Memoriam for Martha Cowden Dysart Mitchell, wife of James Bourne Mitchell

This memoriam for Martha Cowden Dysart Mitchell comes to me via Jim Mitchell (descendant of Orlando), who gives it as having been written by one of her sons:

Mrs. Martha C. Mitchell died at the home of Rev. Dr. and Mrs. B. P. Fullerton, her daughter, St. Louis Mo., on the 19th of Feb. last, and was buried in Kirksville Mo. on the 21st. She lacked only a few days of reaching her eighty seventh milestone – the longest earthly pilgrimage of any of her generation, save one. Her maiden name was Martha Cowden Dysart, daughter of Col. John and Matilda Dysart, and niece of Rev. James Dysart, than whom, probably, no other man ever made a deeper or more lasting impression on the people of North East Mo. Her grandparents were among the earliest communicants of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, and emigrated to Mo. from Maury Co. Tenn. in 1818.

She was the eldest of ten children, but one of whom, Hon. B. R. Dysart, of Macon, Mo. is now living. On account of her mother’s delicate health, it devolved on her, at an early age, to take charge of the household. While this gave her a rich experience for the duties of coming years, it deprived her of the coveted privilege of obtaining an education, but she made the most of limited opportunities. She was married to the late Rev. J. B. Mitchell D. D., in Nov. 1846, and they reared a family of ten children, two of whom, Bettie S. and Robert G. Mitchell of Macon Mo., preceded her into the beyond. She professed religion and united with the church after marriage, and few ministers have been blessed with a more loyal, helpful and devoted wife than was she. These traits in her character shone with undimmed lustre during Dr. Mitchell’s last pastorate of eighteen years at Kirksville, and his previous long presidency of McGee College. Many ministers who were educated at that institution, with scores of other students – sons and daughters of the church – together with her husband, children, relatives, parishoners and a host of friends will rise up at that last day and call her blessed.

She inherited keen mental vigor and a capacity for good judgment from her paternal grandmother, for whom she was named, and these were much improved by constant effort to acquire knowledge. But it was not till her children had gone out from the family home that she gave evidence, by papers read in the Ladie’s Missionary Societies and her correspondence, of possessing such rare ability, both in thought and expression. Here was a busy life, but she employed the few spare moments in gaining and assimilating useful information, which born rich fruit in her autumn years. One of her most cherished desires was to educate her children, and to her, no labor was too hard nor sacrifice too great to accomplish this end. She was a worthy companion of a beloved minister who was for many years a leader in the educational interests of the church, and who, for more than half a century took an active part in it’s councils.

She was a life long reader of the Bible, and during her declining years it was her daily companion and constant source of comfort. Her faith was not of the ecstatic type, but was calm, firm and practical. Even during the last years of her life, she was an active worker in the benevolent Societies of the church, until increasing infirmities confined her to the home. Her mind was active, and she was interested in the affairs of life up to her fatal illness. At times she suffered intensely, but often spoke her gratitude for the care and comfort her children gave her, especially her two eldest daughters. She was devoted to her children, and this mother’s devotion included their companions and the grandchildren. The funeral service was conducted at Kirksville by Rev. W. H. Johnson, of Callao Mo. who with his parents and grandparents were numbered among her friends. He truly said that the occasion was one for rejoicing rather than of grief, for she was a ripe sheaf ready for the harvest, and had been for years patiently awaiting the summons to join her many loved ones who had gone before. The casket was borne to the grave by her four sons and two sons-in-law, and laid to rest amid a profusion of flowers, of which she was always fond, by the side of him who was her loving and devoted companion for fifty-five eventful years. “Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yes, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labors; and their works do follow them.”


Martha Cowden Dysart Mitchell – Tribute and Obituary

Courtesy of Jim Mitchell who sent me the scans of an obituary and tribute published in a newspaper (name not preserved) on her death. Below is my transcript of the two pages.

A Loving Tribute to Mrs. Martha C. Mitchell

A writer has truly said: —

Each day some pearl drops from the jewel of friendship; — some lyre to which we have been wont to listen, is hushed forever.” This is confirmed today as we mourn the passing away of Mrs. Martha C. Mitchell. But why mourn.

“Call it not death, ti’s life begun,
The warfare is o’er, the victory is won.”

Surely the character of the “worthy woman” so beautifully portrayed by the pen of the inspired Kingly writer, is as a royal robe fitted to be worn by Mrs. Martha C. Mitchell. The christian traits of kindness, charity, wisdom and dignity constituting the warp and woof of this heavenly garment were hers. As a wife she possessed the loyalty of Sarah. “The heart of her husband safely trusted in her.” Miriam–like she was ever ready to acclaim the praises of Jehovah. Emulating Hannah she early brought her children to Jesus. Like Martha and Dorcas she labored industriously for the advancement of the christian faith, thus “Doing with dilligence whatsoever thy hand findeth to do:” While the crowning glories and graces of the Marys sweetly adorned her brow. Well may her chldren “rise up and call her blessed.”

Doubtless the fruits of her life met her at the gates of pearl, and now in heaven in the presence of unveiled Deity in celestial light she sees and knows the love and power that led her safely home.

(Illegible) G. W. Sharp, Mrs. W. C. Templeton, Mrs. H. L. Harris, Mrs. Minnie Willow, Mrs. W. A. Dodson, Mrs. Sam Guthrie, Mrs. F. L. Link, Mrs. H. J. Bailey, Mrs. D. C. Pierce, Mrs. Maud Allen, Mrs. W. T. Baird, Miss Althea Ringo, Mrs. P. J. Rieger, Mrs. S. F. Stahl, Mrs. J. D. Forsythe, Mr. Robert Lorenze.

