Click to view:  [Mitchell Pedigree Chart]

Family Mystery solved - missing brother(s)? of John W. Mitchell [
1] see census data in notes below.

Our family records up to 2007 have had no entries for a sibling of John W. Mitchell, the supposed only child of Robert
and Martha. The tantalizing posting below was found in 2007 at "http://www.surnameweb.org/Mitchell/queries.htm".

Description: Looking for any information on James Marion Mitchell, b. 20 May 1860 in Russell Co., Va., father was Robert
Mitchell, mother was Martha Horton. The family moved to Lafayette Co., Missouri about 1880.

Update: 24-Feb-2009, I was recently contacted by the poster above. John was not an only child, but one of 7 children
of the couple. The pedigree chart has been updated to reflect his additional family members, now known to us.

John W. Mitchell, the child of Robert and Martha [Horton] Mitchell, was born April 25, 1858 in Nickelsville, Scott Co,
Virginia. The Mitchell family moved to Missouri before 1880, but it was in Crete Nebraska [
2] that John W. met Emilie
(Amelia) Freude of Prussia who had moved to the area with her family in 1870. In the winter of 1884, two days after
Christmas, John and Amelia were married.

In 1885 John and Amelia's only child, William Earl was born. In 1900, the family was in Omaha where John worked as a
boilermaker, either for the Union Pacific or the Burlington Railroad. In 1910, they moved to Wyoming to establish a
home-stead near Junction. John and William also worked in the mines at Sunrise.

1910 was also the year that William Earl Mitchell married the neighbor's daughter, Claudia Winship, of the Winship-
Sudbury Ranch.

From Dorothy (Mitchell) Olson's Family History Book:

"In 1910, William and Claudia home-steaded 160 acres of land in Platte Valley, Wyoming.  The land was mainly used
for grazing cattle as it was very rocky and not good for growing crops.  He was able to raise some corn and millet and
had a good crop of hay.  William built a log house 14 X 16; log barn 28 X 14; corral (pole) 50 feet square and 1-1/2
miles of fence.  After 4 years, he sold the land and buildings to his then Father in Law [

"They had 4 children. William worked at Sunrise Wyoming mine until he joined the Wyoming Corp of Engineers, US
Army, December 13, 1917.  He served in France and was discharged June 13, 1919."

"William and Claudia divorced when he returned from the Army. He married his second wife, Nora Kettleson [4] in late
1919.  With two children, Pearl and Amelia from William's former marriage, the Mitchells moved to Oregon and settled
in Bend sometime after 1920."

The couple would have no children of their own. Nora was sickly and became seriously ill from tuberculosis in 1924.

"He (William) hired Etta May Chase McElfresh [
5] to care for his ailing wife and his two young daughters. Etta's
husband and baby son had recently died of tuberculosis..."

"Nora died on the 2nd day of November, 1924 from complications of her tuberculosis. The shared loss of their loved
ones to the same terrible disease brought William and Etta May together and on December 18, 1924 they were wed.  
Over 16 years of marriage they had six children together."

"William died on February 18, 1940 leaving behind a young wife, six children and three grand sons. He was buried in
McCall, Idaho with military honors at 54 years of age."

Etta May married Spencer Smith after William's death, had one more child and died tragically by way of auto accident
on the 13th of April, 1944. Adopted shortly after birth, her origins were discovered by Dorothy in 1991. see

Personal Stories

written as remembered by his daughter, Grace

Wiliam Earl Mitchell was born June 20, 1885 in Crete, Nebraska to John W. Mitchell and Amelia Freude.  His father, John
was born of German-Irish parents in Virginia on April 4, 1859.  He was a boilermaker by trade.  Amelia was one of
three children born in Luben, Prussia on November 10, 1863.  She came to America with her parents, John F. Freude
and Henrietta Elert and became an American citizen in 1876.

As an only child, William was pampered and much loved by his parents.  He had long blond curls 'til the age of eight
when one day his father decided he had looked like a girl long enough, and took him to a barber for a haircut.

Not much more is known about his early childhood except for Christmases.  They were pleasant and, not surprising,
every year he received a mouth organ and an orange with a quarter stuck in it.  He played the mouth organ and juice
harp for many occasions years later.

In 1910, when William was 25 years old, the family moved to Junction, Wyoming.  There he met and married Claudia
Winship.  He homesteaded 160 acres of land near Glendo, Wyoming, living in a 14' X 16' log cabin for three years after
which he sold his land to his father in law, Clarence A. Winship, and moved to Sunrise, Wyoming.  There he worked in
the iron ore mines for nearly eight years.

He and Claudia had four children: Clara Ellen, born October 10, 1910; Cressy Pearl, born August 31, 1912; Emma
Amelia, born August 25, 1914; and Clarence Ivan Earl, born October 17, 1917.

