Clayton County Genealogy


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Thomas MITCHELL Family

Compiled by Marylee Watson Knight

THOMAS MITCHELL was b 11 May 1808 in Wilkes Co, GA (son of John Hinche and Margaret (THOMASSON) MITCHELL) and d 02 Feb 1897 in Clayton Co, GA and is bur Old Williams Chapel Meth Ch Cem, Morrow, Clayton Co, GA. He mar ELIZABETH RUFF (dau of William and Rebecca (MARTIN) RUFF) in Henry Co, GA. Elizabeth was b 30 Aug 1812 in Morgan Co, GA and d 17 Oct 1912 at her home near Morrow, Clayton Co, GA, also bur Old Williams Meth Ch Cem.

Thomas was a farmer and was obviously quite successful as the 1870 Census of Clayton Co, GA lists him as owning real estate valued at $4,400 and personal property valued at $1,250 - and this was after the total devastation of the state of Georgia during the long years of the Civil War, and after many landowners had been driven into bankruptcy by the Yankee carpetbaggers!

Around 1843, Thomas and Elizabeth settled in what was to become the family homestead. This was located approximately 13 miles south of Atlanta GA, on what was known as the McDonough Road. The home of Thomas & Elizabeth is still standing in present day Morrow, GA; however, many additions to the house have been made in the passing years by a number of owners, leaving no indication of what the original structure looked like. The home now is a graceful, one-story structure, flanked by white columned porches, a pleasing picture for anyone who is searching for their ancestral dwelling.

Neither Thomas nor Elizabeth were large people in size. The one picture available of them shows two rather short people of average weight. However, their devotion to their families and the devotion of their families to them, seems to have been of enormous proportions. Their home was the traditional gathering place on all holidays and special occasions. In Thomas' later years he reportedly became quite senile, but his family still continued to honor him with love and affection.

After his death, Elizabeth still continued to gather her family around her whenever possible. The occasion of her 100th birthday in 1912 was marked by an enormous gathering of her extended family, with even those in TX making the long trip for the event.In her later years her eyesight began to fail and her hearing became greatly impaired, but her mind remained ever lively and alert. When she was 80 years old and her eyesight already quite dim, she worked the letters of the Ten Commandments on perforated cardboard, using threads of many colors. This she had framed and instructed that, on the occasion of her funeral, this hand-work was to be carried along with her body to the Old Williams Chapel Methodist Church and be left there as her gift to her church. This was done and the needlework remained on display there until a few years ago when it was returned to the MITCHELL family. It is now in the possession of a son of Mrs. Janie Mitchell who lives in Forest Park, GA.

Elizabeth joined the Methodist Church at the age of 13 and at the time of her death boasted of a continuous membership of 87 years! Her name appears as entry #34 on the original church roll at Old Williams church, so she could have well been one of the charter members of the congregation following its organization in 1870. Thomas' name does not appear on the official roll of that church, but their joint tombstone contains the statement that they were both faithful members of the Methodist Church. The Bible of Elizabeth (RUFF) MITCHELL is now on exhibit in the Atlanta Archives, Atlanta, Fulton Co, GA. It is possible that this Bible was originally owned by Elizabeth's mother, Rebecca (MARTIN) RUFF, as it lists the date of birth for all RUFF family members, except Rebecca, and it is common practice for the record keeper not to record his/her own birth date.

A 1907 article in The Atlanta Journal stated that Thomas & Elizabeth were the parents of 15 children, 13 of whom lived to be "grown up". Although Elizabeth lived to be 100 years old, nine of her fifteen children were still living at the time of her death. The 1907 article lists her as having 78 grandchildren, 180 great grandchildren and 40 great-great grandchildren. These, plus her own 15 children gave her, at that time, a total of 313 descendants!

