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

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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.

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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

James Bourne Mitchell Autobiography

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. He married Martha C. Dysart, born 5 March 1825–died February 19, 1912. They resided in Randolph Co. MO.

This autobiography is had courtesy of Mitchell Noll.

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James Bourne Mitchell Autobiography


In response to an urgent and repeated request of my son, Dr. John T. MITCHELL, the following sketch has been written after much hesitation and prayer as to whether the paper should be prepared and if so, what should be its contents.

To write about ones self is a very unpleasant talk to me and may be a temptation to think and say of ones self more highly than we ought to think or say. How far this has been avoided in these pages the reader will decide; but if this error has been committed, a sad failure of a fixed purpose has occurred.

To be true to history and therein to honor the Lord has been the rule of thought and expression. May the Lord honor himself in any gratification these pencilings may give to this son, his brothers and sisters, or their beloved Mother is my earnest desire.

Nativity and Parentage

James Bourne MITCHELL, youngest child of John and Ann M. MITCHELL, was born in Washington County, Virginia, June 27th, 1823. His Father was a native of Donegal County, Ireland, and his Mother was born and grew into womanhood in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. Her maiden name was CRAIG, daughter or Robert and Jane CRAIG.

John MITCHELL became a sailor in early boyhood and so continued for a number of years, being the Captain of a merchant ship for several years before he left the sea. He was born on a farm and had three brothers, James, Robert and George and one sister, Sarah. John and Robert, and a nephew, Andrew MITCHELL, were the only members of the family known to have emigrated to America. Robert and Andrew died without families. John died when his son James, the subject of this sketch, was only a few weeks old. The family resided on the farm where James was born until he had passed his fifteenth year. He was there taught habits of industry and economy; and the practical workings of a Christian life was inculcated by his Mother, who was an intelligent, energetic and self-sacrificing Christian. Her wisdom, good management and devoted Christian life were a rich heritage to her four sons and dour daughters. Though rather feeble for a number of years before her death, she made farm life attractive to her children resulting in the home being stored with sufficient plenty and the scene of family development and enjoyment. It so occurred,however, that the two younger sons had no other school advantages than the rural schools which were much less equipped for efficiency then now to be found in the common schools generally. Four miles had to be walked daily in going to and from the rude log school house of the community. Such things were not then considered a hardship, however, but merely facts of life to be met and mastered notwithstanding. James, like his father, was rather feeble physically until he passed his sixteenth year.

Removal to Missouri

In the fall of 1836, the family moved to Missouri and settled on a farm in Randolph County, where the devoted Mother died July 12, 1837, peacefully trusting in the Lord Jesus Christ as her personal Savior. On the evening of her death, she gave a Christian Mother’s parting counsel to each of her children present, and left words of loving advice for those away from home, offering an earnest prayer audibly for the salvation and Christly living of all her dear ones. Humanly speaking, her departure was a heavy loss to her children, as under her wise counsel and firm but loving government they had felt safe and happy. Her sweet Christian spirit and strraightforward womanly lifehad been a great inspiration to them, and to her they all, young and older, looked up with filial reverence and tender affection. Hence to be bereft of her personal presence and influence was a berevement no greater than which can befall an ungrown child. She left a precious motherly letter laid away by her ownloving hands in her trunk for them, written only a few weeks before her death, and not known to them until she had gone up to her heavenly reward.

His Youth under a Brother’s Care

At this time, James was only sixteen years old, the age at which the daily influence of the parent has so much to do in developing the future character. His second brother, Robert, had remained with the family and under the Mother, was the business manager. James shared fully in Robert’s warm brotherly care and supervision. Though not then a Christian, Robert was upright and scrupulously observed the rights and interests of others so far as social and secular relations go. In their now motherless home, farm life had its usual ups and downs as well as its impressive lessons of industry, frugality and self-reliance, which features are never lost on the well disposed and considerate youth.

The country being comparatively new, educational facilities were limited. Between the attention needed to be given to the farm and the infrequent and short school terms, mental culture from this source was necessarily slow and had to be supplemented by private home study at leisure hours. These hours a youth can utilize to good results if it is the determination to make the best possible personal improvement.

For several years after the Mother’s death, two brothers–Robert and James and two sisters–Ann and Louisa constituted the home family. Robert being much from home on business, the care and labor of the farm were mostly in the hands of James, and it may be added that his management and labor received Robert’s warm commendation.