On December 13, 1917, at the age of 33, William entered the U.S. Army serving as a corporal until he was honorably
discharged on June 23, 1919.  He never talked about his time served, but one thing we do know was that he was
gassed while serving in the trenches of France.  One lung was damaged and it hampered his ability to do many jobs.  
He was also a heavy smoker, which contributed to his lung problems.

Shortly after his discharge, he and Claudia divorced and separated the family by dividing the children.  Claudia kept
Clara and Clarence, and William took Pearl and Amelia and moved to Bend, Oregon.  There he met and married Nora
Kettleson.  She soon contracted tuberculosis.  He hired Etta May Chase McElfresh, the adopted daughter of Alexander
and Nettie Chase of Redmond, Oregon to care for his ailing wife and two daughters.  Etta's husband and baby son had
died of tuberculosis also.  After Nora died, William and Etta were married December 18, 1924 in Bend, Oregon.

They had six children together.

Many moves were made to find work during the depression years.  The first move was to Nyssa, Oregon; then to
Weiser, Idaho.  In Weiser, he and Etta made the decision together to get false teeth.  I remember the day they were
first able to eat corn on the cob!  In Weiser, we lived in three different homes and then in a large tent when William
was out of work and had no money to pay the rent.

On July 17, 1935, the move was made to McCall, Idaho where William and several other families mined for gold at Poor
Man's Creek.  We lived in a tent with pine boughs for a mattress and ate from the land: venison, tree squirrels, fool
hens and huckleberries.  It was a wonderful summer for children.

In the fall of that year, William was able to purchase a small house on an acre of land.  He also purchased several milk
goats and chickens.  He worked at odd jobs and played the mouth organ for dances.  Etta cleaned offices for a doctor.

Christmas was special that year.  He and Etta decorated the house with red and green rope and paper bells strung
from the ceiling.  There was always a tree decorated with popcorn and homemade ornaments.  William and Etta
always did the dishes that day - it was playtime for the kids!

McCall had a lot of snow in the winter and many times William would break a trail by stomping down the snow for the
kids to walk to school.

William loved to swim, hunt, and fish with his son Glenn [
6]*.  He played pinochle and taught his daughter, Grace to
play.  He also loved to listen to the radio.  His favorite programs were
Jack Benny, Burns and Allen, and Lum 'N' Abner.  
A roll your own cigarette was always hanging from one side of his mouth - sometimes lit, sometimes not.  Always on
Thursday, he made the family his favorite dinner of chili.

He was lovable and a tease, a trait that his son Jim inherited.  He belonged to the American Legion and in August
1936, attended the 18th Annual State Convention in Idaho Falls, Idaho.  Every November 11, he proudly donned his
Army uniform and marched in the Veteran's Day parade.

On January 6, 1940, in failing health, William entered the Veteran's Hospital in Boise, Idaho.  Just 44 days later, on
February 18, 1940, William died.  Listed causes of death were coronary thrombosis, coronary sclerosis, myocardial
degeneration and arteriosclerosis heart disease.

William left a young wife, six children and three grand sons.  Four of the children were from a previous marriage.  He
was buried in McCall, Idaho with military honors at 54 years of age.

GLENN ROBERT MITCHELL written as remembered by his sister, Grace

My brother Glenn and I were 15 months apart, and he was a "handful", as our mother used to say.  He had a very
inquisitive and active mind, and loved reading and taking things apart to see what made them work.

When he was old enough to tease, I was his usual target.  I never knew what he would do next, like hiding my things
or coming up behind me and poking me in the ribs to see me jump - then he'd laugh and laugh.  He was always in
trouble at school.  One of the many times, when we were in the 6th grade together, he was caught talking - again. For
punishment he had to draw a circle on the blackboard and stand on tip toes with his nose in the circle for several
minutes.  When his time was up, he came away smiling!  That was Glenn.

He loved sports of all kinds: fishing with our dad, swimming, skiing and playing marbles.  He was called "Lefty" by his
friends.  He did everything with his left hand, except write.  His first grade teacher made him use his right hand.  It was
also the year he fell from a swing at recess and broke his collar bone.

He was 13 when we lost our dad and four years later, our mother.  It was a very depressing time and he drifted
between family and friends.  He went into the Army in 1945 and was discharged in 1947, coming to see us after our
son was born.  Then he went to visit other family in Oregon.

He worked for a while in Seattle, then at McNary dam in Umatilla, Oregon, and then in California where he stayed until
1967.  He came back to Washington to visit all his brothers and sisters before moving to Moses Lake, where he met
the love of his life, June [Norgard] Dillon.

We had brother and sister reunions at our cabin for eleven years: all six of us with our spouses.  They were fun times
and it kept us together.  He never gave up teasing, and by then he had help from two other brothers!!

