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