David and Margaret Mitchell, First Generation

James Mitchell

MItchell House
Mitchell House

2. James Mitchell, was born not far from Carlisle, Pa., in 1765 ; was baptized by Rev. John Cuthbertson, April 3, 1’766, and was fourteen years of age when taken to Kentucky, in 17’79. Here, in the fort and in the field, he shared with his parents the hardships of pioneering. In 1783, though but eighteen years old, he was donated a lot in Lexington by the trustees. That he owned a farm in Fayette Co., is not certain, though the data have not been obtained. The better probability is that he lived on and cultivated the large farm of his father till he moved to Ohio.

He was married, Oct. 9, 1794, to Martha, dau. of Josiah and Elizabeth (Patterson) Espy by Rev. Adam Rankin, pastor of the Associate Reformed Church. They became Associate Presbyterians (Seceders) when Rev. Robert Armstrong became pastor. Mr. Armstrong was much beloved by them and for him they named one of their sons, the father of the writer. Martha was but sixteen years of age at her marriage, very vivacious and sparkling in her wit,and captivated the bachelor heart of James, who was thirteen years her senior. She was of a distinguished family.* Her brother Josiah served in the war department under Secretary Edmund Randolph. He afterward was elected a member of the Pennsylvania legislature, but not liking the ways of partisanism he retired from political affairs, became a merchant, afterward Cashier of the Franklin Bank, Columbus, O.

In 1805, before his marriage, he visited his relatives in Kentucky, Indiana and Ohio. A journal of his trip which he made was published by Robert Clarke & Co. of Cincinnati, in the Ohio Valley Historical Series. In that journal he speaks of his brother-in-law, James, saying, “Mr. Mitchell resides on the Little Miami, about forty miles from its mouth. He has a fine family of children, considering they have been raised in the wilderness. Their names are Margaret, David, Eliza, Anna, Maria and James Espy.”

It was at this time he, Josiah, saw his mother, Elizabeth (Patterson) Espy, who had become a widow in Nov. 1801. She was making her home with her daughter Martha, having come with her from Kentucky in 1804. He speaks tenderly of the meeting, not having seen her for seventeen years. This mother died suddenly at the residence of her daughter, Nov. 19, 1809, and her remains lie in the Massie’s Creek graveyard, while her husband’s lie in one of the cemeteries about Lexington, Ky. Another brother, of whom we have already written, was Professor James Espy* A sister, Anna, married Joseph Simpson and remained in Kentucky. A few of her descendants were on the side of the Southern Confederacy during the late Civil War. James Mitchell, with family, first located after coming to Ohio, in Sugar Creek township. Here he remained about four years, when he moved to a farm adjoining that of David Laughead’s and was again near his father, David Mitchell. They built the two-story log house, with large stone chimney, which in these days of its decay (see picture) is jocularly called the “stone front.” The building was weather boarded and an addition built on the east end was for his mother-in-law, Elizabeth Espy. It is probable that in this room she died, and likewise did Margaret, who came to her son James’ home the latest years of her life, and remained until her death. The fact, that these two mothers spent their last days with James and Martha, speaks volumes in behalf of the latter’s nobleness of character and benevolence of disposition; setting a magnificent example of that care and honor which is due from children, according to the fifth commandment.

James Mitchell served in the war of 1812. An account of two campaigns in this war is given in the Ohio Valley Series and is bound with the Josiah Espy Tour, referred to above. k roll of Capt. Brush’s company, published in that book, has he name of James Mitchell, who I believe was my grandfather but positive evidence is not available. Neither the war department nor the Adjutant General’s office at Columbus appears to be able to give any satisfactory information respecting his service. In that campaign James contracted sciatic rheumatism, and thereafter was unable to bend his legs. His hairs at home, his seat in church and in his carriage were for hat reason made doubly high; for he was a large man over ix feet in height. His complexion was reddish with sandy lair. Being a Seceder, he differed with his father on the pedal doctrine of magistracy. He believed in exercising the voting power which is placed in the hands of the citizens of his country and makes each one a sharer in responsibility or the character of the government. James was a bitter opposer of slavery. A minute in the records of the Associate.

Synod of 1839 shows that he memorialized that body on the matter of communing with brethren of his church, who, it was urged, were yet owning and hiring out slaves. He resided on this Clark’s Run farm till his death, Nov. 23, 1848. His final illness was “gravel.”

Martha, in her widowhood of nearly eighteen years, made her home with her oldest child, Margaret, but “lived around” considerably with her other children. For weeks at a time she lived at the home of the writer’s father, where she was much loved and respected. Her memory is very precious. Often the writer saw and heard her at prayer, and believes that her petitions were not for herself alone, but for her children and their descendants. For several years she felt the growing burden of financial privations and of bodily ills, and longed to be taken to her promised heavenly home. She died at the home of her loving daughter, Margaret, Sept. 9, 1864, in her eighty-seventh year. Her remains were buried at the side of her husband’s in the Massie’s Creek graveyard. It was a cause of distress to the writer when he found in 1904 that no memorial stone had been placed at her grave. Steps were taken at once to remedy this, and several of the descendants, joining together, had a proper stone erected.


  1. 14. Margaret;
  2. 15. David;
  3. 16. Eliza;
  4. 17. Ann S.
  5. 18. Maria;
  6. 19. James Espy;
  7. 20. Josiah;
  8. 21. Martha;
  9. 22. Thomas;
  10. 23. Sarah;
  11. 24. Robert A.;
  12. 25. Francis P.;
  13. 26. Samuel K.



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