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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

Archives  Hon. Barzilla B. Mitchell--The ancestors of the Mitchell family of Block Island

1830 Block Island Census Letter

This letter, dated 1830, was mailed from Providence by B. Anthony, to John E Sands on Block Island, and was in regards to the upcoming census. John E. Sands is Karen M. Foley's great, great, great grandfather. Mr. Sands was a lawyer at the time.

Transcribed May 1998 by Karen M. Foley.  Punctuation and spelling belong to the author. View the scanned image of this letter (194 kb).

       Providence, May 30, 1830

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.

      B Anthony

John E. Sands Esq
   New Shoreham

These documents are made available free to the public for non-commercial purposes by the Rhode Island
    USGenWeb Project. Donated and ©  by Karen M. Foley <kmfoley65@gmail.com> 1998.

History of Newport County, Rhode Island: from the year 1638 to the year 1887, including the settlement of its towns, and their subsequent progress: illustrated

New York: L.E. Preston & Co., 1888, 1185 pages. Edited by Richard M. Bayles

Chapter: History of Newport pages 879-881

Hon. Barzilla B. MitchelHon. 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:


i. AMOS D.8 MITCHELL, b. June 22, 1782, New Shoreham book 7 page 452; died 1835.   ii. ABRAHAM MITCHELL, b. August 07, 1784, New Shoreham, Washington county, RI Book 7 page 452; d. Bef. October 04, 1838, New Shoreham, Rhode Island; m. (1) ELIZABETH POCOCK, March 27, 1808; b. 1784; m. (2) ROSANNA LITTLEFIELD, December 31, 1820; b. 1781, New Shoreham; d. January 30, 1858, New Shoreham Death book 1 page 11.   iii. NATHANIEL MITCHELL, b. May 22, 1787, New Shoreham, RI; m. BETSEY D. LITTLEFIELD, March 09, 1809, New Shoreham, Newport county, Rhode Island.   iv. ABIGAIL MITCHELL, b. December 16, 1790, New Shoreham, Book 7 page 452 Washington county, Rhode Island; d. April 11, 1866, New Shoreham, Washington county, Rhode Island; m. NATHANIEL POCOCK, November 01, 1859, New Shoreham, Rhode Island; b. 1785, New Shoreham, Washington county, Rhode Island.   v. FREELOVE MITCHELL, b. April 16, 1793, New Shoreham, Newport, Rhode Island Book 7 page 452.   vi. MARY MITCHELL, b. June 23, 1795, New Shoreham, Newport, Rhode Island Book 7 page 452; d. September 28, 1873, Providence, Rhode Island, Rhode Island Death Index bk 73 page 1298 CT 28; m. (1) JOHN MOTT HONEYWELL, July 02, 1816, Block Island, New Shoreham, Rhode Island; b. 1791, New Shoreham, Rhode Island; d. Bef. 1820, New Shoreham, Rhode Island; m. (2) SAMUEL RATHBUN, 1822, New Shoreham, Newport county, Rhode Island; b. June 1791, New Shoreham, Rhode Island; d. December 05, 1840, New Shoreham, Rhode Island.   vii. BAAZILLA BECKWITH MITCHELL, b. September 12, 1797, New Shoreham, Rhode Island Book 7 page 452; d. April 15, 1880, New Shoreham , Rhode Island; m. LAVINA CLARKE; b. April 25, 1802, New Shoreham , Rhode Island Book 7 page 451; d. August 11, 1866, New Shoreham , Rhode Island.   viii. NAOMI MITCHELL, b. February 08, 1799, New Shoreham , Rhode Island; d. December 20, 1857, New Shoreham, Rhode Island; m. DAVID SPRAGUE; b. 1796, New Shoreham , Rhode Island; d. February 04, 1884, New Shoreham , Rhode Island Book1 page 16.   ix. GIDEON D. MITCHELL, b. March 02, 1802, Block Island, New Shoreham, RI; d. after 1882, Perry county, OH Coal Township, New Straitsville, 4 miles from Murray City, Athens county, Ohio; m. SARAH MOTT HONEYWELL, July 11, 1822, Newport, Block Island, Rhode Island; b. 1799, Newport County, New Shoreham, Block Island, Rhode Island; d. Bet. 1870 - 1876, Licking county, Ohio (the courthouse records were destroyed by fire). Note on Jonathan Mitchell:

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.

These documents are made available free to the public for non-commercial purposes by the Rhode Island USGenWeb Project.
Transcription and information submitted 2004 to Rhode Island USGenWeb by Sandra Mitchell Quinn, descendant of Jonathan Mitchell through his youngest son Gideon D. Mitchell. http://www.rootsweb.com/~ohathens/GideonDMitchell.htm