KNOWN ISSUE: 15 (2nd Generation)

  • 1 - Ollie Susan Mitchell (1832-1864)
  • 2 - Harriett L. Mitchell (ca 1834-?)
  • 3 - Cecily Mitchell (ca 1837-?)
  • 4 - Nancy Jane "Nannie" Mitchell (1839-1870)
  • 5 - Elizabeth Young Mitchell (ca 1842-?)
  • 6 - Mariah Josephine Mitchell (ca 1843-?)
  • 7 - William Riley Ruff Mitchell (1844-1931)
  • 8 - Thomas Hinchey Mitchell (1846-1935)
  • 9 - Martin Luther Mitchell (1847-1926)
  • 10 - L.C. Mitchell (ca 1850-?)
  • 11 - Elmina Mitchell (1851-1940)
  • 12 - Georgia Ann Mitchell (1853-1940)
  • 13 - Martha E. Mitchell (1839-1900)
  • 14 - Mary Ann Mitchell
  • 15 - Ronea Mitchell
  • II(1) OLLIE SUSAN MITCHELL 1st child of Thomas & Elizabeth (RUFF) MITCHELL was b 03 Nov 1832, d 7 Feb 1864, bur Elam Primitive Bapt Ch Cem, Forest Park, Clayton Co, GA. She was the 1st wife of JACOB H. EBERHART. Jacob's 2nd wife was Susan's sister Martha.

    Jacob & Susan's known children: (From census records)

    III (1) ISIAH L. EBERHART b ca 1853

    III (2) CINTHIA E. EBERHART b ca 1855

    III (3) JOHN H. EBERHART b ca 1856

    III (4) GEORGE W. EBERHART b ca 1858

    III (5) JOSEPHINE EBERHART b ca 1859

    III (6) WINNIE EBERHART b ca 1860

    III (7) WILLIAM EBERHART b ca 1862

    III (8) OLLIE S. EBERHART b ca 1863

    II (2) HARRIET L. MITCHELL 2nd child of Thomas & Elizabeth (RUFF) MITCHELL was b ca 1834. She mar a MR. FRASIER. She d prior to 1907 according to a newspaper article of that date.

    II (3) CECILY C. MITCHELL 3rd child of Thomas & Elizabeth (RUFF) MITCHELL was b ca 1837. She mar HENRY C. ADAMSON. On the 1860 Census of Clayton Co, GA - Henry is listed as a Farm Laborer. When Elizabeth (RUFF) MITCHELL's estate was settled in 1914, the probate packet included an affidavit signed by a Mrs. H.O. Copeland in Fulton Co, GA. That affidavit stated that Cecily C. ADAMSON was dead, as well as her daughter Miss Lula ADAMSON, both of whom died without any other heirs. Therefore, Mrs. Copeland was asserting her claim to the full amount of $116.38 due to Cecily as her portion of Elizabeth's estate. From this affidavit it would be assumed that Mrs. Copeland was a daughter of Cecily. As census records show Cecily to have been the mother of three daughters (none named Lula) and the first name of Mrs. Copeland is unknown, there is no way of determining how many members of this family had died prior to 1914. She d prior to 1907 according to a newspaper article of that date.

    Cecily & Henry's children known: (From census records)

    III (1) SARAH E. ADAMSON b ca 1857

    III (2) N.M. ADAMSON a female b ca 1858, but apparently d prior to the 1870 Census as her name does not appear there

    III (3) SUSANNAH H. ADAMSON b Jan 1860

    II (4) NANCY JANE "NANNIE MITCHELL 4th child of Thomas & Elizabeth (RUFF) MITCHELL was b 27 Jan 1838, d 30 Aug 1870, bur Tanners Road Bapt Ch Cem, Ellenwood, Clayton Co GA. She mar THOMAS SNEED. One son known:

    III (1) D.J. SNEED

    II (4) ELIZABETH YOUNG MITCHELL 5th child of Thomas & Elizabeth (RUFF) MITCHELL was b ca 1842. She 1st mar G.W. COKER on 20 Dec 1860 in Clayton Co, GA. She 2nd mar ELIJAH NEWTON AWTREY. Newton, a saw mill worker, was b ca 1844 in VA. Elizabeth was still alive in 1914 when her mother's estate was settled. She and Newton are both bur Old William Chapel Meth Ch Cem, but their stones show only their names, no dates. As evidenced by the birthplaces of their children, Nannie & Newton moved around a lot during their marriage. In 1907 she was living in Atlanta GA.