The Origin and Working of his Christian Life

Up to this time, none of the brothers and sisters were Christians. In the spring of 1838, James accompanied his sisters to a sacramental meeting held at Sugar Creek Church in that county, under the pastoral care of Rev. Samuel C. DAVIS of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, on the last day of which he went forward for prayer and religious instruction. While as the result of his Mother’s teaching and practical Christian influence,he had been accustomed from early childhood to say his evening prayer, and read the scriptures, this had been mainly a formal habit, ripening however into a conviction of duty. From this time, he became prayerful in a better cause and read the Bible to learn the will of God. He trusted in Christ for personal salvation at home, in July 1838, while out on the farm at his usual work, and was very happy in his clear view of Jesus Christ as present to save him.

After the meeting referred to, it was his custom to carry a small Testament in his pocket in which to read short passages at leisure moments. Being alone at the time just mentioned and feeling greatly oppressed by a conviction of personal sinfulness,went to an adjoining wood and bowed in prayer with his Testament open at Matt. 11:28-30, which specially helped him then and there to look to Jesus for personal salvation. Thus going to the Savior, he was so richly blessed as to constrain him to speak out the Redeemer’s praise. Robert was from home when this precious experience of grace was realized. That evening, James told his sisters of his joyous experience and proposed to have family prayer which had been the daily custom of the household in their Mother’s lifetime. To this they readily consented, uniting within each evening in the service. Though these services were conducted in much weakness they were a rich feast to his young heart. When Robert returned home, James told him of his conversion and asked him if he might hold family worship every evening. To this Robert assented though he would sometimes retire before the service was held. Thus the fallen-down family altar was rebuilt and sought to be honored while the family remained together.

He Unites with the Church

Having informed himself relative to the doctrines and policy of the several churches in thatportion of the country, James united with the Eldad congregation of the Cumberland Presbytian Church of which Rev. S. C. DAVIS was pastor, in May of 1839. His parents were Presbyterians.

Conviction of Duty to Preach the Gospel

Coincident with his conversion, James felt it to be his duty to preach the Gospel which conviction was as clear and forceful as the evidence that he was a child of God. Of this however, he made no mention to anyone for some months, indeed not until some time after he had joined the church. This deeply felt conviction was a matter of daily thought and prayer. Though there was the consciousness of personal unworthiness for so holy a work and many serious difficulties confronting him, from the very first, it was as well settled in his mind that he ought to preach the Gospel as that he should pray, read the word of God, or engage in any other religious duty. While there was no light as to how he could become prepared for so responsible a work, he felt that he dared not say “No” to the Spirit’s deep conviction. When tempted to let the attending difficulties become an embarrassment, the”Woe is me if I preach not the Gospel” would ring in his heart in tones of controlling warning. But when he sought grace to trust the Lord Jesus Christ for help in the undertaking he was always filled with comfort and hopefullness.

Struggles, Hopes and Disappointments

One day while out on the farm with his brother, he told him of his conscious duty to preach, for which Robert did not seem at all prepared. Though he spoke kindly in his response, his words showed plainly that he suggested that it involved a very laborious and self-sacrificing life, having but small pecuniary renumeration, especially in a new country as that then was, reminding James that he was yet quite young to be thinking of entering upon so responsible a work, and more, that he did not have the needed education or the means of securing it. He added that he would not be in his way of living a consistent Christian life but thought it best to lay the matter of preaching till he reached riper years, closing with the remark that the impression, as he called it, might pass off after a time. The reference to youthfulness and the need of the necessary education without the means to procure it were recognized as important considerations to be had in mind, but the conviction that he must be true to the Lord’s leadings remained unimpaired in its authoritative force. he continued to read his Bible and to pray daily for light and strength to do the Lord’s will.