This tribute written by Mrs. G. W. Sharp accompanied the flowers presented by members of the old Missionary Society of which Mrs. M. C. Mitchell of precious memory was a member.


Martha Cowden Mitchell (illegible) in Howard county, Missouri, March 5, 1825, and passed from this life to that beyond at the home of her daughter, Mrs. Dr. B. P. Fullerton, in St. Louis, Mo. Feb. 19, 1912. She was the oldest of ten children of family of John and Matilda Dysart. Her father came to Missouri in his early manhood in the year 1818, having been born in Tennessee in 1799. His parents affiliated themselves with the Cumberland Presbyterian church in his early history.

Mrs. Mitchell was an extraordinary woman, she possessed fine natural abilities; her opportunities to secure an education were very meager indeed in her youth, but she made the most of her advantages. She was united in marriage to Rev. J. B. Mitchell in November, 1846, professing religion and joining the Cumberland Presbyterian with her husband after their marriage.

Here has been a life of loving labor and sacrifice for her husband and her children, ten of whom they reared to manhood and womanhood. Her husband was called to his reward nearly eleven years ago, after they had traveled life’s journey together for nearly fifty-five years. To of her children, a son and a (illegible) preceded her to (illegible) more than a quarter (illegible) were spent in this city of Kirksville as the wife and co helper of one of its most devoted and beloved pastors. She was a noble helpmeet and her life and character was a living epistle to all who come into the spirit and acquaintance of her influence. As the wife and co-laborer of a pioneer missionary and minister, the influence of her life was far reaching, and many who have become useful (illegible) have rejoiced (illegible) over their lives. As (illegible) Israel, truly beloved and (illegible) esteemed, many rise up and call her blessed. A source of strength and support to her husband, an indefatigible worker in the church, yet probably the greatest work of her life was giving to the world a large family of industrious, useful sons and daughters. They are as follows:

Rev. B. P. Fullerton, D. D. son-in-law, Mrs. B. P. Fullerton, Lon S. Mitchell, of St. Louis, Mo.: Judge Henry Johnson, son-in-law, Mrs. Henry Johnson of Purdin, Mo.: Rev. J. W. Mitchell, of Marshall, Mo.; Henry Banister son-in-law and Mrs. Mary Banister, of Memphis, Mo.; Dr. J. T. Mitchell and O. M. Mitchell, of Kansas City, Mo.; Mrs. Susan McDavid of Coffeen, Ill. Mrs. McDavid and Mrs. Banister, the oldest and youngest daughters of Mrs. Mitchell, were unable to be present. The two sons from Kansas City did not reach Kirksville in time for the service, but were present at the interment.

The funeral service was conducted from the former Cumberland Presbyterian church of Kirksville, by the Revs. W. C. Templeton and William H. Johnston. The latter spoke sympathetically and tenderly from a long and intimate acquaintance with Mrs. Mitchell. Deprived so far as circumstances permitted she had been a mother devoted and beloved to him. A beautiful live has been lived; a pure and wholesome example has been given to the world. Her work has been completed and she has heard the call to come up higher and hear the plandit from the Master. “Well done, good and faithful servant; enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.

The interment was in the Forest Park cemetery, where beside the remains of her husband and daughter all that was mortal to this good woman was laid to rest until the coming of the resurrection.

Transcribed by J. M. Kearns

Letter from Robert Gwyn Mitchell to James Thompson Mitchell, June 2d 1903

Thanks to Jim Mitchell who sent me a scan of R. G. Mitchell’s typewritten letter with his signature. Below is my transcription.

Macon, Missouri, June 2d, 1903

Dr. J. T. Mitchell, Kansas City, Mo.

Dear Brother: —

You will find enclosed a card and a letter which I have just received from mother. You will notice she suggests that I send the same to you and that you, after you have read them, send them to William.

I have just written her and also Callie. Callie wants Mother to spend the winter with her. I have not talked with Mother about it, but I want her to have her own wish about the matter. She is welcome at my house and I am arranging to have it more comfortable for her than it was last winter.

The floods that you are having must be very distressing from the paper reports.

We are all well. I have written Mother and Callie too, in very strong language against her going to Kirksville. There is no necessity for her going there to take care of an old house.

I think that it is best for you also to write her and suggest that she had better not try to go back to take care of that house. There is no reason why she should not have an easy time living around among the children just as she would desire, for any of them would be glad to have her at any time or all the time. Love to you from all of us and to Orlando’s family.

Come to see us. Your brother,

R. G. Mitchell

Robert Gwyn, the third son of Martha Cowden Dysart Mitchell, is writing his eldest brother concerning their mother, Martha Cowden Dysart Mitchell, who was about 78 at the time. William would have been the Revd. James William Mitchell, the second eldest brother. Callie would be Louisiana Caroline Mitchell Fullerton, the second eldest daughter. She was in St. Louis, Missouri. Robert Gwyn Mitchell was then living in Macon, Missouri with wife Lena Bell Carhart and children Margaret and Robert.