    Elizabeth & Newton's known children: (From census records)

    III (1) ELIJAH AWTREY b ca 1862 in VA

    III (2) VIRGIE AWTREY b ca 1866 in VA

    III (3) SUSAN AWTREY b ca 1867 in ALA

    III (4) GEORGIA AWTREY b ca 1868 in GA

    III (5) MORTON AWTREY b ca 1870 in ALA

    III (6) NANCY AWTREY b ca 1872 in ALA

    III (7) LIZZIE AWTREY b ca 1874 in GA

    III (8) ALMEDY AWTREY b ca 1878 in GA

    II (6) MARIAH JOSEPHINE MITCHELL 6th child of Thomas & Elizabeth (RUFF) MITCHELL was b ca 1843. She mar DANIEL S. JONES. When Elizabeth's estate was settled on 1914. Josephine was evidently living in or near Birmingham, ALA as that was where she cashed her check from the estate.

    II (7) WILLIAM RILEY RUFF MITCHELL 7th child of Thomas & Elizabeth (RUFF) MITCHELL was b 22 Oct 1844, d 05 Dec 1931, bur The Rock Bapt Ch Cem, Rex, Clayton Co, GA. On 10 Aug 1869 he mar MARTHA JANE WYATT in Clayton Co, GA. Martha was b 1849, d 1907, bur The Rock Bapt Ch Cem. He 2nd mar AMANDA (?), she was b 25 Oct 1852, d 24 June 1917, bur The Rock Bapt Ch Cem, where her tombstone states, "Wife of W.R.R. Mitchell", no further information known. He was named as the administrator of the estates of both Thomas & Elizabeth, probably because he was their oldest son.

    Only child known (From family records)

    III (1) GEORGE MITCHELL in 1909 he was single, employed by the Atlanta Portrait Company and a school student

    II (8) THOMAS HINCHEY MITCHELL 8th child of Thomas & Elizabeth (RUFF) MITCHELL was b 13 Dec 1846 in Ellenwood, Clayton Co, GA, d 14 Nov 1935 at his home, bur Tanners Road Bapt Ch Cem, Ellenwood. He mar MATTIE SNEED. She was b 05 Mar 1849, d 20 May 1932, bur Tanners Road Bapt Ch Cem.

    Only child known (From family records)

    III (1) JACKSON LUKER MITCHELL b 27 Oct 1877 in Clayton Co, GA, d 02 Feb 1951, bur The Rock Bapt Ch Cem, Clayton Co, GA. On 08 Nov 1895 he mar LEVONIA FRANCES BURKS (dau of Wylie P. & Nancy (PHILLIPS) BURKS). Levonia was b 22 Jul 1878 in Clayton Co, GA, d 09 Dec 1959, bur The Rock Bapt Ch Cem

    IV (1) WYLIE THOMAS MITCHELL was b 15 Nov 1910 in Clayton Co, GA, d 13 Jun 1973, bur Morrow City Cem, Morrow, Clayton Co, GA. On 11 Jan 1936 he mar JANIE M.B. SELLERS. Janie was b 22 Jul 1916. She is a family genealogist of 30 years standing and is most gracious and helpful to anyone who is seeking Clayton Co information

    II (9) MARTIN LUTHER MITCHELL 9th child of Thomas & Elizabeth (RUFF) MITCHELL was b 17 Oct 1847 in Clayton Co GA, d 18 Nov 1926 at Spanish Fort, Montague Co, TX. On 15 Dec 1871 in GA he mar MARY M. CATES, who was b 21 Aug 1847, d 10 Jul 1919, at Spanish Fort, TX. They were both originally bur at Spanish Fort, but their remains were later moved to a cemetery in Illinois Bend, Montague Co, TX where other family members were buried. Martin and Mary came to TX ca 1880 and first settled in Saint Jo, Montague Co, TX, then later moved to Spanish Fort near the Oklahoma border. In 1914, following the settlement of the estate of his mother, Elizabeth (RUFF) MITCHELL, Martin cashed his estate settlement check in Nocona, Montague Co, TX.

