Robert Craig, Robert Craig Jr. and John Mitchell Given as Securities in Will of William King

“Be it remembered that at a Court opened and held by the justices of the Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions for the County of Roane at the Courthouse in Kingston on the 3rd Monday of March 1809 The following Probate of the last Will and Testament of WILLIAM KING deceased with the attestation of JOHN CAMPBELL said to be Clerk of WASHINGTON COUNTY in the STATE OF VIRGINIA under his hand and seal of office accompanied with the certificate of ROBERT CAMPBELL as presiding justice of said County were produced in open Court and ordered by the Court to be Recorded”

“Virginia to wit. At a Court held for Washington County the 20th day of December 1808.

The Last Will & Testament of WILLIAM KING deceased was exhibited into Open Court and proved by the Oath of WILLIAM D. NEILSON one of the Subscribing Witnesses thereto who further made oath that he saw JOHN DOHERTY the other Subscribing witness sign his nae thereto as a Witness at the request of the said WILLIAM KING. The said DOHERTY if living resides in the MISSISSIPPI TERRITORY about a thousand miles from this place, and that the said Will except the signatures of the Witnesses is entirely in the hand Writing of the said WILLIAM KING The Testator. Further that the Codicil thereto appointing JAMES KING & WILLIAM TRIGG Executors and dated the third day of March one thousand eight hundred & six is also in the handwriting of WILLIAM KING the Testator. The Court, having decided the evidence was sufficient to prove the validity of the instrument, ordered that it be recorded. “WILLIAM TRIGG and JAMES KING took the oath of an Executor prescribed by law and intered into and acknowledged their bond in the sum of ONE MILLION FIVE HUNDRED THOUSAND DOLLARS with the following as securities:

Robert Craig, Junr.
Thomas Tate
Robert Delap
John Apperson
Joseph Cole
Robert White
Bazill Talbutt
Johhn Cole
Thomas Moffitt
Joshuah Burk
John Mitchell
Jacob Baker
John McCoormick
Robert Craig
John Athey
John Goodson
Peter Clark
John Buckhannon
James King, Sen’r
Samuel Meek
Samuel Glenn
William Duff
Rufus Morgan
James Langley
William Jones
Benjamin Estill
Samuel Vance
James Bryant
Michael Shaver
Gerrand T. Conn
James Thompson
Enoch Schoolfield
George Spangler
William M. Henry
Michael Deeehart
Silbourn S. Henderson
John I. Trigg
David Smith
Robert Dukes
William D. Neilson
Earl B. Clap
Jacob Long
Donnally Findlay
Welcome Martin
Robert McCulloch
Thomas Thornburgh
Matthew Willoughby
James Keys
John McCullock
John Williamson
William Grey
James Lyon
Alexander Hamilton
Benjamin Langley
Jacob Jungle
Robert Huston
Reuben Bradley
Valentine Baugh
Joseph Miller
Charles Tate
Potters O. Clayton
William Poston
Peter Scott
Benjamin Clark
William King

JOHN CAMPBELL, Clerk of WASHINGTON COUNTY, VA, certified that the above true copy.

24 Dec 1809
by JOHN CAMPBELL

Thanks to Jim Mitchell for the photocopy of the typewritten copy of this document.

Obituary of Capt. Robert Craig, February 8, 1834, Abingdon

Capt. ROBERT CRAIG departed this life in this County on the morning of the 4th last in the 90th year of his age.

The deceased had resided in this county about 46 years; whither he removed about the year ’87, from the state of Pennsylvania. In the various spheres in which he was called to move in life, he acted well his part. When in the prime of life he heard the tocain of his country’s danger; answered to its call: and in two several tours marched with that patriot band who followed the Father of his Country, to victory & liberty. Nor, should it be omitted, that, in those dark days which tried men’s souls, he was particularly active and successful in organizing patriotic societies, which exerted such a powerful influence, during the revolutionary war, in behalf of the rights of man. He also served his native State, some time, in the Legislative Department. To the Federal and State authorities he yielded that obedience which is the duty of the good citizen.