It was not long after this conference with his brother that from an unexpected source a proposition came to James to place him in a good school and this without the friend’s knowing anything about his feelings of duty to preach. Indeed, it came from a man who did not claim to be a Christian. Robert said to him that he could not do well without his aid on the farm that year and he readily consented to continue that assistance, for Robert had from his early life been much as a father to him. The purpose for which his aid on the farm having been realized the friend above referred to renewed his proposition to help James obtain an education, to his surprise and delight. This blotted out the unhappy regrets of the late disappointment as Robert said tohim that in a few weeks he could spare him from the farm. He prosecuted the work of these weeks full of cheer and bright expectations; but his brother in the meantime embarked in a business to which he could not give his personal attention and asked James to take charge of it and become equal sharer in the profits. This was an unlooked for obstruction and without any unkind reflection toward Robert as intruding to do him an injustice, James reminded him of the repeated and very generous offer of the family friend to assist in his education which he so much needed and desired, and which was much more to him than the prospect of making money. His brother replied that he had closed the contract which he could not honorably recall and he hoped he would consent to take charge of the business. James again informed his friend that circumstances were against his practically accepting his great kindness, which he therefore declined with thanks but with a heavy heart. As he was yet a minor and Robert had exercised such affectionate care over him, he thought it best to yield to his brother in the matter. It developed afterward that these moves of Robert were made no doubt largely at least to wear James off from the thought of preaching. His other brothers were very much opposed to his entering the Ministry, which may have had something to do in the course taken by Robert.

The new business was not remunerative as might have been expected,its practical workings being arrayed against God’s will so far as James’ connection with it was concerned. It involved heavy responsibility and much hard manual labor and bodily exposure as well, the last of which brought a long and dangerous illness to James, after being thus employed for six months. This he considered a chastisement by the Lord for permitting himself to be turned aside from what was evidently a providential opening to his becoming well educated thus early in life. As he slowly recovered from his protracted sickness, he informed Robert that he could not conscientiously resume the business, however legitimate in itself, that it must be disposed of at whatever financial loss to himself. There was really neither gain nor loss financially.

His Decisive Stand for the Lord

While James was greatly relieved in being honorably freed from what he had for these months felt to be against the Lord’s will, still there was a fearful darkness over him. He had during these months aimed to live a true Christian life but it was without his former joy, or even comfort, of an abiding character. He now went to God in deep humility and supplication, promising the Lord that if in His great grace He would restore divine light and strength, from that day he would by His gracious help let no person or thing come between him and the Gosepel Ministry. The Lord in His infinite love at that time and place filled his whole being unutterably full of light and comfort. The cloud of darkness then removed had been more oppressive than any ever upon him even before he was converted. In this darkness the devil’s temptation was as forcible as if spoken to the ear–“You are not a child of God else you would have been obeying him. You have just as clear evidence that you are called of God to preach the Gospel as you have that you are born of God. You have neglected the former, hence you have no sufficient reason to claim the latter”. Satan here made a strong case. He had vantage ground in the neglect that had been tolerated. Never had the determination been reached by James that he would not preach. Indeed, he had never entertained such a thought. Had the devil charged him with this he could have candidly pronounced it a false accusation; but he could not deny culpable neglect which through not self suggested had been permitted by him to control his actions. Indeed, the prospective privilege of inviting the unsaved to come to Christ had all the time been very dear to him.

The Divine Victory

Never after the Lord removed that cloud was there another upon him in reference either to his being accepted of God in Christ, or of his giving up all for the Gospel’s sake. Hence the Lord got to Himself complete and final victory over Satan in this battle as to whether His young servant should yield his life to preaching the Gospel of Christ. Wondrous in the power of God’s grace in the deliverance He brings to His weak and struggling ones when subject to temptations! Wondrous is His restoring and sustaining grace even to the most unworthy of all His servants!!

While these neglects should never have occurred, the lessons which they by the help of the Holy Spirit impressed were not without much worth in all after life, making James stronger in will to obey the Lord it may be than he would have been without some such trial of faith. The following message of the apostle doubtless thereby came more fully into his reckonings and doings:–“My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; knowing this that the trying ofyour faith worketh patience; but let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.”

Autobiography courtesy of Mitchell Noll

Transcribed by JMK 2001


This is the transcript of the journal kept by Anne Middleton CRAIG MITCHELL of her travel from Abingdon, Washington, Virginia to Randolph County, Missouri in 1836. This was passed to family by John T. MITCHELL of Kansas City, MO, as given by Anne’s son, Rev. J. B. MITCHELL. Mitchell NOLL passed it along to me.

Ann Middleton Craig, b. 1786 March 22 in Abingdon, Virginia, was married to Capt. John Mitchell in 1808 July 26. After his death in 1821, she next married Dr. Stephen Bovell on 1824 Oct 20.

