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Atoka Cemetery, Novice, Coleman County, Texas

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Rev. MITCHELL Richard Floyd (R. F.)

Rev. MITCHELL Richard Floyd (R. F.)

Male 1826 - 1915  (89 years)


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Atoka... Early Settlement: Old Mitchell Home.. The Marrying House
By Jack Shields
Chronicle and Democrat-Voice
Coleman, Coleman Co, TEXAS
15 October, 1987

[editorial comment]
[Posted in .pdf format, 3.2MB]

Coleman, Texas, October 15, 1987
Atoka... Early Settlement
Bu Jack Shields

Rev. Richard Floyd Mitchell was born in 1826 and died 1915 and Sarah Ann (Hargrove), his wife was born in 1827 and died 1885. They came to Texas from Alexander, La. in 1880 in oxen-drawn wagons, settling in the Atoka Community about a mile northwest of the Atoka Cemetery. There was a building at Atoka which served as a church and school, which had been built in the 1870's. Rev. Mitchell was a stock farmer and was pastor for the Baptist church at Atoka for many years. He preached for over fifty years, marrying many couples of the community, including some of his sons and other relatives. After he was restricted, due to poor health, and could not get out, the couples would come to his home to be married. Rev. Mitchell held many meetings at the Atoka camp-picnic grounds near a big water hole on the Jim Ned Creek. People came from many miles around and spent one or two weeks attending the meetings. 

Until about the turn of the century there was no farming on any scale except to have a garden for food and to raise corn for the livestock. People did not worry about chopping cotton, etc. In the 1880's, Atoka area was still a wild country. 

It is said the preaching of Rev. Mitchell turned many a soul toward the cross. He was a music teacher and taught most of the children and young people the old gospel songs. Jack Shields remembers one of his students, Ann Murrill Anderson. When Ann sang, people took notice and were very motivated. 

The children of Rev. Richard Mitchell and Sarah Ann Mitchell were: Mary Jane, Martha, Columbus, John Wesley, William Felix, Sarah Ann, Josephine, Marquis Lafayett, James Floyd and Simon.

In 1885, Rev. Mitchell's wife died and sometime later, he married a widow, Mrs. Bettye Baldridge, who lived west of the Mitchell farm. She had four children from a previous marriage. They were John, Joe, Minnie and Mary Baldridge. The Baldridge family were early settlers in the Atoka area. 

Joe Baldridge moved to Lubbock and went into business, establishing the "Baldridge Bakery." At the  time of his death in the 1930's, it was one of the largest bakeries in west Texas. 

In 1920, M.L. Mitchell bought the old farm and in 1924, he sold it to I.W. Ray, who married Agnes Mitchell, a granddaughter to Rev. Mitchell. The Ray's had a large family and lived on the farm for many years. The Jeff Shields, parents of Jack Shields, were long time friends of the Ray family. 

Earl Richey of Content owns the old Mitchell farm at this lime. The house Rev. Mitchell built in 1882 still stands, but time has taken its toll on the house, which has stood for one hundred and five years. If the old house could talk, it could tell many, many interesting tales. 

Rev. Richard Floyd and Sarah Ann Mitchell are buried in the Atoka  Cemetery along with many of their kinfolk. Some of the graves have markers and some do not. 

When a second grader in Silver Valley school, Mrs. Jack Shields, was a student of Mildred Greer, granddaughter of Rev. Mitchell. Mildred has a son who worked for the Coleman Chronicle and Democrat Voice at one time. He is now owner and manager of a newspaper company in McCamey, Tx. Mildred now lives in McCamey. 

In the early days of Atoka, there were some good times as well as bad times. The death rate was very high among children. In 1886 and 1887, it was very dry and conditions were very hard and trying. Some people left not knowing where they would go. In hard and trying times, there seems to be one in our country or community who is able to mold moral fiber and grit together in such a way so that it can survive. Rev. Mitchell was one that helped most, in his time, to mold he moral fiber of the early day Atoka Community. 

There are many bloodline kin of Rev. Richard Floyd Mitchell and Sarah Ann scattered over the west Texas area and if time and space could permit, much more could be told about the Mitchell clan.

Owner of originalJack SHIELDS
Linked toAtoka, Coleman Co, TEXAS; BALDRIDGE John; BALDRIDGE Joseph; BALDRIDGE Mary; BALDRIDGE Minnie; HARGROVE MITCHELL Sarah Ann; HINES BALDRIDGE MITCHELL Margaret Elizabeth (Bettye, Martha); MITCHELL James Floyd; MITCHELL John Wesley; MITCHELL John Westley; MITCHELL Josephine; MITCHELL Marquis Lafayette "Bud"; Rev. MITCHELL Richard Floyd (R. F.); MITCHELL Simeon W. "Bud"; MITCHELL Theodore Columbus; MITCHELL William Felix (W. F.) (Felix W.); MITCHELL ABBOTT Sarah Ann Elizabeth; MITCHELL GREER Mildred Cora; MITCHELL ROGERS Mary Jane; MITCHELL WEBB Martha Ann; MURRILL ANDERSON Ann Staton; RAY Isaac Willis; SHIELDS Jack; SHIELDS Jefferson Marion

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