Robert Gwyn Mitchell, letter 1903

Letter from Martha Cowden Dysart Mitchell to her Son, Robert Gwyn Mitchell, June 1 1903

Coffeen June 1, 1903

Dear Robert,

I don’t want you to loose sight of me entirely. I came over here May 21. Have written to Callie to meet me in St. Louis Thursday June the fourth. Aunt Mary McDavid is here since saturday. Will remain while I am here. She is cheerful as you could expect, so soon after Willies death. Talks very freely to me about her business and prospects. She is two months younger than me. Not one black hair. Her head as white as cotton. Says she will stay in the hotel with Mat, as long as she treats her right but would rather live to herself if she had someone to live with her. I don’t blame her for that. I find all the land she has any claim on is morgaged even to her home in Hillsborough. She thinks not too near its full value. Says Mr. McDavid had 900 acres, but she only has a claim on three forty’s. All morgaged. Wants to sell part to secure the rest, especially the home in Hillsborough. With that and her pension she could live. Mattie still expects to run the hotel. Pays $50 per month for the first year $75 per month after the first year. Without any furnishing. Five years lease. Aunt Mary furnished the hotel carpets and everything she thinks with little over $2000. Jimmie says $2500. That is what became of all the morgage money she could raise. Says she had to do it so Willie and Mattie could have some way to make a living.

M. C. M.

Enclosed you will find a card so you will see it is necessary for me to go to Kirksville soon. When you read this send it to John. John send it to Willie so you will all know where to find me if you wish to write.

M. C. Mitchell

Thanks to Jim Mitchell for the typewritten transcription of the original letter. My transcription of the typewritten letter is above and is exact.

Photo of the Five Mitchell Brothers, Sons of James Bourne Mitchell

Thanks to Jim Mitchell, descendent of Orlando for the original scan and information on it. I have endeavored to try to lighten it a little to try to bring out the features more. It’s great to have an image of all the brothers together. Too bad we don’t have one of the sisters!


Five Mitchell Brothers


Five Mitchell Brothers

Jim provides the below identification.

Taken about 1890?

Left to right:

“Bob” Robert Gwyn Mitchell ( 1852 – 1909) Lawyer in Macon, Mo.
“Lon” Leonidas Stratton Mitchell ( 1863 – 1940) Brother in St. Louis
“JT” John Thompson Mitchell (1847 – 1912) MD in Kansas City
“OM” Orlando McDavid Mitchell (1865 – 1949) Banker in Kansas City
“Will” James William Mitchell (1850 – 1928) Minister in Several Places

These are the five sons of James Bourne Mitchell (1821 – 1901) Minister in Kirksville, Mo. and Martha Cowden Dysart Mitchell (1825 – 1912). There were also five daughters.

Excerpts from “Biography of Mrs. Susan Addie Holliday Mitchell” (b. 1853, daughter of Thompson Holliday) by Callie Mitchell Jones

Thank you to Jim Mitchell, descendant of Orlando, who sent me the typewritten copy of this excerpt. Below is my transcript, followed by some notes.

In 1868, at aged 15, Addie Holliday went to McGee College. Her father Thompson Holliday was very happy to have her go to McGee College for he loved Dr. Mitchell as a brother. Dr. Mitchell had formerly lived and preached in Monroe County. She went with her cousins Polly Atterbury and Emma Lightner. It was arranged for them to board at Grandfather Mitchell’s, who was such a close friend of the Holliday family.

During her last year at school she boarded with Uncle Jimps (James) Dysart and Aunt Mary. She enjoyed this very much, for Uncle Jimps was such a character and enjoyed teasing his boys and girls. Here she met and loved Willie Mitchell. Willie Mitchell was graduating June 26, 1874 from McGee College at College Mound, Macon County, Missouri with high honors. He was ordained a minister of the gospel in 1874. He accepted a call to preach in the Cumberland Presbyterian Church at Abingdon, Illinois.

Grandfather Holliday was pleased with the match. He liked papa very much and thought he was a very fine, deserving young man. Then too, he loved Grandfather Mitchell like a brother. He called him Brother Jim Mitchell. Grandfather Mitchell had lived in Monroe County, had preached at New Bethel. In fact, the Mitchells had stayed quite some time in Joseph Holliday’s home (Thompson’s father) when they first came to Monroe County. The wedding was Oct. 19, 1875 at 8:30 AM.

The day before the wedding, Aunt Callie, Uncle John, and Uncle Bob Mitchell and Cousin Sallie Mitchell came to Monroe County for the wedding.

Some additional wedding guests included Cousin Emma Dysart and Cousin Willie, Dr. Ben Dysart, and Cousin Hattie Patton.

After the lovely wedding breakfast they went to Grandfather Mitchell’s home at College Mound accompanied by Aunt Callie, Cousin Hattie Patton, Cousin Sallie Mitchell, Cousin Polly Atterbury, Uncle John and Uncle Bob Mitchell. It was a thirty mile drive. They had a lovely time visiting at Grandfather Mitchell’s and after four days left for their future home in Abingdon, Ill.

Grandfather Mitchell had a family reunion at College Mound the next June and Mother and Father came back. All the children were present. They had a grand time and went to Howard County for a visit with Grandmother Dysart. Papa wrote in his diary that it was a delightful visit for them both.

Their first child Emmett Holliday was baptized when he was three months old by Grandfather Mitchell at Macon, Mo.

Will Mitchell next preached at Biggsville, Ill. Grandfather Mitchell had resigned as President of McGee College and had accepted a pastorate at Kirksville, Mo. Father was instrumental in building a new church at Biggsville and Grandfather Mitchel dedicated it and made a little visit. After Callie was born Grandmother Mitchell soon came to Illinois to see them.

Another “Family Reunion” in the Mitchell family was being planned and Grandfather sent Uncle Lon, who was about seventeen to help mamma on her trip as papa was coming later. Grandfather Mitchell baptized me at this time.