When Ann made her trip to Missouri she was 49 years of age. The trip took two months. She died less than seven months later on 1837 July 12 in Huntsville, Randolph, Missouri.

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Monday, September 26th, 1836. This day we left Clover Hill near Abingdon, VA and reached Capt. GIBSON’S and Capt. DAVIS’. Fine weather.

Tuesday, September 27th, 1836. Stayed at Mr. SENIKA’s. Heavy rain in the morning, fine afternoon.

Wednesday, September 28th, 1836. Stayed at Mr. CLARK’s at North Fork River. Fine weather.

Thursday, September 29th, 1836. Stayed at Mr. NEILL’S at Clinch River. Fine weather.

Friday, September 30th,1836. Crossed POWELL’s Mountain and lodged at Mr. ALLEN’s. Fine weather.

Saturday, October 1st, 1836. Crossed WALDEN’s Ridge. Lodged at Jacob FULKERSON’s Less Court House. Fine weather.

Sabbath, October 2nd, 1836. Came to Col. FULKERSON’s. A little rain in the morning. Fine evening.

Monday, October 3rd, 1836. Dined at Joshua EWING’s. Returned to Col. FULKERSON’s. Fine weather.

Tuesday, October 4th, 1836. Col. FULKERSON’s. Very snowy, stormy day.

Wednesday, October 5th, 1836. Left Col. FULKERSON’s. Very clear and cold. Lodged very comfortably with Mr. LAVV’s, fifteen miles.

Thursday, October 6th, 1836. Passed Cumberland Gap and crossed a part of Loaf Mountain. Lodged with Mr. JONES fourteen miles. Very cloudy and raining a little.

Friday, October 7th, 1836. Traveled twenty miles. Lodged comfortably with Mr. CAIN. Crossed Loaf Mountain and Cumberland River. Very cloudy and light cold rain. Turnpike part of the way.

Saturday, October 8th, 1836. Came to Mr. Willis BURTON’s. Passed through Barbersville, crossed big Laurel River. The morning very cloudy and damp. Afternoon clear and moderate. Twenty four miles.

This would be Barbourville, Kentucky, rather than Barbersville

Sunday, October 9th, 1836. Traveled twenty four miles, crossed Little and Big Rock Castle. Passed through London, Laurel County. Lodged with Mr. John GRIFFIN. Clear fine day. Wretched lodging.

View Larger Map

Monday, October 10th,1836. Traveled 23 miles. Passed through Mount Vernon, Crab-Orchard and Walnut Flat. Lodged very comfortably with Mr. WOOD. Clear, beautiful day.

Tuesday, October 11th, 1836. Traveled twenty miles. Passed through Stanford and Danville. Fine day. Lodged with Mr. VERBRYCK.

Wednesday, October 12th, 1836. Traveled twenty miles and a quarter. Passed through Harrodsburgh. Visited the celebrated Springs of that place. Passed through Salvicey (sp?) and lodged with Mr. MCCALL. Fine, clear day.

Thursday, October 13th, 1836. Traveled twenty one miles and three quarters. Passed through Lawrenceburgh and Hardensville. Lodged with Mr. SHANNON. Pleasant morning. A little rain at evening.

Friday, October 14th, 1836. Traveled twenty four miles. Passed through Claysville, Shelbyville, Simpsonville, Boston. Clear, pleasant day after a very rainy night. Lodged with Mr. John GORMAN, Floyed’s Fork.

Saturday, October 15th, 1836. Passed through Middletown, Louisville, New Albany (in Indiana). Crossed the Ohio River, in a steam (ferry) boat. Pleasant morning. Very rainy evening. Traveled some time in the night. Lodged very comfortably with Mr. ARMSTRONG on banks of the Ohio.

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Sabbath, October 16th, 1836. Traveled twenty miles. Clear, cold morning. Cloudy evening. Passed through Zanesville. Lodged with Mr. James JAMISON.

Monday, October 17th, 1836. Traveled eighteen miles. Clear, cold day. Crossed the Blue River. Lodged with Mr. TOWEL, Quakers.

Tuesday, October 18th, 1836. Traveled fourteen miles. Crossed Lost River. Rainy, stormy morning. Cloudy all day. The worst roads I ever traveled. Lodged with Mr. FRENET.