    II (10) L.C. MITCHELL 10th child of Thomas & Elizabeth (RUFF) MITCHELL was a female b ca 1850. She appears on the 1860 Census of Clayton Co, but does not appear with the rest of the family on the 1870 Census. She is evidently one of the two MITCHELL children "that died in infancy" as mentioned in a 1907 newspaper article. The report of her early death is supported by the fact that, in 1914, no portion of Elizabeth's estate was claimed in her name or on her behalf.

    II (11) ELMINA MITCHELL 11th child of Thomas & Elizabeth (RUFF) MITCHELL) was b 17 Aug 1851, d 21 Jun 1940 in Rusk Co, TX, bur Zion Hill Bapt Ch Cem, Henderson, Rusk Co, TX. (NOTE: It became a family tradition that her name was "Mary Elmina", but several family and legal records show her name simply as "Elmina" and a younger sister as being named "Mary Ann".) On 24 Dec 1871 in Clayton Co, GA she mar JOSHUA JONATHAN BURKS. J.J. was b 10 Oct 1847 in ARK, d 28 Aug 1913 in Rusk Co, TX, bur Zion Hill Bapt Ch Cem. Elmina & J.J. moved to the Brachfield Community, near Henderson, Rusk Co TX in 1877 lived in that location until their deaths.

    (This family detailed under BURKS section)

    II (12) GEORGIA ANN MITCHELL 12th child of Thomas & Elizabeth (RUFF) MITCHELL was b 12 Jun 1853 in Clayton Co, GA. On 04 Dec 1873 in Clayton Co, GA she mar WILLIAM M. CATES (son of Isaac & Surena (?) CATES). WILLIAM was b 21 Feb 1851. After they mar, they left Clayton Co and lived in Jasper Co, GA for a while before moving to Rusk Co, TX to join her sister Elmina (MITCHELL) BURKS and her family. William d 14 Jul 1905 and Georgia d 09 Aug 1908 and both are bur Zion Hill Bapt Ch Cem, Rusk Co, TX.

    III (1) POSEY CATES 1st child of Wm & Georgia (MITCHELL) CATES was b 08 Sep 1875 in GA. He mar his 1st cousin LYDIA FLORENCE BURKS (dau of J.J. & Elmina (MITCHELL) BURKS. Lydia was b 23 Dec 1872 in Clayton Co, GA and d 06 Sep 1951 in Mt Enterprise Rusk Co, TX. Posey d 22 Jan 1948 and both are buried in Zion Hill Bapt Ch Cem, Rusk Co, TX.

    (This family detailed under the BURKS section)

    III (2) ELIZABETH "LIZZIE" CATES 2nd child of Wm & Georgia (MITCHELL) CATES was b 1876 in Clayton Co, GA. She joined Zion Hill Bapt Ch in 1891. After that time she mar JOHN DULIN, JR. (son of John, Sr. & Frances (?) DULIN). She 2nd mar a MR. FOUNTAIN.