He had raised a family of fifteen children; five sons, and ten daughters–all of whom lived to be married and settled in life. Seven of his children finished their mortal course before their venerable and worthy parent–eight survive him: two sons and six daughters.

In all the relations of domestic and social life he was exemplary. A kind husband, an affectionate father, a humane master, a generous and constant friend.

The deceased was a sincere believer in the truth of Christianity; and was for about seventy years, in the communion of the Presbyterian Church. He was daily and regularly attentive to the duties of devotion, and lived a useful, and consistently pious life. Towards the close of life more especially, he appeared to be engaged almost incessantly in solemn prayer and other religious exercises.

A number of the last days of his life were spent, as he had opportunity, in giving his parting benedictions to his three daughters, who were privileged to wait around his dying bed; and in manifesting to them that particularly ardent parental affection, which he had ever cherished towards them.

He was calm and collected in view of his approaching end, which he had evidently anticipated, for a long time, must be just at hand. He rested his home of future happiness entirely upon the precious atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ. He felt, as does every truly enlightened christian, that in himself there was no good thing, and that he had been an unprofitable servant–and would then exclaim, “how wonderful, how precious that mercy which appointed that Jesus Christ should die to redeem such an unworthy sinner” as he felt himself to be.

H retained his es last, and when he was evidently struggling in death, was heard distinctly to say, “O Lord! into thy hands I commit my soul, my body, and my spirit, to be disposed of as pleaseth thee.” These were his last words.

He seemed not only to meet death without terror, but had, even in the presence of his (paper torn with age, a word gone) children, expressed his earnest desire, if consistent with the will of his Heavenly Father, to be received to his rest.

FAITH builds a bridge across the gulf of death,
To break the shock, blind nature cannot shun!
And lands thought smoothly on the further shore;
Death’s TERROR is the mountain FAITH removes;
That mountain barrier between man and peace.
‘Tis FAITH disarms destruction; and absolves
‘From every clamorous charge the guiltless tomb.’
‘Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord–
Yes, with the SPIRIT, that they may rest from
their labours; and their works do follow them.
Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright;
for the end of that man is peace.’
E’en down to old age, all my people shall prove
My sovereign, eternal, unchangeable love;
And then, when grey hairs shall their temples adorn,
Like lambs they shall still in my bosom be borne,
The soul that on Jesus hath leaned for repose,
I will not, I will not desert to his face;
That soul, tho’ all hell should endeavor to shake,
I’ll never–no-never–no never foresake.’

Thank you to Jim Mitchell for the photocopy of the published obituary. Captain Robert Craig, son of David Craig and Margaret Patton, lived from Dec 28 1744 to Feb 4 1834, and married Jane Denny. His daughter Ann Middleton “Nancy” Craig Mitchell is in the line relevant to his blog.

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.

(page 2)

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.

James Bourne Mitchell and Family

Dorothy Mitchell McClure gave this to me when I was young. I didn’t make a note who had written it and am unsure who it was. Dorothy added that the below mentioned Missouri Valley College was her Alma Mater.

* * * * *

James Bourne Mitchell and family

by a descendant of J. B. Mitchell

James B. Mitchell was born 27 June 1821, died March 12, 1901. He was the grandson of Robert Craig–son of John Mitchell and Ann Middleton Craig.

Martha C. Dysart, born 5 March 1825–died February 19, 1912.

To the descendants of Dr. J. B. Mitchell and Martha Cowden Dysart Mitchell, his wife, you should have some background of the Mitchell family of Donegal Co., Ireland. A captain in the English Merchant Marine and father of our grandfather, J. B. Mitchell, established the Mitchell family in the United States. Our grandfather told Orlando Mitchell that his father had crossed the Atlantic seventeen times. The last time he had a young lady passenger who was coming across to visit her brother in Abingdon, VA. My great-grandfather, John Mitchell, fell in love with her, quit the ocean, and followed her to Abingdon where he married her–Miss Elizabeth King–on the 14th of May, 1794. Elizabeth King Mitchell died the 13th of May, 1806.