Next Will went to Roanoke, Mo. Grandfather Mitchell had first preached in the Roanoke community, and they were happy for his son to fill their pulpit. They lived in Armstrong, 3 miles away. Bourne was born there. After eight years there they moved to Odessa…Uncle John, Uncle Orlando and Aunt Clara were so good to Mamma when she was having her eyes treated during this time.

They spent three years in Odessa, then two in Harrisonville. Then they moved to Marshall–papa took work from the Home Mission Board in New York…After Bourne left home they move to Bunceton, Mo., where Will preached for three years, and then back to Marshall…Emmett married Miss Betty Naylor of Mason City, Ill. Children Holliday, Robert and Betty Ruth.

From Marshall, after a sojourn in Eldorado Springs, they moved to Independence. He died Oct. 4, 1928, and she died Mar. 28 1935.

The bio is not of a direct descendant but is illuminating, elaborating on relationships, and providing information on the Mitchells in general. The Dr. Mitchell initially mentioned, a friend of Addie’s father, was James Bourne Mitchell b. 1821. Addie married James Bourne’s son, the Rev. James William Mitchell, who was born Sept 22, 1850.

“Uncle Jimps” Dysart is mentioned in a letter written by Lon (Leonidas) in 1930 and is Rev. James “Uncle Jimps” Dysart b. 1807 and died 1885.

Visitors for the wedding who arrived the day before were Louisiana Caroline “Callie” Mitchell, John Thompson Mitchell and Robert Gwyn Mitchell (my line), siblings of Willie. The other guests I’ll have to take a guess on. “Cousin Emma” was perhaps Emma Turner Dysart, b. 1835, wife of Benjamin Robert Dysart b. 1834. They had married in 1866. But Benjmain Dysart was a brother of James Warren Paleg Dysart, b. 1833, who she calles “Uncle Jimps”, and he was a lawyer rather than a doctor. I don’t know who Cousin Sallie Mitchell would have been.

She later mentions Uncle John, Uncle Orlando and Aunt Clara as being good to their mother when she was having her eyes treated. This would be Dr. John Thompson Mitchell, Orlando McDavid Mitchell, and Clara, Orlando’s wife.

Rev. James William Mitchell and Addie had two children, Emmett and Callie.

Letter from Robert Gwyn Mitchell to his brother James William Mitchell, July 31, 1908

My thanks to Jim Mitchell who sent me a copy of the letter. My transcript is below.

Macon, Mo., July 31, 1908

Rev. J. W. Mitchell, Marshall, Mo.

Dear Brother:–

Your letter of 27th inst. to hand and contents noted. The notes that you mention are all in my hands. You ask for the dates of the $1800 notes. The $1800 note is dated February 1st, 1908, and the other note for $800 is dated March 3rd, 1908.

You say I wrote you that you had $37.00 in the bank, and that now you only have $29.51, and you ask if you had checked on it. No, you had not checked on it. The difference arises this way: those notes of exchange were not turned over to me until April the 9th or 9th. The note belonging to you and mother of $1800, $500 of which was mother’s and $1300 yours, had interest accumulated from March 1st up until the date of the exchange of the notes, $10.44, that being a 5% note. All of the notes that you and mother received in exchange are 5-1/2% notes, and from their dates up to the date of the exchange of notes on mother’s note had accumulated $2.90 interest, and on your $300 note, $4.64, on your $1000 note, $10.39, it running from Feb. 1st, as you see. This all makes $17.93; deducting the $10.44 from it leaves $7.49, and $7.49 is the exact difference between $37.00 and $29.51, mentioned above, so you see it is all right. You have received a little too much at mother’s expense. I did not notice it at the time, but it is a very small item anyway, only being one half of one per cent per annum on her loan for one month and eight days. I suppose this is satisfactory, and your balance is as it ought be in the bank.

The day after your letter came we had the good fortune to have another boy arrive at our house, weighing ten pounds, big nose, big mouth, good lungs, and can make plenty of noise. Mother and babe are both doing well. Lena has suffered considerably, but Addie can tell you that is common.

I hope to see you next month.

Your brother,

R. G. Mitchell

The new arrival was Benjamin Dysart Mitchell, born July 29 1908, and the last of the children of Robert Gwyn Mitchell and Lena Bell Carhart, for Robert died march 5, 1909.

Will of James Bourne Mitchell, Attested March 6, 1900

In the Name of God, Amen.

I, James B. Mitchell, of Kirksville, Adair, Co., Missouri, being of sound mind, and believing in the existence of the One true and living God, the Father and Holy Spirit, in the immortality and responsibility of man, in the verbal inspiration of the holy scriptures, in the resurrection of the bodies of all the dead of the human family by the power of God in Christ, and in eternal life through faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, do make and hereby declare this to be my last will and testimony: viz:

1. I commit my spirit to God through faith in Jesus Christ as my personal savior and Lord, being fully assured by His word and spirit of eternal life through Him.

2. I give my body to the tomb whence God shall call me, in blessed assurance of its being resurrected at the last day in the likeness of the glorified body of the Redeemer by his almighty power.

3. I will and bequeath all my personal and real estate to my wife, Martha C. Mitchell, for her maintenance, comfort and use in acts of benevolence during her natural life, conditioned as follows: That if she survive me and remains my widow, she shall have the free use of all, or any necessary part, of my personal and real estate during her natural life so far as needed to promote her personal comfort, and for such acts of humane and Christian beneficence as she may do for the Lord’s honor in human good.

