David and Margaret Mitchell, First Generation

The Children of David and Margaret Mitchell

Elizabeth (Mitchell) Laughead

1. Elizabeth (Mitchell) Laughead. Born the last part of the year 1763, in Cumberland County, Pa., not many miles southwesterly from Carlisle. She was baptised by Rev. John Cuthbertson, Feb. 20, 1764 ; moved to Kentucky with parents in 1779, and, with them in the fort, shared the hardships of the early pioneers. About the year 1786, she married David, son of James and Eleanor (McKnight) Laughead, who were married by Rev. John Cuthbertson, Dec. 12, 1752, at Octarara, Pa. and who, about 1784, moved to Fayette Co., Ky. It is said of James, that he served in the raid against the Ohio Indians in 1780. If so, he must have gone from Pa., as they had not yet moved to Ky. There were Laugheads in the Monongehela Congregation at Yough, Pa., in 1779. The McKnights into whose family James married were part of a large connection, living in Lancaster Co., and were prominent Covenanters.

From Reb. I. N. Laughead’s booklet, we quote as follows:

“As far as I can track back our name through the generations that are passed, I find our fathers and mothers associated with the strictest orders of the Presbyterian family. Our immediate forefathers were a mixture of Covenanter and Seceder origin (Reformed and Associate Presbyterian). Our name is Scotch-Irish. About the year 1650, King Charles L, of England, being at war with his parliament, was defeated in Scotland and delivered into the hands of the English parliament, was tried, condemned and beheaded. His son, Prince Charles (afterwards Charles IL) fled the country. Oliver Cromwell, one of the grandest statesmen and rulers that ever England produced, was raised to the head of the parliamentary army. The Catholics of Ireland raised an insurrection against the parliament, in order to place Prince Charles on the throne.

Cromwell was sent into the land to quell the insurrection. made terrible work among the rebellious Irish. The whole north of Ireland was devastated and almost entirely depopulated. Many Scotch and English families, of the Protestant suasion, were put in possession of the devastated country; many Covenanters and Presbyterians from Scotland settled.

“It is supposed that our forefather had his portion of land at the head of some lake, (or ‘lough,’ as the Scotch called a lake), and our people were called the `Lough?heads.’ My grandfather spelled his name Loughead. My father changed `o’ to `a’, and so we spell our name Laughead.* There are plenty of our name today in the north of Ireland.

“In the times of Charles II and James II of England, re were terrible persecutions for conscience’ sake. All, 🙂 would not conform to what the king and his court would dictate in the matter of religious worship, were exposed to most cruel persecution. Puritans from England, Covenanters ‘. Presbyterians from Scotland and Ireland fled to America the sake of enjoying religious worship as they understood teaching of the Word of God.

“Good and holy men formed a large element in the first segment of the American colonies. We, of this day, owe much to these good and energetic men for the civil and religious liberty we now enjoy.

“Among the early pioneers I find the name of our Loughead fathers. I know not the year of their emigration to this country I have before me an authentic account of our name Pennsylvania, Lancaster County, as far back as 1744. My grandfather Loughead moved in an early day from that locality 1744 I find three Loughead families located near ether in Lancaster County, Pa. On the supposition that it father had left Ireland in his youth we would be carried k to those persecuting times. The heads of two of these lilies bore the names of James and Robert, names that II belonging to one congregation, called Octarara. It was organized and ministered to by Rev. Cuthbertson, the first Covenanter minister who came to America. Afterward several Seceder and Covenanter ministers came from the old country and presbyteries were formed in each branch of these churches. In 1’782 a union was formed between these two branches of the Protestant church. The Covenanter ministers and most of their members went into this union. All the Seceder ministers but two, united, also.

“My reason for believing that this James Loughead was my great-grandfather is this: It was the law of those days that the first born son should be named after the paternal grandfather and the second son after the maternal grandfather, and the first daughter must be named for the maternal grandmother and the second for the paternal grandmother.

My father’s oldest ,brother was named James, according to law. My father was named David Mitchell, the full name of his maternal grandfather.

“I do not know at what time my grandfather moved from

Pennsylvania to Kentucky. My impression is that it was about the close of the Revolutionary War. I remember my father saying that his father sold horses to the government and took pay in Continental money which proved in the end to be worthless. I remember seeing some of the notes at my grandfather’s; the paper was coarse but strong; our grocers would call it pretty good wrapping paper for coffee or sugar. My grandfather settled in Fayette County, Ky. My father said that his grandfather, David Mitchell, helped to clear off the ground on which Lexington stands, and history says that city was founded in 1775. Grandfather was in Kentucky during the contest on the slavery question, Should it be recognized in the state constitution? The constitution was adopted in 1792, admitting slavery. I think it probable that Grandfather Mitchell was in Kentucky some years before Grandfather Loughead . . . . .

“My grandfathers Mitchell and Loughead lived on farms that adjoined each other in Kentucky on the road leading from Lexington to Georgetown, on Cane Run, the garden spot of Kentucky. ,Grandfather Loughead being possessed of considerable means for that day improved a large farm and erected substantial buildings. He built a large brick house, which was standing and in good repair in the year 1838. I was licensed to preach the gospel in that year, and was sent to supply some vacancies in East Tennessee. On my way to

Tennessee I called to see the old home of my fathers. It was in the possession of the person to whom grandfather sold it, by name, Col. Ralls. He claimed ownership in one hundred slaves and in eight hundred acres of land in the `Paradise of Kentucky.’ With some trepidation I entered the lordly mansion, but on making myself known I was kindly received and entertained by the colonel and lady as the son of `little David Loughead,’ as they called my father, who was but a boy of fourteen years when he left there. The colonel showed me the room which Rev. Robert Armstrong occupied while ministering to the congregation to which my grandfather belonged. He said the room had not been altered since Mr. Armstrong left it, thirty-four years before.

“My forefathers, both Lougheads and Kyles, belonged to the Associate Reformed Church in Kentucky, and were ministered to by Rev. Rankin. – In the hot contest in Kentucky about admitting slavery into the constitution of the state, Rev. Rankin took the slavery side, and preached a sermon to his congregation in its favor. The half or more of the congregation got up and left the house and never went back. The anti-slavery part of the congregation applied to the Associate synod of Scotland for supplies. Messrs. Armstrong and Fulton, two young bachelors, were sent out. In a short dine they were both settled over congregations. They arrived on the ground in the spring of 1798. Mr. Armstrong had charge of Cane Run, where grandfather lived, and boarded with him until the spring of 1804.

“I have a letter of Rev. Armstrong’s before me, in which he gives to his friends in Scotland an account of his boarding place. He says: `For my board and lodging together with the keeping of my horse I pay only 15 pounds sterling (about $75) a year. My accommodations are very good and the people with whom I lodge are as kind and attentive as could be wished. Their temporal circumstances, as well as the interest they take in my affairs, place them beyond the consideration of making money by me. Indeed, this is the only place I have seen in Kentucky where I could live comfortably as a bachelor.’ ”

David Laughead died in 1824, aged about ‘Y1 years, and his wife Elizabeth followed him the year after, at same age. Their remains lie in the Massie’s Creek graveyard.


  1. 6 James;
  2. 7. David M.;
  3. 8 William;
  4. 9 Eleanora ;
  5. 10. Sarah;
  6. 11 Eliza;
  7. 12 Matilda;
  8. 13 Margaret.

* See Prof. James Pollard Espy



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