Wednesday, October 19th, 1836. Traveled twenty miles. Severe blowing rains. Lodged with Mr. MARTIN. Desperate roads.

Thursday, October 20th, 1836. Traveled thirteen miles. Fine, clear, cold day. Bad roads. Lodged with Mr. HAYS. Kindly treated. Crossed the eastern branch of White River.

Friday, October 21st, 1836. Traveled thirteen miles. Crossed North Fork of White River. Passed through Washington, Haysville. Fine weather. Bad roads. Lodged with Mr. John STEEN. Kindly treated.

Saturday, October 22nd, 1836. Illinois, Lawrence County. Traveled thirteen miles. Passed through Vincennes. Crossed the Wabash River. Good weather. The roads still worse. Lodged with Mrs. SHULAR on the bank of the river. Beautiful view of the town and river.

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Sabbath, October 23rd, 1836. Traveled three and half miles. Lodged with Mr. Jacob MAY. Very kindly treated. Crossed over a part of the place called Purgatory which is worse than anything I ever saw to be called a road. Our wagon sunk above the hub of the wheels. Three of the horses mired down. The coupling pin of our carry all broke. We were taken out on a horse. A number of our fellow travelers came to our assistance. With all our help we were until nearly sunset getting out, although we got into it about ten o’clock, notwithstanding all our difficulties we had hired a pilot by the name of Neilson CARPENTER who engaged to take us through safely. We had but little rain until we got in the house. We were all crowded into one little room. Amanda and Louisa both sick.

Monday, October 24th, 1836. Traveled eight miles and a half. Rained all day. The roads no better. Lodged in Lawrenceville with Mr. MARNVEY’s.

Tuesday, October 25th, 1836. Traveled ten miles. Dreadful roads. Got the tongue of our wagon broke and new one made. Lodged with Mr. CHRISTY very comfortably.

Wednesday, October 26th, 1836. Traveled fourteen miles. Crossed Fox River on a bridge. Bad roads still. The tire of our wagon wheel broke and mended again. Lodged with Elijah NELSON.

Thursday, October 27th, 1836. Beautiful morning. Traveled twelve miles. Crossed the muddy fork of the Little Wabash River. In the bottom between the two, know by the name of Hell, which is the worst piece of road I ever saw. Lodged with Mr. McCOLLEY. Very comfortably.

Friday, October 28th, 1836. Traveled fourteen miles. Passed through Maysville and a prairie of twelve miles in length. The roads a little better. Lodged with Mr. Thomas ELLIOTT.

Saturday, October 29th, 1836. Traveled thirteen miles and three quarters. Dreadful roads in the morning. Better in the evening. Our wagon stuck fast. Had to delay some time getting out. Left part of our load at Dr. John DAVENPORT’s. Crossed the Skilletfork of the Wabash. Lodged with Mr. Dunning BAKER. Very well treated.

Sabbath, October 30th, 1836. Traveled twenty four miles. Fine day. Saw the prairie on fire, passed through twelve miles of the Grand Prairie. Lodged with Mr. CONE. In the prairie passed through SALEM.

Monday, October 31st, 1836. Traveled twenty miles. Passed through the Grand Prairie and Carlysle. Crossed a toll bridge over Shoal Creek. Fine roads and beautiful weather. Lodged with Mr. DOYLE.

Tuesday, November 1st, 1836. Traveled twenty five miles. Passed through Lebanon. Very fine day and good roads. Lodged with Mr. STITES. Very well treated.

Wednesday, November 2nd, 1836. Traveled fifteen miles. Bad roads. Crossed the Mississippi River in a handsome steam (ferry) boat. Stayed at Mr. WRIGHTS.

Thursday, November 3rd, 1836. Still at Mr. WRIGHT’s. Visited the Catholic Church. Part of the family went on board of a steam boat. Saw several land and several start.

Friday, November 4th, 1836. Left Mr. WRIGHT’s, traveled sixteen miles. Lodged at Mr. MARTIN’s. Tolerable roads. Good weather.

Saturday, November 5th, 1836. Traveled twenty five miles after our wagon crossed Missouri River in a steam boat. Passed through St. Charles. Good roads. Fine weather. Lodged very comfortably at Mr. BAILEY’s at Pond Fork.