4. I will that at my wife’s death so much of my estate, personal and real, as may remain shall be equally divided among my surviving children, or if deceased, their bodily heirs, subject to the following conditions relative to my daughter, Mary, and her bodily heirs.

5. As our daughter Mary is not strong and may not otherwise have the means of personal comfort, and that of her child or children, I will that if not sooner done, my executors hereinafter named, or their successors in office, may provide for her an inexpensive but comfortable home, by rent or purchase, as they may deem best, which, with her share of my estate as one of my bodily heirs, shall be held in trust for her personal comfort, and that of her child or children, by our son John T. Mitchell, as trustee, during her lifetime, which at her decease shall all revert to my estate, provided, however, that if at her death she leave a child or children, they shall inherit her equal part of my estate, to be divided at my wife’s death; provided also that if such child or children die without bodily heirs, what remains of her share shall revert to my estate.

6. I will that at my wife’s death, so much of my personal and real estate as may remain shall be equally divided among my surviving children, or their bodily heirs of deceased, subject to the conditions above named relative to Mary and her bodily heirs.

7. I will that after all my debts are paid, such part of my estate as my wife may consider not needed for her ample maintenance and comfort may be equally divided among our natural heirs, subject to the conditions above stated. As my wife inherited a part of what we own from her father’s estate and has ever done a full and effective share in accumulating and preserving what property the Lord in his goodness has enabled us to acquire, and as I desire that her happiness be promoted thereby as fully as under the Lord that may be realized, I will that after my decease, she reside where and how she may choose as most conducive to her personal comfort and welfare.

8. I will that my wife, Martha C. Mitchell, and our son Robert G. Mitchell, shall jointly execute this my last will and testimony, and I hereby appoint them thereto, to settle up my estate as herein provided; provided in the case of the death of either or both of these, or the trustee above named, then my surviving sons shall appoint their successors respectively, and that said executors and trustee serve without bond, it being understood that they will make no charge for services against the estate except for necessary expenses incident thereto.

9. Authority is hereby given to my executors to sell any and all property belonging to the estate, when and how they may judge to be best for all interested therein, and to collect all debts due the estate, in carrying out this will.

10. I will that in settling up my estate no recourse be made as to the Civil Courts further than in compliance with what the law demands in such cases, as all our children are of lawful age and will without doubt do full justice to each other therein; and I will that no informality or other such fact be a bar to the validity of this my will, or its being carried out as provided therein.

Signed and subscribed to by me in the presence of the witnesses hereto attached on this the 6th day of March 1900.

(signed) James B. Mitchell

We hereby attest that James B. Mitchell of this city and state, did at this date and in our presence affix his name to the above paper, saying in connection therewith that it was his last will and testimony.

Kirksville, Mo. March 6th, 1900.

(Signed) J. W. Martin

(Signed) H. H. Morriss

The above was transcribed by me from a typewritten copy courtesy of Jim Mitchell, descendant of Orlando. James Bourne Mitchell died March 12, 1901 in Kirksville. James here expresses concern about daughter Mary Frances “Fannie”, b. 1868, who married Henry M. Bannister b. April 4, 1863. Mary was married to Henry Bannister, not a professional (unlike Mary’s siblings), the 1900 census giving him as a day laborer. He died in 1913. in the 1920 census Mary is in Missouri State Hospital #2, which was an asylum that housed everyone from the mildly depressed to the criminally insane. She died May 30, 1924, survived by a son, Henry Homer Bannister, born March 9, 1894, died Jan 19, 1981.

Last Will and Testament of Robert Craig b. 1744, d. 1834 in Abingdon, Virginia

In the name of God, Amen! I Robert Craig of the county of Washington in the State of Virginia, being of sound mind and memory notwithstanding my advanced age, blessed be God for all his goodwill and mercies toward me, do make, ordain and declare this instrument which is written with my own hand and every page this of subscribed with my name to be my last will and testament revoking all others and I order and ordain all my just debts to be paid and the legacies hereafter bequeathed in the manner herein directed, those of my children whose names is not mentioned in this instrument has heretofore been provided for and has already got their share of my estate–having lent to my daughter Sarah Hamilton eleven hundred dollars for the purpose mentioned in an instrument of writing of which will be found amongst my papers wherein she obliged herself to educate and clothe her niece Sarah Hamilton until she arrived at the age of twenty-two years for which she had the loan of the money free of interest but preserved to myself the disposal of it afterwards as I thought proper, and as she is now arrived at the age stipulated for and have made other provisions for her brother Frederick it is my will that it be applied in the following manner therein I leave and bequeath to my grand daughter Sarah Hamilton six hundred dollars out of the money coming from my daughter Sarah Hamilton, but not to be paid until after my daughter Sarah Hamiltons death, and the remainder of it paid to my other heirs hereafter mentioned, and I leave to my grand daughter Sarah Hamilton the case of drawers that belonged to her mother, and is secure in the possession of my daughter Amanda (illegible word) it is my will that one hundred dollars out of the eleven hundred to be paid to my daughter Amanda in grain or hauling fire wood or such articles as she shall stand in need of — having advanced to my soninlaw William Berryhill one thousand dollars on his marriage with my daughter Mary and in one thousand eight hundred and fifteen (illegible word) him one thousand dollars payable in one year with interest from the date, he has however made but small advances towards paying the interest but is my will that his bond be given up with the balance of the interest as canceled. Here I leave and bequeathe to my grand daughters the children of my daughter Smith the five volumes of Doctor Scotts bible purchased for my own use, Here I leave and bequeathe to my daughter Amanda besides what I have already advanced to her, the house and lot on which she lives, and my upper place joining Capt Bradley & his brother Major Sloan

Note: Possible line cut off at end page.