    Lizzie & Henry had one son known

    IV (1) HENRY DULIN, JR, named for his paternal uncle

    Lizzie & Mr. Fountain had one dau known

    IV (2) MARY ETTA FOUNTAIN

    III (3) DANIEL S. CATES 3rd child of Wm & Georgia (MITCHELL) CATES was b 06 Oct 1885 in GA. He joined Zion Hill Bapt Ch in 1909. He mar CARRIE CROW. He d 23 Jan 1926, bur Zion Hill Bapt Ch Cem

    IV (1) HUBERT CATES

    IV (2) ILETA CATES

    IV (3) DAUGHTER

    III (4) ENNIS CATES 4th child of Wm & Georgia (MITCHELL) CATES was b 29 Jun 1887, d 14 Mar 1967, bur Zion Hill Bapt Ch Cem. On 24 Dec 1908 he mar BEATRICE DEASON (dau of Jesse & Della (NELSON) DEASON). She was b 02 Jul 1887.

    IV (1) ENNIS "DICK" CATES, JR mar CATHERINE HART

    V (1) DAN CATES mar ANABELLE PIRTLE

    V (2) PAULA CATES mar DAVID MANSINGER

    V (3) PEGGY CATES mar ODIS CHAPMAN

    IV (2) WILMER CATES

    IV (3) ELLEN LOYD CATES mar TRAVIS WHITAKER

    IV (4) MARY DELL "SUG" CATES

    IV (5) ERMA LEE CATES

    IV (6) RAND CATES mar PAT ARMSTRONG

    III (5) M. HOMER CATES 5th child of Wm & Georgia (MITCHELL) CATES joined Zion Hill Bapt Ch in 1913. On 18 Jan 1915 he mar EVA SMITH in Rusk Co, TX

    III (6) SEMMIE CATES 6th child of Wm & Georgie (MITCHELL) CATES joined Zion Hill Bapt Ch in 1918

    III (7) EVIE CATES 7th child of Wm & Georgia (MITCHELL) CATES was b 1898 and d 1971. On 29 Dec 1912 in Rusk Co, TX she mar WOODIE H. PROPES. Woodie served with the TX BMC, US Coast Guard in WWII. He was b 13 Sep 1918, d 03 Sep 1969, both are bur Zion Hill Bapt Ch Cem, Rusk Co, TX

    III (8) OLLIE CATES mar WILL HAYS

    III (9) JESSIE CATES mar a MR. RAWLINSON

    II (13) MARTHA E. MITCHELL 13th child of Thomas & Elizabeth (RUFF) MITCHELL was b 29 Nov 1839 in Clayton Co, GA. She was the 2nd wife of JACOB H. EBERHART after the death of her sister Susan in 1864. Jacob was b 08 Sep 1825, d 22 Feb 1906. Martha d 21 Jul 1900, both bur Forest Park City Cem, Forest Park, Clayton Co, GA.

    Martha & Jacob had one child known

    III (1) SARAH M. EBERHART was b May 1870

    II (14) MARY ANN MITCHELL 14th child of Thomas & Elizabeth (RUFF) MITCHELL mar a MR. WIGGINS. In 1907 she was living in Rex GA. Mary Ann was still living in 1914 when her mother's estate was divided.

    II (15) RONEA MITCHELL 15th child of Thomas & Elizabeth (RUFF) MITCHELL. She 1st mar a MR. COOK and in 1907, according to a newspaper article, they were living in Moultrie GA. She 2nd mar a MR. THOMAS. In 1907 she was reportedly living in Rex, Clayton Co GA. She was still living in 1914 when Elizabeth's estate was probated.

    * * * * * * * * *

    MISCELLANEOUS NOTES

    ANN F. MASSENGALE lived with ELIZABETH (RUFF) MITCHELL for some time prior to Elizabeth's death, as Elizabeth's will provided "$200, bedding and a bedstead" for Ann with the statement that she is "my niece who has faithfully waited on me for a number of years". The parents of ANN F. MASSENGALE are unknown at this time..