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Sabbath, November 6th, 1836. Traveled eight miles to Mr. SPIRES for breakfast. Passed through Warrenton. Traveled thirty miles. Lodged with Mr. JONES. Very kindly treated. Breakfasted there.

Monday, November 7th, 1836. Came to Nathaniel DRYDEN’s seven miles. Met with Cousin Patsy there. All well and glad to see us.

Tuesday, November 8th, 1836. Came to Thomas DRYDEN’s. From there to Danville. Dined at Mr. SHARP’s. Returned to Mr. DRYDEN’s and spent the night.

Wednesday, November 9th, 1836. Mrs. SHARP spent the day with us at Thomas DRYDEN’s. Susan, Ann and Margaret and myself went home with her. Stayed with her in company with Mrs. CARPENTER.

Thursday, November 10th, 1836. Stayed at Mr. SHARP’s until after dinner. Returned to Mr. Thomas DRYDEN’s.

Friday, November 11th, 1836. Mr. BOWELL and Margaret STILL at Thomas DRYDEN’s.

Saturday, November 12th, 1836. Still at Thomas DRYDEN’s.

Sabbath, November 13th, 1836. Attended preaching in Danville.

Monday, November 14th, 1836. Went to our home four miles, directly went from Danville.

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Tuesday, November 15th, 1836. Started to John DAVIS’, in company with William MITCHELL and Susan, his wife. Traveled twenty miles. Bad roads. Stayed at old Mr. HARRISON’s. Very hospitably treated. Fine day.

Wednesday, November 16th, 1836. Traveled thirty two miles through prairie. Tolerable roads. Fine weather. Lodged at Mr. PALMER’s. Called at Craig FULKERSON’s twenty miles beyond before reaching Mr. PALMER’s.

Thursday, November 17th, 1836.. Traveled twenty five miles through prairie. Roads good and weather. Lodged in Huntsville at Mr. Walter CHILD’s.

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Friday, November 18th, 1836. Came four miles to breakfast at Mr. DOODING’s. Traveled twenty miles through prairie to what is called the Narrows. Lodged with Mr. CAMMON’s. Rainy, disagreeable day.

Saturday, November 19th,1836. Traveled thirty five miles through Prairie. Rain all day. Lodged at Mr. MYERS’.

Sabbath, November 20th, 1836. Traveled twenty five miles chiefly through prairie. Reached John DAVIS’. Found all well.

Monday, November 21st, 1836. At John DAVIS’. Visited Mr. EASTON’s family.

Tuesday, November 22nd, 1836. Spent the day and night at Mr. EASTON’s.

Wednesday, November 23rd, 1836. Returned to John DAVIS’.

Here the daily journal closes. From November 11th, the date is one day in advance of the real time.

At the close of her little book Mother kept the names of the States, Counties and Towns we traveled in and through.

States: Virginia, Tennessee, Kentucky, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri

Counties: Virginia: Washington, Scott, Lee
Tennessee: Sullivan
Kentucky: Harland, Knox, Laurel, Rock Castle, Lincoln, Mercer, Anderson, Shelby, Jefferson
Illinois: Lawrence, Clay, Marion, Clinton, Sinclair
Missouri: St. Louis, St. Charles, Warren, Montgomery, Callaway, Boone, Randolph

Towns: Scott Court House, Jonesville, Barbersville, London, Mount Vernon, Crab-Orchard, Walnut Flat, Stanford, Danville, Harrodsburgh, Salvicey, Lawrenceburgh, Hardensville, Clayville, Shelbyville, Simpsonville, Boston, Middletown, Louisville, New Albany, Greenville, Paolis, Mount Pleasant, Washington, Maysville, Vincennes, Lawrenceville, Salem, Carlysle, Lebanon, St. Louis, St. Charles, Warrenton, Danville, Williamsburg, Huntsville

My mother signs her name N. M. BOVELL in this book. Some years after the death of my father she was married to Rev. Dr. Stephen BOVELL who survived her a few years.

There was one child, a daughter–Juliain, they named Margaret, born to them. She was a sweet spirited child and I loved her as I did my full sisters. She died in early married life.

* * * * *

Google’s present plot of a trip from Abingdon, Virginia to Huntsville, Howard, Missouri. It will now take all of 13 to 15 hours by car.

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