On the 16th of July, 1908, John Mitchell married Nancy Middleton Craig, my great-grandmother, and from this union J.B. Mitchell, my grandfather, was the youngest child, having been born June 27th, 1821. His father passed away in August of the same year. The family lived upon a farm near Abingdon, where they remained until they came to Missouri in 1836. It was in 1836 that J.B. Mitchell wrote he was converted but did not join the church until 1839. All this time, he felt the Lord was calling him to enter the ministry. In 1841, he was taken under the care of Presbytery in the Cumberland Presbyterian Church. In 1845 he was ordained and became pastor of Bethel Church in Monroe County, Missouri. He was married to Martha Cowden Dysart in 1846.

He was called to the presidency of McGee College in 1853 and was its president until it closed in 1874. He then became pastor of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church in Kirksville, Mo., which he served until health forced him to retire. His death was March 12th, 1901. His life was a full one. He had a standing order with a publishing company to send him all the new outstanding books. All who knew him say he was a great educator, administrator and had a great personality, beloved by all. In other words, he was a leader in the cultural life of his time. He served as moderator of the General Assembly of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, the highest office that his church could bestow.

He was also thought of in Masonic Circles as you will see from the following quotation from citation from the most worshipful Masters of Missouri: “Most Worshipful Marcus Boyd, Esq. 1858; Marcus H. McFarland, Esq. 1860; W. R. Penik, Esquire, 1861; Grand Masters of Masons of Missouri in above years, having confidence in the moral worth and Masonic skill of Rt. W. Rev. James B. Mitchell do hereby constitute and appoint him D.D. Grand Master for the 8th Masonic District composed of the Counties Macon, Randolph and Howard.” (All signed by) A. C., Sullivan, Grand Secretary.

He was saddened when McGee College was forced to close for lack of money, for he felt the need of Christian Education for the Youth of the Land. The leaders in the church felt the same need and went to work to establish a school with an endowment that could be relied upon for part of its expense. With all their work, they could not get the job done so they called up J. B. Mitchell to accomplish what the rest had failed to do. Dr. J.B. Mitchell made the drive, giving 200 days of his time to this effort without remuneration and was successful. Missouri Valley College was a dream come true. As Dr. Black, first president of Missouri Valley College said, “Without the devoted spirit and unselfish work of Dr. Mitchell, Missouri Valley College would never have had an existence. Dr. Mitchell and his wife still live. They live, to be sure, in the work of their five sons and five daughters, worthy children all. They live in grandchildren and they liven in Missouri Valley College, which is the flowering of the seed that they planted and a revitalization of abiding hopes.”

Dr. J.B. Mitchell’s family, and all the kin I have been privileged to visit from Abingdon, Virginia, on out west, have been people above the average and people with whom you would like to visit.

The five boys of Dr. J. B. Mitchell are as follows:

Dr. John Thompson Mitchell, a physician, born Oct. 12, 1847 – died November 4, 1912, married Addie Holliday. He was a preacher and had one of the best minds I have ever contacted. I tried him out in everything, Latin, Greek and higher math and I could never stump him. (NOTE by JK: John was not married to Addie Halliday. Instead it was Rev. James William Mitchell, a brother not listed in this biography, who was born Sep 22 1850 in MO and died 1928 Oct 4. He married Addie Holliday Oct 19 1875. As you can see the bio lists 5 boys but only gives 4. I received it from my grandmother and only can imagine that Dr. John and Rev. James were accidentally compressed into one person at some point.)

Robert Gwyn Mitchell, born Oct. 19, 1852 – died March 6, 1908, married Lena Carhart. He was a lawyer and so good the U.S. government called upon him to break the trusts. He was a great church man, Sunday School teacher and went to the different churches talking tithing. He talked it and did it.