He was fun-loving and caring.  I love him and will always miss him.

Cemetery Records - highlighted given name links to a photo of a head stone

McCALL CEMETERY - McCall, Valley County, Idaho

William E: WYOMING CORP. 318 ENGRS. FEBRUARY 18, 1940

Guernsey, WYOMING

Cressy Pearl [Mitchell]: 31 Aug 1912 - 13 Dec 1988

TAHOMA CEMETERY - Yakima, Washington

The cemetery office is located at 1802 Tahoma Avenue, one block off S. 16th Ave. The cemetery lies south of Calvary
Cemetery and has a west entrance on 24th Avenue at the separating hedge, just south of Calvary's 3rd gate.

Directions: Drive as far north as you can within the cemetery to get to the paved loop that separates section A from
section B.  Stop at the middle point of that looped roadway where a large tree is growing at the very northern edge of
the pavement.  With your back to the tree, face south, walk across the road and past 22 grave sites to Etta's flat

The inscription reads:
Mother - Etta Mae Smith - 1899 1944

Her son Glenn commissioned the head stone at the request of his brothers and sisters, but mistakenly thought her
middle name was spelled Mae, the same as that of her daughter, Dorothy. Sadly, Glenn never saw the marker in
person, but his sister Grace gave him a photo of the stone during our last visit with him in August of 2008, 5 months
before his death. With his impaired vision, he concentrated on the picture before him, then asked if it turned out OK.
She told him it was perfect and beautiful, and thanked him for it. Seated in his wheelchair, he looked up at his sister,
beamed a wide Mitchell grin and said, "I done good, then." I will always remember that moment.

Etta May [Mitchell]: 1899 - 1944 (Etta's middle name is misspelled on the marker - see last paragraph above.)

DESERT LAWN MEMORIAL PARK - 1401 S Union Street, Kennewick, WA (Mausoleum)

Glenn Robert: 1926 - 2009
June Henrietta Dillon [Norgard]: 1926 - 2008


Behnke, Glenn Russell [
7]: 1958 - 2003 (Ashes spread on the Roaring River near Estacada, Clackamas County, Oregon)

WILLAMETTE NATIONAL CEMETERY  -  Portland, Oregon (cemetery name is linked to a photo © by Ghost Walker)

Olson, Harry Eugene: 1920 - 2009


[1] Early Census Data (not verified as our family - research ongoing, for instance, on the initial P for John instead of W)

The 1860 US Census lists Robert, age 29; Martha J, age 23; William B, age 5; John P, age 2; and James M, age 1/12
residing in Russell county, Virginia.

The 1870 US Census lists Robert, age 39; Martha, age 32; William B, age 14; John, age 12; Marion, age 10; Mary, age
6; Robert, age 2; and Joseph, age 4/12 residing in Russell County, Virginia.

The 1880 US Census lists Robert F, age 48; Martha, age 41; William, age 24; Mary E, age 16; Robert H, age 11;
Joseph, age 8; and E Elbert, age 5 residing in Sniabar township, Lafayette county, Missouri. John & James were absent.

2] We have a record of land being owned in Crete, Nebraska in 1878 by a man named Robert Mitchell & his wife Anna,
but I recently discovered that he was born in Canada in 1841; she in New York in 1847.  The couple were residents of
Webster County at the time of the land sale and after, and as it turns out, are not related to our family.

3] The 1920 US Census lists Clarence Winship, described as 'father in law' age 56, residing with William Mitchell's
family in Platte County, Wyoming on the 21st day of January, 1920.

4] Nora Kettleson was born in South Dakota in 1897.  Her parents were Norwegian.  The US Census of 1920 records
William and Nora Mitchell residing in Wyoming.  Nora is buried in Greenwood Cemetery, Bend, Deschutes County,

5] Etta May was first married on the 3rd of February, 1922 to Joseph Hamilton McElfresh.  Both her 2 year old son and
her 25 year old husband died 10 days apart from complications of tuberculosis in June of 1924.

6] Glenn Mitchell passed away January 7, 2009.  His stepdaughter Linda lovingly cared for him in his final years.
He expressed amazement at her unexpected attention to his wellbeing, telling me last summer that he was forever
grateful for her help.  Thank you, Linda.

7] Glenn Behnke was an Army veteran and served in Korea.  He worked as a Carny for a travelling circus, and
struggled with drug addiction and mental illness all of his adult life.  Sadly, at the age of 45, he drowned in a local
Portland reservoir during a reckless mid-winter swim.  



Thanks to Dorothy and Grace for their input and research which was the basis for these notes.

Cover Photo, "Dingle Peninsula, Ireland" from a private Blog titled, "Did you ever look so nice?"- used here under
worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty-free license.
Our family history and records
SB Ancestry Index
Last Update
02 Feb 2010