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daughter with the advice of my executor to sell it is my will that a title from them shall be good notwithstanding her sons (two words illegible) their part being secure of the purchase money and one hundred dollars before mentioned also her woman Melissa and her daughter Rachel and (?) their offspring also my book case and household furniture as soon as (Mr. or Mrs.) Smith can spare them except my smallest looking glass (illegible word) to my daughter Fulkerson, my settee chairs & table and other household furniture I brought with me here except Amanda claims the bed, I leave to my daughter Hamilton. Here I leave to my grand sons (illegible word) & James sons of my daughter Amanda five hundred dollars (illegible word) of the money (illegible word) have at interest to remain at interest for their support & education and as at the death of my daughter Sarah Here with remain four hundred dollars it is my will that it be equally divided between and my silver buttons I leave to Robert, and (illegible word) gun and powder horn to him and his brother James Here it is my will that my daughter Sarah Hamilton shall not be liable to pay either principles or interest on any of the legacies I have left of the money in her hands during her life except at her own option Here I leave to my daughter Nancy my spectacles and to her son Robert my desk. Here I leave to my son James my watch, and should his son Robert survive him I leave to my son Robert it to him. Here to my son Robert my wearing apparel, and without some unforeseen event to his (illegible word) there will be a considerable amount not inclosed (?) in the foregoing legacies especially if the money is obtained from the heirs of the (illegible word) to which I am justly entitled It is therefore my will that the balance of my estate shall be disposed of in the following manner Here I bequeathe to the Seminary of Maryville twenty five dollars to assist in educating young men for the Ministry and twenty five dollars toward sending Missionaries to the heathens The balance to be disposed of in the following manner (illegible word) to be divided into our shares (several illegible words) to down one share, my grand son Robert son of my son John one share James Mitchell son of my daughter Bovell, one share my son Williams two daughters one share to be paid as my outstanding (two illegible words) due, at the discretion of my Executors. Here I have given to each of my children a set of Doctor Scott bibles in three volumes and my

(page 3)

third volumes both of which are in my possession — If it can be done consistent with the laws of this state and the laws of the United States I wish to give my two slaves Lucy & Delilah their freedom one year after my demise Delilah to remain with Amanada that long Lucy to be hired out but should the laws be such that they cannot remain here and they would rather prefer staying here than go to a foreign country they shall have the choice of whom they will serve, and their price as (illegible word) to the four shares and Amandas 2 sons equally. Lastly I appoint Andrew Rupell and Henry Parrott Executors of this my last will and testament in witness of all and each of the things herein contained I have set my hand and seal this thirteenth day of January in the year of our Lord one thousand and eight hundred and thirty two.

Robert Craig (seal)

The following lines is to direct my Executors how to dispose of some of my property not mentioned in my last will dated 13 January 1832 having purchased a carriage in partnership with my daughter Sarah Hamilton I leave her my share in it also my wind mill for cleaning grain and (illegible) and my book the title of which is (illegible) on death, and to my daughter Amanda I leave my share in the waggon and my log chain & every other article of husbandry on the premises my saddle and bridle to her two sons, it is my will, my sorrel mare, I leave to my daughter Amanda, it is my will that my grand son John Berryhille, son of my daughter Berryhille be included in sharing the dividend with my son Robert and my other heirs mentioned in my former will and should the money due from Wa…ers estate be obtained, it is my will that my daughters Fulkerson Shugart and Barryhille be paid out of it five dollars each, to purchase a ring or what other article they may thing proper to remember me by — as I had not my will by me to peruse when I wrote the above and finding that it had disposed of fifty dollars (illegible word) previous uses in my former will, it is my will that the distribution thus made shall stand which accounts for my (illegible final word and possible last sentence cut off at bottom of page)

(page 4)

I have advanced for her it is my will that it be canceled and given up to her as (illegible last word)

* * * * * * * * * *

Thanks to Jim Mitchell who sent me the photocopy of the will, of which I made the above transcript. As Robert mentions in the final attachment to the will that he had not had a copy of his Last Will and Testament to refer to when making it, I am inclined to believe that the handwritten will which is all on four consecutive pages is a copy of the original. Especially as the photocopy shows no seal, instead the word “Seale” is written and a squiggly circle drawn around it.

In the will Robert Craig gives his slaves Lucy and Delilah their freedom one year after his death. The Digital Library on American Slavery shows their apparently successful petitioning for their freedom, one of the slaves being Lucy Crawford, and the other Delila Bowyer:

Petition 11683517 Details
State: Virginia
Location: Washington
Location Type: County
Salutation: To the Honorable the Legislature of Virginia
Filing Date: 1835-December-21
General Petition Information
Abstract: In his last will and testament, the late Captain Robert Craig directed that his slaves Lucy and Delila be freed one year after his death. Craig died in 1834 and now Lucy, calling herself Lucy Crawford, and Delila, calling herself Delila Bowyer, petition for permission to remain in Virginia after emancipation. Lucy is about sixty-five years old and a widow, her husband having died some years before, and her children are “dispersed by distribution and otherwise in different parts of the world.” Delila is about forty-five, and her husband remains in the area as a slave.
Result: reasonable
# of Petition Pages: 3
Related Documents: List of Subscribers, ca. 1835; Extract from the Will of Robert Craig, n.d.
Pages of Related Documents: 2
People Associated with Petition 11683517
Slaves: 2
Free Persons of Color: 0
Defendants: 0
Petitioners: 2
Other People: 2

Citation Information
Repository: Library of Virginia, Richmond, Virginia
Legislative Petitions

In the 1840 census I find a free African American woman by the name of Lucy Crawford living in Providence, Rhode Island. Is it the same Lucy Crawford? She is of the right age.