Leonidas Stratten Mitchell, born August 11, 1863, died 27 February 1940. He married Laura Owens and that one act showed me he was brilliant. It was wonderful to see him, in his quiet way, get things done where others failed. To sum it up, he told me once, “Give me a pencil and paper, and I don’t believe anyone can out figure me.” He proved this was so.

Orlando McDavid Mitchell, born May 6, 1865, died Oct. 27, 1948, married Clara Wilson. His business was banking, safe deposit and investment work. I must not forget fishing. He had the power of relaxing and lived longer than any of his brothers. He kept an account that was the Lord’s. He helped greatly at Missouri Valley College, investing its money wisely and drawing on the Lord’s account for its help.

On looking at the wives of the sons, I feel that they all married well. If you know me, I am rather choosy and I loved them all for they were more than good to me. I saw more of Aunt Laura and Aunt Clara and they were, and are tops in my book.

The boys seemed to have done well, how about the girls?

Susan Ann, born Feb. 21, 1849, died Sept. 7, 1920, married James S. McDavid. You know that when Dr. J.B. Mitchell was banished during the Civil War the McDavids over in Illinois took care of him and his family and gave them a home on their farm. This is how Sue met James McDavid.

I must put a soty of my own in here. During the last depression, a McDavid came to Kansas City to see if he could raise money to save their bank. A friend brought him over to ask me what I thought of the deal. He talked along for a while, then I spoke up and said the McDavid family had helped my grandfather in the Civil War days and I was glad that a Mitchell could return the favor now. It about knocked this McDavid cold. He said, “What do you know about that? They paid every cent back, a favor that was settled by a grandson for the favor to his grandfather.”

Louisa Caroline married Rev. B.P. Fullerton. Aunt Cal, as we called her, was born July 4, 1895 and died January 22, 1944. She was the life of any party she attended. She had to be to keep up with Uncle Baxter. B. P. Fullerton received the highest honor that the U.S.A. Presbyterian Church could bestow, that of moderator of its General Assembly. The last time I ever saw Uncle Baxter was when he gave a beautiful prayer at Missouri Valley College, when grandfather’s picture was unveiled and given to the school.

Orpha Lou, born October 17, 1857, died July 11, 1925. She married Henry Johnston. Aunt Orpha read her Bible through each year and taught in the Sunday School. Uncle Henry was a farmer and a banker, and a good one too, the leader of his community. He had the best small bank in Missouri.

Bettie Sprague Mitchell, born Dec. 7, 1858, died Nov. 20, 1882, Uncle Lon said she was the sharpest of the lot.

Mary Fannie, born May 4th, 1868, afflicted in youth, died May 30th, 1924, married Henry Bannister. If you wish to take an appraisal, the girls did real well too.”

Transcribed by JMK 2001

Home of Capt. Robert Craig at Abingdon, Virginia

Robert Craig home

Captain Robert CRAIG b. 1744 Donegal Township, Lancaser County, PA, d. 1834 Abingdon, VA m. Jane DENNY b. 1750 Brandywine PA, d. 1809 Abingdon VA.

The back of the upper photo reads, “Captain Robert CRAIG’s home, Abingdon, VA. About 1808, Robert CRAIG built the west half of the brick home, which he called Mount Pleasant. This house had five rooms. It is said that the kitchen was entirely separate from the house. In 1857, Judge FULKERSON, then the owner, added three rooms to the west with his law office upstairs. After the home was no longer in the CRAIG family it waas called ‘Retirement.'”

The back of the second photo reads, “This is the rear view of this lovely home. When we visited Abingdon in 1969 we were shown the downstairs. We were told that the frame addition was very old. I think it was most likely part of the original house, perhaps where the kitchen was located. The present owners keep it in beautiful shape. It is furnished with lovely antiques.”

Obtained from Dorothy MITCHELL McCLURE, who had visited the CRAIG home