Tuesday, February 18, 2014

52 Ancestors - #7 Spencer Mitchell Jr. - A Family Divided by the Civil War

Spencer Stirling Mitchell Junior was the 5th generation born in the United States while I am the 10th.  The information I have on him was provided to me by my great Aunt Veron Mitchell Holden and cousin Bonnie Wiggins.

Spencer Junior was born in the former Pendleton District of South Carolina on April 8, 1804. It is now Anderson County, South Carolina. 

The Mitchell family moved to White County, Tennessee in about 1806 and he grew up on acreage just south of Sparta, on the north bank of the Caney Fork. This area was known as Hickory Valley.  

Spencer Jr. and Mary Polly Malinda Lewis married on August 9, 1825. She was the daughter of Elijah Lewis of Leesburg, Virginia and Judith Sherrill. They were the parents of ten children. Their eldest child Philander Davis Mitchell (June 1, 1827- July 2, 1900) was my Great Great Grandfather.  While living in Hickory Valley they also had Martha Emeline (February 17, 1829-April 20, 1915), Louisa Catherine, Sherrill Lewis (August 10, 1832-June 26, 1908).

According to the family bible birth and death records Spencer Jr. moved his family to Crawford County, Missouri sometime between August 1832 and July 1834 and most probably in 1833 according to reliable records. Born there was Spencer Halbert and Stashe Ann. They moved to Licking, Texas County, Missouri in 1837 because Stashe Ann is buried at the Licking Cemetery after her death on January 21, 1837 at eight months of age. There is some confusion over David Linn since some people are confusing this David Linn who died during the war with a David Linn who died after the war in 1880. The last of the children were born in Licking – William Pickney (March 31, 1840- June 21, 1908), Reuah Eveline, Clarinda Elzada (January 20, 1852- September 4, 1852), and Rufus. (Researching birth and death date discrepancies is for a later time.)

Spencer was appointed as Commissioner of Schools for Texas County in 1847 and he served as the third Sheriff of Texas County form 1851-1854.

During the Civil War two of the brothers, Sherrill Lewis (Company D, 32 Regiment, Missouri Infantry-Corporal) and David Linn fought for the Union. They both were in the same regiment as was Sherrill’s brother in law Josiah Bradford. Sherrill Lewis kept a diary of his time in the war but I was only able to find official records for Josiah Bradford and Sherrill. It is possible that David Linn’s records were destroyed as it was reported by family members that he was killed in action possibly not long after he joined. (There were no official records of another grandfather’s service in the Indian Wars except for sworn affidavits that he had served 28 days – two days short of getting a pension.)

 Three sons fought for the confederacy – Philander Davis (Company D, Slayback’s Regiment, Missouri Calvary-2nd Lieutenant), Spencer Halbert (Company C, Mitchell’s Regiment, Missouri Infantry-4 Sergeant who was also killed in action), and William Pinkley (Company C, Mitchell’s Regiment, Missouri Infantry-Private). I remember asking my father Lionell Burris Mitchell in the late 1970’s about how the Civil War had affected families. He had left the Licking and Raymondville areas of Missouri in the 1930’s. He said that you didn’t dare mentioned to some Mitchells that they were related to another group of Mitchells if the families had fought on opposing sides. The Civil War had split families permanently apart.

Through life, Spencer Jr. was a farmer but in 1873 he operated a store in Houston, Missouri. He was a Democrat, a Mason and a Presbyterian in belief. Mary Polly Malinda Lewis was a member of the Methodist Church.

When their health failed, they went to live with their daughter, Martha Orchard, at Salem, Missouri. Spencer Jr. died on July 12, 1892 and Mary Polly Malinda died January 12, 1893.


  1. Interesting post, I enjoyed it very much! Isn't that something that the Civil War affected your family even 100 years after it ended! Your entire family has many brave soldiers to be proud of! Thanks for sharing. ~ Cindy (Genealogy Circle)

  2. Thank you, Cindy! That was one of the few genealogy questions I asked my Dad - he died when I was 29 and I didn't start doing oral family interviews until two years later.

  3. Merry Anne Pierson, merryanne@bellsouth.netFebruary 28, 2014 at 8:16 AM

    DO you have a copy of the Bible record mentioned above for Spencer Mitchell and Malinda Lewis? We are trying to provide documentation for a DAR APP. Merry Anne

    1. What I found was hand copied from the pages of the Family bible on Ancestry.com. I tried to contact the person who posted it but he hasn't been online for over a year. I do have a copy but it was not a copy of the bible. As I understand it that they were living with their daughter Martha Mitchell Orchard and that she had the bible and one of her descendants must have it.