    The 1870 Census of Clayton Co, GA lists the following persons as living in the household of Thomas & Elizabeth (RUFF) MITCHELL:

    William Phillips - Age 11 - White/Male - Farm Laborer

    Ned Mitchell - Age 8 - Black/Male

    Robert Green - Age 16 - Black/Male - Farm Laborer

    * * * * * * * * *

    Newspaper article printed in The Atlanta Journal, evidently some time in 1907:

    Headline: "Mrs. Elizabeth Mitchell, Aged 95, Living Near Atlanta, Has a Most Remarkable Family of Descendants"

    "(Special Dispatch to The Journal) MORROW, GA, April 6 - There is now living in 13 miles of Atlanta GA. on the McDonough road, Mrs. Elizabeth Mitchell, formerly Miss Elizabeth Ruff, who was born on the 31st day of August 1812. She married Mr. Thomas Mitchell when she was about 18 years old. They had born to them 15 children 13 of them reared to be grown. Two of them died in infancy. She is living now on the same place she and her husband settled about 75 years ago.

    She still has living the following children: Mrs. Mary A. Wiggins of Rex, GA; Mrs. Elizabeth Autrey of Atlanta, GA; Mrs. Miriah Jones of Alabama, Mr. William R.R. Mitchell of Morrow, GA; Mr. Thomas H. Mitchell of Morrow, GA; Mr. Martin L., Mitchell of Texas; Mrs. Elmina Burks of Cass County Texas; Mrs. Georgia A. Cates of Cass County Texas. She has 78 grandchildren, 180 great grandchildren and 40 great-great grandchildren. Add her own 15 children to the number, gives a total of 313 in all.

    Her sons who were old enough were in the war.

    And all of her male descendants living in Georgia were strong for Hoke Smith for governor last year.

    It is certainly a remarkable family and she is still in good health and bids fair to stay many years yet."

    (Five small pictures accompanying the article are identified as follows)

    Mrs. Elizabeth Mitchell, the mother

    Mr. Thomas H. Mitchell, her son

    Emory P. Mitchell, grandson

    Master John Grades Stephens, great grandson

    Miss Iris Blackwell, great granddaughter

    V (1) LYDIA FLORENCE BURKS 1st mar EMMITT CROW, she 2nd mar her 1st cousin POSEY CATES (son of William & Georgia (MITCHELL) CATES

    VI (1) COMA CROW mar MR TABOR

    VI (2) BERTHA CROW mar WALTER GREEN

    VI (3) INFANT CATES (still born)

    VI (4) INFANT CATES (still born)

    VI (5) INFANT CATES (still born)

    VI (6) VILOMA CATES mar JOHN EARNEST BECKHAM

    VI (7) INFANT CATES (still born)

    VI (8) INFANT CATES (still born)

    VI (9) FORREST CATES mar EMMA BARRETT

    VI (10) VADA CATES 1st mar E.W. LEE, 2nd mar MARION NIX

    VI (11) MACKIE CATES mar 1st MINNIE L. BARRETT, he 2nd mar OPAL JONES

    VI (12) EULA MAE CATES mar J. ELDRON HOLLAND

    VI (13) HARVEY LEE CATES d at 1 yrs

    VI (14) BARNEY CATES d at 1 yrs

    V (2) GEORGIA ANN RUFF BURKS

    V (3) WILLIAM CLIFFORD BURKS

    V (4) TOMMIE ELIZABETH BURKSI

    V (5) MARTIN EDWARD BURKS

    V (6) LEXIE JANE BURKS

    V (7) EDDIE OLLIE LEE BURKS mar CHESTER CORTEZ CRAWFORD (son of Andrew & Lodusky Stark (JONES) CRAWFORD)

    VI (1) LOIS ALLENE CRAWFORD mar JOSEPH FOWLER WATSON, JR. (son of Joseph F. & Sally (GARLAND) WATSON)

    VII (1) SALLY LOIS WATSON

    II (2) MARYLEE WATSON mar THOMAS EARL KNIGHT

    V (8) RUFUS COLUMBUS BURLESON BURKS

    V (9) STEWART JOSHUA BURKS

    V (10) INFANT SON BURKS

    V (11) EMMA ODESSA BURKS

    Submitted by Marylee Watson Knight Thanks for sharing your family with us!!


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