed on the 1910 Federal Census, still living on the family farm near two of her daughters and their families. If you missed my post about Annie's husband, Mortimer Mitchell here's the link:  52 Ancestors: #10 --Mortimer Mitchell --In Search Of Opportunity And Security.   

Source Information:  Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census [database on-line].
 Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2006.

In 1910, Annie's daughter Maggie moved back in with her mother after her divorce from her first husband, Alonza Pelham. I bet Maggie appreciated the comfort and support she received from her mother during this time. 

Annie Taylor Mitchell passed away on June 5, 1911. Her grave is in the same row as my Sampson ancestors. Gone but not forgotten. Her influence lives on.

Annie Taylor Mitchell
August 1, 1832 --June 5, 1911
My maternal 3rd great grandmother
Mt Olive AME Zion Church Cemetary
also know as Riverdale Community Cemetery

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Wordless Wednesday: Harrison Family Memory Board

Here's my latest memory board. If you missed seeing my first two, here are the links to them:

(Left to right -Top row:  My 2nd great grandfather Thomas Duke Harrison, my mother and my brother, my cousin Nicole and uncle Ricky, my grand uncle Earl Harrison, my mom with her dad Lemuel Harrison. Seconnd row:  My cousin Billy and his father/grand uncle William Arthur Harrison Sr., my grandpa Lemuel Harrison with his sister/my grand aunt Carrie, my great grandparents John and Carrie Harrison, my brother, my mom. Third row:  My grand uncle Robert, my grand uncle Freddie Harrison, my cousin Audrey Harrison, my cousin Kiira and me, my uncle Vincent Harrison, grandpa and me. Fourth row:  Grandma Vadnie and grandpa Lemuel, grand aunt Carrie again, my cousin Jordan, my uncle Bobby, and my aunt Wanda.)

Happy Wednesday Everyone!

Sunday, April 6, 2014

52 Ancestors: #10 --Mortimer Mitchell --In Search Of Opportunity And Security

I am participating in the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge put forth by Amy Johnson Crow of the blog No Story Too Small. If you aren't familiar with the challenge be sure to check out her blog.

Something has been in the air this week. I think my Riverdale, NC ancestors have been working behind the scenes to provide me with information. It all started with me receiving a copy of a picture of my 1st cousins 3x removed, Annie and Effie Sampson.  That led me to corresponding with a few folks who grew up in the community. With all this Riverdale activity going on, I thought it would be the right time to highlight the life of my maternal 3rd great grandfather, Mortimer Mitchell.

Mortimer Mitchell was born sometime around 1835 in either Martin or Granville County based on information I found on the death certificates of two of his kids. The following marriage record that I found in the North Carolina, Marriage Index, 1741-2004 online database on Ancestry.com, I believe is for my ancestor.  I don't have 100% conclusive proof yet, just a hunch.

Source Information:  Ancestry.com. North Carolina, Marriage Index, 1741-2004 
[database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2007.

I should back up a minute and explain why I think this is him and my 3rd great grandmother, Annie Taylor Mitchell. Mortimer and Annie were together by 1855 because their oldest son was born around 1856. Notice the date that their cohabitation started, was September 7, 1956. That would kind of make sense then.  If this is indeed Mortimer and Annie, it's interesting also to note that Annie is going by the the name "Sarah Ann Hester." Was Hester perhaps a prior slave owners name? Also, could she have been kin to Mott Hester. I've featured Mott Hester here on this blog before but here's a little refresher.  Mott Hester was married to my 2nd great grand aunt Sidney Bryant Hester of Morehead City. Apparently the families knew each other because Mott was the informant on the death certificate of Mortimer and Annie's son Alfred Mitchell.  

Another question would be why did Mortimer and Annie move from Beaufort County to Carteret County? Perhaps they had once lived in or around Washington, NC.  If that was the case then maybe this newspaper article excerpt shows the reason why they would have left.

The burning of Washington, N. C.

--The Presbyterian, Catholic, and Methodist Churches at Washington, N. C., were all burnt by the Yankees before they evacuated the town. A letter from a lady residing there says:

‘ The Yankees left on Saturday and took all of the negroes with them; they did not leave a half dozen negroes in the town. It was the greatest day I every witnessed, and God forbid I ever should witness such another scene; for while they were leading, the town was wrapped in one sheet of flames.--They had fired it in several places. About one half of the town is burnt up — all the upper part;

--The Daily Dispatch: May 23, 1864. Richmond Dispatch. 2 pages. by Cowardin & Hammersley. Richmond. May 23, 1864. microfilm. Ann Arbor, Mi : Proquest. 1 microfilm reel ; 35 mm.

During the Civil War, Washington, NC came under Federal control at the end of April 1863. The Union army was forced to evacuate the city on April 28, 1864. With the city in ruin, any former slaves would be looking for a place that could provide security and opportunity.  The Union's presence since March 1862 in Morehead City and New Bern provided security and opportunities to many former slaves who came to live in those areas. This may be the reason why Mortimer and Annie Mitchell made it to Carteret County and registered their marriage there.

Mortimer and Annie had at least 5 children together.

Alfred F Mitchell (July 31, 1856--February 24, 1934)
Rosa "Rosetta" Mitchell Jones --my 2nd great grandmother (July 17, 1861?--October 3, 1931)
Mary Jane Mitchell Sampson (August 1, 1864--August 21, 1945)
Margaret "Maggie" Mitchell Thompson (March 2, 1872--July 17, 1913)
Nancy Mitchell (born about 1873 --?)

I am so very proud of this self-made man named Mortimer Mitchell. He is the reason why my Mitchells and Sampson family lines were able to sustain themselves. He is the one who was able to purchase property in 1878 that would become the home to all of them. You can see a copy of the deed on my post The Audacity To Own Land.
On my post Now I Know Where To Go!, I show an aerial view of the property courtesy of Google Maps.

My 3rd great grandfather worked the land he purchased and become a successful farmer. He was able to raise his family and become a respected member of his community. Mortimer's family can be seen on 1870 and 1880 Federal Censuses living in the community they called home --Riverdale. 

  Source Information:  Ancestry.com. 1870 United States Federal Census [database on-line].
 Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2009. 

 Source Information: Ancestry.com and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
 1880 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. 

Here's Mortimer and Alfred Mitchell listed in the Chas. Emerson & Co.'s New Bern Directory 1880--1881 along with other Riverdale, NC farmers.

Since Mortimer lived in a rural community, I didn't think I would be able to find much on him when I researched New Bern, NC newspapers on Newspapers.com. I was pleasantly surprised to come across these two mentions.

 Daily Commerical News (New Bern, NC), 5 October 1881, Page 1

New Berne Weekly Journal, 7 April 1887, Page 3

Yes, it's just jury duty. Nothing too exciting but helpful nonetheless. It's helpful because Mortimer died before the 1900 Federal Census. At least now I know his death was sometime between 1887 and 1900.

In January 2012, I visited the cemetery located behind Mt. Olive AME Zion Church in Riverdale, NC.  I was able to pay my respects to my Mitchell and Sampson ancestors. I could not find a stone for Mortimer Mitchell but I did find Annie Taylor Mitchell's stone and there is space next to her grave that may be where my 3rd great grandfather is at rest.