Block Island, Page 4
This section contains articles of genealogical and historic
interest on Rhode Island in general, from old Rhode Island books and newspapers.
Letter Regarding Block Island 1830 Census
Hon. Barzilla B. Mitchell--The ancestors of the Mitchell family of Block Island
Sir I herewith forward you the blanks that is necessary to take the census for your Island if these should not be enough of Blank No 4 I will send you more when you request it you will perceive by the act "that 2 copies will be required to be made out by you - for which you are entitled $5 each - I mean to furnish blanks sufficient for copies to. - I want you to subscribe & take the oath required in Blank No 2 & forward it to me by the first boat that leaves the Island - for that must be sent to Washington soon - be particular and take every person that belongs to your Town - give the act a liberal construction.
John E. Sands Esq
Chapter: History of Newport pages 879-881
Hon. Barzilla B. Mitchell--The ancestors of the Mitchell family of Block Island, now honorable represented here by the gentleman whose name heads this article, were among the early settlers of the island and the public and private life of members of this old family have formed, in every generation, no inconsiderable part of the social, the political and the business history of the town.
Mr. Mitchell was born here in 1838. His father, who bore the same name, was a well to do farmer, who, through that system of mixed husbandry which still prevails here, and through his connection with the old wrecking company, obtained a competency for those times, and lived and died a respected citizen. The grandfather, Jonathan Mitchell, was one of those plain men whose ambitions and tastes let their peaceful lives run on in uneventful channels to their close.
The Mr. Mitchell of to-day was surrounded in his boyhood by those stern circumstances which limited his privileges of an education to the public school system of his native town. These however, he used to an advantage, and on the foundation there laid he, like many another, by observation and experience, developed a mental discipline which the college and the university often fail to impart, and in the supreme test of practical life either in public or private affairs, he has acquitted himself fully.
In business he became a member of the old wrecking company and was one of the foremost in the political movement by which Ray. S. Littlefield and Darius B. Dodge became the first democratic members of the state legislature, from this town, Mr. Mitchell having nominated them for the position. In this movement the young men of the town were more in personal sympathy with each other than with the older men, who, as republicans, had controlled the town for years. Mr. Mitchell was but one of the young men of that period, claiming no special credit for results, but it is a significant fact that two years later he went to the legislature himself, and was re-elected for six years in succession. In the legislature he was a working member of various committees, one was the committee on fisheries, of which he was chairman.
When the laying of the present telegraph cable from Block Island to Narragansett Pier was being agitated, the only man from Block Island who went to Washington in the interest of the measure was Mr. Mitchell. He presented to Secretary Endicott, of the war department, his argument in behalf of the town for an appropriation for this purpose. General Hazen, the chief signal officer, was next interested in behalf of the cable, and the plea for the appropriation, as thus endorsed, went to the United States senate committee on the Urgent Deficiency Bill, and was made an amendment to that bill and passed with it. Mr. Mitchell is still chairman of the meteorological committee for Block Island, charged with the monthly inspection of the means and the methods at the government signal station here.
Probably no on feature, except harbor protection, has given this island so great an impetus as that which naturally flows from good electric connection with the outside world. Brokers now direct, from the corridors of the hotels here, the movements of their affairs in Wall Street, almost as readily as from a Broad St. office.
Mr. Mitchell is affiliated with the great Masonic brotherhood through membership in Atlantic Lodge, and is a member of the First Baptist church of Block Island. He esteems the building of churches and the maintenance of the Christian ministry a duty lying along the line of good citizenship, and hence contributes liberally to their support. He donated one half of the site for the new Episcopal chapel built in 1887.
Mr. Mitchell, although widely and favorably known in political and social life, is likely to be longest remembered through his successful business career as proprietor of the Spring House, the popular summer resort, mentioned in another section of this chapter. No doubt the crowning event in his career was outside of all these relations in life which we have noticed; for upon the foundation of a man's home it it be a happy one, rests the whole superstructure of what the man may be. His wife was a daughter of Archibald Milliken and a sister of Capt. Arnold R. Millikin, an old family of which proper mention appears in its proper connection in this chapter.
D. A. Mitchell, born in 1845, the proprietor of the "Highland House," is a son of Amos D. Mitchell, a son of Jonathan Mitchell. Mrs. Mitchell was Rozenia Ball. They have on son, John E. Mitchell. Mr. Mitchell built his hotel in 1875, and the annex in 1886. This house, which accommodates one hundred guests, is on the highest ground occupied by a hotel in this part of the town.
Aaron W. Mitchell is proprietor of Mitchell Cottage, which was built in 1866, accommodating thirty guests. His wife is Jane M., the daughter of Cornelius Rose. Mr. Mitchell's father Robert C., was a son of Amos and a grandson of Jonathan Mitchell.
Record of Births of Jonathan and Mary Dickens Mitchell found in the New Shoreham Town Records archived at the Rhode Island Genealogical Society: Jonathan being the grandfather of the men listed above are as follows:
Children of JONATHAN MITCHELL and MARY DICKENS are:
1. JONATHAN7 MITCHELL (JOSEPH6, JONATHAN5, JOSEPH4, THOMAS3, THOMAS2, EXPERIENCE1) was born January 14, 1761 in Newport County, New Shoreham, Block Island, Rhode Island, and died after 1840 most likely in Waterloo township, Carbondale, Athens county, Ohio where a man between the ages of 70-80 is listed as living in the 1840 census with son Gideon D. Mitchell. He married MARY DICKENS March 08, 1781 Newport county, Block Island, Rhode Island, (on Page 452 New Shoreham Land Evidence,) daughter of AMOS DICKENS and MARGARET BURDICK. She was born October 14, 1764 in New Shoreham, Newport County, Block Island, RI (Book 5 pg. 464), and died before 1840 on Block Island, Rhode Island. In the History of Block Island by Reverend Livermore, he states that Jonathan Mitchell had went west. Ohio was the wild West of that time period.
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