Name: Lucy Cranford
[Lucy Crawford]
Home in 1840 (City, County, State): Providence Ward 6, Providence, Rhode Island
Free Colored Persons – Females – 55 thru 99: 1
Total Free Colored Persons: 1
Total All Persons – Free White, Free Colored, Slaves: 1

In 1850 in Montgomery, Orange, New York I find a Lucy Crawford aged 64. Is it possibly the same woman despite the age disparity (I’ve observed great age disparities elsewhere)? A Sarah N. age 30 is in the same household. In the 1840 census, Lucy Crawford was living beside a Sarah Nightingale, also a free African-American, who had two females in her household, one 35-55 years of age and one 55 to 100. Is that Sarah Nightingale the same as Sarah N. Bull below, given as age 30?

1850 Montgomery, Orange, New York
Amos Bull 28 black laborer b. NY
Sarah N. 30 black b. NY
Lucy Crawford 64 black b. NY
William E. Lindaman (Lindeman) 3 black b. NY

By 1860 Amos Bull is married to another woman and I am unable to locate Sarah N. or Lucy Crawford or William E. Lindaman.

A Sarah Nightingale, free colored, appears in the Providence Rhode Island census in 1830, with only one individual in the household in the 55-100 age range. There is no free colored Lucy Crawford in the census in 1830. Sarah Nightingale is also in the Providence Rhode Island census in 1820. Before that she disappears and we have two “free colored” families in 1810 headed by Bristol Nightingale and Nimble Nightingale. Nimble, in the West District, has 3 people in his household and Bristol, in the South District has 2.

Nimble was one of seventeen free blacks, four from Providence, who were listed as subscribers who financially enabled the publication of Samuel Hopkins’ System of Doctrines in 1793. Two others listed as subscribers were Mrs. Duchess Quamine and a Bristol Yamma, Yamma being also from Providence. Hopkins had hoped to establish African-American missionaries in Africa, and towards that purpose had sent Bristol Yamma and John Quamine (perhaps Duchess is his wife), both free black men, to be educated at Princeton. However, the Revolutionary War intervened. John Quamine, hoping to earn money to purchase his wife’s freedom, enlisted in the Revolutionary War and died. Bristol Yamma was killed in North Carolina in 1794.

Wikipedia notes:

Originally a slaveholder, Hopkins was one of the first of the Congregationalist ministers to denounce slavery. His efforts coincided with the 1774 law that forbade the importation of slaves into Rhode Island, and the 1784 law that granted freedom to all slaves born in Rhode Island after March 1785. During America’s war of independence, Hopkins’ school for negro missionaries to Africa was broken up due to the confusion. Harriet Beecher Stowe even admired Hopkins enough to portray him as one of the protagonists of her third novel The Minister’s Wooing.

Hopkins published a number of abolitionist phamphlets.

Did Lucy Crawford make her way up to Rhode Island or is it another individual? There are no black or white Crawfords in Rhode Island in 1830 or 1820.

As for Delilah Bowyer, she is in the Washington County, VA census in 1840, free. The census is listed alphabetically so we can’t check who she was living beside.

1840 Washington Co. Virginia census, Delilah Boyer 1 female in her household aged 36-55.

I don’t find a Delilah Bowyer (any spelling) in 1850. There is, however, in District 67, Washington, Virginia (which is Abingdon, where Robert Craig lived) a woman simply called Delila. She’s in a household of two free blacks living beside the family of the silversmith Valentine Baugh.

1940 Baugh m black 56 $150 in real estate
Delila f black 58

In 1834 Delila is given as having a husband in the area, for which reason she would have been interested in remaining until he also was emancipated, and I find the following on a Botteout Boyer who went to Liberia in 1854, his emancipation procured by his unnamed wife:

Bottetout Boyer
Gender Male
Age Emigrated 58
Place of Origin Washington
Status Purchased
Emancipator wife
Ship Name Banshee
Date of Emigration 11/1/1853
Liberian Destination Unknown
Level of Education Unknown
Occupation Unknown
Year/Cause of Death Unknown
Census Information None

The receipt for his passage on the Banshee and six months in Liberia was $60.

This Bottetout Boyer is not the Boyer of “Trade Town” that is sometimes mentioned in the above book, that Boyer being “Avith” as reported in the Massachusetts Colonization Society Report.

Is this Botteout Boyer of Washington Co. Virginia the possible husband of Delilah Boyer of Washington Co. Virgina? Are they the couple in the 1850 census listed as Baugh (age 56) and Delila? Bottetout Boyer certainly is of age to be Baugh.

1898 Letter from Robert Chambers Craig to John Thompson Mitchell with Recollections on Robert Craig

Thank you to Jim Mitchell for the photocopy of the below letter from Robert Chambers Craig to John Thompson Craig. The photocopy is of a typewritten copy of the original. Below is my transcription and following it some notes.

Benham, March 26, 1898

Dear Cousin; —

Your letter of March 18th is to hand, and this being a snowy rainey day, such as I detest having to ride in, I have concluded to kill time by answering your very kind letter. As you must know the pleasure it affords an old man like myself to hear from near and dear relatives even though he has never seen them. I received from Cousin James on yesterday a long letter for which I sincerely thank him. I have tried for years to locate him but could not do so. Oh how much I would love to see all the children of my dear Cousin but fear it will never be so. You omit to say in your letter who Mrs. Dr. Frick was, whether she was the wife of Dr. Wm. Frick who left this County perhaps in the (50, Fifties) and settling I think in Lafayette Co., Mo. You state that I got figures mixed in regard to the time Grandfather came from Carlisle, Penn. to Washington County, Sir he came here in 1777. I act largely on this date as taken from his obituary note as written by Uncle Bovell, who was in a position having the assistance of Aunt Hamilton, Aunt Nancy Bovell, and my mother to give him correct data. This same document states that he followed Gen. Washington through tours, not campaigns as I stated, and that he was quite active in organizing companies and socities during that period. He also served in the Legislature of Penn. one or two sessions. He was without doubt a captain in the commisary department and acquired his title of Capt. in this way. I recollect distinctly when a boy of 12 or 13 years of age writing out as Grandfather dictated it quite a lengthy account of his services in the war of the revolution. What became of it I do not know. My dear wife died 10 long years ago. We lived together nearly 50 years. Our family consisted of seven children 5 girls and 2 boys. Three of our children are dead. I have a daughter Amanda Johnson who had 6 children. Mollie E. Ropp 2 children, Hattie B. Countip 9 children, Robt. Claude 4 children. Claude is a Dr., a fine workman but does not like the business and attends more to the farm than his profession. You ask me when and where I graduated, I think now I see you smile. I was raised and trained for a merchant and followed this business for 12 years. I became dyspective, lost my health, and failing in business I commenced reading medicine and farming for the sake of health as much as anything else. I became interested and in 1845 being several miles from Abingdon I went to see many cases, and finally took license and went regularly into the work. I can say without boasting that I have practised medicine longer than any other Physician that ever lived in the County. I have done more practice than others. I have had always a great fondness for surgery and have done more autopsys by order of the coroner thany any other Physician. We have rarely a criminal case in court but I am summoned as an expert. I have performed 2 craniotomies successfully with a pocket knife and a pair of pothooks converted into the blaunt hook. So you see that things can be done sometimes without all the appliances that science now demands. I operated several years since on a man some 50 years of age on the 8th day of his attack for appendicitus; had no assistance other than laymen he secured. This is the only recovery that has occured here although several fine physicians have done the work. I never lost a case of surgery except one of hernia which had been delayed too long, the bowell sloughing from strangulation. Now I suppose you are getting weary of this and I will stop it.

Now I will say something of what my family and friends is my weak point. I was and have been a Republican for 20 years or upwards, my folks are all democrats if they know what a democrat means as I confess I do not; there are so many kinds and none agreeing on any cardinal points, but on platforms I think they areat sea without chart or compass.

I have canvassed my County time and again for my friends always getting beat. Three years since an election for country committeemen was held in Abingdon at a large mass meeting. My name was placed before the meeting with that of a very bright young lawyer, Loo Summens. I was elected which meant you have now to stump the county. I was then appointed committeeman for the congressional districts of 14 counties. When I commenced the camp air started with 1600 majority in the County against us and 6000 in the district. In this canvas I rode horseback some 1000 miles and spoke at nearly every school house and road nad public place for 2 months speaking nearly every day twice and sometimes 3 times a day, result we carried the County by 186 votes and the district by 2100. Last fall we carried the county by 586 and this spring we ought carry it by a larger margin, I am done now I think with politics. After the canvas 2 years ago when the excitement was over I was laid up by prostration for several weeks.

I shall always be pleased to hear from you of any of the relatives at any time.

Yours truly,

R. C. Craig

* * * * *

Robert Chambers Craig, born Jan 21 1819, died Jan 13, 1900, was the son of James Chambers Craig and Amanda Patton Craig b. Feb 2 1796 and died Dec 10 1856. I read that James Chambers Craig died quite young in the Seminole War, but I’ve seen varying dates of death. Amanda was the daughter of Robert Craig and Jane Denny.

Robert Chambers Craig married Margaret Jane Parrott on April 6 1841. Children: Amanda Patton Craig married Jacob Henderson Johnson; Margaret Parrott Craig died as a teen; Virginia King Heiskel Craig died as a youth; James Henry Craig died as a child; Mary Elizabeth Craig married David Parrott Repp; Sarah Harriet Craig married Charles Countiss; Robert Claude Craig married Frances Bradley. I took the above family info from the internet from what seemed a reliable tree.

The Aunt Hamilton he mentions would be Sarah Craig, daughter of Robert Craig and his first wife, Margaret Whitefield. Sarah lived 1776 to 1848 and married Frederick Hamilton in 1797. Aunt Nancy Bovell (my line) is Ann Middleton “Nancy” Craig, daughter of Robert and his second wife, Jane Denny. She married first Captain John Mitchell in 1808 and after his death in 1821 married Stephen Bovell in 1824. Stephen Bovell would be the “Uncle Bovell”. Ann lived 1786 to 1837.

John Thompson Mitchell, 1847 thru 1912, was the same of James Bourne Mitchell and Martha Cowden Dysart, grandson of Capt. John Mitchell and Ann Middleton “Nancy” Craig, and thus great-grandson of Robert Craig. Robert Chambers Craig and John Thompson Mitchell were 1st cousins once removed.